Josephine (Jo) Christine Rhoads led a very full life, dedicated to service. She grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan, where she attended parochial school and completed her secondary education in a public high school. She studied gerontology in college and dedicated her entire career to serving elderly people, both in her parish and the wider community.
For many years, Jo was the office manager in a senior citizen high rise in Troy and Rochester, Michigan. Jo established Medigo, a service to provide rides to seniors to medical appointments and other obligations, first through private rides provided by volunteers, then through a system of vans and buses. On an average day, this service provides rides to 40 people. In 1998, Jo was named Troy’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
Jo served as a hospice volunteer for many years at Troy Beaumont Hospital and learned how to provide spiritual comfort to patients and their families.
She was also very involved her parish, St. Anastasia in Troy, as a lector, catechist, and Eucharistic Minister, and in Christian service and pastoral care. She was instrumental in forming several parish groups that reached out to those who were grieving, who had a family member in the hospital, or who were homeless. In her 2001 Annals, Jo wrote that she had been involved in 52 community action groups and parish ministries. She had an attraction to all peace and justice activities.
Jo was most of all a dedicated wife and mother. Married for more than 50 years, she and Jerry raised three children: Mark, Kevin and Lisa. She provided care for her mother-in-law, her mother, and her husband. Jo and Jerry were blessed with three grandchildren: Allison, Erin and Alexander. After Jerry died, Jo continued to reach out to others in need.
As a teen, Jo had felt called to religious life, but her grandmother talked her out of it. Many years later, when Jo learned of Associate Life, she was eager to make a commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters as an Associate. In her application, Jo wrote, “I wish to be an Associate because as I read the Mission Statement it expressed the way I can expand my prayer life and my womanhood to the service of my beloved God and to my community, family, and hopefully to my Dominican Family.” Jo was mentored by Sister Mary Katherine Allberry and celebrated her Ritual of Acceptance in May 2000.
Jo participated in the Peacemakers Mission Group and was a Representative of Associate Life (RAL) for several years. She remained engaged in the Mission and kept reaching out to others in need until her own health declined. The last few years of her life included the heartbreak of memory loss.
Jo died peacefully on June 19, 2018. Her funeral Mass was attended by her parish family, her own family, community members, and Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. She lived a life of passion and service to others. May she now rest in peace.
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Jacqueline “Jacqui” Richardson, born on August 18, 1954, in Detroit, was adopted by Earl and Patricia (Williams) Freeze. Jacqui and her older brother Don grew up in Huntington Woods, Michigan, and enjoyed a happy childhood, which had faith at its center. Jacqui and her brother attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Jacqui recalled that her second-grade teacher, Sister Rose Sharon, OP, was a very special teacher whose faith was contagious. At this early age, Jacqui began an interest in the lives of saints and spent many contented hours reading about them and praying. Likewise, the Sacrament of Confirmation was a powerful experience for Jacqui.
At the suggestion of Sister Therese Mary Foote, OP, Jacqui attended St. Joseph Academy in Adrian for all four years of high school. As Jacqui wrote in her application to Associate Life, “I knew I was walking on Holy Ground. So many of the Sisters at the Academy were instrumental in my spiritual growth."
During these important years, Jacqui considered religious life, but, through many hours of contemplation, came to the conclusion that God was calling her to be a mother. Jacqui preferred solitary prayer and was private about her prayer life. Married at the age of 22, Jacqui was 24 when she gave birth to her daughter Cheryl. Her son David followed two years later. This began a time of great joy, but also heartache as Jacqui’s beloved father died at the young age of 61 and her marriage ended. Through these moments, Jacqui relied on prayer and meditation.
As a single parent, Jacqui needed to find employment. She became an executive assistant to the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Her superior organizing skills were a real asset. Jacqui continued to raise her children and share her faith with them. Her second marriage, to Michael Richardson, lasted 13 years. Jacqui’s four grandchildren – Grace, Cole, Jennifer, and Niklas – meant everything to her. Jacqui enjoyed camping, the outdoors, a good glass of wine, and her family and friends.
Sister Therese Mary encouraged Jacqui to become an Associate, which she did on August 2, 2014. She began to visit and help the Sisters and volunteered at the Adrian Rea Literacy Center.
Jacqui was diagnosed with a brain tumor and, through treatments, surgery, and medications, remained positive. Her ex-husband, Michael, was a great help in caring for her during these challenging times. Under the care of Hospice of Lenawee, she died peacefully on June 5, 2018. She is survived by her daughter Cheryl (Ryan) Henry and her son David (Heather) Hellebuyd, her four grandchildren, her brother Don, and many friends.
“Jacqui Richardson was a sensitive, kind and very efficient person,” said Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, who served on the General Council from 2010 to 2016. “As a Co-worker I could not have asked for anyone better suited to what she offered in her service to me when I served on the General Council and when I was president of our sponsored institution, Dominican High School and Academy in Detroit. … She was persistent in offering to do whatever she could to lighten my workload. When I allowed her to do that she never ceased to amaze me at how quickly she could arrange what was needed, including contacting people who would be affected by events and decisions. I could trust her and entrust her with information I needed to do my work.”
Associate Jane Surbeck, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, met Jacqui in 2006 when she was recommended to serve on the St. Joseph Academy Alumnae Association Board of Directors. “She and I were best friends from day one,” Jane recalled. “I cannot imagine my life without her by my side. We did everything together.”
Through their shared faith, they studied for and became Adrian Dominican Associates together. “It was a very memorable day for both of us,” Jane said. “As a matter of fact, after Jacqui’s cancer surgery she did not spend much time away from home. She did, however, attend Partners [the annual Associates gathering] in 2017, which tells us all how much she cared for our God.”
May she rest in the peace of God.
The familiar story ... of the two disciples who met the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus was selected by Sister Betty Jenkins as the Gospel reading for her funeral Mass, and appeared on her memorial card and the cover of the worship aid as well. According to Sister Joan Delaplane, who preached the homily that day, there were many reasons why that particular reading resonated with Sister Betty.
An eye infection very early in Sister Betty’s childhood left her with almost no sight in that eye, and that poor vision contributed to her difficulties in reading and learning. As a result, Sister Joan noted, Sister Betty had been bullied by other children, one factor in her becoming a shy woman who struggled with a negative self-image.
Some of us are aware that the first half at least of Betty’s life was a Jerusalem experience – a lot of pain, questions, discouragement. … In light of all that, isn’t it “Amazing Grace” when we consider the words we heard last [Friday] during our remembrances of our experience of dear, dear Betty? We heard she was kind, fun, compassionate, [had] an aura about her that made one feel good about oneself, always encouraging her students, a pleasant person to be with. How did she ever make the leap from the self-defeating youth experience to the outgoing, compassionate individual that we came to know and love?
Read more about Sister Betty (pdf).
Helen Ann Masuga was born on July 13, 1923, into the cultural melting pot that was Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in that era. Both sets of grandparents were born in the part of Austria that became part of Poland, and her father, Paul, came to the United States at the age of 17 and made his way first to Cleveland and then to the iron mines of the Upper Peninsula, while her mother, Frances Rucinski, arrived in New York at age 16 and became a seamstress.
Of her parents, Sister Maureen Therese, as she became known in religious life, wrote in her autobiography: “How I marvel at their courage and determination!” Besides the fact that they were just teenagers when they emigrated, “it had to be very difficult to journey to an unknown country, uncertain of the future, relying only on relatives and friends to help them adjust to a new culture and a new language.”
Sister Maureen Therese attended the public school in Caspian until eighth grade, at which point she went to St. Ignace, on the other side of the U.P., to be taught by the Ursuline Sisters at their academy for that year. She already knew the Ursulines of St. Ignace from the three weeks each summer that the pastor would bring some of them in to provide sacramental preparation, and even at the early age of seven she had dreamed of joining their community some day.
Read more about Sister Maureen Therese (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.
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
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.