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Vero Beach, Florida, was the birthplace – and the site of a very happy childhood – for Viola Mary Eckhoff, who would go on to become Sister Imelda Marie.
Viola Mary was the fourth child, and the third girl, born to Joseph and Viola (Dothage) Eckhoff on October 24, 1931. Her older siblings were Marilyn, Evelyn, and Joe, with Carole the youngest in the family.
Sister Imelda recalled in her 2019 “A Sister’s Story” video that Vero Beach had much open land in those days, and she and the other children spent much of their time hiking as well as fishing and swimming, They were good times, she recalled, even if her childhood did come during the Great Depression and the family did not have much.
At Christmas, she wrote in her autobiography, each child would get one present, and for the Christmas when she was perhaps three years old, all the girls got dolls and Joe got a ball. As the family would later tell the story, “I cried and said I didn’t want a dolly, I wanted a ball. Daddy went out on Christmas Day to find me a ball.”
Read more about Sister Imelda (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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May you now rest in God’s loving arms.
Eternal rest grant unto you, Sister Barbara Gass, and
May eternal light be yours forever.
These words concluded the eulogy that Sister Joanne Peters, Co-Chapter Prioress of the Holy Rosary Chapter, gave for Sister Barbara Gass, a scientist by training, a musician by gift, and a woman of deep, abiding faith in her God.
Barbara Cathryn Gass was born on March 13, 1927, in Wyandotte, Michigan, to Gerald and Cecelia (Sack) Gass. She was the couple’s third child of four, following Dolores and Gerald Jr. and before Mary Louise, who like Barbara became an Adrian Dominican Sister.
Gerald was originally from Portland, Michigan, while Cecelia was born in Toledo, Ohio. Cecelia’s family later moved to Adrian, where she attended St. Joseph School and after completing grade school attended St. Joseph Academy as a day student in the secretarial program. When she graduated from the two-year program, she went to work as a secretary for the Adrian Fence Company – where Gerald happened to work as well.
Read more about Sister Barbara (pdf)
Long before Marie Kathryn Reilly, the future Sister Marie Solanus, was born, her mother, Marie Riley, was riding in a Detroit streetcar when she saw what she took to be a church and decided to go inside. She had moved to Detroit to live with her cousin following the tragic death of her fiancé, and her sadness was immense when she walked into that building seeking solace.
It was there that she met Father Solanus Casey, who told her, “God has other plans for you. You are going to meet a very tall Irishman who you will marry and have a happy life.”
Father Solanus’ prophecy came true. When Marie was invited to dinner by a friend, that friend had invited a tall Irishman named Edward to dinner as well. The result, as Sister Marie Solanus wrote in her life story, “was a marriage, three children, a shared deep faith and a lasting friendship with Father Solanus.”
Marie Kathryn, born on July 23, 1933, was the youngest of three children, following Edward and Anne. Anne was born with spina bifida, but on the way to a specialist to be measured for a full body cast, her parents stopped to see Father Solanus, who told them their little daughter would not need the cast. Again, his words turned out to be accurate. In fact, a miraculous healing of her spina bifida even occurred before her next doctor’s appointment, following yet another meeting with Father Solanus.
Given those connections with the man who in 2017 would become Blessed Solanus, it was only natural that years later when Marie Kathryn was received into the Congregation it was with the religious name Sister Marie Solanus.
Read more about Sister Marie Solanus (pdf)
Sister Pauline Quinn, formerly known as Kathleen (Kathy), died on Friday, March 13, 2020, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 77 years of age. Sister Pauline, a privately vowed Dominican, made her final profession of vows to Bishop Raúl Vera López, OP, in 1996.
Sister Pauline was born December 10, 1942, in Hollywood, California, to Joseph and Rosemary (Hodges) Quinn. As a young woman, Sister Pauline experienced much trauma and homelessness. Her discovery of the unconditional love of a dog companion provided her a sense of safety, self-confidence, and belonging. For Sister Pauline, dog was God spelled backward.
In 1981, she initiated a dog-training program in prisons, creating the Prison Pet Partnership in the Washington State Corrections Center for Women. In the early 1980s, Sister ministered in Italy, where she helped refugees at a Salvation Army house in Rome. Sister continued her Prison Pet Partnership mission by giving talks around the world.
In 1985, she founded Pathways to Hope and later Bridges and Pathways of Courage, which encompasses the many projects with which Sister was involved. Sister Pauline’s other ministries have included volunteering with the Comboni Refugee Center in Rome, where she arranged medical care and transportation for the victims of the Bosnian and Gulf wars, as well as assisting refugees from Angola, Ethiopia, and Somalia. She traveled to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and undertook many other global missions of mercy.
Sister Pauline became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her daughter, Bernadette Dimitriadis, and her brother, Robert, as well as loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Welcome of Sister Pauline will be on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 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 Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery.
Memorial gifts may be made to Bridges and Pathways of Courage, 1161 Grignon Street, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 54301, or to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Right: Sister Pauline with Father Carlos Azpiroz Costa, OP, then Master of the Dominican Order, November 2005
From left: The Quinn cousins, from left, Sister Pauline (Kathy), Sue, Patsy, and Mary Frances, 1988. Sister Pauline and Pax during a visit to Hong Kong, November 2018
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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We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.