Nun Made Advances in Science Education in Hawaii

By Zoellick, Sarah | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, March 8, 2012 | Go to article overview

Nun Made Advances in Science Education in Hawaii


Zoellick, Sarah, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


Sister Edna Louise DeManche of Honolulu, a nun with a passion for studying and teaching biology, died Feb. 21 at the Malia o ka Malu Convent. She was 96.

DeManche moved to Hawaii in 1940 to teach science and English to middle- and high-schoolers at Maryknoll School. In addition to her work in the classroom, she was well-known for her assertion that science and religion aren't competing ideals.

"If you're going to talk of religion and say that God created the world, science buys that," she told a Hono­lulu Advertiser reporter in 2001. "If you're going to talk about evolution, then you're asking practical problems about nature, and the Bible has nothing to say about that."

Throughout her long career, DeManche penned many scientific articles, school curricula, small books and teaching guides for Hawaii science educators.

When Gov. Linda Lingle was in office, she heard about a group of five educators DeManche was a part of that was working with the University of Hawaii to study ways to improve Hawaii's science education. DeManche provided Lingle with an outline of the group's work and Lingle followed up by asking for the entire report, but her term ended before the work was finished, said Sister Regina Mary Jenkins, provincial superior of the Sacred Hearts Sisters.

DeManche was born in 1915 in Marionville, Mo., to a nonreligious family. Her parents enrolled her in the Catholic school system when she was 12 years old not to make her religious, but because she was a "roughneck, little smart-aleck tomboy," she said in 2001. …

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