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I did all that I could do, and put my trust in God. I had some difficult times and some pleasant times and that’s life. Just remember that I lived. I think I am an ordinary person trying to do what God is directing me to do. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed, and I am trusting in His mercy.
This was part of Sister Joan Murphy’s response when, for her life story, she was asked how she wished to be remembered. She also said she expected she would live to be eighty-eight, but she outlasted that guess by more than a few years: she was ninety-seven, and in her seventy-seventh year of religious profession, when she went home to her God on July 28, 2023.
Sister Joan was born on July 10, 1926, in the Detroit enclave of Highland Park, Michigan, and baptized Joan Eileen. Her parents, Patrick Joseph and Margaret Marie (Hanlon) Murphy, both came to the United States from County Kerry, Ireland, within just a couple of years of each other. Patrick stayed in New York for a short while, working on the docks, but he found the work very difficult and within a week or two went to Chicago because his brothers and sisters had already emigrated there. He later moved to Detroit looking for work and found a job first with the Dodge automobile plant and then with the Ford Motor Company, working in security. It was a good, steady job, even through the difficult Depression years.
Patrick was likely at least somewhat acquainted with his future wife long before they married, as he had known her brother Jerry in Ireland and, once he moved to Detroit, lived with Jerry there for a time. As the story went, he attended an Irish dance in downtown Detroit, saw Margaret – who had come to the dance with another man, one Mr. Hogan – and when Mr. Hogan told Patrick, “That’s the girl I brought,” Patrick told him, “Maybe that’s the girl you brought, but that’s the girl I’m going to marry.”
Read more about Sister Joan (PDF).
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)
Sister Joan's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, you may choose to download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Sister Joan's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, you may choose to 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).
April 5, 1930, was surely a joyful day in the Detroit home of Peter Paul and Alice Irene (Tate) Persyk, for it was on this date that the couple welcomed a baby girl, whom they named Janet Mae, into the world after Alice had had seven miscarriages.
Both Peter and Alice were born on family farms in Minnesota. In her “Sister’s Story” video of January 24, 2017, Sister Janet explained that Peter’s family came from Prussia and Austria and emigrated to the United States in 1870 to escape the Franco-Prussian War. The family, not wanting to be discovered by Prussian agents, changed their name from their original German name. The family settled in a farming community named Perham, so they took the “Per” and added an “szyk” to sound Slavic instead of German.
Sister Janet went on to explain that although her father eventually dropped the “z” out of their name, it was spelled “Perszyk” on her birth certificate. When she went to work at the age of 15 and filled out the required Social Security paperwork, she was unaware of that spelling and spelled it without the “z.”
“When I came home, they said, “‘Well, that’s not how you spell our name,’” she said.
Peter and Alice met in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, at a hospital where Alice was a second-year nursing student and Peter was an accountant. The couple married in 1922 and moved to Detroit in 1928 because job prospects there were promising for accountants. Peter became the general manager for the Gordon-Pagel Baking Co., which counted Silvercup Bread among its products. That was the brand whose sponsorship of the radio show “The Lone Ranger” led to the Lone Ranger’s horse’s name being changed from Dusty to Silver.
Read more about Sister Janet. (PDF)
Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)
Sister Janet's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, you may choose to download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Sister Janet's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, you may choose to download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
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.
Read more about Sister Jeri (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)
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.
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.