Our Namesake - Sister Robert Joseph Bailey
Sister Robert was born on April 22, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. Her given name was Margaret Bailey, but when she entered the Dominican Order of Sisters in 1940, she chose the name Robert Joseph in honor of her favorite younger brother.
In 1941, with a bachelor’s degree from Sienna Heights College, Sister Robert began sharing her gift of teaching at various elementary schools around the country. When Sister Robert came to Henderson in 1951, she was assigned to teach 4th and 5th grade at St. Peter’s School. Sister Robert taught at St. Peter for nearly nine years, until just before it closed in 1960.
Sister Frances Limbaer, a fellow teacher commented on Sister Robert’s unique teaching abilities:
She was a wonderful teacher, very creative. She had the students working in teams before that was popular. She had a different way each week for the students to work with their spelling words. One time they would write new dialogue for comic strips using the words for the week. Another time it was making a crossword puzzle with the words.
From St. Peter’s she went on to what is now known as the Rose de Lima Campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals where she assumed responsibility of dietary services and eventually community education. During her 37 years at St. Rose, Sister Robert continued her dedication to children by implementing several community outreach programs. Sister Robert began the Positive Impact Medical and Dental program which today gives medical and dental care to students in need at over 79 schools. Sister Robert also began the Positive Impact on Reading Program in which volunteers visit local elementary schools and have one-on-one reading time with children.
Sister Robert was a frequent visitor to local schools where she would do special presentations. In all, she had presentations for 22 different topics covering health, nutrition, hygiene, safety, and even how to be a good babysitter.
In 1985 Sister Robert started the well-known Buckaroo Days (click on the book above to view) in an effort to alleviate the anxieties children have about hospitals. Sister Robert and several employees would dress in western style and invite local school children to the hospital. The children always enjoyed seeing an elderly Sister in a cowboy outfit during these hospital tours.
Another program Sister Robert initiated was a hotline for children who were home alone and lonely or nervous. These children could call the hospital and talk to a volunteer for as long and often as needed. Usually, the adults were senior volunteers and the service provided for the needs of both the young and old.
The programs that Sister Robert initiated came as a result of her concerns for the education, health and comfort of others. Her legacy is an inspiration to our school and to the members of our school community. In her honor we dedicate our efforts to, “Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Kids”.