In Memoriam


(1925-2021)

I began experiencing my happy memories of this witty, with-it, joyful, spirited attitude who often answered you with a humorous response that had nothing to do with what she heard. She had a way of being funny which kept you off your guard. She offered her joyful spirit to anyone who took time to be engaged with her such as she was.

I often wondered what it was like when she taught the younger ones – caring, happy in spirit, aware of each child in his or her own space.

In this remembrance, Sister Joan Schroeder was sharing her memories of Sister Marie Rosanna Flanagan, whose gentle, happy nature was evident even in her later years as memory loss took its toll.

Sister Rosanna was born on July 25, 1925, in Detroit to John and Katherine (Coughlin) Flanagan. John was an Irish immigrant, while Katherine was born in Ontario, Canada, but came from Irish stock herself. According to Sister’s life story, John, whose job for the city was to cut and finish the curbing as Detroit’s neighborhoods expanded and sidewalks were installed, was a quintessential Irish storyteller. “The children of the neighborhood would sit on our porch and front stairs to hear his stories,” she said.

Read more about Sister Marie Rosanna (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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Sister Maurine (John Marmion) Barzantni, OP

(1938-2021)

Maurine was such an inspiration for me. She was such a gentle woman of faith who always said “yes” when led by God to do something. She was loved by everyone she met as she always made that person feel important. She was loyal and encouraging and did not like to be the center of attention. … There are fingerprints that people leave but there are also heart prints. Maurine left heart prints on everyone she met and she will be missed and remembered by many including my own family.

These words were part of a tribute to Sister Maurine Barzantni written after her death by Kathy Armstrong of Ontario, Canada, whose family had known and ministered with Sister Maurine for more than twenty-six years.

Sister Maurine was born on March 26, 1938, in Chicago to Joseph and Grace (Hitney) Barzantni. She was the couple’s sixth child, although only three survived infancy: Naydine, born in 1932; Joe, born in 1933; and Maurine.

“The truth is that I was a child greatly loved by my family,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I was an unexpected baby, born six years after my mother was told she could have no more children. My brother, Joseph, and my sister, Naydine, tell me that everyone made a great deal of fuss over my birth.”

The Barzantnis lived on Chicago’s South Side, and Maurine’s early schooling was at St. Clara School. When she was in sixth grade the family moved to St. Laurence Parish, but Maurine found the school there so “large and unfriendly” compared to St. Clara that she was allowed to take the Illinois Central train back to her former school with its much smaller classes. This arrangement only lasted two years, however, because Grace decided it was too dangerous for her youngest child to be commuting alone to grade school, and so in the middle of eighth grade Maurine returned to St. Laurence. It was here that she first got to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Read more about Sister Maurine (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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(1935-2021)

In December 1959, a twenty-four-year-old graduate student at The Catholic University of America, Mary Elizabeth Gaiss, wrote to Mother Gerald Barry seeking entrance to the Congregation.

“I have always had a very strong attraction toward the life and work of a nun and this has become even stronger since I have talked with the Dominicans,” she wrote, explaining that she had been guided toward Dominican life by Sister Marie Carolyn Harrison, who was at the Adrian Dominican House of Studies at the time. Sister Marie Carolyn also suggested that she speak with a particular Dominican priest, but Sister Betty always thought of Sister Marie Carolyn as playing the key role.

“She was good to everyone and included me in many things, so that I got to meet lots of people. That was a very significant time in my life,” Sister Betty said in her 2019 “A Sister’s Story” video.

By the time she wrote to Mother Gerald, Elizabeth, better known as Betty, had already earned an undergraduate degree from New York State College for Teachers (in 1957) and taught science and math on the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade levels. Wanting to be able to teach higher grades, she had enrolled at Catholic University in order to earn her master’s in chemistry … but, as her letter to Mother Gerald shows, God had other plans for her than to remain a lay teacher.

Read more about Sister Mary Elizabeth (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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(1934-2021)

February 14, 1934, was a special day in the small town of Winslow, Arizona, for three reasons: it was Valentine’s Day, it was the twenty-second anniversary of Arizona statehood, and it was the day Joseph and Lillian (Bueter) Wetzel welcomed their first child, Frances.

Joseph was born in Monroe, Louisiana, while Lillian was a native of Charlestown, Indiana. The couple met in Winslow and married in 1932, and in time three children came into the family: Frances, Betty, and Joe. Joseph was a postal carrier and on occasion allowed Frances to ride along when he delivered mail to the nearby Navajo reservation so she could play with some of the children as he made his rounds.

“Growing up in a small town is the best way to experience childhood,” Sister Frances wrote in her life story. “When the nation was going through war and depression, the whole town pulled together and looked after each other. Everybody knew everybody. This is where I developed my fondness for the Navajo people.”

She first came to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1939, when Sister Mary Luke Kinstle and three other sisters arrived in Winslow to open a catechetical center. The Sisters also provided a kindergarten and music lessons, and although Frances was old enough for first grade her mother enrolled her in the kindergarten so as to help the Sisters financially.

Read more about Sister Frances (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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