Although losing my identity as an Edmonds Dominican Sister was a death experience, it was quickly replaced by my resurrection/new life experience of becoming an Adrian Dominican Sister. I have not lost my community, but gained a larger one!
These words were written in Sister Patrice Eilers’ annals for 2004-2005, a year after the merger between the Adrian and Edmonds Dominican communities took effect. And although Sister Patrice spent the rest of her life in Washington – the state where almost all of her seventy years of religious life took place – her writings indicate a constant sense of the new community that becoming an Adrian Dominican Sister had brought her.
Patricia Mary Eilers was born on April 24, 1928, in Seattle, to John (also known as Jim) Fred Eilers and Marie Ethel (Anderson) Eilers. John was born in Le Mars, Iowa, and grew up on a farm in South Dakota. Marie was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and from the age of six lived in Seattle.
Read more about Sister Patrice (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
“We come with awfully heavy hearts this evening to celebrate the life of Jude, our sister, our friend, our aunt, our cousin. She was one of us for a long time, and she was taken very quickly.”
So began the remembrance of Sister Jude Van Baalen by her Chapter Prioress, Sister Kathleen Klingen, at the Vigil Service held in Adrian on November 16, 2017. The “heavy hearts” to which Sister Kathleen referred had been made even more so by the unexpected and sudden circumstances of Sister Jude’s passing: only days before, she had suffered a brain bleed and been taken to a Chicago emergency room. From there, she was brought to Adrian, where she died on November 14.
Born Judy Marie Van Baalen on November 6, 1939, in Detroit, Jude, as she always preferred to be known, was the second child of Edward and Susan Lucille Flanagan Van Baalen. She had an older brother, Paul, and over time four more children – Susan, Marc, Edward, Mary, and Ann – were born into the family. As more little Van Baalens came into the world, the family moved to successively larger houses around the city, and as a result, Sister Jude attended four parochial schools: Gesu, Blessed Sacrament, St. John the Apostle, and St. Philip Neri.
Her high school years, however, were spent at Dominican High School, which brought her into contact with the Adrian Dominicans and planted the seeds of religious life. She wrote to Mother Gerald Barry on March 3, 1957, near the end of her senior year at Dominican High, requesting entrance into the Congregation, and became a postulant that June. When she was received into the novitiate in December, it was with the religious name Sister Jude Marie. One of her sisters, Susan, followed her into the Congregation in 1959.
Read more about Sister Jude (pdf)
Memorial 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.
“A woman of generosity and gratitude, a lover of children, cats, and life.”
That was how Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, OP, Adrian Crossroads Chapter Prioress, remembered Sister Patricia (almost always known as simply “Pat”) Janowicz at the Vigil Service held after Sister Pat’s death.
Sister Pat was born on May 27, 1941, in Wyandotte (Michigan) General Hospital, the only child of Sigmund and Frances (Lisek) Janowicz. All four of her grandparents were Polish, and she grew up surrounded by rich Polish traditions. Pat remembered in her autobiography that she called her grandparents either the “Wyandotte grandma and grandpa” (her mother’s parents) or the “Detroit grandma and grandpa” (her father’s parents) so as to distinguish which set she was going to visit.
When Sister Pat was very small, the family moved from an apartment to a small house in Dearborn, Michigan, and from there, in 1945, to a larger home on Detroit’s northwest side. Sigmund worked as a truck driver, hauling sand to make concrete, and as a little girl, Sister Pat, a self-described tomboy, played not with dolls but with toy trucks and sand.
Read more about Sister Pat (pdf)
“Because I was born on December 6, 1919, I always knew in an unexpressed smug little way that I had something a bit more special than anyone else in my little world: MY birthday was on St. Nicholas Day. Santa Claus himself and I had a celebration in common.”
So begins the autobiography of Sister Susanne Hofweber, the second of six children born to August and Emily (Campbell) Hofweber. Baptized as Elizabeth Jane, she was the middle child of a set of three – with August (called Jack) the oldest and sister Dorothy born a year and a half after her – that was followed by a baby brother, Jimmy, who died at birth. Later, two more children, Billy and Marian, came into the family. ...
Sister Susanne was nine years old when the Great Depression hit. Her father lost his business and eventually the family was evicted from their home. As time went on, August was able to rebuild a business and even held two patents, one for the first self-contained domestic water heater and another for a process that allowed graphite to be used as a lubricant. With other investors, he was able to build that process into a thriving oil-refining company.
Read more about Sister Susanne (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.