Gonzaga community remembers Sr. Laura Michels

Gonzaga community remembers Sr. Laura Michels

The Gonzaga University community is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved members. Sister Laura Michels. S.N.J.M. Died this week at the age of 76. She was a long-time member of the campus community, and was the chaplain for the baseball and women’s basketball teams.

“Sister Laura is the most saintlike person I’ve ever met, and working for the church, working in ministry- you meet a lot of good people,” said Erik Mertens, a campus minister with Gonzaga University Ministry department.

She was born Janice Michels, and took the name Laura when she joined the Sisters of the Holy Names after graduating high school.

“I’ve heard her described as Gonzaga’s grandma,” Mertens said.

“She was just such a warm presence and so soft spoken,” said senior Josh Jacobs.

Michels became a Zag when she joined the campus ministry team. She’s been a reliable presence on campus ever since.

“That’s Laura. No one was more important than someone else,” said campus minister Rev. Janeen Steer.

Her pregame prayers, and sometimes poems, for members of the women’s basketball and baseball teams are remembered by athletes long gone from GU.

“Every summer I work for the minor league baseball team in the Tri-Cities. Every time I meet a player who came through Gonzaga I’ll say, ‘Hey, I work at Gonzaga’ and they’ll say ‘Oh, that’s great,’ and then I’ll say ‘I work with Sister Laura’ and these men’s faces just brighten up,” Mertens said.

“What I learned most from Laura is that darkness won’t win,” Steer said. “Love will win, and joy will win. And that was Laura,” she said.