In Memoriam


Rita was a true Dominican artist preacher. Personally, I found her to be a woman of few words but believe she found her voice in the words of our Franciscan Brother, Francis of Assisi. “Preach always. When necessary, use words.” Rita loudly and clearly proclaimed God’s Word through her art of sacred spaces. These chapels and churches are “living examples” of her pouring out and sharing the fruits of her contemplation.

All the chapels and churches she designed and built with Barbara were not just buildings but projects whose life force built and sustained communities brought together in the process. … We will never know how many folks enter a chapel or church designed by Rita and Barbara and say to themselves: “This is where I meet God.”

These words from Pat Daly, president of the Dominican Institute for the Arts, were a reflection upon the life of Sister Rita Schiltz, who with Sister Barbara Chenicek designed sacred spaces across the U.S. in their INAI Studio for many years.

Rita Celene Schiltz was born on October 6, 1925, in Chicago to Nicholas and Barbara (Droessler) Schiltz. She was the couple’s fifth child and third daughter.

Nicholas was born on a farm near Bancroft, Iowa, while Barbara was born in Kieler, Wisconsin. Her father, like Nicholas’ father a farmer, found the rocky Kieler soil difficult to till, and bought land near Bancroft – down the road from the Schiltz farm. “Dad would go to the Droessler farm to spend time with the boys, and eventually to court Mom,” Sister Rita wrote in her autobiography.

Read more about Sister Rita (pdf)

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



INAI Studio's 40th Anniversary Celebration, with Sisters Rita Schiltz and Barbara Chenicek at Weber Center Auditorium, June 2, 2013


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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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