Mary Hilaire Tavenner, PhD, Lauded for Excellence in Education and Writing

LORAIN, OH, March 02, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Mary Hilaire (Sally) Tavenner, PhD, has been included in Marquis Who’s Who. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Born in Lorain, Ohio, as the fourth of seven children, Sally Lynne Tavenner was called to the convent at the age of 17 when she went to Syracuse, New York to become a Franciscan Sister. Graduating from Lorain High School in 1966, she was honored by her peers when voted, “Wittiest” of their class and Treasurer of their National Honor Society. She entered the convent only four months after graduating from high school and was assigned the name: Sister Mary Hilaire.

After nearly two decades as a nun, she reassessed her life and decided to leave her religious community and continue her calling as a teacher, after which she worked in a number institutions for the following three and a half decades. She decided to keep her name of Mary Hilaire as she had been Mary Hilaire longer than Sally Lynne. Throughout the course of her career, Sr./Dr. Tavenner gained valuable expertise with a number of schools, including Assumption Academy, Syracuse, NY, Fulton Catholic, Fulton, NY, Our Lady of Angels, Albany, NY, Holy Trinity School, Syracuse, NY, St. Anthony of Padua School, Lorain, OH, Incarnation Catholic, Tampa, FL, Corazon de Maria, Puerto Rico (where she personally met Pope John Paul II), Sulfur Springs Elementary, Tampa, Florida, Carrolwood Elementary, Tampa, FL, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, Tiffin University, Tiffin, OH, the Sylvan Learning Center of Sheffield, Ohio, Lorain City Schools, and Lorain County Community College. She educated about 2,000 children and about 1,000 adults during her 47 years of teaching. Teaching is not about quantity, but quality, and only her students can be the judge of that.

According to Dr. Tavenner, among some of the highlights of her life were attending the Canonization of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975, the Beatification of Mother Marianne Cope, in 2005, (currently Canonized) and the Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 2016, whom she so profoundly and gratefully interacted with personally four times during the 1970’s in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA. These amazing religious ceremonies were all held in Rome, at the Vatican.

An expert in her field, Dr. Tavenner holds an Associate of Arts in liberal arts from Maria Regina College and a Bachelor of Arts in education from Catholic University, both of which she received in the 1970s. She subsequently furthered her studies at St. Charles Seminary, where she earned a Master of Arts in religious studies in 1982 and a Doctor of Philosophy in reading and language arts from the University of South Florida in 1993. Upon graduating with her doctorate, Dr. Tavenner moved back home to take care of her ailing mother.

While at home with her mother, Dr. Tavenner discovered a love of writing and established Dutch Ink Publishing, where she remains active as the owner, a freelance writer and public speaker. In light of her varied experiences, extensive travels and interesting life, she has a pool of inspiration from which to draw, having written such works as “Nun of This and Nun of That: Book One: Beginnings” which chronicles convent life in the 1960s, the sequel “Nun of This and Nun of That: Book Two, Making Vows”, “France, 1996: Memoirs of a Writer in France” and “A Portrait of Helen Steiner Rice: A Lorain Version.” In the years since the passing of her mother, she has written and published “Peru 2002: Memoirs of a Writer in Peru,” “Memories of Mom: They Called her Dutch,” “My Friendship with Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton” and “Puerto Rico 2006: Memoirs of a Writer in Puerto Rico.”

After her mother died on February 21, 1999, “Dr. T.” and 3 other local residents founded “The Friends of Helen Steiner Rice” on December 12, 1999. Helen’s brother-in-law, Lambert Fitzgerald, and mutual friends, Dick and Betty Knitter all wanted to see Helen honored in her hometown of Lorain. Helen so loved this city and chose to be buried here. Their efforts resulted in the group of four greatly increasing in number, getting the city of Lorain to name a school in honor of Helen Steiner Rice, obtain an Ohio Bicentennial Historical Marker in Helen’s honor, which was ceremoniously placed in the premier Lake Erie coast public beach and park of Lorain, “Lakeview”. After seven years, the group membership requested “to morph” into “The International Writers Association” as most of the members, at that time, were dedicated writers. Lorain is called, “The International City” due to its large ethnic diversity of residents, so it seemed that “International Writers Association” was an appropriate new name for their group. IWA/FHSR membership is currently about 60 members, in about 10 other countries. Visit their website: to learn more about their zeal and their history.

In addition to her writing and public speaking career, Dr. Tavenner was approached by several New York companies. In 2017, Bold Brave Media asked her to produce a radio broadcast from her home in Lorain, to their media company in New York and, from there, out into the world. Consequently, she hosted 24 programs under the title of “Dr. T., Ph.D.”. They are still available for listeners if you go to the home page of her website; just click the icon on the top right and learn! On that same home page,, you will see a photo shot of Dr. T. and her books in Times Square of downtown Manhattan.

Now retired, Dr. Tavenner remains professionally aligned with the International Writers Association, where she serves as the president. Additionally, she will promote others or their groups by writing stories for the Lorain County Senior Years Newspaper. In a career suffused with many highlights, she is most proud to have worked in education, and to have traveled so extensively (Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Canada, Peru, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and throughout the United States). Dr. Tavenner has published over a hundred stories, given well-over a hundred speeches, and more than a hundred stories have been written and published about her! In light of her outstanding body of work, she was named as a “Compassionate Woman of the Year” through the local community college, Lorain County Community College, in 2011. Looking toward the future, Dr. Tavenner intends to continue serving others and giving back through her home parish, St. Anthony Church of Padua Catholic Church and other local organizations and societies!

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