In Memoriam

Sister Mary Willard Reagan, OP


Elizabeth Reagan’s first visit to Adrian, which came in 1933 when she was eight years old, coincided with Mother Gerald Barry’s election as Mother General of the Congregation. “She came out on the porch of Madden Hall and I was ushered into her presence by one of the nuns,” she wrote in her life story. “Mother put her hands on my head and asked me if I were going to be a Sister. Without any hesitancy, I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ I am sure the whole matter was settled that day.”

Elizabeth, the future Sister Mary Willard, was born on May 10, 1925, in Detroit, to Willard and Mary Agnes (Dixon) Reagan. The couple’s first two children, twin boys, died at birth; Elizabeth was born four years later, followed in time by Willard and Eugenie.

“I did things early and possessed a strong will,” she wrote. “My parents said later they were glad I was attracted to good, since I might have gotten into trouble otherwise.”

Read more about Sister Mary Willard (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  Barbara J Parker (Urso ) 3 years agoReply

I adored Sister Willard! I graduated from Detroit Dominican High School in 1965, and she was a a joy! Her excitement and energy and her sense of humor were inspiring and helped to develop my lifelong passion for History, Politics, and Government. I always looked forward to her classes! She was a warm, kind person, and always a bit irreverent about our politics. God bless her!

Avatar  Jeannine Elliott 3 years agoReply

Sister Willard taught American history at St Ambrose. I was in her class in 1961. What a wonderful teacher and great person she was. She had a zest for life and was loved by everyone who knew her. Rest In Peace Sister

Avatar  Patricia Bruce 3 years agoReply

Sr. Mary Willard was WONDERFUL! I attended Rosary High School & Graduated in 1971. Angie's remembrance was right on!
I want to Thank You for making this available. I enjoyed this tremendously! Thank you also to Sr. Peg (who was a neighbor in my condo community) for your interviews with all the Nuns. I also was glad to hear that Sr. Willard had been a member of Precious Blood on Detroit, That was where I grew up & where I learned about "community" being so important. No wonder I thought she was such a wonderful Principal, Teacher, Role Model & Person! I was blessed to have had 12 years of Dominican Nuns help lead me in life & Faith.

Avatar  Claudia Welbes 3 years agoReply

I was privileged to work with Sr. Willard at St. Alphonsus. She had a quick wit, an amazing memory, and a love for her Dominican family. I recall fondly the many times Sr. Willard shared her stories with us. I admire, in particular, the strength and faithfulness she had in the face of illness. God, who began good work in you has brought it to completion. Rest in peace Sr. Willard.

Avatar  Mark Wisniewski 3 years agoReply

Sr. Willard had many titles. Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Teacher, Counselor to name a few. To me the title Friend fits best. Always a pleasure to talk to and interact with. A remarkable personality, she always made you feel welcome and conversation was never strained. Your work on Earth has ended but will never be forgotten. Rest well good and faithful servant. May God bless you and all who will miss you.

Avatar  Renee Zenteno Diaz 3 years agoReply

May God bless you Sister Willard in His Kingdom. Thank you Sister for teaching us and your patience with me as your student at Saint Alphonsus. Rest in peace dear Sister Willard ❤ You left your mark on our hearts in this world and illalways be thankful.

Avatar  Tim Westfall 3 years agoReply

I will remember her in prayer.

Avatar  Pam (Peiffer) Bullock 3 years agoReply

Sister Willard was a wonderful person and steadfast pillar during my youth at St. Alphonsus. All of my memories of her are with a great fondness. She made an impact on everyone she met. My condolences to her family and will keep you in my prayers.

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