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Elizabeth DeMerchant Enters the IHM Candidacy Program

Elizabeth DeMerchant entered the IHM candidate program on August 15, 2015. She is residing with the community of sisters at St. Joseph’s Center. Elizabeth, who has been in discernment with Sister Kathy Kurdziel for the last fifteen months, has wanted to be a sister since her teen years. She completed her education and worked for many years. As she began searching for a community that fit her, she found the well-developed IHM website through Google. Her careful research and discernment brought her to Scranton IHM.

Elizabeth is the second child of Sylvia and Storer DeMerchant from Easton, Maine. She has an older brother, Storer, and a younger sister, Mary, both of whom live in Maine. Her mother is a retired home economics teacher and her father is a potato farmer.



Elizabeth attended elementary and secondary school in Easton, Maine and earned a BS in Home Economics from the University of Maine at Farmington. She taught home economics for three years in rural Maine before pursuing graduate work at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. She earned an MS and a PhD from Virginia Tech in housing, interior design and resource management. Elizabeth managed a test kitchen for Hamilton Beach/Proctor Silex and taught at Virginia State University for eight years.

Eventually, Elizabeth returned to rural Maine where, as a home tutor, the plight of special needs children touched her heart. She returned to the University of Maine and completed a M.Ed. in special education. For the last nine years she has lived in Brewer, ME and has taught special education at Holbrook Middle School in Holden, Maine. She is certified in the Orton-Gillingham reading method for children with varying degrees of dyslexia and is a certified Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) trainer. Elizabeth established Holbrook’s highly successful Lego club, coached the girls’ basketball team and chess club, founded the Children’s Clothes Closet and the month-long summer Math Camp to help struggling students. Her colleagues describe her as competent, professional, hardworking, compassionate, dedicated and determined to help as many students as possible, especially those who struggle with life and learning.

Her hobbies include: Lego, cross-stitch, sewing, cooking, snowshoeing and hiking. Elizabeth donated a large portion of her Lego collection to the NativityMiguel School of Scranton.

Elizabeth is employed part-time as the coordinator of the after school program at the new NativityMiguel School in Scranton. She also volunteers part-time at St. Joseph’s Center, Our Lady of Peace Residence and with Sister Donna Korba in the Office of Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation. This semester Elizabeth will be studying various aspects of IHM life with Sisters Margaret Gannon, Chris Koellhoffer, Donna Korba and Kathy Kurdziel.

There will be a welcoming prayer for Elizabeth on Sunday, September 6 at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel at the IHM Center. A simple reception will follow. All are invited to come and meet Elizabeth and pray a welcome blessing for her as she begins life in the IHM Congregation.