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County Mayo and County Armagh in Ireland were the birthplaces of, respectively, Michael and Elizabeth (Dowdall) Cooney, the parents of Sister Leontia Cooney.
Michael and Elizabeth came to Canada, where both had family, in order to marry, and then moved to Detroit, where Michael got a job with the Ford Motor Company. The couple had four children: Patrick; Mary; Leontia (who came to be known simply as “Lee”), who was born on December 30, 1937; and Michael.
All the children had their primary education with the Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Edward School, where in second grade Lee had her first thoughts about religious life when her teacher, Sister Fabian Jacyna, talked to the children about what Sisters did and the relationship they had to God.
Her junior and senior years of high school were spent at St. Mary’s Commercial School, run by the IHM Sisters. Her father wanted her to attend the commercial school because he thought secretarial work was a good, stable job for young women, and when Lee told her parents she wanted to become an Adrian Dominican Sister, he was hesitant. Her mother’s response, however, was that if that was what she wanted to do, they needed to support her.
Read more about Sister Leonita (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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