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Our Person of the Week has been helping others for 6 decades

February 01 2013 | 1 comment

Our Detroit 2020 Person of the Week is a woman who has a gift and has been sharing it with others for more than 60 years.

Sister Mary Catharina Bereiter helps students to better understand math.  She estimates she has helped 6,000 students over her career.

Sister Catharina has taught students from first grade through college — usually in classroom settings.  Now she prefers to tutor adult learners one on one.   She says that allows her to “zero in on what the student is  trying to learn.  In a group you’re trying to meet all the different needs and that’s very difficult.”

Sister Catharina tutors twice a week at Siena Literacy Center.  Donna McRae Nesbitt is the director of the center.  She says Sister Catharina is a tough taskmaster, “However she rules with a velvet fist.  You know she means business but she is infinitely patient and encouraging.”

At age 90, most people would be taking it easy.  But not Sister Catharina.  She asked us, “Why should I just sit around and do nothing?  It’s wonderful to see students learn.”

Donna McRae Nesbitt says students come every week because of what Sister Catharina gives them, “Not just the math skills but the confidence to pursue their dreams or master whatever challenges they find in their lives.”

Monique Holly, one of Sister Catharina’s students, hopes she continues, “To keep doing what she’s doing because she’s making a difference in my life.”

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  1. Kim Kelly-Kline February 11, 2013

    Ahhh Sr. Catharina, I know her well. She was my Aunts traveling companion for years.My Aunt was also a Dominican Nun, Sr.Marie Immaculata, or Sr. Mac, as we knew her.Sr.Catharina is a marvelous woman and truly an inspiration to all she comes in contact with.She so rightly deserves the ‘Person of Week’ designation.Congratulations Sr. Catharina!!


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