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Jane Wolford Hughes

By Victoria Beck


JANE WOLFORD HUGHES (June 8, 1920 - December 20, 2004): The daughter of Frank N. Gerbig and Corinne M. Ouellette. Jane Wolford Hughes was the first Executive Director of Adult Education for the Archdiocese of Detroit during the 1960's. At this time, there were one million and a half Catholics in the diocese. The story of how she arrived there is a remarkable one. I had an opportunity to meet with Jane and conduct interviews with her in October 2001 as she told her story about a fantastic journey in the area of catechetics.


Jane resides in Farmington Hills, Michigan with her husband, John Hughes. Jane began by telling me that her family had always been active in the Latin Rite Catholic Church. Her father, Frank Gerbig was a philanthropist and her Aunts Ruth and Jessie Gerbig started the Catholic Bookstore in Detroit. Jane recalls writing regular weekly articles for her parish which, at the time, was St. Gregory's in Detroit. This regular feature was entitled The Two of Us . Jane attended Marygrove College, which under the leadership of Sister Honora Jack, I.H.M., was known for emphasis on producing active Catholics. Jane verified this fact when she spoke of her active involvement with the children from nearby St. George's Parish where she taught them art and religion. Jane graduated from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy (Beck, 2001, October)

After graduation Jane worked for the J.L. Hudson Company in Detroit, Michigan in public relations. Her job involved much travel to New York. This type of job and career was very alluring to a young woman. But Jane was not satisfied. One evening while she was praying at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, she reports speaking with God and asking Him if this is what she was to do with her life. The answer she received during her prayer was an emphatic "No"!

Following this experience Jane returned home to Detroit, became engaged and married Orville Eugene Wolford. Jane's career became her seven children and her involvement in the Catholic Church. Jane's home parish at that time was Precious Blood in Detroit, Michigan. And it is here that Jane began her career in the Church when she assumed the responsibility of Altar Society president in her parish. This role and Jane's talent served to launch her into numerous other Church appointments including chairperson of the Public Relations Committee for the Catholic Council of Women (Beck, 2001, October)

In 1962, Jane Wolford was asked to be public relations chairperson for the Council of Catholic Women Annual Meeting. This meeting was the largest ever held with 15,000 people in attendance. It is through these appointments and initiatives that Jane Wolford met Cardinal (then Archbishop) John Dearden. Jane recalls her first discussion with Cardinal Dearden. The cardinal had asked Jane what book she was currently reading and Jane replied Priests Among Men by Cardinal Suhard. Dearden was curious and asked "Why are you reading a book about the holiness of priests?" Jane replied "…that the holiness of priests is no different than the holiness of lay people." This may have convinced Dearden that Jane Wolford would be the right woman for Executive Director of Adult Education for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Jane was offered the position of Executive Director on Holy Saturday of 1966. Jane agreed to accept the position.

Jane assumed this position at an exciting time both in church history and for women. The Second Vatican Council had just ended bringing with it much change that would need to be understood by clerics and laity alike. "The most dramatic changes in the church since the reformation and the Counter-Reformation period in the sixteenth century occurred as a result of the Second Vatican Council held from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965" (Gillis, 1999, p. 86). With the Decree on the Apostolate which states that "in view of women's position in the world today it is important for her collaboration in the life of the Church to be intensified…" (McKeown, n.d.). Because of the significant changes much education was required . Dearden was looking for someone to lead this massive educational effort in the Detroit Diocese and Jane Wolford had demonstrated the knowledge and skill. Frances McKeown introduces Jane Wolford as the Executive Director of the newly formed Archdiocesan Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) in an article published in Ave Maria .

Then came the historic "spring cleaning" of the Vatican Council II! Swept away were the dusty doctrines of where women's place was. Tossed out was the hoary notion that women were not essential to the existence of the Church in the modern world. With the decree of the Apostolate which states that "in the view of woman's position in the world today it is important that her collaboration in the life of the Church be intensified, the more astute of the hierarchy moved rapidly to garner this woman power into the machinery of the Church".
Early this summer, Detroit Archbishop John F. Dearden created a mild sensation when he named an attractive brunette Mrs. O.E..Wolford Jr…to an important diocesan post: executive director of the newly formed Archdiocesan Institute for Continuing Education (McKeown).

Jane Wolford's responsibilities, as Executive Director of ICE included supervision and development, selection and determination of courses, texts, faculty, salaries, hours, location of the various centers and the costs of the courses to students. Reporting to Jane was also a board consisting of presidents of local colleges and prominent educators in the public school system. Ms. Wolford was also supported by the fifteen pastors and school principals who had offered their facilities as branches of the adult center. Jane's goal was to run at least two courses twice a week in each of the centers (Beck, 2001).

The ICE served as a clearinghouse for information letting people know what courses were being offered, where they were being offered and whether they were offered through private education or public education. Jane was noted for her resourcefulness and networking in order to achieve common goals and objectives. ICE also created a segment of what Ms. Wolford referred to as "courses on demand", these courses involved topics or subject matter in which people had expressed the most interest. Examples given include; the new liturgy, the Bible, and child and marriage psychology. Under the heading of ICE, Jane and her team provided a special series of two and three day workshops under the project name of "Signs" (Beck, 2001).

One day while interviewing Jane, she shared her portfolio which she had accumulated during these years. The portfolio was filled with brochures and program announcements. Not only was I impressed by the sheer number of them but also by the artistic packaging. Jane with her creativity and public relations background was careful to appropriately and attractively package her message so as to grab people's attention so they would read and consider the message within. This must have worked because it is reported that Jane had upwards of 8,000 lay people enrolled in 190 parishes in her adult education program. In preparation for the 1967-68 Archdiocesan Synod, ICE got out the vote to the incredible tune of 80,000 men and women attending study and speak-up sessions in every parish hall and basement in the greater Detroit area (Grady, n.d.).

This period appears to have been a productive time for adult catechesis in the diocese of Detroit. Part of this, was the post Vatican II environment but Jane Wolford Hughes is quick to attribute this educational thrust to Cardinal Dearden who was very supportive of adult education.

Since coming to Detroit in 1958 he (Dearden) has reorganized school districts combining and eliminating schools to make the most effective use of facilities; he has limited class size, increased teaching nuns' salaries and brought the pay of all Catholic school personnel within the striking distance of that in the Detroit Public School System…The archbishop…has stressed vocational training, guidance and counselor programs and has pushed educational television at both the elementary and secondary levels (McKeown, n.d.).

Contributions to Christian Education

Jane Wolford Hughes was a guiding and powerful force herself in education. Not only in the volumes and types of programs that were taught and conducted but the training she provided for parish leadership and the techniques she used and promoted for catechesis. In an article from the October, 1970 issue of Religion , Frank Grady interviews Jane Wolford Hughes about her educational success in the diocese. Jane begins by talking about how programs are determined and conducted in the dioceses. The first step in organizing effective education is to meet the needs of your audience. Jane cautions: "…don't crystal ball it, get the grass roots feeling of the people" (Grady, n.d.). Jane continues by saying that you must train your teachers and that the success of ICE is because its leaders and teachers are prepared, they discuss attitudes and demonstrate techniques (Grady, n.d.). Third, Jane said they avoided reinventing the wheel or doing something that was provided by local universities and college programs. "Don't offer French courses or child care clinics. Be the voice of the church on issues that count" (Grady, n.d.). And lastly, Jane said it was important to advertise; "…respect publicity and the timing of it! You can't draw crowds for a Sunday evening talk with a two line notice in that morning's bulletin. Get professional help here; it is worth it" (Grady, n.d.).

Jane's vision and the accomplishments are chronicled by the renowned educator, Malcolm Knowles, in his book, Andragogy In Action . Knowles refers to Ms. Wolford's endeavor in the Archdioceses of Detroit as: "…a seventeen year longitudinal case study that documents the steps necessary for successfully converting a social system - in this case the Catholic archdiocese - into a learning community. It demonstrates that major organizational change can be achieved through educational means" (Knowles, 1984, p. 351).

As director of the Institute for Continuing Education, Jane was able to accomplish the following.

  • The Institute of Continuing Education was formed
  • The "Sign" series was established
  • "Speak up 69" was developed and administered.
  • "Church, World, Kingdom" series program was developed and conducted.
  • "Liberty and Justice for All" was piloted and administered for nationwide implementation.
  • Adult basic education programs were provided.
  • Television learning programs were transmitted to various parish centers in the diocese.

Development of Catholic leadership (both clergy and laity) occurred through training and enrichment programs (Knowles, 1984, p. 352).

Formation of the Institute for Catholic Education

Part of this formation included a global needs analysis authorized by Cardinal Dearden. This was done through what was entitled "Dialogues" with a cross section of all priests in the dioceses and one hundred and twenty couples also within the diocese. These were brainstorming sessions which were held at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, once a week for eight weeks. The lay people interviewed were from every geographical area and at every economic and educational level. The purpose was to determine what knowledge this cross section of population needed and wanted to know. The results of this needs analysis was that people wanted, needed and demanded to know more about their faith. To respond to these needs seventeen educational centers were opened in the fall of 1966. These centers were faithful to adult education and catechetical principles including:

  • Various forms of needs assessment were used.
  • A learning climate for adults was provided.
  • Participants were encouraged to build community through interaction and acceptance of one another.
  • Chairpersons were assigned to establish a friendly caring atmosphere.
  • Half of the class time was used for discussion, and participants were encouraged to share insights and experience on the topic. They then applied their conclusions to their daily lives.

ICE courses were offered twice a year on such topics as Scripture, ecumenism, contemporary morality, marriage psychology, government, liturgy, ethics, human relations, basic Christianity, communication, Vatican II documents, and appreciation of film, drama, literature, painting and music (Knowles, 1984, pp. 354-355).

The Sign Series

The ICE also initiated as part of their goal to educate the adult Christian, a lecture series entitled "Signs". In addition to education, this lecture series also resulted in adult education gaining high visibility within the Church; it dispelled adult fears about learning and increased their appetite for more; and it presented an opportunity for contact with some of the world's greatest thinkers. In ten years over forty speakers presented different topics. Some of the speakers included Mother Teresa, Don Helder Camara, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens, Hans Kung, Karl Haas and Barbara Ward (Hughes, n.d.).

Speak Up 68

The ICE was also involved in the preparation of people in the Archdiocese of Detroit for Synod 68. Attention was focused on the II Vatican Council changes and documents during this Synod. In 1967, the archdiocese of Detroit was preparing its Synod and Cardinal Dearden wanted to involve as many people as possible to ensure effective participation and feedback it was critical that the people participating in the Synod were properly informed and prepared. So Jane Wolford and her team were engaged in a massive education process called "Seeking Progress Together". It drew 80,000 adults and 100,000 students and young adults, who organized, studied and discussed each of the nine study topics. The new study topics included such items as clergy, laity, religious, worship, education, administration, ecumenical affairs, community affairs and missionary activity. The II Vatican Council documents that related to each of the topics were also included as part of this preparation. Through this process participants and parishes were educated and provided feedback which included recommendations to improve operations in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Church, World, Kingdom

A survey completed through the archdioceses of Detroit indicated that people were confused in certain areas of their faith and required some education on certain topics. ICE responded to these needs between 1972-1974 through the Church World Kingdom (CWK) program. This program used "…a study discussion technique in which parish facilitators used various forms of learning experiences and visuals as well as diocesan prepared texts" (Wolford). These programs segmented into four phases entitled; Church, Jesus Christ, Christian Morality, and Spirituality were attended by 30,000 adults (Wolford).

Liberty and Justice for All

A fifth topic of social justice was chosen by CWK participants was merged with a national program entitled "Liberty and Justice for All". ICE was asked to pilot the national program which it did making recommendations on enhancement materials and film strips to enrich printed texts (Knowles, 1984, p. 356).

Adult Basic Education Courses

For five years the ICE offered adult basic education programs at various parish locations. Through this process they were able to assist educationally disadvantaged individuals. It is estimated that approximately 1000 people were assisted through this program. During economic downturn ICE also provided courses on resume preparation, coping with stress, budgeting and similar problems faced by laid off workers (Knowles, 1984, pp. 356-357).

Television Learning

Between 1967 and 1976 ICE worked with the University of Detroit television studios to televise programs to archdioceses schools. Adults gathered at the various sites to view the television. During this process participants were given printed back up materials and had the opportunity to enter into lively discussions. Programs produced through this medium tended to be issue oriented discussions. For example, there were a series of programs designed to address and heal some of the hurts produced through the 1967 race riots, a history of black people, a program entitled "Can Christians be one?" In addition, programs on a pastoral letter on the American hierarchy, a program entitled "Human Life in our Day", along with three Lenten programs were included (Knowles, 1984, p. 359).

Training and Enriching Adult Education Leadership

Not only did the ICE administer all of the programs cited above but they also planned for long term leadership in every part of the diocese by training parish leadership. The ICE staff in conjunction with Malcolm Knowles planned an overall implementation which was titled "Expansion". Three sequential workshops were given in January, March and May of 1977. Persons who attended this program were required to register for all three and the participants received certification. The programs included "The Emerging Role and Technology of Adult Education", "Helping Adults Learn" and "Organizing and Administering Programs of Adult Education". Two hundred participants could purchase a specially prepared document entitled the Expansion Handbook (Knowles, 1984, p. 359).

A similar process was used to prepare clergy to assume the responsibility for adult education within their own parishes. It was determined with a survey conducted in the 1970's that many pastors felt inadequately prepared to assume this function. To address this need, ICE provided training and workshops at the provincial seminary. "This training and the workshops continued and included both clergy and laity in order to foster collaborative efforts so that the continual exposure of priests to adult education will continue to acclimate them" (Knowles, 1984, p. 360).


What did Jane Wolford and her staff achieve with all this? First in everything Jane Wolford initiated education and educational change using sound catechetical goals, objectives, techniques and methods. The General Directory for Catechesis specifies the tasks of catechesis. Those tasks are as follows:

  • To promote formation and development of life in the Risen Christ. Jane Wolford Hughes accomplished this goal in many ways. The word of the Lord was proclaimed and delivered using many avenues. The ICE used programs, courses, prayer, retreats, and Scripture. In addition, deeper meanings were sought at every level.
  • To educate toward a correct evaluation of the socio-cultural changes of our societies in the light of faith. One example of Jane meeting this objective is the "And Justice for All" program. During this program issues of prejudice and economic inequality were confronted, discussed and processed. The word of the Lord was applied to everyday issues in the community.
  • To clarify current religious and moral questions. This clarification of moral and religious questions was enhanced in the programs and workshops delivered by major theologians, religious, laity, and clergy in the "Signs" series. Here major religious topics were discussed and explained.
  • To clarify the relationship between temporal actions and ecclesial action. This objective, again was met through the administration of many of the programs that were delivered through the ICE. It certainly is apparent when issues such as racial tensions, birth control, the value of human life, Second Vatican Council documents are presented using methods that allow for discussion and interaction in the community.
  • To develop the rational foundations of faith. The ICE started its educational quest based on the results of a survey that pointed to people wanting to understand their faith at a deeper level. The results of this survey were the building blocks for what happened in the archdiocese of Detroit.
  • To encourage adults to assume responsibility for the Church's mission and be able to give Christian witness in society. The ICE under Jane Wolford Hughes' leadership used many different methods to evangelize, educate and prepare others to go forth in the world (The General Directory for Catechesis). In other words to answer the call in Apostolicam Actousitatem
…the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the church and in the world their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God. In the concrete their apostolate is exercised when they work at the evangelization and sanctification of people; it is exercised too when they endeavor to have the Gospel spirit permeate and improve the temporal order, going about it in a way that bears clear witness to Christ and helps forward the salvation of people (Vatican II, 1965).

Jane Wolford and her team used a variety of delivery methods. These instructional methods included discussion, lecture, television, programmed instructional materials, stories, films, speakers, and film strips in order to engage her audience and involve them in their learning. Jane Wolford Hughes' tenure as Executive Director for the Archdiocese of Detroit was a time of great energy, learning creativity and progress for the laity. Jane and her team not only arranged for training and programs but also prepared the adult population in the Archdiocese to take responsibility for their own learning as well as their own faith. Through the programs, courses and instruction, and the success of the model used, Detroit became well-known nationally and internationally.

As with any large endeavor there will be critics on the sidelines who will talk about how something could have been done better. In an article in the National Catholic Register, Thomas Fox reported on the accomplishments of the ICE and stated that "…the nation's best program received mixed reactions." According to Mr. Fox there were issues with some of the programs that were presented (Fox, 1975, pp. 7-8). One such problem related to the "Church, World and Kingdom" and is summarized as follows.

Al McNeeley, one of the archdiocese's two black deacons, says that perhaps only a few hundred of the 30,000 blacks stayed with the program. The concepts, he says just didn't come across. They referred to Eucharist when we understood communion. They called God "being itself". This may make sense to the philosopher or theologian, but for a person with a sixth grade education, it makes none at all (Fox, 1975, pp. 7-8).

Father Albert McBride, director of the National Catholic Education Association's (NCEA) National Forum of Religious Educators, says Jane Hughes is outstanding. He says flatly that her "Church World Kingdom" religious education program was the best developed in the country (Fox, 1975, pp. 7-8). Jane acknowledged that language could have been an issue. But at the time she was constrained by a tension between her and the theological commission which ensures that programs are "sound in faith and morals." "In order to protect the clarity of the message, she said "they are fearful of putting the language into that of the people" (Fox, 1975, pp. 7-8).

Jane Wolford Hughes was elected to the board of directors of the Religious Education Association of the United Sates and Canada. She was named Chairperson of the United States Catholic Conference Research Team which worked on the national project: Jane served as an international expert on adult education at the Third World Congress of Lay Apostolate in Rome in 1967. Jane was named to the Board of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA); the culture committee of the National Council of Churches and a member of its planning committee for the World Culture Conference in Brussels, Belgium, member of the Vatican World Justice and Peace Committee, United States Catholic Conference. Jane was a founding member of the National Advisory Committee of Adult Religious Education (NACARE), United States Catholic Conference. Jane is internationally known as a lecturer and writer. Her articles have been translated into several languages.

Jane left the directorship of ICE in 1985 to devote more time to her family, to write, consult and attend to national interests such as the National RCIA Team, to research and write a workbook for NCEA on collaboration entitled, Partners in Catholic Education 1989. Jane was also an editor of the book entitled, Ministering to Adult Learners; Skills Workbook for Christian Educational Leaders and If you Listen Real Hard, God will Tell You Stories . Jane has been a syndicated writer for the National Catholic News Service, "Faith Alive", a writer of materials for Catechetical Sunday, 1995 and a speaker on spiritual development topics.

Little did Jane Gerbig know where God would lead her once she left St. Patrick's Cathedral that evening long ago. Jane could have decided that she was going to continue her career in public relations and advertising in the commercial world. No one would have thought badly of her. Jane, given her financial resources, could have decided to do other things. But Jane Gerbig Wolford Hughes did not. She decided to answer God's call and be obedient to his will. As a result, Jane aided the Church at a critical time using the gifts and resources she was given. As Jane told Cardinal Dearden long ago; "Holiness is not just for priests; it is for all of God's people." Jane Wolford Hughes demonstrated this pursuit of holiness in all that she did and continues to do. Sr. Maureen Shaughnessy worked with Jane at the Catholic Council of Bishops and had this to say about her; "Jane was one of the first women to hold a significant diocesan position. Her work will be remembered as groundbreaking, innovative and visionary. She thought big and did things in a wonderfully inviting way" (Shaughnessy, 2001). Jane Wolford Hughes passed away on December 20, 2004. Her "holy card" contained this simple prayer "St. Michael the Archangel bring me home."

Works Cited

  • Beck, V. A. (2001, October). Interview with Jane Wolford Hughes interview by author, tape recording Farmington Hills, MI.
  • Fox, T. C. (1975, August 1). National Catholic Reporter. Nation's Best Program Draws Mixed Reaction from Participants, 11, 7-8.
  • General Directory for Catechesis. (1984). Washington D.C.: USCC, No.175.
  • Gillis, C. (1999). Roman Catholicism in America. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Grady, F. (1970). Growing together in Detroit. Religion Teachers Journal, 10S (4), 7-10.
  • Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1984).
  • McKeown, F. (n.d.). Portrait of Jane. Ave Maria, 104, 8-10.
  • Shaughnessy, M, Sr. (2001, November 16). Jane Wolford Hughes reply.
  • Shaw, R., & Schreiber, A. M. (Eds.) (1967). The role of Catholic education in contemporary American society. NCEA Bulletin, 64.
  • Hughes, J. H. (Ed.) (1981). Ministering to adult learners. Washington D.C.: U.S. Catholic Conference.
  • Hughes, J. H. (1989). God will tell you stories. Winoa, MI: St. Mary's Press, Christian Brothers Publications.
  • Vatican II. (1965, November). Aposolicam Actuositatem, 18 (2).

Highlights of Adult Education Formation Workshops/Programs, The Institute For Continuing Education, Jane Wolford Hughes, Director Archdiocese of Detroit

  • Summer 1996 - Fr. Barnabas Ahern, Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 11/19/67 - Conference "Awareness" Cobo Hall
  • 6/16-20/68 - Christian Unity 68-Ford Auditorium Detroit
  • 10/7-11/27/68 - Fall Courses, 8 weeks, Detroit
  • 4/13/69 - Can Christians Be One? TV Series
  • 1969 Fall Courses - You-That's What All The Fuss is About
  • 10/13/69 - Bridge the Information Gap
  • 1/21/70 - Don Helder Camara- Marygrove College
  • 3/15/70 - Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens-Ford Auditorium
  • 4/14/70 - Film as Art, Grosse Pointe Academy
  • Hans Kung , Sacred Heart Seminary
  • Elizabeth-Kubler Ross, On Death & Dying, Cobo Hall
  • William Graham, Liturgy, Cobo Hall
  • Karl Haas, Music as Artistic Expression, Cobo Hall


  • 11/16/71 - Fr. Peter Riga-Mercy College
  • 9/27/71 - Searching for Meaning (Center Course)
  • 11/8/71 - Know Your Faith
  • 2/22/71 - Enjoy the Adventure of Learning
  • 10/3-11/7/72 - Experience Prayer-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 1/31/72 - Discover Yourself'72 (Center Course)
  • 9/30/72 - Fr. E. Maly-"Jesus"- Cobo Hall
  • 9/25/72 - "Get in Touch"
  • 2/3/73 - "Growth Thru Sexuality"
  • 2/12/73 - Life Long Learning
  • 6/14/74 - Mother Teresa-Cobo Hall
  • 4/24/74 - Rev. W. Burghardt-"Quiet Prayer in a Wild World"-Cobo Hall
  • 11/22/75 - Brian Hehir-"We have Heard the Call"
  • 3/13/76 - Rev. Richard McCormick-"Medical Ethics"-Cobo Hall
  • 5/14/76 - Rosemary Haughton-"Families at the Crossroads"
  • 9/25/76 - "Get it All Together"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 10/31-11/21/76 - Fr. E. Farrell "Praying the Everyday"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 9/18/76 - Rev. Charles Curran-"Christian Morality"
  • 10/9/76 - Rev. Anthony Kosnik-"Human Sexuality"
  • 9/16/78 - Rev. Carroll Stuhlmueller-"Interpretation of the Old Testament
  • Spectrum'78 - Loretta Girzaitis, Dr. Leon McKenzie-"Understanding Religious Education in Theory and Practice
  • 12/9/78 - Rev. Eugene LaVerdiere-"New Testament"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 1/11/79 - Mary Good- "Understanding Adult Spirituality"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 3/8/79 - Tom Downs-"Parish of Mature Believers"- Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 4/5/79 - Jane Hughes-"Understanding of Practice and Promotion of Adult Education"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 5/4-5/79 - Dr. Bernard Cooke-"Interpretation of Catholic Belief" St. Johns Seminary
  • 12/13/79 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Who is Jesus?" -Sacred Heart Seminary
  • Spectrum '79 - Rev. Jack Shea- "Storytelling"
  • 1/18/80 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Church and Ministry in the New Testament" Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 2/29/80 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Lord's Prayer"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 5/9/80 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"The Beatitudes"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 5/29/80 - Dr. Tom Downs-"Parish of Mature Believers" -Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 9/26/80 - Sr. Jose' Hobday-"Spiritual Growth is Possible" Sacred Heart Seminary
  • Spectrum '80 - Rev. Jacques Weber-"What is Adult Faith?"
  • 1/22/81 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Baptism-RCIA"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 1/23/81 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Confirmation"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 2/26/81 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Reconciliation-Eucharist"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • 2/27/81 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Infancy Narratives RCIA"-Sacred Heart Seminary
  • Spectrum '81 - Rev. Jack Shea-"What Do I believe?"-How Do I Act?
  • 1/29/30/82 - Rev. E. Laverdiere- "Prayer"-Cobo Hall
  • 6/11/12/82 - Rev. E. Laverdiere -"Conversion/Evangelization"-Cobo Hall

Vianney Series

  • 10/7/82 - Rev. Jacques Weber-"Who is the Mature Christian?"
  • 11/4/82 - Rev. E. Laverdiere-"Luke's Message to Parish Leaders"
  • 2/28/83 - Rev. Raymond Kemp-"Celebrating the Liturgical Year "
  • 5/5/83 - Rev. Thomas Richstatter-"New Church Law and Liturgy"
  • 2/24-25/83 - Dr. Eugene Trester-Helping Adults Teach the Parables"-Sacred Heart Seminary"
  • 5/11/83 - Tim Fallow-"Turning Pain and Frustration into Growth"-Sacred Heart Seminary"

National and International Activities

  • Secretary, National Catholic Education Association Committee Member, Division of World Justice and peace, United States Catholic Conference
  • Member Executive Committee, Church Action for World Development
  • Member Advisory Committee on the Arts 1969 General Assembly, National Council of Churches
  • Consultant, 1971 International Congress on Religion , Architecture and the Visual Arts
  • Board of Directors, Adult Education Commission, National Catholic Education Association
  • International Expert on Adult Education. Third World Congress of Lay Apostolate, Rome, 1967
  • Participant, 1967 National Symposium on Catholic Education, Washington D.C.
  • Chairperson, National Workshop on Adult Education, 1968, NCEA

State and City Activities

  • Board Member, Adult Education Association of Michigan
  • Member, Commission on Community Relations , City of Detroit
  • Advisor, Program of Studies in Religion and Urban Culture, Wayne State University 1968-1969


  • Mother Domitilla Award, Marygrove College, 1967-for service to Church and Community
  • First Place Award for Creativity in Adult Education, 1968-Adult Education Association of Michigan
  • Thea Bowman Medal, Archdiocese of Detroit for Outstanding Life Achievement

Excerpts from Publications

Hughes, J. H. (1984). Ministering to adult learners. Washington D.C.: USCCB.

Hughes, J. H. (1967, August). Adult education: Prescription for the non-person syndrome. National Catholic Education Association Bulletin, 64.

Hughes, J. H. (Ed.) (2002, January 11). The Michigan Catholic.

Hughes, J. H. (1989). God will tell you stories. Winoa, MI: St. Mary's Press, Christian Brothers Publications.

Author Information

Victoria Beck

Victoria Beck is a Pastoral Minister at St. Constance Parish in Taylor, Michigan. "Vickie" left the corporate world and completed her Masters in Pastoral Ministry at Sacred Heart Seminary in 2003. Vickie works collaboratively with Pastor Leo Sabourin and is responsible for Adult education and the Rite for Christian Initiation at St. Constance. Vickie became interested in women who had been teachers and leaders in the archdioceses of Detroit and she was able to interview Jane Wolford Hughes. These interviews and much research served as a basis for this document.