Sister Lenore Gibb
Lenore Gibb was born in Windsor, ON c. 1936. She grew up in the neighbourhood of Parent and Langlois, where she thoroughly enjoyed playing baseball in sandlots and schoolyards with neighbourhood kids. While her love for the game was immense, her love for the Catholic Church was even deeper, and from a very young age she was driven by her desire to become a nun. By third grade she had expressed her desire to join the convent, and by the age of seventeen she was off to Pembroke, Ontario to join the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
In 1959, at the age of 23, Sister Lenore dispatched to Dominican Republic where she spent nearly half a century as an educator, profoundly devoted to teaching young children and building for their future. During her many years in the Dominican Republic, Sister Lenore and her colleagues opened several schools, a home for the elderly, a cultural centre, and a housing project for teachers and their families. She also served as a school teacher, and later a principal, and ultimately as the first non-Dominican to be appointed supervisor of a school district.
Sister Lenore focused on teaching her students tangible skills that would help them earn a living – many of her pupils successfully moved on to college. She also shared her God-given talent, and formed a special bond with many local youth by teaching them how to play the game of baseball. It’s no coincidence that major league stars like Sammy Sosa, Julio Franco, Jesus “Pepe” Frias, Rico Carty, Alfredo Griffin, Juan Samuel, and many others were graduates of her program. Whether they advanced as superstar athletes, doctors, lawyers, teachers, or politicians, Sister Lenore encouraged all of her pupils to remember their community, one of the poorest in Latin America, and to understand the importance of giving back.
On May 14, 2004 Sister Lenore Gibb was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada for her dedication towards improving the quality of life for countless members of her adopted community of Consuelo, Dominican Republic.
Baseball is in the blood of missionary nun. Gervais, Marty. The Windsor Star [Windsor, Ont] October 23, 2009: A.5.
She taught Sammy, Julio, Rico, Pepe. McCarthy, Colman. National Catholic Reporter. October 3, 2003.
Through Baseball, Nun Really Connects. McCarthy, Colman. The Washington Post. June 28, 2003.