I came into this world on November 20, 1934. … It was my brother Don’s birthday the next day on the twenty-first of November. My dad told him he had an early birthday present. He was a bit disappointed as he was hoping to get a toy fire engine but instead received this crying baby sister.
So begins the autobiography of Sister Lorraine Pepin, which she subtitled I Have Called You by Name … You Are Mine and ended several pages later with these words from the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord for he who is mighty has done great things for me.”
Sister Lorraine was born in Escanaba, Michigan, to John Baptist and Edna (Dubord) Pepin. She was the youngest of twelve children – nine boys and three girls – born into the family. “Although it was Depression time my parents must have thought it was cheaper by the dozen,” she wrote.
She grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins, in what she called a “welcoming and open” home. Her parents were the greatest influences of her life, and it was through their example of strong faith and prayer that she found God at a very young age. Her mother’s commitment to morning prayer and the deep spirituality of her father, and the way they all prayed the rosary together as a family – especially during the war years, she wrote, for four of the boys were in the service – all made a lasting impression upon her.
Read more about Sister Lorraine (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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“When I entered religious life in 1938, it was, as it were, a transferring or a joining of one grand big family with another.”
Those words from Sister Dorothy Jeanne Burns’ life story sum up the way she went from one experience of community – as the youngest of fifteen children (nine boys and six girls) born to James and Josephine (Rano) Burns. Thirteen lived to adulthood; Daniel died at birth and Michael died of diphtheria at age three.
James Burns was born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, to an Irish-immigrant father who with his brother had fled their homeland at the time of the Great Famine. At a young age, James worked with his father on the Union Railroad, and as an adult he continued to do similar work, eventually ending up in Detroit working for the Department of Street Railways as supervisor of the laying and maintenance of the streetcar tracks in and around the city.
Josephine was a native of St. Clair, Michigan, and just as her future husband had worked in the same place as his father, when she was a teenager Josephine and her father worked together at the Diamond Crystal Salt Company located in St. Clair.
Read more about Sister Dorothy (pdf)
For two people who meet in the “big city” and fall in love to have both come from the same small town rather defies the odds. But that’s exactly what happened for Henry Kerich and Irene Dugas.
Henry and Irene were both born in Little Falls, Minnesota, population 5,774 at the time of the 1900 Census, when each would have been four years old. As adults, they met in Minneapolis, some one hundred miles to the southeast. Henry was a laundry worker at the Nicolett Hotel and Irene worked as a secretary.
Henry was the third oldest of twelve children born into a German immigrant family, and had to leave school after the fourth grade to help with family finances. Irene came from a French immigrant family that came first to Winnipeg, Canada, and then to Minnesota to work in the lumber camps. “This was Paul Bunyan country, and how I loved the stories my mother used to tell,” their youngest child and only daughter, the future Sister Irene Marie, wrote in her first St. Catherine letter.
The couple had been married for three years when Mary Louise was born on September 30, 1924. Two brothers followed over time: Douglas and then William. Bill was born when Mary Louise was ten, “old enough to help with the preparations,” she wrote, “and once I recovered from my major disappointment that he was not the sister I wanted so badly, I thoroughly enjoyed being his one and only baby-sitter. I am ashamed to admit all the fights I had with Doug as we were growing up, but never was there such a problem with Bill.”
Read more about Sister Irene Marie (pdf)
Sister Philomena Perreault, formerly known as Marie Therese Perreault, died Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 94 years of age and in the 67th year of her religious profession: 51 years in the Dominican Sisters of Edmonds, Washington, and 16 years in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, to Arthur and Marie (Arel) Perreault. She graduated from Holy Angels Academy in Seattle, Washington, and received a Licensed Practical Nursing degree from Gray’s Harbor Community College in Aberdeen, Washington.
Sister Philomena spent nine years ministering in environmental services in Everett and Edmonds, Washington, and in Menlo Park, California. She returned to Washington State and served as a nurse for seven years at St. Helen Hospital in Chehalis, one year at St. Joseph Hospital in Aberdeen and four years at St. Alphonsus Convent in Seattle.
Sister ministered for 10 years at the Mexican Mission Clinic in Acolman, Mexico, serving the people and orphans by fulfilling the role of mother, nurse, and care-giver for the children, staff, and volunteers. In 1997 she began her ministry in Haiti and served for 11 years at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos Orphanage, where she was in charge of the infants and toddlers. Sister Philomena then moved to Pere Damien Hospital in the mountains of Kenscoff, Haiti, where she ministered to the orphans for four years.
Sister Philomena became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in Adrian in 2010. She was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Irene DiPietro and Rita Perreault; and a brother, Lucian Perreault. She is survived by nieces, nephews, and her Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Rite of Committal (burial) for Sister Philomena will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in the Congregation cemetery. A Memorial Mass will be on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. in St. Catherine’s Chapel. The Ritual of Remembering will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in the Rose Room at the Dominican Life Center. Both the Memorial Mass and the Ritual of Remembering will be live streamed.
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.
From left, Sister Philomena, Father Richard Frechette, who worked with her at the orphanage in Haiti, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta with a baby from the orphanage. Sister Philomena enjoys a light moment at the 2018 Fall Family Fest, held in the Dominican Life Center courtyard for Co-workers and their families.
From left: The last Sisters to reside at Rosary Heights in Edmonds, Washington are, from left: Sisters Dorothy L. Berg, Michele Kopp, Mary White, Philomena Perreault, and Judy Byron. Sister Philomena at an audience with Pope John Paul II
From left, Sister Fidelis Halpin; Father William Wasson, founder of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Orphanage in Haiti; and Sister Philomena Perreault, January 17, 1983. Members of the 2012 Diamond Jubilarians August Crowd are: back row, from left, Sisters Marion O’Loughlin, Diane Odette, Diana Bader, Norma Dell, Mary Ann Zakrajsek, and Attracta Kelly (Prioress) and front row, from left, Sisters Marie Quenneville, Mary Nugent, Jean Horger, Philomena Perreault, Barbara Bieker, and Mary Giacopelli.
Sister Philomena with her family: from left, Kathy; her father, Arthur; Sister Philomena; Rita; Frank; Richard; Andrew; and her mother, Marie.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.