Fourteen months after their first daughter died, Harold and Anna (Straus) welcomed Doreen. She recalls that she was “continually employed in rocking the cradle and keeping the toddlers out of mischief,” referring to her eight younger siblings.
Doreen attended St. Louis School, Waterloo. She quickly learned to read and was able to multi-task reading and helping with housework at the same time. In Grade 8 she helped her father deliver newspapers to his customers. While riding her bike from house to house she had time to think about her vocation. Becoming a Maryknoll Missionary Sister appealed to her, but at age14 it became clear that she should enter SSND. After completing Grade 11 at St. Mary’s High School, Kitchener, Doreen entered the candidature. She was received as Novice Mary Harold on July 28, 1947 and professed her vows the following year.
After graduating from Hamilton Teacher’s College, Sister Doreen taught primary classes in the following schools: St. Louis; Our Lady of Lourdes; St. Agnes, Waterloo; St. Ambrose, Cambridge; St. Leo, Kitchener; and St. Mary, Oakville. From 1965-1970, Sister Doreen was Primary and Religion Consultant for the Kitchener Separate School Board. During that time, she was invited by the Ginn Publishing Company to co-author the primary reading program for Grades 1-3. To support her teaching, she took the following courses offered by the Department of Education of Ontario: Primary Methods, Parts I and II; Supervisor of Primary Methods; Audio Visual; Elementary Art; and Elementary Vocal Music. When not attending summer courses, she catechized children in rural parishes.
In 1976, Sister Doreen moved to Cambridge, where she prepared meals for the community and visited the sick at Memorial Hospital. In 1978, Sister Doreen was appointed as housemistress for more than 30 junior boarders at Lingfield Convent School, England. The girls, age 7 – 12 years, received motherly care from Sister Doreen, who attended to all their needs outside of school hours. On the weekends she prepared meals with the girls. When the boarding school closed in 1986, she moved to Peckham Rye, England, where she was involved in pastoral ministry at the nearby St. Thomas Parish, Dulwich.
In 1988, Sister Doreen participated in the Galilee renewal program at Arnprior, Ontario. She then attended St. Paul University, Ottawa for courses in Pastoral Health Care and the Institute for Pastoral Studies. She concluded her sabbatical by participating in the GAAP program. Visiting the SSND missions in Honduras was a life-changing experience for her.
From 1990-1992, Sister Doreen was Catechetic Director at Newman Centre on the campus of University of Toronto, which involved instructing volunteer catechists.
In 1994, she was sent to Kelly Lake, a Metis settlement in British Columbia. Here she assisted as pastoral administrator for St. Ann’s Parish and was a volunteer tutor in the school until 2001. During the next four years she enjoyed preparing meals for the community at St. Anne’s in Kitchener until the convent closed in 2005. Her specialty was baking bread.
Prior to moving to Notre Dame Convent, Waterdown, in 2009, Sister Doreen lived in Cambridge, where she assisted with the catechetical correspondence program. For a few years she tutored in a primary class at Guardian Angels School.
Sister Doreen enjoyed painting and creating greeting cards. She also composed songs.
As her vision became increasingly impaired, she peacefully adjusted to her limitations.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Rev. Pablito Labado, chaplain, at Notre Dame Convent on December 30. Due to COVID restrictions, only a limited number of family members could attend the funeral.
Sister Doreen is survived by her sisters, Sister Betty, SSND; Jeannette Brenneman; Carol Szozda and Theresa Smith, and her brother, Peter.