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Reflecting on Micah’s words, all that is required is to work for justice, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God; I hope that is what I have accomplished during my lifetime as a person, as an educator, as a friend, and as a member of the Adrian Dominican congregation. I feel privileged to have been a member of the Congregation. I am grateful for the call to praise, to bless and to preach, and all I have experienced as an Adrian Dominican fills my heart with great joy.
Sister Frances Mary Fitzpatrick, from whose autobiography the above passage comes, was the eldest of four children born to Thomas James and Mary Elizabeth (Farrell) Fitzpatrick. Thomas was a fifth-generation Chicagoan, while Mary grew up in New York City until coming to Chicago to attend high school at St. Xavier Academy.
Thomas grew up in St. Kilian Parish, which is how the family connection to the Adrian Dominican Sisters got its start. His father was a Chicago police officer, and when the Sisters arrived to staff the parish school, he happened to know that the Congress Hotel was getting ready to replace its dishware – and that the Sisters would need dishware for the convent! Thomas himself attended St. Kilian School and kept in touch with one of his teachers, Sister Hildegarde Brennan, for many years.
Thomas and Mary were married at St. Philip Neri Church in Chicago in August 1933. Frances was born on June 16, 1935, followed by two brothers and a sister: Thomas, Roberta, and John. Of her parents, Frances wrote in her autobiography: “They were loving parents who cared deeply for each of us. I felt valued and encouraged in all that I did.”
All four of the children attended St. Philip Neri School. Frances first expressed an interest in religious life when she was in eighth grade but was told by her mother that she was too young. “Apparently, I wasn’t too intent at that time because I just said okay!” she wrote.
Read more about Sister Frances (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)
Recording of Sister Frances's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Recording of Sister Frances's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
Associate Christa Marie Rusch of Jupiter, Florida, died on January 7, 2024, at the age of 74.
Christa, the youngest of three children (and the only girl) was born on June 8, 1949, in Hof, Germany. Her family moved to Regensburg when she was three years old. Her elementary and secondary education came at a Catholic boarding school in Würzburg, Germany, and after graduation she remained in Würtzburg to attend college. She studied education and psychology and over time earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education, an Educational Specialist degree, and two master’s degrees, one in education and one in counseling and guidance.
She worked in the education field in Germany for several years, and met her husband Roger, who was in the military at the time, while she was still in her homeland. The couple married in 1970 and went on to have a daughter and a son.
Christa came to the United States in 1971, although she and Roger continued to travel regularly between the US and Germany due to his work in the military as a field engineer. Roger later opened his own business as a computer scientist. Her dream of becoming an American citizen was realized on December 19, 2001.
Her contact with the Adrian Dominicans began at Rosarian Academy, where her son was a student and where she worked over time as a classroom assistant, an aftercare assistant, and for a year as a religion teacher. Being connected with the Sisters at Rosarian led her to want to become an Associate, and she completed the formation process in 1996 under the mentorship of Sister Anne Marie Snyder, OP.
Early on in her time as an Associate, Christa undertook the task of translating the book that had been produced in 1983 by our “mother” convent, Holy Cross in Regensburg, for its 750th anniversary. Especially given her own roots in Regensburg, she wanted to be able to share an English-language version of the book with ADS Sisters and Associates.
She was selected as a Representative of the Associate Program, as it was then known, in 2002.
Her other activities included serving as a tutor at the DePorres P.L.A.C.E. Literacy Center in West Palm Beach, Florida; working with her parish’s youth group; and collaborating with groups committed to peace, human rights, and care of creation, such as Pax Christi.
At Rosarian, she enjoyed doing crafts with the children and loved to tell them about her German heritage, even teaching them how to say a few words in German. She was known as a hard worker who embodied Dominican values and spoke to the students about them.
Christa loved being an Associate and felt deeply connected to the Congregation through being in Associate Life. As she wrote in one of her more recent annals, “Associate Life is part of my life.”
Christa’s husband and two children survive her. No services are planned at this time.
On the first day of summer, June 21, 1941, Richard and Margaret (Sheldon) Kowalski of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, welcomed their first child into the world, a girl they named Joan Elizabeth.
Joan would be followed three years later by a boy, Richard. At the time of Joan’s birth, according to her birth certificate, her father was an accountant for the Ferry-Morse Seed Company, but at some point thereafter, he apparently became chief financial officer for the Packard Motor Car Co. According to a story Joan herself told, her father left the company after his advice was not heeded on changes that needed to be made or it would go out of business – and Packard did, indeed, cease operations in the late 1950s.
The family moved to a farm in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, a short distance west of Detroit. Although Richard never actually farmed the land – he worked in real estate and insurance -- it was a perfect place for his children and their friends to play and have all sorts of adventures.
Joan attended grade school first at Gesu in Detroit, then after the family’s move to Whitmore Lake, she attended St. Thomas School in Ann Arbor and then St. Patrick School in Brighton. The latter gave her her first experience with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. When it was time for high school, she came to Adrian to attend St. Joseph Academy.
She had completed her second year as an “Academy girl” when she wrote to Mother Gerald seeking admission to the Congregation. And so it was that on June 26, 1957, after having just marked her sixteenth birthday five days earlier, she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Read more about Sister Joan (PDF)
Sister's Memorial Card (PDF)
Recording of Sister Joan's Vigil Service - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
Recording of Sister Joan's Funeral Mass - After clicking the link, download the recording by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen and choosing "Download." Worship Aid (PDF)
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We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.