Patricia Montemurri is an award-winning journalist, who covered politics, religion, women’s issues and countless other topics for the Detroit Free Press for 37 years.
Her coverage of the Catholic Church took her into the pews of numerous Detroit-area parishes, and to Vatican Square to report about the death of Pope John Paul II, the selection of Pope Benedict XVI and on the most serious issues confronting the faith.
Her latest book, Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters of Michigan, chronicles the 175-year history of Michigan’s oldest established congregation of Catholic nuns, known to legions of Catholic school alumni as the blue-robed IHMs. It is her third book for Arcadia Publishing.
She also is the author of the two additional “Images of America” books. “Detroit Gesu Catholic Church and School” is a photo-rich chronicle of one of the city’s largest and most influential Catholic parishes. Its alumni included four Detroit mayors and Hollywood artists. Sales of the book have raised more than $11,000 for Gesu School, one of four Catholic elementary schools still operating in Detroit compared to 108 in the 1960s.
She also authored “Blessed Solanus Casey,” about the Detroit Capuchin friar known as a wonder worker, who is one miracle away from being declared a saint by the Catholic Church. The book is filled with more than 200 photos about Blessed Solanus' life and impact, from his rural Wisconsin upbringing to his inspiring Detroit beatification ceremony.
For the Detroit Free Press, she covered multiple political campaigns and first revealed the slush fund that led to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s federal prison sentence. She covered the visits of Popes John Paul II and Pope Francis to the United States. She was in St. Peter’s Square in 2005 to witness the funeral of Pope John Paul II, as well as the selection of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Her reporting brought to light the extent of the priest sexual abuse scandal in Michigan dioceses. She chronicled the painful Catholic church and school closings in the Archdiocese of Detroit and the achievements of local Catholics, who serve in the highest offices of the faith. Among them, she profiled Cardinal Joseph Tobin, a onetime pastor of Detroit’s Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and a close ally of Pope Francis, and IHM Sister Sharon Holland, a canon lawyer who was one of the highest-ranking women to work at the Vatican.
Her expertise in Detroit-area Catholic history was cultivated personally, as well as professionally. Her in-laws included the architects of multiple Detroit-area churches and the artisans who crafted stained glass windows. Born in Detroit, she attended Catholic schools and graduated from the University of Michigan. It was her third grade teacher, IHM Sister Archange Groh, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Detroit who told her parents she had a knack for writing.