In Memoriam

Sister Virginia Beattie, OP (John Louise)


To end this rendition of my autobiography I am borrowing a little something I heard and liked. It’s the one about the woman who insisted she be buried in her casket with a fork in her hand. It turns out that her mother, always big on desserts, used to say after a big meal, “Keep ahold of your forks, kids – better surprises are coming!”

This I believe.

Virginia Louise Beattie, source of the above paragraph, was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, on March 16, 1932, to John and Mary (Judge) Beatty. She was the youngest of six children, with two brothers (John, known as Jack, and Raymond) and three sisters (Phyllis, Grace, and Barbara).

She wrote in her autobiography that her very Irish (with one Scottish grandfather in the mix) family loved to sing, dance, and tell stories. Mary could play the piano and mandolin by ear, and one of Sister Virginia’s earliest memories was of her mother singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” in the car on the way to Hampton Beach.

As a child Virginia herself loved music to the point that she was always whistling, humming, or singing. This apparently irritated her sisters, who would ask her if she always had to do that, and much later in life she found a song that expressed why the answer to their question was yes: “How Can I Keep From Singing?” – which was sung at her funeral.

She attended elementary school at St. Joseph School in Waltham, where she was taught by the Notre Dame de Namur Sisters. Her high school years were spent first at St. Mary High School in Waltham, and later at St. Mary High School and then Edison High School in Miami, Florida, as the family spent their winters there.

One fateful event took place during her younger days and another one occurred when she was a high school student. As a child, she was taken to Mass by her brother Jack, who was her godfather, and one Sunday a Maryknoll priest was there to give a mission appeal. Jack signed her up for a subscription to the Maryknoll magazine, and over the subsequent years the publication played a role in sparking her interest in religious life.

The high-school era event took place when she attended Mass at Barry College (University) with her parents one day and met several Adrian Dominican Sisters. This led her to decide she wanted to attend Barry.

Read more about Sister Virginia (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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