To many of my acquaintances I am known as a “Floridian,” but actually I started my life as a “snowbird.” My earliest years were spent near the Canadian border in Clayburg, New York. I was the third child of William and Kathryn Gleason. In the summer of 1926 my parents, my two older brothers, Thomas William and Robert Joseph, a younger brother Francis Patrick and I moved to Florida. In Florida, before I entered the convent, my mother gave birth to three more children. We then had the “Florida crackers and the snowbirds.”
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I attended Rosarian Academy from 1949-1951 going on to attend (1951-1955) & graduate from the nearbySt.Ann School with the class of '55. Sr. Ann Catherine was principle at Rosarian at leasta portion of the years that I was there. This elegant woman...bride of Christ...so dedicated andgraceful in her demeanor, was all business, but kind. She was a perfectionist...much attention to detail...a true leader. I can see her beautiful face / expression to this day . Could it be possible that she wasonly 18-19 years old at the time? I find that fact incredible! I'm 78 now (15 Aug 1937)....if Sr. Ann Catherine(the only name I knew her by) was Principle back in '49-'51 she was still a teenager ! I recall her being young, but not *that* young ! ....or so it seemed... 11 - 12 yr. olds have different perspectives on age. :-) May God rest her soul. Hopefully, in Christ, she and I will meet again.
I along with Stacey Gleason, Tom Gleason and Howard Ballard were at Aunt Rita's Greeting of the body, Funeral Liturgy , Luncheon & Ritual of Remembrance yesterday. We cannot thank the Dominican Order enough especially Sister Ann Fallon, Sister Helen, Sister Pat and all the others Sisters who were there to pay special tribute to our beloved Sister Mary Rita Gleason. The services were so professional, caring, emotional yet up-lifting that even Aunt Rita the Perfectionist would have certainly approved and applauded. She was the rock of the Gleason, Dominican family and the hundreds of others she showed unwavering compassion for during her 80 years dedicated to God, the Dominican Order and everyone who asked for her spiritual, personal or financial guidance. She represented the Dominican Order & Catholic Church with Dignity & Grace and every day of her 96 years were productive as she positively touched the lives of thousands along the way. Our family greatly appreciated all the loving care and support by all the Nurses, Sisters, Chaplains and Medical staff gave making her final days as comfortable as possible and prepared her to meet her loving God. She will be greatly missed by us and her extended Dominican Family but she will finally get her reward in Heaven. God bless her and we will look forward to seeing her again when our time comes.
Sister Rita was an incredible woman -- a true force for good. She was principal at Rosarian when I was a student and truly set the example for how a strong, dignified woman should act. She had outstanding presence and taught us true poise. We were so lucky to have her in our lives.
Blessed to be one of the lucky ones to have been able to call this wonderful lady Aunt Rita. I am the daughter of one of Sr. Rita's younger sisters, Janet Price, who pre deceased her. Growing up we were very fortunate to be very close to Sister. She read to us, laughed with us, jumped rope with us, and did just about anything we asked of her. Our family has truly been blessed by the presence of this beautiful lady in our lives. Her brilliance and her dedication to the Lord can be an example to all of us. May she rest in peace. We know there is a very special place in Heaven for her.
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.