In Memoriam


Sister Mary Irene Wischmeyer, OP (Edward Irene)

(1926-2021)

In 1926, only around 830 people lived in the small town of Shepherd, Michigan, located in Isabella County about an hour north of Lansing. Among those residents were the Wischmeyer family, to which Alfreda Mary Irene, the future Sister Mary Irene, was born on August 24 of that year.

Edward and Irene (Siefker) Wischmeyer had five surviving children: Mary Irene, who was the second oldest, and four boys, Maurice, Melvin, Norman, and Amos, who would go on to become a priest. Another daughter was stillborn.

When Mary Irene was three years old the family moved to Lansing, where Edward became a foreman at the Motor Wheel Corporation. Her file does not record when he actually got this job, but a short biography written in 1989 mentions that during the Depression years her parents refused welfare benefits, choosing instead to work in the fields alongside migrant workers.

But whatever her family’s circumstances, Mary Irene had a happy childhood. “Our family was almost a community in itself, a close, loving community,” she said in a 1995 interview that served as her autobiography. A self-described tomboy, she loved sports, playing tennis and softball and enjoying ice-skating as well. Her competitive streak also showed up in the times she and one of her brothers carried buckets of cucumbers through the neighborhood, vying to see who could sell the most.

Read more about Sister Mary Irene (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  Dan Sagert 10 months agoReply

Sister Edward Irene could be a tough cookie...However I knew a different side to her....she was always kind to me and to my family during our time together at Holy Name. I got into my my fair share of trouble and we did have our confrontations but she always sat me down and explained why I should shape up. She recognized talents and traits that I didn't at that time, and she helped me to grow as a person. Holy Name was a pretty special time and I have incredible memories of my friends and the Sisters who helped us through. Thank you Sister Edward Irene. Peace on your next journey.

Avatar  Jennifer Pavlat 10 months agoReply

Dear Sisters, family and friends of Sister Irene,

My heart goes out to each of you for the loss of Sr. Irene. You are in my prayers.

I met Sr. Irene when I lived in Adrian from 2006 until 2012. I had several Golden Retrievers (Toby, Maverick, Ollie, Bailey, and Logan) who were certified Therapy Dogs. It was a highlight of my life when I would take my dogs (one at a time, of course) to visit the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. One Sister, Sr. Irene, was a favorite of mine. She loved when the dogs came around and she anxiously awaited our visits. Most of the time she was seated in her wheelchair when we came, but occasionally, she was lying down in bed. If Sr. Irene was in bed when we arrived, she would immediately grab the remote control and lower her bed to the ground. She would then pat the side of her bed and encourage the dog to join her! She was such a delightful person with a bright smile and warm heart. I have a beautiful photo from a visit I enjoyed with Sr. Irene in August of 2012 when she had big old Logan lying at her side. I'm pretty sure my Logan weighed more than she did, but she was glowing with happiness from having him join her. I would happily share this wonderful moment from Sr. Irene's life but I can't figure out how to attach the photo here. Feel free to email me and I can forward it.

My heart is heavy knowing of the recent losses the Dominican Sisters have experienced. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I wish you peace and God's comfort.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Pavlat

Avatar  Jennifer Pavlat 10 months agoReply

Dear Sisters, family and friends of Sister Irene,

My heart goes out to each of you for the loss of Sr. Irene. You are in my prayers.

I met Sr. Irene when I lived in Adrian from 2006 until 2012. I had several Golden Retrievers (Toby, Maverick, Ollie, Bailey, and Logan) who were certified Therapy Dogs. It was a highlight of my life when I would take my dogs (one at a time, of course) to visit the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. One Sister, Sr. Irene, was a favorite of mine. She loved when the dogs came around and she anxiously awaited our visits. Most of the time she was seated in her wheelchair when we came, but occasionally, she was lying down in bed. If Sr. Irene was in bed when we arrived, she would immediately grab the remote control and lower her bed to the ground. She would then pat the side of her bed and encourage the dog to join her! She was such a delightful person with a bright smile and warm heart. I have a beautiful photo from a visit I enjoyed with Sr. Irene in August of 2012 when she had big old Logan lying at her side. I'm pretty sure my Logan weighed more than she did, but she was glowing with happiness from having him join her. I would happily share this wonderful moment from Sr. Irene's life but I can't figure out how to attach the photo here. Feel free to email me and I can forward it.

My heart is heavy knowing of the recent losses the Dominican Sisters have experienced. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I wish you peace and God's comfort.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Pavlat

Avatar  Christine Cassisi 10 months agoReply

Sister Ed was the principal when I attended holy name of Jesus elementary school (Graduated in 1964.) in Detroit. Most the kids called sister “Big Ed”. Sister was very tall and was very disciplined. To her credit mist the kids needed it!
When the Holy Name Facebook page posted her passing there were plenty of reactions. She is actually one of maybe two sisters I remember from those school days. May she RIP. her dedication is greatly appreciated.

Avatar  Irene LeFevre 10 months agoReply

I am sorry for hers family’s loss. I remember her well from Holy Name of Jesus elementary school in Detroit, Michigan. May she Rest In Peace in the arms of our beloved father. 🙏🏻

Avatar  ruth chaney strahan 10 months agoReply

SO SORRY TO HEAR OF SISTER IRENE DEATH. HER MOM, AND MY MOM ARE SISTERS. SHE WILL NOW JOIN THE REST IN PEACE. HEAVEN HAS RECEIVED ANOTHER ANGEL.....RUTH A. {CHANEY} STRAHAN

Avatar  Margaret Fuller 10 months agoReply

Bless her for a long life. 97 years. Hope it was a peaceful end.

I am sure we had her as a teacher either at St. Brigid grade school (50s) or Rosary High ( early 60s). I remember her name and being a good teacher.

RIP Sister
Margaret



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