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Honoring Sisters Who Served in Military

November 11, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – On Veterans Day, we honor and remember service men and women of the U.S. military for the sacrifice of many years of their lives – and, in some cases, for paying the ultimate sacrifice out of love for their country. Today we honor and remember five Adrian Dominican Sisters who served not only in our community but in the military as well.

Sister Marvel Glasford, OP (1923-2005) enlisted in the Navy WAVES after her high school graduation, serving during World War II. She was stationed in Washington, D.C., decoding messages from Germany and Japan. After the war, she returned to her native Detroit and felt a call to religious life.

Having been taught by the Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Leo and St. Mary Schools in Detroit, Sister Marvel entered the Congregation on June 29, 1949, and, at her reception into the novitiate, took the religious name of Sister Donald Mary. She spent the first several years of religious life as a primary and junior high school teacher at schools in Michigan, New Mexico, and Ohio. 

Later, she earned her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) certificate and served as foster care manager for 12 mentally disabled patients at Ypsilanti State Mental Institute in Willis, Michigan. She served as chaplain at hospitals in Michigan; earned certificates in grief ministry and alcoholism ministry; and spent her last four years of formal ministry at Good Samaritan Hospital in Mount Vernon, Illinois. After retirement, she volunteered for five years at St. John Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, before moving to Adrian. 

Sister Virginia Gunther, OP (1897-1982) baptized Marie Elizabeth Gunther, enlisted in the Navy during World War I, and received the rank of Yeoman (F) First Class. She worked in the Recruiting Service in Chicago and in the Intelligence Office in Chicago and Great Lakes. Looking back, she thought of herself as a pacifist fulfilling her patriotic duty. She later joined the U.S. Navy Reserve Force.

After Armistice, Marie Elizabeth worked in the secretarial field until she realized her call to religious life. She entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation and, at her reception in August 1925, was given the religious name of Virginia. 

After teaching first grade at Detroit schools – while also teaching shorthand and typing to students at St. Joseph Academy in Adrian – Sister Virginia began her focus on teaching business courses at the high school level. This was interspersed with 14 years teaching at elementary schools in Detroit and Ypsilanti, Michigan. 

After studying library science, Sister Virginia served as Assistant Librarian at Dominican High School, Detroit, while teaching business English and typing; Assistant Librarian and business English instructor at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California; and as Librarian at Aquinas High School in Chicago. She retired at age 76 and moved to Adrian.

Sister Mary Franz Lang, OP (1921-1985) enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, earning the rank of Staff Sergeant and serving in the Philippines and New Guinea. After World War II, she joined the Women’s Air Force Reserve and received a pilot’s license. As a civilian, while managing the parts department at an automobile dealership, she realized her call to religious life.

Sister Mary Franz entered the Congregation on February 21, 1951, teaching at St. Joseph in Port Huron, Michigan, and Bishop Quarter Military Academy in Oak Park, Illinois. During summer school, she earned her degree in library science at the University of Michigan. She served as Assistant Librarian at Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian and St. Dominic College, St. Charles, Illinois.   

Sister Mary Franz spent the last 15 years of her life – the final five with leukemia – as Director of the library at Barry College (University) in Miami Shores, Florida. She also served as President of the Catholic Library Association.

Sister Catherine Therese Sibal, OP (1916-1996) worked after high school as assistant to the cashier at the State Department of Agriculture. While longing to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation with her two older sisters, Sisters Vincent Joseph Sibal and Marie Michael Sibal, she put off her desires, opting instead to help her family financially. Catherine Therese joined the Marines and served for six years. She remained state-side, serving as stock clerk, bookkeeper, and supply clerk, obtaining the rank of Sergeant.

Sister Catherine Therese entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in January 1951 and, at her reception, received permission to retain her baptismal name. She earned a degree in English, with minors in sociology and history, from Siena Heights College (University).

The remainder of her ministerial life focused on education: as teacher at schools and parishes in Michigan. She then served as learning laboratory coordinator at St. Thomas Aquinas School in East Lansing, Michigan. She retired at the age of 70 and returned to Adrian. 

Sister Lucy Terwelp, OP (1921-2003), baptized Jeanette Helen, was born in Quincy, Illinois. A few years after graduating high school, she enlisted in the Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as Chief Executive Secretary Yeoman to the Chief Medical Officer. During her term, her base experienced a disaster when an oil tanker collided with a Coast Guard cutter. She was called in to help attend to the victims and sat with a man who was badly burned. She learned later that he had died before reaching the hospital. She and the division received medals for heroic service. Jeanette Helen also joined the Hormel Girls, a musical group of service women. She sang in the chorus and played the bugle in the Drum and Bugle Corps. 

Upon her discharge, she worked as medical secretary for two years, helping to set up a Veterans Administration office in Long Beach, California. She entered the Everett (later Edmonds) Dominican Sisters in September 1953. At her reception, she gained the religious name she had predicted as a child – Sister Lucy.

With a degree in finance from Seattle University, Sister Lucy served as assistant treasurer of the Motherhouse and as assistant bursar, controller, and treasurer at hospitals in Washington State. After receiving a CPE certificate from Yale Divinity School, Sister Lucy served as chaplain for 14 years at St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Oregon, and as pastoral minister at Cathedral Parish in Portland.


 

 

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