In Memoriam

Sister Donna Wencel, OP


Sister Donna Wencel, formerly known as Sister Frederick Mary Wencel, died on March 3, 2017 at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 88 years of age and in the 71st year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Donna was born in Wayne, Michigan, to Frederick and Martha (Klebba) Wencel. She graduated from St. Joseph Academy in Adrian and received a Bachelor of Home Economics degree from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian and a Master of Arts Education degree in classroom teaching from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.  

Sister Donna ministered for 51 years in elementary education in Chicago, Illinois; Sturgis, Iron River, Ubly, and Ruth, Michigan; Marblehead, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; and La Jolla, California. She was principal for five years at St. John School in Ubly. 

Sister Donna became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 2014. She is survived by a grand-nephew, Randy Wencel, of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Welcome of Sister Donna will be on Monday, March 6, 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 Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. Both the Vigil Prayer and the Funeral will be live streamed. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery.

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Anderson Funeral Home, Adrian.



Vigil for Sister Donna (Frederick Mary):

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Funeral for Sister Donna (Frederick Mary):

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


LEFT: Sisters Kathleen Clausen (left) and Donna prepare for a 2003 trip to Copenhagen, provided by their parish.


LEFT: Sisters Kathleen Clausen (left) and Donna Wencel. RIGHT: Members of the Veritas Mission Group are, back row, from left, Sisters Maureen Keeler and Barbara Mason and Myrna Colbert, Associate, and front row, from left, Sisters Donna Wencel, Joan Dwyer, Margaret Reardon, and Kathleen Clausen.




LEFT: Sister Donna works on one of her quilts. RIGHT: Sister Donna with her father and her horse Topper during her first home visit


Sister Donna’s first mission, St. Matthew, Chicago, in 1949. Shown are: back row, from left, Sisters Marie Alexius Ruder, Mary Celine Nemshak, Frederick Mary (Donna) Wencel, Marie Michel Allain, and Raymond Marie Scanlon, and front row, from left, Sisters Amie Marie Holthoefer and Marie Carmelita Brown. 


Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).


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Avatar  Suellen Tobe 2 weeks agoReply

I grew up knowing Sister Fredrick Mary (Donna Wencle). Her mother and father took my mother (Lucy A. Barry Ryder) in, to comfort her, the day that my grandmother (Lucy A. Kelly Barry) died in 1939. Both families lived on Hix Road in Wayne, Michigan. My mother never got over the loss of her mother. Our families were life long friends. We visited the farm on Hix Road in Wayne Michigan many times. Sister Donna inspired me to be a Dominican nun as I was growing up in Dearborn. My grandmother inspired me to be a nurse. I opted to be a nurse and have a family. I moved my mother to Chicago in 2001 to be near her granddaughter (Theresa / Tara) and 3 great grandchildren (Kyle, Valerie & Natalie). My mom became bedridden November 8, 2016 after an active life. She transitioned on April 3, 2017. I was looking to notify Sister Donna and found that they are already together. We are laying my mother to rest April 18, 2017 at St. Mary's Cemetery in Wayne, MI after her funeral Mass at Sacred Heart in Dearborn. Love you always, Susan (Suellen) Ryder Tobe

Avatar  Rebecca Benish last monthReply

Rebecca Boss-Benish
March 6 at 4:17pm
S. Donna had a smile that lit up the room. She was A kind and compassionate lady. I will miss her very much! When you're a caregiver you know that you want to assist your Sister with all that she needs to have the best care for her remaining days. But often people don't think of what the Sisters give back to us I have gained so much knowing S. Donna, she showed me how to be a better person and caregiver.. She showed me by example to be kind, loving and respectful to others! God Bless S. Donna I will visit you again in your rose garden in heaven! Love you! Becca!

Avatar  Kathleen Clausen last monthReply

Sister Donna was my soul sister, my best friend. She is an extraordinary woman and has left her indomitable spirit on many. Love you, my sweet Donna.

Cemetery of the Adrian Dominican Sisters

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.


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