In Memoriam

Sister Therese DeCanio, OP (Thomas Frances)


Sister Therese DeCanio, formerly known as Sister Thomas Frances, died on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 90 years of age and in the 72nd year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Therese was born in Chicago to Anthony and Frances (Liana) DeCanio. She graduated from Aquinas Dominican High School in Chicago and received a bachelor’s  degree in history from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian, a master’s degree in history from DePaul University in Chicago, and a master’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.  

Sister Therese ministered in elementary education for 14½ years in Rockwood, Detroit, Port Huron, Escanaba, and Iron Mountain, Michigan; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Harvey and Oak Park, Illinois. She ministered in secondary education for 45 years in Elgin, Rockford, Lombard, Wilmette, and Chicago, Illinois, including teaching for five years at Regina Dominican High School, an institution of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and for 30 years at St. Ignatius College Prep School in Chicago. 

Sister Therese became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in Adrian in 2017. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Joseph. She is survived by a sister, Loretta Murphy of Crystal Lake, Illinois; loving nieces and nephews; and her Adrian Dominican Sisters. 

Due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols, the Dominican Life Center is closed until further notice to all guests or visitors. All are welcome to participate in Sister’s wake and funeral via live stream.

The Vigil Prayer will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 22, 2021, in St. Catherine Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Prayers of Committal will be held in the back of St. Catherine Chapel.

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian.


Sister's Prayer Card (PDF)


Vigil for Sister Therese

Worship Aid (PDF)

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Funeral for Sister Therese

Worship Aid (PDF)

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.



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Avatar  Alice Carlson last weekReply

Rest In Peace Sr. Thomas Francis. You were such an inspiration for me and I will always be grateful for the stern but motivational messages you gave me at Montini (which is a nice way of saying you gave me several do better talks). I enjoyed your classes and felt the powerful impact you gave us on the history of WWII and the dangers of communism. You made a difference in my life and I will be forever grateful.

Avatar  Craig 2 weeks agoReply

A sacrificial life lived to serve so many others. Thank you for honoring this generous woman who gave so much to bless others. Particularly appreciated the personal interview of Sister Therese sharing her call to serve and how different and challenging the times were when she accepted her life of service. I only knew her family but through them all, realize how much she was a gift from the Lord.

Avatar  Jack Reidy 3 weeks agoReply

I had Sr. Therese for AP Econ senior year at Ignatius. She and I had substantially different economic philosophies. Our first semester final was an assignment to write an essay on a paper by a strongly capitalist author. I chose to write my essay explaining, point by point, why I thought his approach was immoral. When returning papers, Sr. Therese said to the class "I want to be clear that your grades are not based on whether or not I agree with you. For example, Jack, you did quite well. I respect your opinions. I don't agree with any of them, but I respect them." Sure enough, I had gotten a very good grade and a paper covered in comments. I think that summarizes my interactions with her well. She had strongly held beliefs, but at the end of the day what she cared about most was teaching people to learn and to think for themselves.

Avatar  Aggie DiGiovanni Cipolla 3 weeks agoReply

Sister was an inspiration, a great teacher, and a good friend. Even after graduation from Muldoon High, Class of 1969, in later years we would talk on the phone and our conversations were not only fun but filled with her wisdom and compassion. On my first day at Muldoon I remember being so afraid of her but soon came to love her. May God hold her in the palm of His hand and grant her eternal peace.

Avatar  Meg Kay-Stacey 3 weeks agoReply

Sr. Therese taught me US History and AP Macro while I was at St. Ignatius (Class of 1999). She was tough, but she was an amazing teacher. I will always remember her fondly, especially her "academic high fives." I enjoyed watching the YouTube interview with her; it brought back memories of her laugh, which had not changed a bit. May she rest in peace.

Avatar  David French 3 weeks agoReply

Sister Therese was an authentic person who prepared me for life. She was one of my toughest and rewarding teachers during my 19 years of schooling. Her prayers and personal stories shared during economics class planted seeds that led me to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

Avatar  Siobhain Treacy 3 weeks agoReply

Blessed to have known Sr. Therese. She was an amazing educator. She was motivating and she made me want to try harder. She knew how to connect with people.
May you rest in peace.

Avatar  Paris Schutz 3 weeks agoReply

Sister Therese DeCanio taught my senior year Macroeconomics course at St. Ignatius. She was the best and most impactful teacher I've ever had. She was invested in each and every one of her students. But her students had to come prepared: she was tough, rigorous, and could call on you at any moment in class. At the beginning of the year, I answered a lot of questions wrong and received subpar test scores. One day, I got an exam back with a big, bright "A" on it. I looked up at Sister Therese at the front of the class and she looked back at me, beaming. "It's about time," she said. She gave that type of special attention to everyone. She knew instinctively that I had underperformed to that point, that I had worked hard, and that it had finally paid off. A subject that had been challenging and opaque all of a sudden made perfect sense to me. I received an A in her class and aced the AP exam. You could tell that teaching was a calling for her, and that it came from a very deep and spiritual place. She was on a mission to push every student to achieve their best, to prepare them for college and life. If she had that kind of impact on me, think of the collective impact on the thousands and thousands of students she taught throughout her marvelous career. The world is much better for her having been in it. I wish to express my deepest sympathies to her family for their loss.

Avatar  John Troy 3 weeks agoReply

I am sorry to hear the sad news. Sr. Therese was my economics teacher at St. Ignatius and inspired me to pursue a career in business. I will be forever grateful to her. She will be missed.

John Troy

Avatar  Margarita Levasseur 3 weeks agoReply

Sister Therese was my US History Teacher . She was a lot of fun because while she lectured , she would cold call on students and you better be ready to answer when she asked or you got a consequence to remember . My favorite memory is when she threw water out of her cup at a kid who sat nearby me because he didn’t do his homework. I also remember her saying she would do a headstand the day that the class all scored 100% on the tests . Most important were some of the lessons she did engrain in us such as “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” She was humble . She was tough . She was one to remember ! Rest In Peace , Sister Therese !

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Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance. 

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