In Memoriam


(1928-2020)

A summertime trip to Florida in 1951 and a chance meeting there with Monsignor William Barry, one of Mother Gerald’s brothers, led to a new postulant for the Adrian Dominicans in the person of Dolores Smith, the future Sister Laura Marie.

Dolores, who was baptized Ruth Dolores but was never called by her first name, was born on November 10, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio, to William and CharLaura (Dunn) Smith. She was the youngest of three daughters; the eldest, WillLaura, died at some point prior to Dolores’ birth, and so “my entrance into the world was a most welcome addition,” Laura Marie wrote in her autobiography. Her other sister, Mary Lee, just thirteen months older than she was, became her “protector and guide.” Each day when she came home from school, Mary Lee would teach Dolores what she had learned that day, and even taught her to read using the Sunday comics.

William was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, and CharLaura came from Houston, Texas. CharLaura’s parents, Charles and Laura (hence the combined names for their daughter) came from Ireland and Oklahoma, respectively. Laura’s parents had moved West from Atlanta, Georgia, after the Civil War, and their descendants’ resulting Irish and Southern lineage was a source of great pride

Sister Laura Marie’s life story gives no indication of how or where William and CharLaura met, but after their marriage they moved to Cleveland in large part because of the city’s fine school system. According to the Congregation’s records, William worked as a salesman and CharLaura was a cashier.

Read more about Sister Laura Marie (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 



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(1936-2020)

“Mary was petite of stature, extra-large of heart and hospitality.”

So began the eulogy for Sister Mary Trzasko by Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, Adrian Crossroads Chapter Prioress, at Sister Mary’s Ritual of Remembering. “Her life, particularly her life in ministry, was transformed by this saying from Isaiah,” Sister Mary Jane continued. “It became a touchstone for her, assuring her she was on the right path: ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’”

Sister Mary was born on September 28, 1936, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Anna (Stelmach) Trzasko. She was the second of four children; Joe was the oldest, followed three years later by Mary, then Joan, and finally Raymond. Another daughter died at just a few days old.

Her early childhood was a time of (mostly) happy memories in a close-knit family, memories that included sleigh rides, walks with her mother, helping her father plant tomatoes, family picnics, and playing with her friends and her cousins who lived next door. On the not-so-happy side, she also experienced almost drowning in a lake, chicken pox, her grandmother’s wake at their house, and much less traumatic things such as not liking white milk and having to stand and be fitted for new dresses. She also suffered from ear aches, which caused her to miss quite a bit of school, until getting her adenoids removed solved the problem.

Read more about Sister Mary (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

 

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(1926-2020)

One of the Adrian Dominican Sisters to come out of America’s Southwest was Sister Madonna Marie Black, born Marian Loretto Black on March 15, 1926, in Kingman, Arizona.

Marian was the third of Arthur Francis and Mabel (Van Marter) Black’s ten children. The other children – five girls and three boys – were Virginia, Don, Leo, Viola, Katherine, Charles, Mai, Helen, and Fran. Katherine died suddenly at age three.

Arthur came to Kingman from Kansas, while Mabel was born in California. When the two first met, she was teaching in a one-room schoolhouse and he was working in a local mine. After they married in 1916, she gave up her teaching career to raise their family.

Both Mabel and Arthur were artistically and musically talented. As a girl, Mabel played in the Van Marter Juvenile Band, an ensemble directed by her grandfather that consisted of young family members and other Kingman residents. She played cornet and was the only girl in the band. In her married life, she sang and played piano, while Arthur could play violin and harmonica.

“Home life, in my ‘growing-up’ years, was like living in a Music Conservatory and Art Studio – all at the same time – with lots of family competition for me!” Sister Madonna Marie wrote.

Read more about Sister Madonna Marie (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

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(1927-2020)

On October 23, 1927, twin girls entered the world in Detroit, born to Robert and Irene (Whitty) Buchanan. First came Virginia and then, fifteen minutes later, came Mildred Marylyn, or Millie, the future Sister Robert Irene.

The girls were Robert and Irene’s fourth and fifth of eight children in all, two boys and six girls. Three of the children died while quite young. According to Robert Irene’s autobiography, she and her twin did what twins so often do: they dressed alike so as to fool people. Once, when their teacher asked how she was ever going to tell the pair apart, dressed as they were in their identical blue and white striped school uniforms, young Millie responded wittily: “My stripes go up and Virginia’s go down.” One of their other pranks to confuse a teacher was to switch seats in class.

Virginia and Millie attended public school for first and second grade and then spent the rest of their elementary schooling at Detroit’s Christ the King School. High school was at Immaculata High, where they were taught by the IHM Sisters.

Millie worked for several years after graduation, first at Kay Wright Jewelers in downtown Detroit and then for the Ronson Lighter Company. Then Virginia made the decision to join the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Franciscans) in Mishawaka, Indiana, becoming Sister Mary Luke, and Millie began her own exploration of religious life. Six months later, in June 1951, aged twenty-four, she entered the Congregation.

Read more about Sister Robert Irene (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

 

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Cemetery of the Adrian Dominican Sisters

Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance. 


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