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Adrian Dominican Associate Maria Theresa Geryk, 85, of Waterford, Michigan, died at her home on April 4, 2023, three years after a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer.
Born on August 22, 1937, in Warsaw, Poland, Maria described her childhood as happy, noting that she felt safe and protected by her parents and extended family despite the conflict happening directly outside her home. After years being educated at home by her mother, a Montessori teacher, Maria was well prepared to enter school once it became possible again after the war.
She attended the University of Warsaw, earned a master's degree in English, and received a grant to pursue postgraduate studies in the United States at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she met her husband, Robert Geryk. Maria returned to Warsaw after her year of study, Robert traveling to join her soon thereafter, and they married and had their first child.
Returning to the United States in the late 1960s, Maria and her family settled in Michigan, where she and Robert both went to work at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and St. Mary's College. Maria became a naturalized U.S. citizen after the birth of her second child, and while teaching English literature, drama, and journalism, continued her studies by pursuing a degree in theology. This led to her leaving her position at St. Mary's and accepting the position of Pastoral Associate at St. Benedict Church in Waterford, Michigan, a role she held until her retirement in 2009. Maria earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in 1998.
Maria became an Associate with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1984 and regularly participated in Mission Group meetings and Chapter Assemblies. She was a member of the Truth Seekers Mission Group. Maria often spoke of how her participation as an Associate provided her with a sense of mission and the gift of a supportive community that nurtured her spiritual growth. She credits Sisters and Associates with her pursuit of a position in full-time parish ministry.
Maria was preceded in death by her parents, Seweryn Michalski and Janina Michalska, and her husband, Robert (January 14, 2023). She leaves behind her son Bruce, daughter-in-law Lorie, daughter Maya and grandchildren Zofia and Renata Packard. She is mourned and will be missed by her many friends and her extended family.
Maria was buried in Easthampton, Massachusetts, in late April 2023 along with her husband. A celebration of both their lives will be held in Michigan later in the spring of 2023.
Maria certainly exemplified living the Dominican Charism in her life. She was a person of prayer, committed to study and learning. She loved being in community and she considered her life a vocation to serve others.
We entrust Maria T Geryk to God’s loving care. May her memory be a blessing.
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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