Africa, Asia, North America

Sister Mary Alyce Lach

Sister Mary Alyce Lach, SSND, on a sabbatical in Brakel, Germany.

Playing into God's plan

My mother had a dream for me from the first day I was born. When I was 15, I would attend high school at The Academy of Our Lady in Chicago, often referred to as Longwood. She convinced my Dad and then me that Longwood had great career possibilities for me especially in the good husband area.

This meant that I would leave my home in Utica, Michigan, and live with my Grandmother, attend the eighth grade at St. Benedict School in Blue Island, Illinois, take the academy entrance test and become a “Longwood girl.”

I was a Chicago kid through and through. Staying with my Grandmother would be great. We were conspirators for as long as I can remember. Gramma and me could have a good time just sweeping the porch. So it was easy to fall in step with my mother’s plan. It would be an adventure. I would be with my parents during the holidays and spend the summer at home. I had the best of both worlds.

Unknown to my mother, she was playing right into God’s plan. The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught at both the grade school and my future high school.

Drawn to the 'goodness' of the sisters


Sister Mary Alyce Lach (left) helps at move-in day at Mount Mary University.

I liked the School Sisters from the beginning. Soon, I knew I wanted to be just like them. They were smart, funny and very kind to all of us school kids. I was amazed by my eighth grade teacher, Sister Margaret. I found myself, helping Sister Friedegard with the church work, going on errands for Sister Rita Rose and straightening up the first grade classroom after school.

I was drawn to the goodness of the sisters. By the middle of the school year, I knew I had to be a School Sister of Notre Dame. I knew I wanted to serve God as a teacher, just like the sisters at St. Benedict’s. I also knew I would disappoint my mother.

After I graduated from the eighth grade, I returned home by train. I did not ever figure out how to break the news. It just happened one day at supper. My mother canceled my application for the Academy and we spent the summer together preparing for my entrance day to the convent in Milwaukee.

A life filled with God's blessings

When she kissed me good-by at the Milwaukee Motherhouse, half crying and half laughing, she said, “Adrienne, the convent wasn’t what I dreamed for you. Try to be a holy nun. Make all your dreams come true. Be happy and have a good life.”

Today at 81, I still dream and strive to be like those first sisters who inspired me. My entire life has been filled with God’s blessings. Being a School Sister of Notre Dame still remains the best of everything for me. 

- Sister Mary Alyce Lach, SSND

Transforming the world through education