In Memoriam


(1928-2018)

When a Sister from Dominican High School dies, I generally post it on Facebook so former students are aware, and a lot of times they respond. When I posted that SMEB (they called her that because she signed her hall passes SMEB for Sister Mary Ellen Brodeur) had entered eternal life, many students responded to my post. One of the things they wrote over and over was “Great teacher! RIH SMEB.” At first, I thought that was a typo but then it kept appearing over and over and finally, one of the students wrote, “Rest in Heaven, SMEB.” I like that. To me, it signified their confidence that she had indeed gone to her eternal reward and now rests peacefully with the God who created her.

These words were part of the remembrance of Sister Mary Ellen Brodeur that Sister Mariane Fahlman shared at Mary Ellen’s wake on September 16, 2018. Sister Mary Ellen taught at Dominican High School in Detroit for twenty-nine years, capping off a teaching ministry that spanned a half-century.

Sister Mary Ellen was born on June 10, 1928, in Detroit to Edward Joseph and Anna Marie (Ternes) Brodeur. Edward, who was born in Hancock, Michigan, was a foreman at the Packard Motor Car Company, while Anna, a native of New York City, was a homemaker. The family lived down the street from Guardian Angels Church, and the children all attended the parish grade school. Sister Mary Ellen, the second oldest child, was the only girl in the family; she had four brothers: Donald, the eldest; Bob, Norm, and Charles.

Read more about Sister Mary Ellen (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).

 


(1932-2018)

Some people come into your life and make you a better person. That was Sister Jean.

She had a gift for reading people, and discerning their strengths and talents. Then with a warm smile and a gentle rub on the back she could get you to agree to any task. That was her magic. You never said no.

These words began one of the many written messages and in-person remembrances shared at the wake service for Sister Jean Rosaria Fisch. They were written by Lisa Martone, who had been a student at St. Rose of Lima School in Miami Shores, Florida, during Sister Jean’s time there as elementary principal.

Sister Jean was born Rita Mae Fisch on May 24, 1932, in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Ervin and Helen (Umland) Fisch. She was the couple’s only child; when Rita was eighteen months old, Helen died of tuberculosis. Ervin sent Rita to live with her maternal grandparents until he remarried; his second wife, Iva, was his business partner in an appliance and furniture store in Appleton.

Read more about Sister Jean Rosaria (PDF)

make a memorial gift

Memorial 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).


Sister Mary Diane McMeekin, OP

(1941-2018)

I was not the best little girl. Whenever I got caught doing something like smoking in sixth grade my father would say, “Believe me, when my ship comes in you are going to go to a boarding school.” And I thought, “I don’t need to worry about that. We [are] poor; our ship is never coming in.”

… So I was going into eighth grade and every Sunday we would go to a church that had a school to find out if I could go to that school. We went to Precious Blood … and we met this sister, and I wish I knew who it was because she was an Adrian Dominican and she said to my father, “Have you ever thought about maybe sending your daughter away to a school?” I wanted to kick her.

This anecdote from Sister Mary Diane McMeekin’s life story, told in 2017 via an interview with Sister Donna Baker, explains exactly how it was that Sister Diane came to be a St. Joseph Academy student. As the story continues, her father went on to tell the Sister at Precious Blood that the family could not afford boarding school … only to have the Sister inform him that all he needed to do was go to Adrian and meet with the principal, Sister Mary Angeline Steele, and she would work something out with him.

“We got in the car right then and there and drove to Adrian,” she told Sister Donna.

Read more about Sister Mary Diane (PDF)

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


(1924-2018)

Among the many priests and religious who were part of the extended Birney clan were two Adrian Dominican Sisters: Jean Charles Birney and her sister Mary Jean (Sister Jane Dominic).

Elizabeth Ann Birney, who became Sister Jean Charles in religious life, was born January 20, 1924, in Jackson, Michigan, to Charles and Jean (Crawford) Birney. Charles’ great-great grandfather came from Northern Ireland to Canada and from there to several other locales, finally coming to Bunker Hill, Michigan. Charles was born in Tawas, Michigan. Jean’s side of the family was Scottish, and emigrated to Canada, where Sister Jean was born.

Charles and Jean married in 1918 and settled in Jackson, Michigan. Their first child, a son whom they named John, was stillborn. Next came Mary Jean and then, two and a half years later, Elizabeth, who was born by Caesarean section. Tragically, complications ensued, and Jean died three days later.

Charles remarried in 1928, when Elizabeth was four and a half and Mary Jean was seven. In the meantime, an aunt and great-aunt raised the children. Charles’ second wife, Marco Brennan, was nearly twenty years younger than Charles and, by Sister Jean Charles’ own account in her life story, the marriage was often stormy. The girls attended grade school and high school at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Jackson, but while they were in high school, an especially difficult time in their parents’ marriage led to them being sent away to St. Joseph Academy in Adrian.

Read more about Sister Jean Charles (PDF)

make a memorial giftMemorial 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.

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. 


We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to Sister Barb Kelley (bkelley@adriandominicans.org).


We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.

2019

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