In Memoriam


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).


(1938-2018)

On June 13, 2003, Sister Janet Capone, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and her counterpart from the Dominican Sisters of Edmonds, Washington, Sister Michele Kopp, co-led a ritual in Edmonds that officially united the two congregations.

It was a defining moment for Sister Janet during her term in leadership, which lasted from 1998 to 2004. “Sister Janet’s great gifts of sensitivity, loving care, creativity, and good humor were brought to bear in the coming together of our Dominican communities,” said Sister Patricia Siemen, Prioress of the Congregation, when Sister Janet died in 2018, in a statement for the press release that was issued upon Sister Janet’s passing. “Her love of beauty and gentleness complemented an inner strength and determination to make difficult decisions throughout her life.”

Sister Janet was born on June 5, 1938, in the New York borough of Brooklyn. The Capone family – parents Leonard and Veronica (Hall), older brother Don, Janet, and Carole, who was born four years after Janet – lived on the second floor of a two-family house in Astoria, Queens, New York, with Veronica’s parents on the first floor. Leonard, an attorney, was chief clerk of the Queens County Court, while Veronica was a legal secretary for a law firm in Manhattan.

Read more about Sister Janet (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).

 


(1934-2018)

In all the history of St. Nicholas of Tolentine School in Chicago, there have likely not been many instances of a three-and-a-half-year-old attending kindergarten. But when little Patricia Spangler proved herself so determined to follow her older siblings to school that her brother Jim was late to class because he was the one taking her back home, putting her into kindergarten was the solution devised by the principal, Sister Leone Therese Morrin. That way, Sister Leone Therese reasoned, Jim would have no excuse for missing class every time his baby sister decided to tag along. This did not mean, however, that Pat was officially in school a year early; the next year, she was enrolled in kindergarten along with the other children her age.

Sister Pat was born on December 31, 1934, to Robert and Anna (Rezac) Spangler. She was the sixth child and the third girl born into the family – following Marianne, Bob, Bill, Jim, and Betty Jo – and the first of the Spangler children to be born in Chicago; the family had previously lived in Kansas and Oklahoma. The youngest, Thomas, whom the family called “Timmy” because his godfather nicknamed him “Tiny Tim,” was born just before Sister Pat’s third birthday.

Thomas’ fourth birthday, December 7, 1941, coincided with the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and the U.S. was plunged into World War II. Bob was already in the Navy as part of the V-12 Program, through which men took college classes in order to become officers, and was at the University of Notre Dame. Marianne, who had been working as a secretary and stenographer in downtown Chicago, quit her job and joined the WAVES, where she became a secretary for an admiral at the Great Lakes Naval Base. Bill left school and joined the Navy as well, eventually serving in the South Pacific aboard the (second) aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.

Read more about Sister Patricia (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. 


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.

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