In Memoriam

Sister Anita Chiappetta(1942-2022)

I take great pride in our Congregation and am grateful for all it has, and still stands for, and all it has afforded me. It is a privilege to have been called to it and to participate in its life and growth.
I hope to grow in age and wisdom with grace, to pay attention to what is really important, to share the boundless gifts I have received and be patient with myself as I more and more let go – of things and places and what would separate me from the love of God.

This passage is how Sister Anita Chiappetta ended her autobiography, written in 2014 during the many years she served the Dominican Midwest Chapter as its administrative assistant.
Sister Anita was born on December 13, 1942, in Chicago. Her birthday fell on the Feast of St. Lucy, a saint to whom the family was particularly devoted since Anita’s paternal grandmother suffered from an eye disease. Hence, Anita was given the middle name of Lucile.
Her father, Vincent, was born in the U.S. of Italian immigrants, but when he was eight months old the family returned to their homeland because of his mother’s health. They came back to America when he was sixteen and settled in the Grand Crossing area of Chicago’s South Side. As it so happened, the Cavoto family and their young daughter Mary lived nearby, and at some point, Vincent and Mary – who were eleven years apart in age – met. The couple married in 1937, when Vincent was twenty-nine and Mary was eighteen.

Read more about Sister Anita (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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When Sister Mary Catharina Bereiter died on May 23, 2022, she was about a month past the celebration of her 100th birthday, an occasion marked by many well-wishers, proclamations marking the occasion from Adrian’s mayor and state senator, and a papal blessing from Pope Francis.

Mary Barbara, as she was baptized, was born on April 16, 1922, in Chicago to Edward and Mary (Orzali) Bereiter. Edward and Mary were both from the Covington, Kentucky-Cincinnati, Ohio area, and moved to Chicago not long after their marriage. They shared a home with Mary’s parents, who lived in the upstairs flat while the newlyweds lived downstairs.

Edward originally found work in a local factory but eventually became a mail carrier for the Post Office. The couple had five children: Edward, Mary, Virginia, Catherine, and Barbara.

Mary, the second oldest child, was just eleven years old when her mother died. “It was a difficult time for us but somehow we managed,” Sister wrote in her life story. “Our father was a very religious man so his faith and the way he shared it with us kept us going.”

Read more about Sister Mary Catharina (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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Sharon Foley was born October 29, 1943, the only child of Leonard and Phyllis (Dynes) Foley, in La Jolla, California. When she was still a young girl, the Foleys moved to Chicago, where they lived until Sharon finished third grade. In 1952, the family moved to Pompano Beach, Florida, where Sharon went to a public school through eighth grade. 

Sharon attended high school at Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida, which was founded and run by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and was, at that time a girls boarding school. After some initial hesitation, she cherished living at Rosarian and after graduation in 1961, she arrived at Madden Hall in Adrian with two classmates to begin her quest to become an Adrian Dominican Sister.

Shortly before her 18th birthday, Sharon began to teach third grade at St. Lawrence in Utica, Michigan. She taught at several schools in metro Detroit and enjoyed her life very much. After the Chapter of Renewal in 1968, Sharon was sent to Ohio to teach and to respond to all the changes in the Congregation. It was an exciting time for her.  

From 1971 to 1975, Sharon was the Director of Religious Education (DRE) in Blissfield, Michigan, and then in St. Petersburg, Florida. She was always interested in the fine arts. In time, she sought employment in the local arts center and began a graduate degree in religious studies at Mundelein College in Chicago. She earned her degree in 1976 and withdrew from the Congregation.  

Sharon wrote that she often contemplated why she left the Congregation. It was a complicated time for her. She met her future husband after leaving the Congregation and the two were married in 1976 and moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

Bob and Sharon enjoyed a happy marriage and had interesting careers. For some time, they lived in New Orleans, where Sharon worked at Tulane University and Bob was a DRE. During this time, Bob went to nursing school, leading them to move to Sacramento, California.  

It was then that Sharon took her vast experience and started her own company, Leadership Directions. She planned and managed conventions and trade shows, designed and presented hundreds of professional development workshops, and facilitated strategic planning sessions. In time, Bob and Sharon moved to Palm Springs, where they lived the rest of Sharon’s life. Sharon became very involved in the local arts council.

Sharon was always busy. At the funeral of former Secretary of State Madelaine Albright, former President Bill Clinton said that Madelaine was a “fully realized human,” which also describes Sharon Foley Bock. Sharon answered the needs of her community, her family, friends, and the Congregation. She was very skilled at teaching, art, and grant writing.

Sharon joined Associate Life in 2016 after being mentored by the late Sharon Maguire, OP. She quickly became involved in many aspects of Associate Life. Since COVID-19, Sharon led a group of Associates who still meet every Monday to discuss books or articles on the Dominican Charism. Sharon also taught a formation class to those seeking Associate Life and hosted an evening on lesser-known Dominican Saints. She attended nearly every retreat, workshop, and Zoom call. With her distinctive laugh and cheerful personality, she was a joy to be with.  

Sharon was very concerned about Bob’s declining health. They had no children, but Bob had some siblings, nieces, and nephews. Sharon, who led a class on mobility, fell coming out of her swimming pool and broke her tibia and fibula. She was healing from that accident when death came unexpectedly May 16, 2022. Sharon had a heart attack.  

We will miss her very much. Her Monday group held a beautiful memorial service, written by Associate Judi Engel, and Associate Life also held a Memorial Service on May 26, 2022. Sharon’s funeral was on June 2, 2022, in Palm Springs. May perpetual light shine on Sharon.


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In 1928, Mother’s Day fell on May 13, and the holiday took on a special significance that year when Mary Eileen Zarek, the future Sister Cyrilla, came into the world as the second child, and first daughter, of Michael and Cyrilla (Connor) Zarek.

The Zareks lived on Chicago’s South Side with Cyrilla’s parents, and remained in the family home even after both the Connors died while Mary Eileen was still very young. All the adults were very active in St. Ailbe Parish, and all three of the Zarek children – Patrick,  Mary Eileen, and Cyrilla Frances, who was born seven years after Mary Eileen – attended  the parish school.

The school was staffed at that time by the Nashville Dominicans, and Mary Eileen quickly came to love them, as did her mother, who often drove the Sisters places and frequently allowed Mary Eileen to ride along. Although Mary Eileen went on to be educated by the Franciscan Sisters of Joliet at SS. Peter and Paul High School, and greatly enjoyed her teachers there, when she felt called to religious life it was to the Nashville Dominicans.

Read more about Sister Cyrilla (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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