Madonna Oswald, February 2nd, 2017


Madonna Oswald, February 2nd, 2017


In this interview, Sister Oswald explained her personal experience during 1967 unrest while she was stationed at Star of the Sea covenant in Grosse Pointe and her communications with other convents in Detroit.


Detroit Historical Society




Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI






Oral History

Narrator/Interviewee's Name

Madonna Oswald

Brief Biography

Sister Madonna Oswald was born in Detroit in 1927. She recalls her love of Detroit and experiences during the 1967 unrest while she was stationed at a Grosse Pointe convent.

Interviewer's Name

William Winkel

Interview Place

Monroe, MI



Interview Length



Justyna Stafford

Transcription Date



WW: Hello, today is February 2, 2017 my name is William Winkel this interview is for the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit 67 Oral History Project, and I am in Monroe, Michigan. I am sitting down with…

MO: Sister Madonna Oswald, IHM Immaculate Heart of Mary sister.

WW: Thank you so much for sitting down with me today, would you like to share your story?

MO: I’m a Detroiter, I was born in Detroit back in 1927, and I love Detroit. I lived in Windsor for a while, and I was very glad even though our wonderful neighbor is wonderful I was glad to get back to Detroit. Because my father was doing very well in his job we moved a lot in Detroit, so we were on the Eastside and Westside and so forth. We finally build our home in St. Mary’s Parish, and loved Detroit continually. We’d go downtown Detroit, with a place to go, meet under the clock and so forth. On the day that we are speaking about though— even as I think of it now so long ago I have great feelings of sadness that this wonderful city with these wonderful people had to come out with such anger and such destruction, because of all the inequities that were going on at the time. In our convent at Star of the Sea in Grosse Pointe where I was stationed at that time, we heard many calls coming in from our sisters some who were in actual Detroit, downtown Detroit area and beyond, telling us about all of this and what they were trying to do. Some sisters who were closer even made sandwiches and took them out to people and did whatever they could. We were not able to do that, but were in prayer and understanding of what was happening. Detroit has continued on to grow from that time, but I don’t think we should forget what some people, the price people had to pay for where we are today. And, the pictures are coming across my mind at this point of watching the stores being crashed into, and people yelling and all of that anger, I can feel it at this moment and that is quite a few years back.

WW: So you had to stay hunkered down in Grosse Ile, ah, Grosse Pointe?

MO: I don’t know if it was hunkered down, we were about 40 minutes from downtown at that area.

WW: In Grosse Pointe?

MO: Yeah, isn’t it about 30 minutes right down—?

WW: No.

MO: Little farther, half hour at the most, maybe.

WW: Oh, no worries. When did you head back into the city after ‘67? Did you avoid the city for a while, or did you go back in?

MO: No, I think we kept pretty much the same contact with the city. However, I’m sure that we were all told to be careful, and to be our best and to show that.

WW: Thank you so much.

MO: Well good.  

Original Format



3min 34sec


William Winkel


Madonna Oswald


Monroe, MI




“Madonna Oswald, February 2nd, 2017

,” Detroit Historical Society Oral History Archive, accessed March 7, 2021,

Output Formats