On May 28, 2018 one of Durango's best known and most beloved and appreciated treasures, Therese Michels passed away at the age of 92 years. As a psychoanalyst and interpreter of dreams, Therese spent over 40 years in Durango and her life was marked by a constant dedication to helping others work through their internal patterns of personal conflict. Despite diminishing eyesight and mobility, which marked her last years, she maintained an open door to anyone and everyone seeking help. Refusing money after she retired, she was willing to to accept a tree trim, house cleaning, or any act of kindness in exchange for her time and service, fulfilling her lifelong mission to serve the poor and bring healing to anyone seeking wholeness. For those whose lives she touched we will remain forever in her debt and will always thank the Lord Jesus Christ for her gifts, to whom she always gave credit.
Despite her diminutive stature, her gift of recognizing childhood patterns, even back to pre-verbal abandonment, allowed those she taught to find their lives completely changed. She provided tools for self-awareness and healing in her workbook, The Choice of Transcendence, combined with a 12-week program for practicing a unique method of healing. This program was developed as a result of her counseling 1000's of people and recognizing repetitious patterns that are passed down from generation to generation. Having a gift for analysis and solving puzzles, she saw how many human beings transfer the energy of childhood wounds to others and repeat patterns that keep us locked in cycles, which keep us from growing, loving and living in a more healthy way.
She was a former Catholic nun who never married. Instead of leaving a legacy to children, the insights and skills that she imparted will impact her friends and loved ones for generations. In many ways, she was a parent to anyone whose life she touched and in her passing she'll be confident and pleased to know her lessons will not be disregarded or forgotten. Instead of mourning her passing, Therese would want those who knew her to continue to use and apply the principles in her book and tapes and have them realize that they too are her legacy.
Therese Michels, was born on January 13, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Frank and Josephine Michels; she survived her parents, two sisters, and brother. When she was 23, she entered Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (aka Victory Noll Sisters), an Order to which her elder sister, Florence belonged.Through her Order she created programs for religious education and instruction of teachers in various dioceses in Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico and Colorado as a response to Vatican II. The Order was devoted to religious education and social work, and Therese herself pursued education by earning a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Religious Education and by becoming a certified Psychoanalyst. She served 28 years in the Victory Noll Sisters.
Therese moved to Durango in 1974 where she pursued her calling to psychoanalytic counseling and ministering the broken-hearted. In 2017, Therese received a Lifetime Achievement award from Mental Health Colorado. She had a natural gift for developing programs, something she continued to do until the time of her passing. Thousands of people in La Plata County have benefited from Therese's skill, compassion and generosity.
She is survived by two loving nieces and three loving nephews, Robert McElroy, Eileen McElroy, Nancy Welch, Paul Michels, & James Michels; and many loving friends. In lieu of flowers, please send donations made out to Colorado Lifework Foundation and send to the Bank of Colorado in Durango to help support its on-going work in providing programs and tools from The Choice of Transcendence to our Community.
A public visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018, followed by a Recitation of the Rosary to begin at 6:00 p.m. at Hood Mortuary Chapel, 1261 E. Third Avenue, Durango, CO 81301. A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Columba Catholic Church located at 1800 E 2nd Ave, Durango, CO 81301.Therese will be laid to rest with her elder sister, Florence, in Greenmount Cemetery in Durango. A lunch reception will follow.