News | Live Stream | Contact Us
Employment | Donate
On April 29 – appropriately, the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena – in 1942, Gordon and Margaret (Ryan) Erickson of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, welcomed their first child, whom they named Patricia Laverne, into the world.
At the time, the Ericksons lived in an apartment so small that there was no room for a crib, so baby Patricia’s bed was in a bottom dresser drawer. “To this day, my family has blamed my smallness of stature on this fact!” she joked in her autobiography.
Two more children came into the family over time: Michael, born when Patricia was five, and Nancy five years after that. A job transfer for Gordon took the Ericksons to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, when Patricia was in seventh grade, and it was at her new school there, St. Ambrose, where she met the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
“She walked into her classroom and KNEW that she would become an Adrian Dominican, and never let go of that dream,” said Sister Mary Priniski, Chapter Prioress of the Catherine of Siena Mission Chapter, in her eulogy for Sister Patricia. “In the eighth grade she asked her dad if she could join the convent, but he insisted she finish high school first.”
Read more about Sister Pat (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
On February 11, 2022, as Sister Zenaida Nacpil was laid to rest in the Congregation cemetery, she became the first of the former Our Lady of Remedies Sisters to be buried in Adrian rather than their native Philippines. It was to be Sister Zenaida’s last pioneering act in a lifetime filled with them.
Sister Zeny, as she was generally known, was born in Floridablanca, Pampanga, Philippines, on October 9, 1948, to Jose and Rosalinda (Santiago) Nacpil. She was the third of five children in the family; a son, Amado, died shortly after his birth, and then came Blanca; Zenaida; Elisa, also known as Lisa; and Ligaya, or Lily.
She had a happy childhood and was an inquisitive, playful child who knew from a very early age that she was called to a relationship with God. One of her favorite pastimes was to put on a veil and “play nun,” and whenever, even as a toddler, she came up missing, the family knew exactly where to look for her: at the altar, praying with her veil on.
After she graduated from St. Augustine Academy in Pampanga, her pastor, knowing of her interest in religious life, suggested she get to know the then-new community of Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies. She went on to Assumption College, where among her teachers were Adrian Dominican Sisters Mary Philip Ryan and Ellen Vincent McClain. Sisters Mary Philip and Ellen Vincent were assisting the Remedies Sisters in their early development, and Zenaida had not been at Assumption long before she asked to enter that congregation.
Read more about Sister Zenaida (PDF)
Frances Mildred Gagne was born on January 18, 1929, in Detroit, to a large and loving family. As the oldest girl, she was called “the engineer,” while her youngest sister Bonnie became “the caboose.” She died on February 6, 2022, at the age of 93.
Frances entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation at age 20 and remained there for 30 years. She was a teacher and, in time was principal of St. Scholastica of Detroit, a ministry she continued after leaving the Congregation.
Frances never married or had children. When asked why she left the Congregation, she explained that she felt called to care for her parents as they grew older and needed assistance. This she did until both of them died.
The center of her big family, Frances was extremely devoted to her brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. One of her greatest joys was her cottage on Lake Huron. She would invite her guests to swim with her by saying, “Come on in, the water is warm – like bath water!” It really was not.
Frances was a firm but loving principal and several of her former students wrote about her on her memorial page. Many entries spoke of the warm welcome she gave each student. According to her family and the priest who delivered the funeral homily, Frances made it her special mission to empower young girls and would usually take the side of the girls in any dispute against the boys.
She was the cherished sister of the late Harvey (Shirley) Gagne, the late Roger Gagne, Joan (the late Richard) Lyons, Roberta (Raymond) Kamm, the late Carl Gagne, the late Lorna Gagne, the late Joseph (Susan) Gagne, Ronald (Karen) Gagne, Kathleen (Mike) DeNeen, and Bonnie (Paul) Crawley. She was also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Frances liked to have fun. She was involved with several outreach ministries to the poor. Her pastor, Father Randall Phillips, remarked, “Frances wore the Baptismal cloth well and was dedicated to the poor. She thought globally and acted locally."
The memorial Mass for Frances on March 2 was packed. She was so very loved and joy-filled. Frances’ parting words to all of us are captured in a popular poem, author unknown, published on many memorial cards.
I would like to be remembered as a person who was helpful, loved life, and [was] a believer that “a good laugh is better than a dose of medicine.”
That sentence wrapped up the life story of Sister Grace Gianella, and if the memories shared by two family members at her wake service are any indication, she lived up to her goal.
“My Auntie Grace was one of a kind. She was always a joy to be around,” wrote her niece Michelle Gianella. “Anyone who crossed her path was blessed with lots of laughter. She was always happy and very generous.”
“I have many memories of us laughing and sharing a good time together with my Mom and Grandpa,” wrote her great-nephew Dylan Gianella.
Grace Marie Gianella was born June 29, 1941, in Jackson, Michigan, to Angelo and Sadie (Morell) Gianella. She was the middle child of three, following Donna Jean, who was two years older, and preceding Michael, born four years later.
Read more about Sister Grace (PDF)
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.
Dominican School Alumnae/Alumni
Become an Adrian Dominican Associate
What do you have to do to become a Sister?
Share our blog, A Sister Reflects
Sign up for the monthly Veritas newsletter (or view our other publications)
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.