Sylvia Norfleet was born on November 3, 1938, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her great aunt was Catholic, which led Sylvia to join the Catholic Church when she was 11 years old. She attended St. Matthew Lutheran School in St. Louis and graduated in 1957 from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, which was run by the Oblate Sisters of Providence. In time, Sylvia married David English and moved to Detroit.
Sylvia met Sisters Rosemarie Kieffer, OP, and Nancy Jurecki, OP, at her parish, Our Lady Gate of Heaven. She also attended the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, where she met Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, one of the faculty members.
Sylvia was always interested in outreach to the elderly and became volunteer coordinator of “Joyfield Caregivers.” This group was an elder service program that used the resources of church and community to help people maintain independent living, all at no cost to the participants.
From working with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sylvia began to take an interest in Associate Life. Sylvia was mentored by Sister Bridget Maier, OP, and joined Associate Life on October 7, 2000. She was a member of the Kaleidoscope Mission Group in the Great Lakes Chapter.
“I have an overwhelming desire to get closer to Jesus, to do His will,” Sylvia wrote in explanation for her desire to become an Associate. “I continually observe, listen to, and discuss all aspects of daily life. I find there is a truth and uplifting quality about these Sisters.” She also believed that she had the same vision as the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “We are a Gospel centered community, committed to learning and giving, through service,” she wrote.
“I am constantly in touch with my Mission Group,” Sylvia wrote a few years ago. “We dialogue. I believe we never stop learning. My challenge is physical. I have slowed down a lot in the past few years. Despite my health and poverty, God has blessed me more than ever.”
Sylvia suffered with declining health – mostly small strokes through the remaining years of her life. Her Mission Group was her lifeline.
Sylvia had surgery in mid-December and was unable to recover. She died on December 27, 2017. She was preceded in death by her son Craig English and one grandson, Davonne William Shaw. Surviving are her children Debra English Butler; David English, Jr.; and Leslie English.
The wake for Sylvia will be held from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, January 11, 2018, at O.H. Pye III Funeral Home, 17600 Plymouth Road, Detroit. The Funeral will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 12, 2018 at Sacred Heart Church, 1000 Elliott Street, Detroit. The burial will follow at Detroit Memorial Park West in Redford Township, Michigan.
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
Sister Mary Adelaide Eiden, formerly known as Sister Marie Henry Eiden, died on December 29, 2017, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 99 years of age and in the 81st year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister Mary Adelaide was born in Detroit, Michigan to Henry and Mary Agnes (Hickey) Eiden. She graduated from St. Theresa High School in Detroit, Michigan and received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Social Studies from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian, Michigan, and a Master of Arts degree in Education from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She also was certified for Pastoral Ministry by the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Sister spent 32½ years ministering in education in Grosse Pointe Farms, Detroit, and Midland, Michigan; Chicago and Homewood, Illinois; and West Palm Beach, Florida. During that time, she was principal at two Detroit, Michigan schools: Presentation School from 1953-1959 and Rosary High School from 1962-1968. She was Councilor/Co-Provincial in Immaculate Conception Province in Detroit from 1969 to 1973. Beginning in 1973 Sister was Chaplain at Detroit General Hospital and at Detroit Receiving Hospital for a total of 10½ years. She was a volunteer Pastoral Minister at St. Theresa Parish and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Detroit from 1984 to 2004. Sister became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 2004.
Sister Mary Adelaide is survived by a nephew, Peter Graham, of Goose Creek, South Carolina. She was predeceased by her parents, Henry and Mary Agnes (Hickey) Eiden, a brother, Edward Eiden and sisters Ann Delores Eiden, and Sister Mary Rita Eiden, also an Adrian Dominican Sister.
Welcome of Sister Mary Adelaide will be on Monday, January 1, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. in the Dominican Life Center Lobby; the Wake will follow from 6:15 to 7:00 p.m. in the Rose Room of the Dominican Life Center. The Reception of the Body and Vigil Prayer will be at 7:00 p.m. in St. Catherine Chapel. The Funeral Mass will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel on January 2, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery.
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.
Left: From left, Sisters Rita Eiden, Adelaide Eiden, and Laverne Feeney during their ministry together at St. Theresa’s, Detroit, October 1991
Left: Sisters Adelaide Eiden (left) and Rita Eiden participate in the entrance procession for the Tri-Chapter Golden Jubilee celebration at St. Anastasia Church in Troy, Michigan. Right: Sisters Rita Eiden (left) and Adelaide Eiden
Left: Sisters Adelaide Eiden (left) and Laverne Feeney each receive the Groundwork Discipleship Award for their work for racial justice from Groundwork for a Just World during a 1998 testimonial dinner on May 5, 1998. Right: Sister Adelaide with Sister Joan Baustian (left)
Right: From left, Sisters Adelaide Eiden, Laverne Feeney, and Dorothy Worthy
Left: The Eiden sisters, from left, Adelaide, Dorothy, and Rita
Members of the 1995 Diamond Jubilarian Class are: back row, from left, Sisters Mary Adelaide Eiden, Marie Carol Hurley, Mary Rita Gleason, and Catherine Ann Burke; middle row, from left, Sisters Clare Nicolai, Rita McDonough, Dorothy Burdett, Catherine Mann, Mary Roseen Maier, Ann Judith Provancher, Rita Joseph Haas, and Imelda Patrice Marx; front row, from left, Sisters Mary Marcella Gardner, Ann Carolyn Schmit, Georgina Marie Bowers, Marie Joyce Smith, Margaret Ellen Gordon, and Celine Marie McKay; and seated, from left, Sisters Rita James Waldron, Eileen Burke, and Jean Antoinette Briggs.
Sister Mary Ann Zakrajsek, formerly known as Sister Marian Richard Zakrajsek, died on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 81 years of age and in the 65th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Matt and Antonia (Perko) Zakrajsek. She graduated from St. Joseph Academy in Adrian, Michigan; and received a bachelor’s degree in history from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian.
Sister Mary Ann spent 53 years ministering in elementary education in Charlottesville, Virginia; Detroit, Dearborn Heights, and Brighton, Michigan; and Cleveland and Garfield Heights, Ohio. She was principal at Our Lady Gate of Heaven School in Detroit for two years, from 1977 to 1979, and served as pastoral minister for four years at Our Lady of Victory and Presentation parishes in Detroit. Sister became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 2017.
Sister Mary Ann was preceded in death by her parents and brothers Harry, Matthew, Joseph, and John. She is survived by three brothers: Albert Zak of Walton Hills, Richard Zakrajsek of Garfield Heights, and Lawrence Zak of Medina Township, all in Ohio. She is also survived by a cousin, Sister Miriam Joseph Lekan, also an Adrian Dominican Sister.
Welcome of Sister Mary Ann will be on Sunday, December 17, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in the Dominican Life Center lobby; the Wake will follow from 6:15 to 7:00 p.m. in the Rose Room. The Reception of the Body and Vigil Prayer will be at 7:00 p.m. in St. Catherine Chapel. The Funeral Mass will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel on Monday, December 18, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. Both the Vigil Prayer and the Funeral Mass will be live streamed. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery.
Right: The Cleveland Sisters are, from left: Sisters Anne Marie Snyder, Rita Anne Moceri, Mary Ann Zakrajsek, Marianne Supan, Mary Ann Dardy, Miriam Joseph Lekan, and Mary Hrovat.
From left: Sister Mary Ann Zakrajsek, left, on her Golden Jubilee and her cousin Sister Miriam Joseph Lekan on her Diamond Jubilee pose with Father William Krizner at the chapel of Holy Name High School, Parma Heights, Ohio, 2002; Posing with Father Timothy Radcliffe, OP, former Master of the Dominican Order, during a talk at John Carroll University are, from left, Sisters Mary Ann Zakrajsek, Mary Ann Phillip, Patricia Stellmah, and Judith Friedel.
From left: Sister Mary Ann and her twin brother Richard; Sister Mary Ellen Youngblood, left, with Sister Mary Ann; Sister Mary Ann, then a novice, with her parents, August 4, 1952
The Zakrajsek family: back row, from left, Sister Mary Ann’s brothers Lawrence Zak, Harold Zakrajsek, Albert Zak, Joseph Zak, and John Zakrajsek; middle row, her mother Antonia Zakrajsek and Sister Mary Ann; and front row, brother Matthew Zakrajsek and her twin brother, Richard Zakrajsek.
The 2012 Diamond Jubilee Class, August Crowd: back row, from left: Sisters Marion O’Loughlin, Diane Odette, Diana Bader, Norma Dell, Mary Ann Zakrajsek, and Attracta Kelly (Prioress) and front row, from left: Sisters Marie Quenneville, Mary Nugent, Jean Horger, Philomena Perreault, Barbara Bieker, and Mary Giacopelli
When I was a novice at morning meditation one day, I read a great quote that has been with me all these years. It reads, ‘”I may go this way only once. If there is some good that I may do, let me do it now, for I may never go this way again.” I have tried to live by this – And what a life it has given me.
So ended the autobiography of Sister Christine Ostrowski, who died November 23, 2017, at the age of seventy-three.
Sister Christine was born August 22, 1944, in Detroit, to Leonard and Helen Wolkiewicz Ostrowski. She and her mother lived with her grandparents in the largely Polish enclave of Hamtramck until her father returned from service in the Army, then the family moved first to the east side of Detroit and then, in 1948, to the west side of the city.
Leonard worked as a Detroit bus driver and Helen took care of home and family. “My parents were faithful Catholics, loving, hard-working and fun,” Christine wrote in her autobiography.
Read more about Sister Christine (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.