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She served well wherever and whenever she was asked – and never lost her love of and respect for people.
These words by Sister Nancyann Turner concluded her remembrance of Sister Adrienne Schaffer for the wake service held after Sister Adrienne’s unexpected passing shortly before Thanksgiving 2021.
Sister Adrienne was born in Detroit on August 17, 1942, the middle of three children born to Leo and Hildegarde (Ettinger) Schaffer. “Bookending” her, so to speak, were brothers Keith and Kenneth.
“She loved being the only girl. She received a lot of attention and had no desire to have a sister,” Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, Mission Prioress of the Catherine of Siena Mission Chapter, said in her eulogy for Sister Adrienne. “Another brother would be fine, but she enjoyed her ‘princess’ place in the family.”
The Schaffer family lived in Harper Woods, adjacent to Detroit, where Adrienne attended Our Lady Queen of Peace School and then St. Ambrose High School, graduating in 1960. It was at St. Ambrose that she got to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and in the spring of 1960 she wrote to Mother Gerald seeking admission to the Congregation.
Read more about Sister Adrienne (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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I view my life as a puzzle with almost all of the pieces now in place. The pieces fit, my family and friends, the places I ministered, the Sisters with whom I lived, the students I taught and from whom I learned, the pastors with whom I worked, all the parents and other adults who were part of my life: All in God’s plan.
Sister Noreen Marie George wrote this passage near the end of her autobiography, reflecting on how all of her ministries had turned out to be “just what I needed,” at least once she adjusted to them. “Each influenced my life and helped me grow, to appreciate my blessings, to understand better the meaning of God’s love for me and for all creation, to know the blessings of community,” she wrote. “I am very blessed and so grateful.”
Mary Elizabeth George entered the world on March 6, 1927, in Flint, Michigan. She was the fourth child of Ernest and Margaret (O’Connor) George, and the first girl. The Georges had seven children in all; in addition to Mary Elizabeth, there were John (known as Jack), Eugene, Robert, Donald, Margaret, and Miriam Patricia, who died of pneumonia at just seven months of age. She was named after Sister Miriam Patricia O’Connor, an Adrian Dominican who was a maternal aunt of Mary Elizabeth’s.
Read more about Sister Noreen Marie (PDF)
Her parents may have named her Mary Margaret, but for most of her 101 years of life almost everyone – relatives, friends, and her Adrian Dominican “family” – knew her as “Sis.”
Sis Beh was born on May 27, 1920, in Birmingham, Michigan, to Joseph and Margaret Mary (Mihm) Beh. She was the third of the Behs’ four children, with two older brothers, Joseph and Robert, and a younger sister, Pauline.
She explained the genesis of her nickname in a St. Catherine letter written to Sister Betty Kubacki on July 17, 1980.
Yes, my name is “Sis,” at least this is one of my names, and the one that goes back almost as far as I go back. My family gave me that when I was very young because my two older brothers (2 and 4 years my senior) could not handle “Mary Margaret.” They called me “Little Sister,” eventually shortening it to “Sis.” When we returned to our baptismal names, it seemed that people just automatically returned to calling me “Sis.” This never pleased my grandmother. She used to always say, “with such a pretty name as Mary Margaret and you let people call you ‘Sis.’”
Religious vocations ran in the family; Bob was a priest for many years before leaving the priesthood, while an aunt, an uncle, and several cousins were also in religious life. Sis’s brother Joe was in the seminary himself for a while. And, she wrote in that St. Catherine letter, her mother had been thinking very seriously about entering the convent when she met her future husband at a party and he asked to call on her. “He claimed he knew a good thing when he saw it. I agree!” Sis wrote.
Read more about Sister Mary Margaret (pdf)
Given that her family belonged to St. Ann’s Parish in West Palm Beach, Florida, she was a student at Rosarian Academy, and she had two cousins who were already Adrian Dominican Sisters (Sisters Rita Gleason and Mary Elizabeth Waldron), it comes as no surprise that when Helen Wilson felt a call to religious life, it was to the Adrian Dominicans.
Helen Margaret was the youngest of four children born to Spencer and Mary (Gleason) Wilson. Spencer and Mary were both natives of upstate New York and married after Spencer returned from service in World War I.
A son and a daughter, Bobby and Mary, were born in New York. After the Wilsons moved to West Palm Beach in the early 1920s, Angela and then Helen, born on March 24, 1936, came into the family as well.
All four of the children were taught by the Adrian Dominican Sisters: Bobby and Mary at St. Ann’s School, and Angela and Helen at Rosarian Academy for all twelve years of their education. “We had wonderful teachers and I loved the Sisters who instilled in us good study habits and the discipline was very tight, yet we knew the Sisters liked us and encouraged us,” Sister Helen wrote in her autobiography. “The Sisters always gave us [a] very good example and humor was mixed with their joy.”
Read more about Sister Helen (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.