Sister Monica Charles, baptized Donna Mae Stankus, was born at St. Bernard Hospital in Chicago on July 6, 1936. She was the only child of Charles C. and Mercedes (Fair) Stankus. Her mother expected the baby to be a boy and had chosen a boy’s name and even a blue layette. Her parents finally decided to name their baby girl Donna.
In her autobiography, Sister Monica shared the following about her early life and the reason her family moved to Henderson, Nevada.
When I was five, mother decided that I was too little to go to kindergarten so I began first grade at St. Ethelreda School with the Mercy Sisters. When I was in the sixth grade, the doctor told my mother that she was a prime candidate for TB and the family should consider moving to a warmer climate. I left the 6th grade during Easter break and we started driving west, finally ending up in Las Vegas. Because Dad was a vet we could get temporary housing in Victory Village in Henderson, diagonally across Boulder Highway from St. Rose de Lima Hospital. This was in 1948. The hospital opened in 1947. In a few weeks we bought a home in Las Vegas and Dad got a job as an electrician.
Read more about Sister Monica Charles (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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Dear sisters, I was one of the leaders at Catholic Healthcare West (later Dignity Health) that had the privilege of working with Sr. Monica for almost 15 years. I was first at Rose de Lima and then later had the privilege of building the Siena and San Martin campuses. She was such a marvelous sounding board for me (as a leader and friend) and so many employees. She had such a "practical" way of dealing with any conflict. I can remember when a long term department head was leaving and we were all upset, how she came to the front and told stories about him and many of us that had us all laughing and enjoying the memories (it was just what we needed). She was often the "straight man" when Sr. Molly and she would share in a program. She had a very cool "wit" about her and she was very intelligent. She had worked in the laboratory during her early years and she had clinical knowledge that most did not expect from a "sister" :)Her love of football and how she would win her fantasy football league was always an endearing and surprising item of conversation. She knew the players and had many male leaders envious of her confident "picks". I loved her so much because she could "read you" and knew when you needed that extra hug or support after a particularly challenging meeting. She had that sense of fairness and truly loved and gave love freely without judgement. But was clearly no nonsense about her ability to evaluate people. What a joy to work with such a wonderful lady...I am truly happy she is now at peace and with her Heavenly Father! She worked hard and is so deserving of the rewards of her ministry. She left her mark with the seeds she had planted in all of our lives and her quiet but sincere effect on us all!Monica...thank you. I love you.Vicky VanMeetren
Monica was a great football fan. She won the pool at the hospital almost every year. She also loved to play cards- when I first came to Henderson we played cards one night a week. She always had a smile for everyone. She will be missed.
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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We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.