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On April 10, 1930, a young Chicago couple, Anthony and Frances (Liana) DeCanio, welcomed their first-born child, Therese Genevieve, into the world.
At the time, the little family lived on the second floor of an apartment building owned by three unmarried Irish sisters. These early days of the Depression were difficult, for Anthony – whose occupation is listed as “printer” in later Congregational records – was unemployed at the time of Therese’s birth. But the family’s landladies told him to not worry about the rent until he got a job. “My mother and father often spoke of their kindness,” Sister Therese wrote in her autobiography. “… They were a great gift in my young life as they spent much time reading to me, making pancakes for my breakfast and simply loving me.”
In the years following Therese’s birth, two more children were born, Joseph in 1933 and Loretta in 1938. Therese’s early school years were spent in public school, including Fort Dearborn School when the family moved into a home in St. Kilian Parish the summer before she entered fifth grade.
That move proved pivotal, for she attended CCD classes at St. Kilian. It was her introduction to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and she went on to attend St. Kilian School for sixth grade and then Aquinas Dominican High School. Her parents preferred that she attend high school closer to home, but to her the 45-minute trip to Aquinas was well worth it because she was drawn to the Sisters’ joyful and caring presence.
Read more about Sister Therese (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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