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On February 11, 2022, as Sister Zenaida Nacpil was laid to rest in the Congregation cemetery, she became the first of the former Our Lady of Remedies Sisters to be buried in Adrian rather than their native Philippines. It was to be Sister Zenaida’s last pioneering act in a lifetime filled with them.
Sister Zeny, as she was generally known, was born in Floridablanca, Pampanga, Philippines, on October 9, 1948, to Jose and Rosalinda (Santiago) Nacpil. She was the third of five children in the family; a son, Amado, died shortly after his birth, and then came Blanca; Zenaida; Elisa, also known as Lisa; and Ligaya, or Lily.
She had a happy childhood and was an inquisitive, playful child who knew from a very early age that she was called to a relationship with God. One of her favorite pastimes was to put on a veil and “play nun,” and whenever, even as a toddler, she came up missing, the family knew exactly where to look for her: at the altar, praying with her veil on.
After she graduated from St. Augustine Academy in Pampanga, her pastor, knowing of her interest in religious life, suggested she get to know the then-new community of Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies. She went on to Assumption College, where among her teachers were Adrian Dominican Sisters Mary Philip Ryan and Ellen Vincent McClain. Sisters Mary Philip and Ellen Vincent were assisting the Remedies Sisters in their early development, and Zenaida had not been at Assumption long before she asked to enter that congregation.
Read more about Sister Zenaida (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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Frances Mildred Gagne was born on January 18, 1929, in Detroit, to a large and loving family. As the oldest girl, she was called “the engineer,” while her youngest sister Bonnie became “the caboose.” She died on February 6, 2022, at the age of 93.
Frances entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation at age 20 and remained there for 30 years. She was a teacher and, in time was principal of St. Scholastica of Detroit, a ministry she continued after leaving the Congregation.
Frances never married or had children. When asked why she left the Congregation, she explained that she felt called to care for her parents as they grew older and needed assistance. This she did until both of them died.
The center of her big family, Frances was extremely devoted to her brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. One of her greatest joys was her cottage on Lake Huron. She would invite her guests to swim with her by saying, “Come on in, the water is warm – like bath water!” It really was not.
Frances was a firm but loving principal and several of her former students wrote about her on her memorial page. Many entries spoke of the warm welcome she gave each student. According to her family and the priest who delivered the funeral homily, Frances made it her special mission to empower young girls and would usually take the side of the girls in any dispute against the boys.
She was the cherished sister of the late Harvey (Shirley) Gagne, the late Roger Gagne, Joan (the late Richard) Lyons, Roberta (Raymond) Kamm, the late Carl Gagne, the late Lorna Gagne, the late Joseph (Susan) Gagne, Ronald (Karen) Gagne, Kathleen (Mike) DeNeen, and Bonnie (Paul) Crawley. She was also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Frances liked to have fun. She was involved with several outreach ministries to the poor. Her pastor, Father Randall Phillips, remarked, “Frances wore the Baptismal cloth well and was dedicated to the poor. She thought globally and acted locally."
The memorial Mass for Frances on March 2 was packed. She was so very loved and joy-filled. Frances’ parting words to all of us are captured in a popular poem, author unknown, published on many memorial cards.
I would like to be remembered as a person who was helpful, loved life, and [was] a believer that “a good laugh is better than a dose of medicine.”
That sentence wrapped up the life story of Sister Grace Gianella, and if the memories shared by two family members at her wake service are any indication, she lived up to her goal.
“My Auntie Grace was one of a kind. She was always a joy to be around,” wrote her niece Michelle Gianella. “Anyone who crossed her path was blessed with lots of laughter. She was always happy and very generous.”
“I have many memories of us laughing and sharing a good time together with my Mom and Grandpa,” wrote her great-nephew Dylan Gianella.
Grace Marie Gianella was born June 29, 1941, in Jackson, Michigan, to Angelo and Sadie (Morell) Gianella. She was the middle child of three, following Donna Jean, who was two years older, and preceding Michael, born four years later.
Read more about Sister Grace (PDF)
Sister Ann’s modesty would not want me to spend much time praising her virtues. All I think she would want is to be remembered as a good teacher who had a positive influence on young children. She seemed to have a special way with kids and her eyes would always light up when relating some classroom experience. I think this world needs more Sister Anns. Her compassion, understanding, generosity and love have benefitted us all.
This passage from Ray Jacobsen’s remembrance of his cousin, Sister Ann Kelly, was typical of the way other family and friends remembered her after her death: kind, compassionate, caring, and loving others unconditionally.
These virtues grew within Sister Ann even in the face of a painful childhood. Anna Mae Kelly was born in Chicago on February 11, 1933, to John and Anne (Galvin) Kelly. When she was just five days old her mother died of uremic poisoning contracted in childbirth. It seems from Sister’s Ann’s records that her life was in question as well, for she was baptized the day of her birth by a registered nurse at the hospital. Then, when she was four years old, her father was hit by a car and killed as he crossed the street on his way to work in the Chicago stockyards.
Read more about Sister Ann (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.