Mary Helen Mack, known also as Sister Mary Angus, was born in Port Huron, Michigan, on July 20, 1930. She was the second of two children born to Daniel and Edith (Allen) Mack. Her father worked for the Detroit Edison Company and her mother worked from home as a seamstress.
In her autobiography she wrote the following about her family:
I came from a small family and I always felt that I was an only child because my brother [Donald] was five years older and as a result his interests were not mine. Another fact of life was World War II. Don was in service as soon as he graduated from high school. I was in 8th grade at that time.
My religious training began at home because my parents were deeply religious. I learned in my early years that prayer was important. Many times I could see my mother kneeling by her bed praying. My father was a quiet, gentle man who would tell jokes with a straight face. The love and respect my mother and father had for each other made for a happy, healthy home with a quiet and strong religious atmosphere.
Read more about Sister Mary Helen (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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How self-controlled the dawn!
Sister Aileen McClain, baptized Elizabeth (Betty) Rae, and born April 24, 1930, in Chicago, was the fifth daughter born to Vincent and Helen (Rache) McClain. Five years later, the McClain girls – Helen, Patricia, Aileen, Jeanne, and Betty – welcomed the birth of Vincent Thomas, their only brother.
Betty’s parents were both born in Illinois. After their marriage they settled in St. Kilian Parish, where all their children began their elementary education. In her biography, Betty wrote, “My father was a property manager at a bank and provided a good life for his family.”
Betty was still in grade school at St. Kilian when two of her sisters entered the Congregation: Helen, known as Sister Ellen Vincent, entered at the end of her first semester at St. Joseph College in 1936. Patricia, known as Sister Helen Thomas, entered the postulate in January 1939. In her biography Betty wrote, “I always dreamed of becoming a sister someday.” The fact that she now had two sisters who were Adrian Dominicans only intensified her desire.
Read more about Sister Aileen (pdf)
Love is my calling.
Sister Renee Richie, baptized Lois Janette, was born on June 13, 1934, in Detroit, the fourth of six children born to Alfred and Gladys (McCardy) Richie. Her father was born in Canada, and her mother had lived there since early childhood. They married in 1924 and their first three children – Eleanor, Alfred “Freddy” and Pauline – were born in Canada. Sister Renee and her two younger brothers, David and Owen, were born in Detroit.
In her autobiography, Sister Renee wrote the following about her family:
My father was the decision-maker in our home, always very responsible yet a quiet man who liked routine and order. My mom was the homemaker, cooking basic meat and potatoes and living simply. She was very creative and unafraid to try new ideas. She nursed me through Polio when I was five. I was paralyzed in bed for sox months, and because of her healing touch and massage, I feel I was completely cured. There was no medication available. In many ways it was a joyous time as I was the center of attention.
I was close to all my brothers and sisters yet in very different ways. Freddy was always significant in my life. We had a deep understanding of the more serious parts of our lives. For example, he shared with me his desire to enter the monastery before he told anyone else. [My older sister] Pauline and I shared as sisters and I always felt I was her confidant.
Read more about Sister Renee (pdf)
Sister Joan Mary Dwyer was born in Detroit on April 1, 1938, to Clifford and Vivian (Adkins) Dwyer. Her father was Catholic, but not her mother. Two weeks after she was born, Joan developed pneumonia and received an emergency baptism and the name Joan Patricia. She was formally baptized before her First Communion on March 23, 1947.
In her autobiography, Sister Joan said that her parents divorced and remarried and that she was the oldest of four brothers and three sisters.
Read more about Sister Joan Mary (pdf)
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.
We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.