In Memoriam

Sister Maria (Maria Amabilis) Riley, OP

Sister Maria Riley, OP(1933-2023)

On September 10, 1933, a group of children ranging in age from two to thirteen marched down the block in their Crystal Lake, Illinois, neighborhood, carrying a sign referring not to the National Recovery Act that had recently come into being but to a more personally momentous event. The sign read “NRA: ’Nother Riley Arrived.”

That “’ Nother Riley” was Helen Virginia, the future Sister Maria Riley. She was the eighth and final child of William and Helen (McCullough) Riley, joining siblings William, Mary Jane, Fred, Bob, Phil, Jim, and Tom.

All the children attended St. Thomas the Apostle School in Crystal Lake, which the Springfield Dominican Sisters staffed. Apparently, the Springfield Sisters had their eyes on Helen right from the start; Sister Maria wrote in her autobiography – which she titled “A Life Worth Living” – that, according to legend, when she was baptized, she was taken up to the altar of the Blessed Mother by Sister (later Mother) Mary Imelda Sudden of the Springfield congregation. Sister Imelda “prayed that I would become a Dominican,” Sister Maria wrote. “She just forgot to mention which kind.”

Helen’s Adrian Dominican connection was sealed when she enrolled for her high school education at Mount St. Mary Academy in St. Charles, Illinois. After graduating from “the Mount” in 1951, she went on to Barry College (University) in Miami, Florida. She had been there less than one academic year when she began making arrangements to enter the Congregation.

Read more about Sister Maria (PDF)

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

Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)

Vigil and Funeral Recordings

Recording of Sister Maria's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)

Recording of Sister Maria's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)


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Avatar  Catherine Broussea 6 months agoReply

Maria, my mentor and friend. She listened and invited me into the Congregation. She recognized qualities within me I did not know I possessed. She inspired me and countless others to think differently, to risk, to speak out, to take action, to stretch my notion of what love is to include those in need. When I left, she helped me stay connected. Her courage and service to the people and places where she ministered are legendary. She anchored our mission group with the serious and the humorous. Maria loved to work hard and have fun, to break bread and sip wine. May she abide in countless blessing and serenity.... Catherine

Avatar  Joan Dameron Carson 6 months agoReply

Sister wore her religious name beautifully for she emulated Mary as an admirable and marvelous woman.
She as generous, caring, talented and always a joyful presence.
My deepest condolences to the Sisters in Adrian and to all who will mourn her passing.

Her memory will always remain a blessing.

Avatar  Rosemary Bonadies (Gehoski) 6 months agoReply

Sr. Lorraine Pepin served down in Jupiter, at St. Jude's....wonderful minister of religious education. Sr. Maria Riley, I remember from Barry! Bless ALL!

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