In Memoriam

Sister Mary Immaculata Assenmacher, OP


A gray frame house with a white picket fence, flowering bushes and other plants, a cement slab on which to play basketball or to roller skate, a hill that was perfect for wintertime sledding, even an apple tree that was just right for climbing … these idyllic symbols of family life were part and parcel of how Gertrude Assenmacher and her siblings grew up.

Gertrude, later to become Sister Mary Immaculata, was born on August 22, 1936, in the Highland Park (Michigan) Hospital to George and Mary (Schoeb) Assenmacher, residents of nearby Dearborn. She was the sixth child in the family, following four boys (George, Leo, Alphonse, and Frank) and a girl (Theresa). Two years after Gertrude’s birth another brother, Bob, joined the family. Gertrude’s memories of Al, tragically, had to come largely though photos and family stories; he joined the Marines to fight in World War II when she was just five years old, and was killed on Guadalcanal the next year.

She was especially close to her father, who grew up on a farm in the area and as an adult worked for the Ford family, first at the Henry Ford Estate (known as Fairlane) as a gardener and general handyman. Later, he worked at the Ford Dairy Farm and finally as a maintenance man at the Ford Motor Company warehouse. His mother died when he was very young, and he and his younger sister were cared for by an older sister. As a result, he never completed beyond a third-grade education although Sister Mary described him in an autobiographical paper as “a whiz at math, able to figure out the sums in his head before others had done them on paper.”

Read more about Sister Mary Immaculata (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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I will miss her. She was an ordinary, but extraordinary woman, who did small and big things with great love. I will cherish our friendship, and hope I can remember her example of loving kindness that meant so much to so many.

These words from former Adrian Dominican Ella Taylor were part of a remembrance she sent to be read at the wake service for Sister Nadine Sheehan, a member of her “crowd” and with whom she shared much fun over the years. 

Hilda Nadine Sheehan was born on March 10, 1937, in Rochester, Michigan, to Martin John Edward and Mary Irene (Egan) Sheehan. Edward, a welder, came from Bedford, Ontario, Canada, while Irene came from Westport, Ontario, Canada. She had been a teacher in Canada but, because her credentials were not recognized in the U.S., she became a cook at one of Rochester’s finer establishments.

Nadine was the oldest of five children, with three sisters — Laurine, Sharon, and Jacqueline — and a brother, Carl. Her given first name, Hilda, was in honor of Irene’s lone sister, but Nadine only used it for the most formal of reasons.

Read more about Sister Nadine (PDF)

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



Mary Margaret (Roy-McLernon) Randall Veen, 78, passed away October 1, 2018, at her home in Cheboygan, Michigan, after courageously battling cancer this past year.

Mary was born in Port Huron, Michigan, but grew up in Detroit, attending Our Lady Gate of Heaven Elementary School. “I learned early in life the importance of keeping Christ in my life,” Mary wrote. “I learned to depend on Jesus and myself to achieve my goals.”

Mary entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1957 after graduating from Our Lady of Mercy High School and took her final vows in 1963. She attended Siena Heights College (now University), Adrian; Wayne State University, Detroit; and St. Mary Seminary, Orchard Lake, Michigan. 

“I have always been an Adrian Dominican in my heart even though I left the formal structure,” Mary said. “What I learned in Adrian has been carried out through teaching my students, working with others through volunteer work, and service to others wherever and whenever I was asked or saw a need. I may have left Adrian; the Dominicans never left me.”

Always an educator, Mary retired in 2003 and moved to Cheboygan with her new husband, Ward Veen. She continued teaching part-time at Bishop Baraga School, Cheboygan, until 2017. 

Mary enjoyed her volunteer work as a Bible study and prayer leader and a catechist at her parish, St. Mary/St. Charles Catholic Church in Cheboygan; at the St. Thomas Food Pantry; and at the Eagles Auxiliary, where she served as Chaplain. She was also installed as a presider at Communion Services and ministered at other parishes near Cheboygan.  

Mary was mentored by Associate Joyce Frugé and welcomed as an Associate in August 2016. Although she was not an Associate for long, her commitment was strong and she managed to travel from Cheboygan to Adrian to attend Partners, the annual weekend gathering of Associates, in August 2018. She participated in the weekend and made several new friends.

Mary was the loving mother of Kelley Anne Cashion; step-mother of David Veen and Diane Veen-Price; sister of George P. (Carol) Roy, Carol (Tom) Saunders, Theresa Swift, Karen (Peter) Tambornini, and Phillip Jingozian; grandmother to Dylan Doyle, Alexis Cashion, and Gary (Maria) Veen; and great-grandmother to Dayton Doyle. She had many nieces, nephews, friends, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren through her marriage to Ward.

She was preceded in death by the love of her life, Ward Walter Veen, in 2012; her parents, George and Lois Roy and Malcom and Mary Jingozian; her foster parents, Ivan and Agnes McLernon and Anna Swift; and her brother, Michael Swift.

Mary’s Memorial Mass was held at St. Mary/St. Charles Catholic Church on October 6 after a one-hour visitation. Father Duane Wachowiak, Pastor, officiated. Mary chose the songs and readings to comfort her family and friends. The readings included John 14:1-6: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

In lieu of flowers, Mary’s wishes are that backpacks filled with school supplies be donated to the local schools. Any monetary contributions may be directed to Bishop Baraga School, 623 W. Lincoln Avenue, Cheboygan, Michigan 49721 or the Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan 49221.

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This gentle, quiet Dominican Preacher of Adrian did not need the pulpit any more to preach the word of God. She preached it by the way she lived. She knew about the Sower and the seed. She carefully tilled her soil and taught others to do the same.

These words, spoken by Sister Maria Goretti Browne in her funeral homily for Sister Virginia O’Reilly, centered on the parable of the sower and the seed that was the Mass’s Gospel reading. It described a woman whose ministries moved from teacher to clinical psychologist to Director of Studies for the Congregation – and much more.

Sister Virginia was born in Detroit to George and Alice (Hall) O’Reilly on April 28, 1927. Both George and Alice were the descendants of Irish immigrants, and George was born in Montana while Alice was born in Quebec. Both the O’Reilly and Hall families eventually made their way to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, where George and Alice met as high school classmates.

Read more about Sister Virginia (PDF)

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

Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).

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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