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Jeri’s life can be characterized as one of generosity, one of abundance, and one of trust. But perhaps, most importantly, Jeri would describe her life as joy-filled. She rejoiced in deep friendships with myriads of people.
… Time spent with Jeri -- socializing with her, studying with her, or engaging in discussions with her – was always enjoyable. Jeri was God’s gift of delight to our world, and I am grateful for the privilege of knowing her and experiencing the blessing that she was to us.
Sister Karen Rossman included these paragraphs in her funeral homily for Sister Jeri Renner, who had been part of the Edmonds Dominican Congregation and then the Adrian Dominican Congregation for some seventy-six years when she died on July 5, 2023.
Sister Jerome Mary Renner, known to all as Sister Jeri, was born Agnes Theresa Renner on October 22, 1928, on the family farm near Dimock, South Dakota. She was the youngest of six children born to Joseph and Elizabeth (Triebal) Renner, the others being Josephine, Elsie, Marie, Helen, and Leonard. Joseph had emigrated to the United States from Austria, as had Elizabeth’s parents, and the children primarily spoke German until they started school.
The siblings came in two sets of three, with five years separating the older group from the younger group. Helen and Leonard often tried to get their little sister to take one or the other’s side if there was a disagreement, and “in my indecision, I would squeak,” Sister Jeri wrote in her autobiography. It earned her the lifelong nickname of Squeaker.
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Read more about Sister Jeri (PDF).
Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)
Recording of Sister Jeri's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Recording of Sister Jeri's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
Adrian Dominican Associate and former Sister, Jacqueline Brown, 81, of White Lake, Michigan, died on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.
Born on August 26, 1941, in Detroit, Jacci was the daughter of Len and Fran (Morrison) Brown. Left to cherish her memory are her brother, Rick (Annamarie) Brown; her niece, Meaghan (Caleb) Brown-Vanderweide; her great-niece, Isabella Vanderweide; her cousin, Ron (Daryl) Dawes; and her cat, Punkin. Jacci is also survived by many cousins that reside in Western Michigan, with whom she shared many great years of fellowship and love. Many early years were spent visiting the Holland, Michigan area and enjoying their great spirit and love of life and God.
At the age of seventeen, Jacci joined the Adrian Dominican Sisters and remained in the Congregation for eleven years. Jacci worked at several different Catholic schools throughout her career and played a large role in the success of schools like All Saints School in Canton, and St. Catherine of Siena in Novi. She has served as a religion teacher and then as principal for four years at Beahan Junior High School in Farmington; Religion Department Chair at Marion High School, Birmingham; Assistant Director for Catechetics for the Archdiocese of Detroit; and an adjunct faculty member at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake.
Jacci was a devoted parishioner at St. Perpetua Catholic Church in Waterford for twenty years. She offered grief counseling to parishioners, and she sang in the choir. Later in her career, Jacci also spent time working for Hospice of Michigan. Jacci’s work as a grief counselor has included giving a workshop on loss to the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center.
Jacci had a very outgoing personality, and she enjoyed attending lunches, dinners, and sharing a glass of wine with her family and close friends. She was a wonderful woman who will be dearly missed.
In accordance with Jacci’s wishes, cremation took place. A Memorial Mass took place on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at St. Perpetua Catholic Church, 134 Airport Road, Waterford, Michigan 48327. Internment will take place at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens at a later date.
Jacci became an Adrian Dominican Associate in 2011. She chaired the Partners II Associate Gathering and co-chaired Partners IV. She also served on the Advisory Board for Associate Life. Jacci certainly exemplified living the Dominican Charism in her life. She was a joyful person of prayer, committed to study and teaching. She loved being in community and she considered her life a vocation to serve others.
We entrust Jacci Brown to God’s loving care. May her memory be a blessing.
On June 24, 2023, Sister Marie Geraldine Brownell attended the Jubilee Mass to celebrate her 75th anniversary as an Adrian Dominican Sister, delighted in sharing the festive dinner afterward with several of her Sister-friends, and then retired to her room … where, early in the morning of June 25, she put the exclamation point on her Jubilee celebration by going home to her God. She was ninety-three years old.
By the time Jubilee 2023 arrived, Sister Geraldine’s health had declined to the point where she had been confined to her room at Maria, only venturing out for meals in the 2 South solarium. “But evidently, she was storing up her energy,” said Sister Judy Friedel, Holy Rosary Mission Chapter Prioress, at Sister Geraldine’s wake service. However she was able to do it – and with much help from the nurses, aides, and chaplains – Sister Geraldine was able to participate in that great celebration of her many years in the Congregation only hours before her passing.
Barbara Jane Brownell, the oldest child of Peter and Geraldine (Schlaff) Brownell, was born in Detroit on October 15, 1929, only days before the stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression. As she wrote in her autobiography:
I grew up without realizing there was a depression since it was never discussed in my presence. I do remember how glad adults in my family were when Franklin Roosevelt was elected president, but I didn’t know why. I knew later that times were hard, but it seemed they were hard for everyone. Besides, I had nothing to which to compare them.
Read more about Sister Marie (PDF).
Memorial 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.
Funeral Worship Aid (PDF)
The cover of the worship aid for Sister Judy Bisignano’s Memorial Mass shows a picture Sister Judy took of a village in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. Her first visit to the Achuar people of that region in 2009 changed her life and set her spirituality on a whole new path.
Judith Ann Bisignano was born May 3, 1942, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Alphonse and Catherine (Dwyer) Bisignano. She was the fourth of five children, the others being Joe, Jim, Mary Kay, and John.
Alphonse, also known as “Babe,” was the owner of Babe’s Restaurant, a Des Moines fixture for half a century. He was a boxer and wrestler before becoming a restauranteur. Catherine, as Irish by descent as Alphonse was Italian and as quiet as he was gregarious, was an avid reader who used books, newspapers, and magazines to pursue a lifelong quest for education.
Judy met the Adrian Dominican Sisters during elementary school when she attended St. Augustin School. She spent a great deal of time at the convent, finding the Sisters welcoming and kind, and although her high school education came with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the BVM Sisters) at St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, she decided she wanted to be an Adrian Dominican Sister. Her sister, Mary Kay, did join the BVMs, but died at the age of just twenty-three of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Read more about Sister Judith (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.
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We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.