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).
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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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