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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)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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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.