In Memoriam

Sister Frances Wetzel, OP (M. Elizabeth Joseph)


February 14, 1934, was a special day in the small town of Winslow, Arizona, for three reasons: it was Valentine’s Day, it was the twenty-second anniversary of Arizona statehood, and it was the day Joseph and Lillian (Bueter) Wetzel welcomed their first child, Frances.

Joseph was born in Monroe, Louisiana, while Lillian was a native of Charlestown, Indiana. The couple met in Winslow and married in 1932, and in time three children came into the family: Frances, Betty, and Joe. Joseph was a postal carrier and on occasion allowed Frances to ride along when he delivered mail to the nearby Navajo reservation so she could play with some of the children as he made his rounds.

“Growing up in a small town is the best way to experience childhood,” Sister Frances wrote in her life story. “When the nation was going through war and depression, the whole town pulled together and looked after each other. Everybody knew everybody. This is where I developed my fondness for the Navajo people.”

She first came to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1939, when Sister Mary Luke Kinstle and three other sisters arrived in Winslow to open a catechetical center. The Sisters also provided a kindergarten and music lessons, and although Frances was old enough for first grade her mother enrolled her in the kindergarten so as to help the Sisters financially.

Read more about Sister Frances (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  Maureen Cavallaro 7 months agoReply

I was a substitute teacher for sr frances at bourgade catholic high school when I first moved to ariz in 1979. Even though I went to st marys high school full time, sr frances was always a friend and mentor.she was sincere, spiritual, funny and always a pleasure to be around. I left st marys in 1991 and no matter where I worked, she always met me with a hug and a smile. I am proud to call her my friend.

Avatar  Connie Bueter 8 months agoReply

I joined the Bueter-Wetzel family 55+ years ago when I married Robert Francis Bueter, Frances’ cousin. Among the many memories of sharing times with Frances was the same date of birth , February 14. We made many trips to Arizona over the years and lived there for two years in the early 90’s. Love and peace to all who shared her life .

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