In Memoriam

Sister Joan Kowalski, OP(1941-2024)

On the first day of summer, June 21, 1941, Richard and Margaret (Sheldon) Kowalski of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, welcomed their first child into the world, a girl they named Joan Elizabeth.

Joan would be followed three years later by a boy, Richard. At the time of Joan’s birth, according to her birth certificate, her father was an accountant for the Ferry-Morse Seed Company, but at some point thereafter, he apparently became chief financial officer for the Packard Motor Car Co. According to a story Joan herself told, her father left the company after his advice was not heeded on changes that needed to be made or it would go out of business – and Packard did, indeed, cease operations in the late 1950s.

The family moved to a farm in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, a short distance west of Detroit. Although Richard never actually farmed the land – he worked in real estate and insurance -- it was a perfect place for his children and their friends to play and have all sorts of adventures.

Joan attended grade school first at Gesu in Detroit, then after the family’s move to Whitmore Lake, she attended St. Thomas School in Ann Arbor and then St. Patrick School in Brighton. The latter gave her her first experience with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. When it was time for high school, she came to Adrian to attend St. Joseph Academy.

She had completed her second year as an “Academy girl” when she wrote to Mother Gerald seeking admission to the Congregation. And so it was that on June 26, 1957, after having just marked her sixteenth birthday five days earlier, she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Read more about Sister Joan (PDF)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 

Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)


Vigil and Funeral Recordings

Recording of Sister Joan's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)

Recording of Sister Joan's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)


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. 

Helpful Links

Event Recordings (Video Library)

Dominican School Alumnae/Alumni

Become an Adrian Dominican Associate

What do you have to do to become a Sister?

Share our blog, A Sister Reflects

Sign up for the monthly Veritas newsletter (or view our other publications)

Employment opportunities


We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.


Recent Posts

Read More »