In Memoriam

Sister Rina Cappellazzo, OP (Jeanne Dominic)


Sister Rina Cappellazzo’s autobiography begins with this proud proclamation: “I am Venetian!” It was “of prime importance,” she went on to explain, for natives of Venice to call themselves Venetian rather than Italian.

And so, it must be noted that both of Rina’s parents, Ernesto and Adele (Mazzaro) Cappellazzo, were born in Venice. Ernesto came to the U.S. twice; the first time, he and the man who would become Rina’s godfather both worked for a time in Kentucky as miners, but eventually they missed their homeland and returned to Venice. Later, the lure of good jobs in America brought Ernesto back, and he found a job as a machinist. He and Adele originally lived in a boarding house in Hamtramck, Michigan, across the street from the General Motors assembly plant there.

The couple had two children: Gino and, five years later on June 26, 1931, Rina. “My mother did not approve of the many American baby names, and because of the length of our surname, I, like my brother, was baptized with [a] short name, Rina,” she wrote.

Italian was the children’s first language. They picked up some English from playing with other children in the neighborhood, including Jeanette Jabour, who would later enter the Congregation. Rina’s autobiography tells of how she pleaded with her mother for a pair of roller skates, only to be repeatedly told no because “it is Depression time.” But one day, Jeanette invited Rina to her house and the two girls each put on one of Jeanette’s skates and took off together down the street.

Read more about Sister Rina (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  Liana Settanni last yearReply

I was so sorry to hear of Sr. Rina's passing. I have such wonderful memories of my years at All Saints Newman Center in the late 70's when she was like a mother to all of us who called the Newman Center our home. She was always energetic loving and encouraging. We also had the special bond of being Venetians. My mother was from Trieste and so we had even our family cultures in common. She came to visit our family home in Cottonwood several times. She will be greatly missed.

Avatar  Fr. Kevin Codd last yearReply

I am very saddened to hear just today of the passing of Sister Rina. I had the privilege of serving with Rina for one year at The American College in Louvain, Belgium. Her sensitive and energetic ministry as Director of Pastoral Formation touched the lives of many young seminarians as she taught them, encouraged them, and shared a lifetime of pastoral wisdom with them. For those of us on the seminary term with her, she was an inspiration as she lived the Gospel among us and shared her wide-open friendship with us. I am so very grateful to God for placing her in my life and for giving me this wonderful and beloved friend. May she enjoy now the fullness of life and love in the Kingdom of God she dedicated her life to making known to us all!
Father Kevin Codd, Spokane, Washington

Avatar  SEENA REID last yearReply


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