Sister Mary Henry

(1929-2022) – Teacher

SMH was ninety-three when she died in August 2022. She lived as part of the Dominican Sisters of St. Siena in Stone, Staffordshire. Headmistress of my girls’ school, she was a leading light in the local Geographical Society and ran the chess and cycling proficiency clubs in two schools, as well as being a sub-prioress. She dedicated her life to the education of girls at a time when many were simply being prepared to be wives and mothers, and she was adored by the ‘naughty’ girls who felt seen and understood by her. She was still teaching in her nineties and, even then, always had a look of mischievousness about her, as if she were used to being underestimated but, in fact, knew the world very well – she was extremely well-travelled. The most unlikely thing about her was her love of motorbikes. She had a moped which she’d ride around on (too fast), dressed in black leather, from which she would emerge in full habit – her obituary described her as emerging from it like a butterfly from its chrysalis. When it was warmer, she’d ride around with her veil flapping behind her in the wind (probably dangerous). She was one of the few high-achieving women I knew growing up and taught us that we didn’t have to be defined by the expectations of others. 

Sarah Sanders

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