A summertime trip to Florida in 1951 and a chance meeting there with Monsignor William Barry, one of Mother Gerald’s brothers, led to a new postulant for the Adrian Dominicans in the person of Dolores Smith, the future Sister Laura Marie.
Dolores, who was baptized Ruth Dolores but was never called by her first name, was born on November 10, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio, to William and CharLaura (Dunn) Smith. She was the youngest of three daughters; the eldest, WillLaura, died at some point prior to Dolores’ birth, and so “my entrance into the world was a most welcome addition,” Laura Marie wrote in her autobiography. Her other sister, Mary Lee, just thirteen months older than she was, became her “protector and guide.” Each day when she came home from school, Mary Lee would teach Dolores what she had learned that day, and even taught her to read using the Sunday comics.
William was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, and CharLaura came from Houston, Texas. CharLaura’s parents, Charles and Laura (hence the combined names for their daughter) came from Ireland and Oklahoma, respectively. Laura’s parents had moved West from Atlanta, Georgia, after the Civil War, and their descendants’ resulting Irish and Southern lineage was a source of great pride
Sister Laura Marie’s life story gives no indication of how or where William and CharLaura met, but after their marriage they moved to Cleveland in large part because of the city’s fine school system. According to the Congregation’s records, William worked as a salesman and CharLaura was a cashier.
Read more about Sister Laura Marie (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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I remember Sister Laura Marie fondly. My mother and her were friends for 70+ years. As a youngster in Florida, my family visited her often. Many happy memories. My mom passed in 2018, and I kept in touch with her. I am very saddened to hear of her passing.
Today and Always I will honor such a remarkable individual. Sr Laura Marie was my elementary principal at St Philip Neri School in Alameda, Ca. She inspired me to always exceed expectations and strive for excellence. She and Sr Laura Mary were more than just teachers. They became a part of my family and my parents always welcomed them in our home. My Dad and Sr Laura Marie connected immediately as fellow Buccaneers. God Speed Sr Laura Marie!
Sending our condolences to Sr. Laura's family of Dominican sisters. Always in our thoughts and prayers. The Pesick Family
RiP Sr Laura Marie, she taught me in 8th grade at Assumption grade school in Jacksonville 1962.One of the best teachers I ever had.Thank you for your faithful example and good education.
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.
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