In Memoriam


Sister Mary Schmagner, formerly known as Sister John Elizabeth, died on Monday, August 12, 2019, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 88 years of age and in the 70th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Mary was born in Chicago to John and Elizabeth (Sorauf) Schmagner. She graduated from Aquinas High School in Chicago  and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian master’s degree in English from Barry College (University) in Miami, Florida. She was also certified as a pastoral counselor by St. Joseph Hospital Mental Health Center in Tampa, Florida.

Sister Mary spent 18½ years ministering in elementary and secondary education in Detroit and Flint, Michigan; Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida; and San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, where she served as principal for six years. Sister also served as pastoral minister for eight years in St. Petersburg, Florida, and in various facets of counseling in Sarasota, Florida for more than 21 years. For two years, she was Vicaress for the St. Rose of Lima Province of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. 

Sister Mary became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 2015. She was preceded in death by her parents and is survived by a loving cousin and her Adrian Dominican Sisters. 

Welcome of Sister Mary will be on Thursday, August 15, 2019, 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 p.m. in St. Catherine Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel on Friday, August 16, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. Both the Vigil Prayer and the Mass of Christian Burial will be live streamed. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery. 

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.



Vigil for Sister Mary (John Elizabeth):

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Funeral for Sister Mary (John Elizabeth):

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Right: Sister John Elizabeth (Sister Mary) as a novice, 1949

From left: Sisters Susanne Hofweber, left, and Mary Schmagner, right, with a Red Cross nurse, leave the troop carrier Wood County at the Port of Cataño, Puerto Rico, during an evacuation of the Dominican Republic, 1965. Sisters Carol Coston, left, and Mary Schmagner with Sister Mary’s parents

From left: Sister Mary Schmagner and her parents pose with people from San Juan de la Maguana, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where Sister Mary was ministering. Sister Mary and Father Brendan Lawler celebrate Sister Mary’s Golden Jubilee, February 15, 1998. Sister Mary worked in Father Brendan’s parish for six years.

Right: Sister Mary, seated, celebrates with friends and co-workers at Senior Fellowship Center, Sarasota, Florida, July 1997.

From left: Sisters Carol Coston, left, and Mary Schmagner at Santuario Sisterfarm, an ecological center in Bourne, Texas. Members of Sister Mary’s Mission Group are, from left, Sisters Mary E. Waldron, Joseph Eilese Hukle, Arlene Scott, M. Joan Loeffler, Grace Henneberry, Carol Jean McDonnell, and Catherine O’Brien.

Right: Members of the 2008 Diamond Jubilee Crowd are: back row, from left, Sisters Nora Brady, Marie Geraldine Brownell, Celestine Dunne, Alice Riegel, Patricia Wiley, John Norton Barrett, Mary Schmagner, and Therese DeCanio, and front row, from left, Sisters Mary Helen Mack, Joan Sopha, Mary E. Quinn, Dorothy Thielk, Margaret Urban, Patricia Ann Hurley, Marion O’Connor, and Judith Mary Singer.

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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 Sister Barb Kelley (

We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.


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