In Memoriam


(1939-2021)

In her six decades as an Adrian Dominican, Sister Mary Kay Moran’s ministries took her from big cities such as Detroit, San Francisco, and Chicago to the remote islands of southeastern Alaska.

Mary Catherine Moran, as she was baptized although she was always known as Mary Kay, was born in Toledo, Ohio, on May 25, 1939, to William and Mary (Heitkamp) Moran. She was the second of three children born to the couple, her siblings being Thomas and Barbara.

At some point very early in Mary Kay’s life the family moved to Detroit’s northwest side. William, a Toledo native, was a yardmaster for the New York Central Railroad, while Mary, who was born in the small unincorporated town of North Creek, Ohio, was a stay-at-home mother.

In her life story, Sister Mary Kay remembered her childhood as a very happy one. She attended kindergarten at Burt Elementary School and then was educated at Christ the King School and Our Lady of Mercy High School.

Although she began thinking about religious life as early as seventh grade, she was not especially attracted to either the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters who taught at Christ the King or to the Mercy Sisters of her high school years. And so, after graduating from high school in 1957 she went to work as a clerk at the J.L. Hudson Department Store.

Read more about Sister Mary Kay (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

 

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(1929-2021)

When I think back over my life, my first thought is of gratitude to God for the “wonders God has done.” From my beginning in my mother’s womb, I have been richly blessed. My wonderful parents gave me both physical life and a firm faith in a God who is Love.

This was how Sister Virginia Pearson started her autobiography, a story which she concluded with gratitude to her family, friends, and the Dominican Sisters of Edmonds “for their essential gift of love and their many kindnesses,” and to the Dominican Sisters of Adrian for their “welcoming inclusion.”

Virginia Rose Pearson was born on August 3, 1929, to Albert and Clara (Haag) Pearson. Albert and Clara were both natives of Washington state who, when each was young, moved to Alaska – still a territory at the time – “in search of work and adventure.” They met and married in Fairbanks, where Virginia was born.

Her residence in Alaska was short-lived at that time, however, for when she was about three months old the little family moved to Seattle. Two brothers, Ted and Jack, followed within the next three years.

The summer before Virginia would have started second grade, the family moved to a section of Seattle known as Queen Anne Hill so that the children could attend St. Anne’s School, where they were taught by the Holy Names Sisters. But while these Sisters were fine teachers and examples of the faith, Virginia was more drawn to the Sisters who taught her in high school at Holy Angels Academy, “many of whom were true inspirations to me”: the Everett Dominicans, as they were known in those years before they moved to Edmonds in 1956.

Read more about Sister Virginia (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

 

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(1936-2021)

When Sister Mary Irene Walker and her longtime friend Sister Rosaire McAuliffe moved to the Dominican Life Center, one of the earliest campus projects Sister Mary Irene undertook was to plant the dahlia tubers she had brought with her.

Her love for the bright flowers which came to be so identified with her dated back many years to the time she went to the Washington State Fair. There, in the horticulture building, she was astounded at the rows upon rows of them on display there. Having never seen dahlias before, she had to ask what they were.

“That was it. I was hooked that very moment,” she said in her January 2016 “A Sister’s Story” video. And so, from that time on, every time she left one home to move to another, she brought dahlia tubers with her to every new residence including her last one, the Dominican Life Center.

Sister Mary Irene was born Janet Murray Walker on October 30, 1936, in Seattle to Glen and Irene (Spanbauer) Walker. Glen was a Washington State native, while Irene grew up in Schenectady, New York. The two met in Schenectady, which was the home of General Electric, due to a happy coincidence: Glen, an electrical engineer, would come to town for meetings during which the local college that Irene attended would hold dances for the students and the young engineers – and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Read more about Sister Mary Irene (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 

 

 

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(1930-2021)

On April 10, 1930, a young Chicago couple, Anthony and Frances (Liana) DeCanio, welcomed their first-born child, Therese Genevieve, into the world.

At the time, the little family lived on the second floor of an apartment building owned by three unmarried Irish sisters. These early days of the Depression were difficult, for Anthony – whose occupation is listed as “printer” in later Congregational records – was unemployed at the time of Therese’s birth. But the family’s landladies told him to not worry about the rent until he got a job. “My mother and father often spoke of their kindness,” Sister Therese wrote in her autobiography. “… They were a great gift in my young life as they spent much time reading to me, making pancakes for my breakfast and simply loving me.”

In the years following Therese’s birth, two more children were born, Joseph in 1933 and Loretta in 1938. Therese’s early school years were spent in public school, including Fort Dearborn School when the family moved into a home in St. Kilian Parish the summer before she entered fifth grade. 

That move proved pivotal, for she attended CCD classes at St. Kilian. It was her introduction to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and she went on to attend St. Kilian School for sixth grade and then Aquinas Dominican High School. Her parents preferred that she attend high school closer to home, but to her the 45-minute trip to Aquinas was well worth it because she was drawn to the Sisters’ joyful and caring presence.

Read more about Sister Therese (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial 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).


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. 


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