Sister Mary Rita McSweeney, formerly known as Sister Michael Sean McSweeney, died on September 7, 2017, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 78 years of age, and in the 59th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister Mary Rita was born in Detroit to Joseph and Marion (O’Connor) McSweeney. She graduated from St. Theresa High School in Detroit, and received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in English from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian, Michigan, and a Master of Education degree in education administration from DePaul University in Chicago.
Sister spent 31 years ministering in elementary education in Elmwood Park, Riverdale, Flossmoor, Burbank, St. Charles, and Chicago, Illinois. This includes seven years as principal of Infant Jesus of Prague in Flossmoor and two years as principal of St. Clare of Montefalco in Chicago. Sister Mary Rita also served 26 years as Program Director for Marillac House Social Center in Chicago.
Sister Mary Rita became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan, in 2017. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, Robert (Mike) and Joseph. She is survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Welcome of Sister Mary Rita will be on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in the Dominican Life Center lobby; the Wake will follow from 6:15 to 7:00 p.m. in the Rose Room. The Reception of the Body and Vigil Prayer will be at 7:00 pm in St. Catherine Chapel. The Funeral Mass will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel on Friday, September 15, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. Both the Vigil Prayer and the Funeral Mass will be live streamed. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery.
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.
Top: Members of a card-playing group are, from left: Sisters Mary Rita McSweeney, Anastasia McNichols, and Helen Therese Mayer; Mary Ann Drake, sister of Sister Joan Weithman; Sister Joan; and Sister Kathleen Buechele. Bottom left: Sister Mary Rita celebrates her Golden Jubilee with her sister-in-law Emily and brother Mike
Left: Sister Mary Rita shares a moment with her niece Amanda McSweeney and baby Michael Sean. Top right: Sister Mary Rita with her brothers, Robert (Mike), left, and Joseph.
Left: Members of the 2008 September-February Golden Jubilee crowd are: back row, from left, Sisters Charlene Cote, Mary Rita McSweeney, Kathleen Clausen, and Marilyn Felice Barnett, and front row, from left, Sisters Attracta Kelly, Maria Odelia Romero, Annette Marie Sinagra, and Mary Katherine Dolan. Not pictured is Sister Iva Gregory.
Top: Gathered at Marge Donne’s home in Olympia Fields, Illinois are, from left: Sisters Norine Burns, Mary Rita McSweeney, Jane Zimmerman, and Cyrilla Zarek; Marge Donne; and Sister Joan Mary. Bottom: The Sojourner’s Mission Group gathers at Regina Dominican High School in 2008. From left, they are Sisters Mary Rita McSweeney, Dorothy Dempsey, Norlee McDonnell, Cyrilla Zarek, Joan Mary, Mary Jones, and Heather Stiverson.
Sister was principal at IJP when i was a student. i have nothing but fond memories of sister, she was truly a kind woman who cared about all of her students! I know she is at peace with God!
I had the tremendous pleasure of working with Sister Mary Rita at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services (the remembrance misstates the organization name as "Marillac House Social Center" - it's a confusing name!). It would be impossible to overstate how important she was to the seniors she worked with. She literally changed people's lives and treated everyone with dignity and love. I loved talking with her and laughing with her. She was so generous with compliments and affection, she just made you feel like a million bucks. She was also one of the hardest working people I've ever met - she just wouldn't stop! Everyone joked about how hard she was to keep up with! There is a huge hole at Marillac right now, and in our hearts. We loved her so dearly. May she rest in peace.
Sister Mary Rita was a fabulous leader and principal at Infant Jesus of Prague in Flossmoor, IL. I had many an opportunity to visit her in her office while a student there! She was a remark woman; a bona fife servant and a true example for all. She will be sorely missed. She is at rest in paradise with our Father,My sympathies,Burt YeoIJP 1979
Sr. Mary Rita' s deep commitment to the senior citizens at Marillac was enormous. Her friendship and concern for my mother and her health was very much appreciated.
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.