In Memoriam


Sister Francis Elizabeth McDonnell, formerly known as Collette Mary McDonnell, died on Monday, August 26, 2019, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 92 years of age and in the 74th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Francis Elizabeth was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Frank and Catherine (Harper) McDonnell. She graduated from St. Joseph Academy in Adrian and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Education degree in Administration/Supervision, both from Barry College (University) in Miami Shores, Florida.

Sister Francis Elizabeth spent 53 years ministering in education in Detroit and Adrian, Michigan; and Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Miami Beach, Jacksonville, Palatka, Gulfport, Fort Lauderdale, Riviera Beach, and Fort Pierce, Florida. She was principal for 22 years at Holy Name School in Gulfport, and for 13 years at St. Anthony School in Fort Lauderdale. She also ministered for seven years in pastoral ministry at St. Mark Parish in Fort Pierce. Sister became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan, in 2010.

Sister Francis Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, James McDonnell and Francis McDonnell. She is survived by two sisters, Mary Helen Yunker of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and Bernadette Sax of Santa Rosa, California. 

Welcome of Sister Francis Elizabeth will be on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 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 Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery. The Vigil Service and Funeral will be live streamed.

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-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian.


Vigil for Sister Francis Elizabeth:

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


Funeral for Sister Francis Elizabeth:

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



From left: The McDonnell siblings with their father, Bernadette, Sister Francis Elizabeth, Francis, Mary Helen, James, and Frank (father). From left, Sisters Hyacinth Adelson, Francis Elizabeth McDonnell, and Marie Dolores Neckel at St. Anthony Parish in  Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1979.

From left: Standing are Sisters Mary Jean Clemenger, Francis Elizabeth McDonnell, and Ann Rose Kelly with seated Sisters Beatrice Chabie, Margaret Mary McMahon, and Jean Edward Selcke. Sister Francis Elizabeth, center, with her siblings, Francis, Mary Helen, Bernadette, and James. 

From left: Sister Francis Elizabeth, center, with two of her fellow Gulfcoast Mission Group members in 1996, Sisters Mary Jean Clemenger and Frances Barfield. In 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida, are Sisters Patricia Janowicz, Mary Jean Clemenger, Francis Elizabeth McDonnell, and Anne Liam Lees. 

Double Diamond Jubilarians in 2014 included: front row, Sisters Dolores LaVoy, Margaret Mary McGill, Ruth Rabideau, and Francis Elizabeth McDonnell. Center row, Sisters Alma Marie Messing, Barbara Gass, Mary J. Beaubien, Helen Walsh, and Barbara Hengesbach. Back row, Sisters Jean Annette Rudolph, Mary Ellen Brodeur, Patricia O’Reilly, and Prioress Attracta Kelly. 


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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 Sister Barb Kelley (

We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.


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