In Memoriam

Sister Mary D. O’Connor, OP

Sister Mary D. O'Conner(1932-2016)

Sister Mary D. O’Connor, baptized Gertrude Dorothea, was born on February 22, 1931, in Paterson, New Jersey. She was the youngest of three girls born to George and Gertrude (Patten) O’Connor. Ann and Katherine were her two sisters. Her father, who was born in Chaumont, New York, was employed as a mechanical engineer. Her mother was born in Lorain, Ohio.   

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Avatar  Sally O'Connor 7 years agoReply

At last I found Dorothea. I have been working on a family genealogy. Dorothea had contacted our relative Marguerite back in 1987 an she and her sister had received an amazing amount of family history. Dorothea had sent that to my Aunt Willie Maude O'Connor who was trying to complete the genealogy. Unfortunately her eyesight became worse and worse and she never finished it.

I have worked on the genealogy on and off for over 50 years - but never knew about what my aunt was doing until after she had died a few years ago and I was asking her son what he knew about the O'Connors. He gave me copies of the letters. I have put the information into my own style of genealogy charts.
I knew Dorothea existed because of the letters and because my grandfather spoke of her. I have been searching ever since. I just returned yesterday from a visit to Girard, Youngstown, and Warren, Ohio trying to find some information. I found the small front page story about her father's death in NYC. This was helpful because it told me who his wife was and when he had died and that he had three children.

Then I went to the Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown and located the graves of Malachi and Katherine and George Kemple (her father) and Ann. I now believe this must be Dorothea's sister.

All of this put me back on the internet to try to find everybody because I now knew they lived in Illinois. I found her sister Katherine's obituary which listed a MARY Dorothea and that she lived in Adrian, Michigan and that brought me to this wonderful information. Thank you so much for all of her history. This should complete Malachi's family for me. I certainly wish I had made this connection earlier so I could have met Dorothea and thank her personally. I could have shown her the pictures I have taken - especially of the O'Connor graves at the Rural Cemetery in Oswego, NY. Her note said she would love to be able to go see them.

My grandfather was the son of James O'Connor, second oldest brother of Malachi.

Thank you and God bless.
Sally O'Connor

Avatar  Jim Dillavou 6 years agoReply

Sister Mary D O'Connor was my aunt and we loved her dearly. She was very dedicated to her calling and to teaching and she and Sister Thomas Leo took turns as principal at Visitation for many years.. Her sister Katherine was my mother. To Sally O'Connor, I would be interested in hearing more about the genealogy you have learned and filling in details that we may have. You can reach me at jadill.... at yahoo dot com. Although we lived downstate (Champaign), we enjoyed our many trips to visit her and all her sisters in the convents at St. Phillp Neri, St Columbanus and Elmhurst Visitation.

Avatar  Joseph Slovinec 7 years agoReply

Thanks to Sister Alfred Irene or Ms. Carol Lackner for the comments about Sister Mary O'Connor at St. Columbanus. Sister Alfred Irene helped make me famous when she told everyone I could write sentences in 2nd grade about the Presidents of the United States after I memorized them in a few weeks after I read a book about them on October 30, 1965. It was also the year of Pope Paul VI's visit to the U.S, and my First Communion with a Thanksgiving party at my Grandmother Folliard's house.
It seems we only have my past Principal Sister Patricia McCarty and Sister Kieran Therese Quirke (uncertain if she is in Burbank and Adrian) surviving among past nuns who I can remember in administration or teaching me at Queens. Your picture of Sister Mary still looks different from the face of Sister Mary O'Connor who taught me at Queen of Apostles in the 8th grade Class of 1972: yet the Sisters said it is her.
I would welcome any news about Ms. Carol Lackner: I had a candid talk with my aunt. Sister Dorothy Folliard, who told me she and Ms. Judy Apple left the community. We are pleased Sister Dorothy receives a fine spiritual atmosphere and care in Adrian after these many years. We could welcome her reflections on the Catholic Church during Barack Obama's Presidency and I told a Notre Dame group last week Barack worked at Holy Rosary Church in Chicago in 1985, three miles north of Queen of Apostles Church in Riverdale. .This year is more like my later years at Queens with uncertain times of Vatican II changes and calls for peace, I send prayers and best wishes.

Avatar  carol lackner tierney 7 years agoReply

Mary D was the principal at St. Columbanus when I was assigned there as Sister Alfred Irene. When she stepped away from the principal's role, I (then Sister Carol Ann/Alfred Irene) assumed the role of principal and Mary D remained superior of the house. She was the kindest, most unassuming, and wholly accepting person to love. Her open mindedness during these years of internal and social change allowed me to stretch the limits of our rules so I could minister more freely within the St. Columbanus parish community with few binds on how or where I did this ministry. Her smile, her nod, her comforting acceptance of me and the sometimes unusual requests I made endeared her to me. I once asked her to let me bring in the "loose" young children I found after dark outside in the park across the street. or just playing nearby. One of them, five year old Benji, was a regular in the third floor bathtub. Sometimes, when Benji's mother was still not home, Benji ,all clean and fed, slept in one of our empty rooms. Mary D was truly a champion of change to allow a sister like me to push the limits. She is remembered with love. That smile of hers puts another ray of light in that blessed place where she now lives.

Avatar  Joseph Slovinec 7 years agoReply

She was my Science teacher at Queen of Apostles: now I'm sure and again sorry she died.

With prayers, Joseph Slovinec

Avatar  Joseph Slovinec 7 years agoReply

Thanks again, Sisters, for your response to my comment.. With a few pictures of Sister Mary D.O'Connor. I'm about 100% sure she was not my 8th grade teacher in 1971-1972 at Queen of Apostles, Sister Mary O'Connor (in her case, Mary was her given or real name and Sister De Montfort was her religious name, (she was never named Gertrude) None of the pictures from 1954 to 1994 of Sister Mary D. O'Connor match my teacher's face. Yet they both served in Riverdale and Elmhurst: Sister Mary D. O'Connor could have easily served at Queen of Apostles in Riverdale, Il, in the era of 1953-1964 before I started and when you had the largest amount of nuns. If my 8th grade teacher is still alive, I would welcome news about her.
I still welcome giving you condolences: I should say more prayers for your Adrian Dominican Sisters' community.

Joseph G. Slovinec Jr.
425 2nd St., N.W.,, Washington, D.C. 20001

Avatar  Editor 7 years agoReply

Hi Joseph,
We have some updated information for you: Her baptismal name was Gertrude. When she made reception in 1948, she was given the religious name Sister Mary de Montfort. In the late 1960s, we were given the option of no longer using our religious names, and she asked to be known as Sister Mary D. O’Connor. She was a seventh and eighth grade teacher in Science at Queen of Apostles in Riverdale from 1970 to 1972.

Avatar  Joseph Slovinec 7 years agoReply

I read your obituaries. I give condolences on the death of Sister Mary O;Connor. Yet the face in the picture does not seem to match my 8th grade teacher, Sister Mary O'Connor, who also served in Elmhurst yet she had an earlier name of Sister de Montfort Please clarify if the two Sisters were differing: Mary O'Connor was my great-grandmother's name.
In any events, I send condolences and prayers for Sister Mary O'Connor and your deceased Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2015 and so far in 2016.

Joseph Slovinec, 4254 2nd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001 Feb. 7, 2016

Avatar  News Editor 7 years agoReply

Hi Joseph. Thank you for your comment. Sister Mary D. O’Connor was formerly known as Gertrude D. O’Connor.

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