In Memoriam


Sister Maurine Barzantni, OP (John Marmion)

Sister Maurine (John Marmion) Barzantni, OP

(1938-2021)

Maurine was such an inspiration for me. She was such a gentle woman of faith who always said “yes” when led by God to do something. She was loved by everyone she met as she always made that person feel important. She was loyal and encouraging and did not like to be the center of attention. … There are fingerprints that people leave but there are also heart prints. Maurine left heart prints on everyone she met and she will be missed and remembered by many including my own family.

These words were part of a tribute to Sister Maurine Barzantni written after her death by Kathy Armstrong of Ontario, Canada, whose family had known and ministered with Sister Maurine for more than twenty-six years.

Sister Maurine was born on March 26, 1938, in Chicago to Joseph and Grace (Hitney) Barzantni. She was the couple’s sixth child, although only three survived infancy: Naydine, born in 1932; Joe, born in 1933; and Maurine.

“The truth is that I was a child greatly loved by my family,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I was an unexpected baby, born six years after my mother was told she could have no more children. My brother, Joseph, and my sister, Naydine, tell me that everyone made a great deal of fuss over my birth.”

The Barzantnis lived on Chicago’s South Side, and Maurine’s early schooling was at St. Clara School. When she was in sixth grade the family moved to St. Laurence Parish, but Maurine found the school there so “large and unfriendly” compared to St. Clara that she was allowed to take the Illinois Central train back to her former school with its much smaller classes. This arrangement only lasted two years, however, because Grace decided it was too dangerous for her youngest child to be commuting alone to grade school, and so in the middle of eighth grade Maurine returned to St. Laurence. It was here that she first got to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Read more about Sister Maurine (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  Tom Berry last monthReply

I met Maurine through Renée, my cousin. Over the years we had many happy meetings, often at the Abbey of Gethsemani, celebrating both Renée's and her brother, Br. René's jubilees, 75th birthdays if not family reunions. One year Renée and Maurine flew out to New Jersey where I was living at the time and, joined by my mother (Renée's first cousin and babysitter), we went to Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, then on to a Yankees baseball game. What fun we had....

Two years ago I had the opportunity to come to Adrian and, for the first time, visit Renée's grave. I mourned with Maurine as Renée and her brother were wonderful influences in my life. I miss them deeply and feel greater loss now as Maurine was my last strong connection to Renée.

We spoke of Dominican spirituality as well as Renée's last days. I felt that there was something deep that I had missed and asked her. She confirmed that Renée had a strong contemplative spirit, no doubt influenced in part by her Trappist brother. Maurine gave me two books to read (Ilia Delio's "The Emergent Christ" and Jean Denomme's "Where is This God of Yours?") to further answer my question. I was looking forward to meeting her once again to discuss them.

I moved to France for retirement nearly three years ago to a little village called Montréal, only five miles from Fanjeaux and famous for St. Dominic having visited here in 1206 to negotiate a settlement with the Cathars on behalf of Pope Innocent III. I invited Maurine to visit but the COVID pandemic got in the way.

I am grateful for the Dominican and Cistercian ways of life that taught me so much. I am proud to have been able to call them family and friends. As role models, I couldn't have had better.

May Maurine rest in God's peace. She "fought the good fight" and is no doubt enjoying the reward.



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