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On December 25, 2019, as the Adrian Dominican Sisters joined with Christians around the world in celebrating Jesus’ birth, Sister Joanne Podlucky was born into new life as she went to meet Jesus face to face.
Joanne Theresa Podlucky was born March 22, 1948, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Julia (Viboch) Podlucky. She was the oldest of five children, with Joseph, Ronald John, Francine, and Carolyn following her into the family.
The Podluckys were a close-knit family in a close-knit community. Like so many Johnstown men, Joseph was a steelworker, while Julia took care of the home and family, and in their Slovak and Italian neighborhood, everyone knew everyone and people looked out for each other.
Sister Joanne and her siblings all attended Sts. Peter and Paul School, where they were taught by the Vincentian Sisters of Charity. She went on to Vincentian Academy, a boarding school in Pittsburgh, for high school. Such a lengthy relationship with the VSC Sisters, plus the fact that an aunt was in that religious community, led Joanne to decide to enter that congregation at the beginning of her senior year, and she finished high school as a postulant. When she was received as a novice in August 1966, she was given the religious name Sister Jessica.
Read more about Sister Joanne (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian.
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Someone who loved children, especially babies; friend to those most in need of help; a caring, generous woman with a sense of humor: those were some of the ways in which Sister Mary Ann Ferguson was remembered by other Adrian Dominican Sisters at the time of remembrance held after her passing.
Sister Mary Ann was born on August 10, 1940, in the small Detroit enclave of Hamtramck, in a neighborhood near Detroit City Airport. She was the oldest of eight children born to Edmund and Lydia (Wyborny) Ferguson. After her came Edmund Jr., Ronald, Jacqueline, Thomas (who died as a baby), Kenneth, Gwendolyn, and Timothy.
Edmund, who had come to Detroit from Houghton, Michigan, worked at Garwood Industries, which was owned by the legendary Detroit powerboat racer Gar Wood. Lydia, a Detroit native, was a typist for the R.L. Polk Company, producer of business directories.
Having both parents in the workforce meant that the Ferguson children were often looked after by their grandparents. And, as the oldest child, Mary Ann was expected to help with many of the tasks around the house – which she did not mind one bit. “I was eager to learn household chores from my grandmother and mother,” Sister Mary Ann said in her life story. “’Little Mom’ was my nickname.”
Read more about Sister Mary Ann (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
“My fourth grade held a very important incident – I became a full-fledged Dominican nun!”
This line begins a section bearing the title “Today I Am a Dominican!” in the autobiography Sister Joan Unger wrote at age sixteen. A reader puzzled by the assertion that Joan became a Dominican sister in fourth grade – and by the photos included showing the nine-year-old in a white habit – would see the mystery solved in just a few sentences; she went on to explain that she had played a nun in a school play. Still, however, one line from the teenaged Joan’s story about that experience would turn out to be prophetic: “You know, being a nun was fun. I think I’ll try it again sometime!”
Joan Adele Unger was born June 4, 1932, in Seattle, Washington, to Nathan and Ann (Sexton) Unger. She was the youngest of six children: two boys (James and Richard) and three girls (Natalie, Dorothy, and Rosemary) preceded her in the family.
Read more about Sister Joan (PDF)
Elmhurst, Illinois, was the birthplace of Lila Watt, the only daughter of Melvin and Charlotte (Daley) Watt, and the fact of where she was born led to an incident which was passed down as part of family lore.
Melvin and Charlotte were both of Scottish and Irish descent – with some German and Dutch on Melvin’s side as well – with Melvin mostly Scottish and Charlotte mostly Irish (and very proud of that fact). And as the story goes, one evening when Lila was very young she began crying at the dinner table and when her parents asked what was wrong, her reply was that she had heard them say that foreigners would be sent out of the country. “I figured that applied to me because I was born in the country of Elmhurst, Illinois, not Chicago,” she said in her life story.
Very little is known about Sister Lila’s parents other than their heritage, but according to Sister Lila, the Watt family, which also included her older brother Melvin and her two younger brothers Harry and Neil, was a happy one. Her father, a convert to Catholicism whom Sister Lila remembered kneeling every night to recite the Rosary, liked to tell jokes, was never angry, and never spoke negatively of anyone, while Charlotte was a wonderful mother who enjoying being at home to care for the family.
Read more about Sister Lila (PDF)
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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We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.