In Memoriam

(1924 - 2023)

In May 2002, Sister John Norton Barrett was honored by the St. Thomas More Society in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with the Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy Award. Local attorney James D. Camp III, making the presentation at the society’s annual Red Mass Reception, said in his remarks:

Someone once said that 100 years from now, it will not matter what kind of car we drove or what was in our bank account, but 100 years from now the world may be a better place because we were important in the life of children. Sister, there are numerous lawyers here, including myself, who you personally taught, counseled, disciplined, loved and, ultimately, assisted in our graduating from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, and we are honored to have been one of your students. Those lawyers, many of whom are in this room tonight, along with the entire St. Thomas More Society, would like you to know this evening that, at a critical point in our young lives, as future lawyers, and in the lives of countless other students, we are grateful that you were important to us.

Catherine Elizabeth Barrett, the future Sister John Norton, was born in Detroit on December 18, 1924, to Edward and Marianne (“Minnie”) Norton Barrett. Edward, who made his living as an electrician, was a Detroit native, while Minnie was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Catherine was the fifth of seven children, all the rest of whom were boys: John Norton, Edward, Allan, James, Robert, and Ralph. John Norton died of pneumonia when Catherine was a sophomore in high school, and it was his name that Catherine would take in religious life.

In her autobiography, Sister John Norton remembered her Depression-era childhood as a simple one in a neighborhood with many children in it. She and her brothers all attended St. Catherine School, where they were educated by the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters from Monroe, Michigan, and she graduated from St. Catherine High School in 1942.

An inclination toward religious life was put on hold as she went to work, first for the J.L. Hudson Co. for a short time and then for Metropolitan Life Insurance. A year after Catherine took the Metropolitan Life Insurance job, Minnie had a serious stroke and Catherine left her position in order to look after the household duties. At some point during this time, she took a part-time job working weekends as a salesperson for Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Read more about Sister John Norton (PDF)

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



Memorial Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas High School

On Saturday, April 1, 2023, a memorial Mass for Sister John Norton Barrett was hosted at St Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Sister John Norton was Principal for 50 years. The video recording is now available for viewing. The liturgy begins at the 12-minute mark.


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Associate Karen Hagen(1949-2023)

Associate Karen Marie Hagen was born on July 15, 1949, and grew up in Hazel Park, Michigan with her mother, father and two brothers. She attended St. Justin Elementary School and St. Rita’s High School in Detroit. Karen was raised in a Catholic home, and she recalls that she knew of God’s presence in her life at a very early age.

Karen served in the United States Navy, working as a Dental Technician, and then attended Eastern Michigan University, graduating with a BA in Education and a MA in Educational Leadership. She went on to study at Michigan State University, obtaining a MA in Labor and Industrial Relations. She also studied Criminal Justice. Obtaining her certification as an online teacher provided Karen the opportunity to become an adjunct faculty member at Lansing Community College. In 2010 Karen enrolled in the Spiritual Direction Internship Program through the Dominican Center for Religious Development. 

Karen had a long and impressive employment history, and she held various positions in the State of Michigan, working as a Human Resources Specialist in the Department of Mental Health and for the Michigan State Police. She became an Academic Team Leader at Lansing Community College and was a member of the adjunct faculty, teaching courses in Labor Relations, Principles of Management, and Human Resources Management.  Additionally, Karen has served as a spiritual director, facilitated prayer services in her parish, served as a Eucharistic Minister, and taught religious education.

Being a mother and grandmother were important roles to Karen. She was devoted to her son Bill and his wife Jenn and their three children, Henry, Harrison, and Scarlett. She also considered her circle of women friends her family as well as her two brothers and their families.

Adrian Dominican, Sister Janet Kubiak, OP, aunt, and Godmother of Karen, introduced her to the Congregation and Associate Life. On August 3, 2013, Karen became an Adrian Dominican Associate, mentored by Sister Joan Meerschaert, OP.

Karen described her call to Associate Life in the following words:

I have always felt a call to a deeper relationship with God and so it was natural for me to look to the Adrian community for inspiration, leadership, and guidance. We are meant to be in community, and I am excited to begin my study of the Dominican tradition!

Karen certainly exemplified living the Dominican Charism in her life. She was a person of prayer, committed to study and learning. She loved being in community and she considered her life a vocation to serve others.  

We entrust Karen Marie Hagen to God’s loving care. May her memory be a blessing.


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(March 23, 1937 - February 2, 2023)

My joy and trust are great because of the One who loves me and calls me to be with Him, wherever He is. My final profession ring given to me by my parents is half of my mother’s wedding band. As I wear it, I feel wrapped in my parents’ love and commitment to God and to life in all forms.

All I can say over and over are the words of love in return for love: “Amen, Come Lord Jesus, Come.” They are the words inscribed in my final profession ring which I wear, and in my heart as well.

Sister Molly Anne Nicholson, who concluded her autobiography with these paragraphs, was born in Detroit on March 23, 1937. Her father, Mark Nicholson, a plasterer by trade, was born in Portadown, Northern Ireland, and came to the U.S. in early 1900. He returned to his homeland for a time in 1923, and there he met and married Sarah Jane McAlinden of Craigavon.

All seven of the children were given Irish names: Bridget (called Gael), Patrick, Terrance Arthur, William Dermot, Thomas Emmett, James Malachy, and Molly Anne, the youngest of the Nicholson clan. Gael entered the Congregation  when her little sister was six years old, so Molly grew up with her five brothers.

She was named after her maternal grandmother and was very proud of that fact and of her Irish heritage. Mark and occasionally Jane regaled their children with Irish stories and taught them the songs of their ancestral home, and step dancing was part of their regular visits to the Irish clubs in Detroit.

Read more about Sister Molly (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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Pat was a highly respected, competent, deeply committed administrator. She was recognized for this ministry by Barry University in 2003 when she received the Adrian Dominican Leadership Award on behalf of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who worked in diocesan central educational offices. But she was as deeply committed to her vocation as an Adrian Dominican Sister. In her annals she often shared her choice to live simply and her mindfulness of the challenge of balancing ministry with 
community life.

Sister Rosemary Asaro, Holy Rosary Mission Chapter Assistant, in this eulogy was describing Sister Patricia Downey, whose ministries had included thirty-seven years in educational administrative positions in Michigan and especially Illinois.

Patricia Jeannette Downey entered the world in Chicago on January 18, 1939, born three months prematurely to Edmund and Jeannette (Sunderland) Downey. In her life story, she attributed her early arrival to being “[e]ager to join my mom, dad, and older sister.”

She ended up being the middle of three children, between Mary Catherine and Edmund, born two years after Pat.

Read more about Sister Pat (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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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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