In Memoriam


Sister Mary Margaret Beh

(1920-2021)

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)

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 Helen Wilson

(1936-2020)

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)

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).


(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. 

 

Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).


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. 

 

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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