In Memoriam

Sister Donna Wencel, OP


Sister Donna Wencel, known as Sister Frederick Mary, was born on a farm near Wayne, Michigan, on December 30, 1928. She was the seventh of nine children born to Frederick and Martha (Klebba) Wencel. Their first-born child, a girl, died at the age of two. In her autobiography, Sister Donna wrote the following about her family:

Our family was poor but rich in love. My parents were always ready to help those who were less fortunate than we were. Many times the walls of our home were stretched to the utmost. I remember when I was in 4th grade, we came home from school and my Mother told my sister and me not to go to our bedroom because we would be sleeping upstairs in the large room with my older sisters. It seems that a family in the area had lost their home due to the husband’s illness and they had nowhere to go so my Mother and Father took the family in. That family consisted of a mother, father and two daughters. They stayed with us for a year and a half.

Read more about Sister Donna (pdf)

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


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Avatar  Amanda Miller last yearReply

I have so many wonderful memories of Sister Donna. You have touched my soul and taught me so many wonderful things. I truly believe sister Donna is the Guardian angel of my son. She has blessed me with hope and courage and has played a huge part in the woman I am today. Thank you Sister Donna and thank you for giving me the light. I will always remember you in the highest! I will teach my son how to draw a pig with the O’s and W’s and how to play dominoes. Thank you for everything. You are miss never forgotten and absolutely loved.
I can’t thank you enough.

Avatar  Robert Stefanick 7 years agoReply

My cousin, Fr. John Sullivan, told me this summer that Sr. Donna Wrncel was a distant relative of our mothers family. I had wrote a letter in August to Sr. Donna Wencel to tge address I had gotten in San Diego. The letter came back with no known forwzrding address. I woukd like to find out more about her ancestry in looking for proof of our relation as my grandmother's maiden name was Klebba. Also her Aunt may be the Felician Sister Iwona (Yvonne) Anna Klebba.

May Sister Donna Wencel rest in peace!

Avatar  Editor 7 years agoReply

Hi, Robert. Her obituary contains the majority of the information, but you may be able to get additional info about Sister Donna from our Office of Information at (517) 266-3570.

Avatar  Suellen Tobe 7 years agoReply

I grew up knowing Sister Fredrick Mary (Donna Wencle). Her mother and father took my mother (Lucy A. Barry Ryder) in, to comfort her, the day that my grandmother (Lucy A. Kelly Barry) died in 1939. Both families lived on Hix Road in Wayne, Michigan. My mother never got over the loss of her mother. Our families were life long friends. We visited the farm on Hix Road in Wayne Michigan many times. Sister Donna inspired me to be a Dominican nun as I was growing up in Dearborn. My grandmother inspired me to be a nurse. I opted to be a nurse and have a family. I moved my mother to Chicago in 2001 to be near her granddaughter (Theresa / Tara) and 3 great grandchildren (Kyle, Valerie & Natalie). My mom became bedridden November 8, 2016 after an active life. She transitioned on April 3, 2017. I was looking to notify Sister Donna and found that they are already together. We are laying my mother to rest April 18, 2017 at St. Mary's Cemetery in Wayne, MI after her funeral Mass at Sacred Heart in Dearborn. Love you always, Susan (Suellen) Ryder Tobe

Avatar  Rebecca Benish 7 years agoReply

Rebecca Boss-Benish
March 6 at 4:17pm
S. Donna had a smile that lit up the room. She was A kind and compassionate lady. I will miss her very much! When you're a caregiver you know that you want to assist your Sister with all that she needs to have the best care for her remaining days. But often people don't think of what the Sisters give back to us I have gained so much knowing S. Donna, she showed me how to be a better person and caregiver.. She showed me by example to be kind, loving and respectful to others! God Bless S. Donna I will visit you again in your rose garden in heaven! Love you! Becca!

Avatar  Kathleen Clausen 7 years agoReply

Sister Donna was my soul sister, my best friend. She is an extraordinary woman and has left her indomitable spirit on many. Love you, my sweet Donna.

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