Obituaries

Celebrate with us the lives of our Sisters, who have gone before us and have answered God’s call in her own unique way. If you are having trouble finding the obituary of one of our Sisters, please email info@oppeace.org for assistance.

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Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Lois Schmeltzer

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Lois Schmeltzer

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Lois Schmeltzer, (92), died on October 7, 2019, at the Mohun Hall Health Care Center in Columbus, OH.  One of twelve children born to Mary Alice Gordon and Alphonsus Ligouri Schmeltzer in Somerset, OH, young Mary Schmeltzer was educated by Dominican Sisters and Friars from a young age and entered the Congregation herself in 1944.

Sister Mary Lois earned her BS in Elementary Education in 1957 from Saint Mary of the Springs College and her MEd from Duquesne University in 1962. She also earned certification in Administration and Supervision from Ohio State University. She served as an educator and principal for more than 30 years, teaching children in grades 1-8 in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, instructing children in choir and music, and also served as School Principal.

One of Sr. Mary Lois’ Sisters has commented that “She was a woman of great enthusiasm, and did everything that she did with 100% effort.” That was never truer than when she was asked to take on a new assignment for the good of the Church or her Community. After three decades as an educator, she left her ministry to serve the Congregation as Vocation Director and, later, as Director of Public Relations and Development.

She served as Director of Religious Education at St. Mary Parish in Marietta, OH, for nearly 10 years, then became the Administrator of Nazareth Towers, a HUD-subsidized senior citizen housing complex in Columbus, OH, where she served for eight years. She entered her final ministry of prayer and presence at Mohun Health Care Center in 2013.

When asked, “What ministry has been your favorite?” Sr. Lois always had the same answer: “I am doing my favorite ministry now, just where I am.” As she grew older and serving others became more difficult, she spoke often of how grateful she was for the care that she received from the staff at Mohun, saying how she appreciated being “a member of two wonderful families: a loving biological family and an outstanding religious congregation.”

Sr. Mary Lois’ was preceded in death by her parents, Alphonsus and Mary Alice Gordon Schmeltzer, her sisters, Madeline Takacs, Juanita Cline, Rita Keller, Betty Heyman, Audrey Hicks, and Nancy Palmer, and her brothers, William, Michael, and Edmund. She is survived by her sisters, Eloise Krumlauf, and Frances Orr.

A Vigil of Remembrance Service and Wake was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel, Columbus, Ohio on October 15, 2019. The funeral liturgy was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel, October 16. Sr. Mary Lois was interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Columbus, OH.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Mary Lois’ memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098, or made online at oppeace.org.

To view or print a copy of this memorial, please click here. 

Posted in Obituaries

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Dropski

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Dropski

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Marie (David Marie) Dropski, (86), died on October 4, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.  Born in 1933 in Lynn, MA, Sr. Joan and her two brothers were raised by two loving parents, Madeline Casey and Joseph Thomas. Sr. Joan worked for two years before entering religious life in 1953, and served God’s people for 64 years.

Sister Joan graduated from Rosary Academy and earned her AA in Education from Saint Catharine Junior College in 1957, her BA in Education, Social Studies and English from Siena College in Memphis in 1965, and her MA in Religious Studies from Mundelein College in 1971. She delighted in learning, and in sharing knowledge with others, so she continued her education throughout her years of ministry by attending many workshops and institutes.

Sister Joan’s early ministry was in education, serving as an elementary and junior high teacher and principal in Nebraska. Her study at Mundelein deepened her knowledge, and she moved on to serve as Director of Religious Education and Parish Minister in both Nebraska and Massachusetts.

Sister Joan shared her gifts and talents with our Order as both a Regional Coordinator and as an Administrative Assistant to the Regional in Watertown. For fourteen years she conscientiously fulfilled her responsibility as bursar for the Eastern Region, recognized for her faithfulness and dedicated service.

It’s hard to say that Sister Joan “retired” in 2005 because she continued to offer her caring service wherever she was needed and even after entering Sansbury Care Center, witnessed to others through her presence and prayer. In a reflection, Sister Joan wrote that she “would hope to enable others to be ALIVE with the love of the Lord.” Throughout her 64 years of ministry, she herself was alive to God’s love and shared it with others.

In her preaching at Sr. Joan’s funeral, Sr. Rose Cummins noted that Sr. Joan was a woman of great faith and optimism. Even though she suffered twice from breast cancer and eventually became legally blind, she had a great love for her community and offered her heart and hands in service to the Congregation and to God’s people. She also refused to let these things discourage her, and continued to enjoy her friends, traveling and reading.

A vigil of remembrance was held for Sr. Joan on October 13 at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel.  The Mass of Christian Burial was held on October 10 at Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Sr. Joan was interred in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Joan’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098. To make a secure online donation, please click here.

To view or print a copy of this memorial, please click here.

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Dominican Sister of Peace Joann Mascari

Dominican Sister of Peace JoAnn Mascari

Dominican Sister of Peace Joann (Agnes Joseph) Mascari, (89), died on October 2, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.  One of six children born to Mary Sorce and Joseph Mascari, she was born in Memphis, TN, and graduated from our own St. Agnes Academy before entering religious life in 1949.

Sr. Joann earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Education from Siena College in 1965, a Certificate in Religious Education from Mundelein College in 1971, a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry from the Chicago Theological Union in 1976 and her MA in Pastoral Studies and Spirituality from Loyola University in 1983. In true Dominican fashion, she also attended many workshops and institutes to enrich her knowledge and her ability to fully carry out her ministry.

Sr. Joann followed the Dominican charism in her choice of early ministry, sharing learning as both a teacher and a principal in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and Nebraska. Perhaps it was those many years of teaching that made her so attuned to the world around her, as she has been described as having a “wonderful understanding of contemporary religious life.”

Sr. Joann also served in pastoral care in Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, and Kentucky. As Promoter of New Dominican Life and as a mentor to young women in initial formation, Sr. Joann made a lasting contribution to her Congregation and the Church. She served on the Board of Trustees of St. Agnes Academy for many years. She also helped many find peace through her ministry of Centering Prayer in Tennessee before beginning her final ministry of prayer and presence in St. Catharine, KY.

In the homily given at Sr. Joann’s funeral, Sr. Elaine DesRosiers remembered her as a “gracious Southern lady” who shared her welcoming hospitality with her Community and with those to whom she ministered.  She was also remembered as a deeply contemplative and prayerful woman who shared her love of God and neighbor through her ministry of teaching centering prayer.

Sr. Joann’s love of family was shown through her loving care of her sister, Doris, when they both lived at Sansbury Health Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.

Sr. Joann is survived by several nieces and nephews.

A vigil of remembrance was held for Sr. Joann on October 9 at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel.  The Mass of Christian Burial was held Thursday, October 10, at Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Sr. Joann was interred in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Joann’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098. To make a secure online donation, please click here.

To download a printable version of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in News, Obituaries

Dominican Sister of Peace Helen McCarthy

Sr. Helen McCarthy

Dominican Sister of Peace Helen (Kevin Marie) McCarthy, (84), died on August 31, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.  The only girl of Helen McGarr and John’s six children, Sister Helen was born in 1935 in Woburn, MA. She worked in the business world for four years before she entered religious life in 1957.

She made First Profession in 1959 and celebrated her 60-year Jubilee in 2019. She often said that she didn’t know how she ever was called to religious life.  But, as she said, “God called me and I said take me wherever you want.”

Sr. Helen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies, Education and English from Siena College in 1970. She spent the early years of her ministry in education, passing her love of learning to children in Illinois, West Virginia and Kentucky for 20 years. She worked as an Administrative Assistant while she studied to earn her Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Spaulding College, and moved to a new ministry as a Pastoral Assistant.

She served at both Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Brigid Parish in Louisville before leaving pastoral work to serve her community as the Southern Regional Coordinator for Louisville and Memphis. Sr. Helen returned to St. Brigid Parish in 1996 and served as Parish minister for seven years before moving to Watertown, MA, as House Coordinator for Rosary Manor.

Sr. Helen’s final ministry of prayer and presence was at Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY. All who visited her in her final days were touched by the peace that she felt and shared with them.

In her preaching at the funeral. Sr. Joye Gros spoke of the great love that she held for her community, her friends, and her family. “Being the youngest and only girl, she admitted that she was spoiled.” Sr. Joye said. “Perhaps, all the love she experienced in her family spilled over in her various ministries and her community life.  We became the beneficiaries.”

Sister Helen is survived by her sister-in-law, Helen McCarthy, and several nieces and nephews.

A Vigil of remembrance was held at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel on September 5. The Mass of Christian Burial was held the following day, September 6, also at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Sister Helen was interred at St. Catharine Cemetery

Memorial gifts in Sr. Helen McCarthy’s name may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219, or you may give online at oppeace.org.

To download a printable copy of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in Obituaries

Dominican Sister of Peace Eleanor Unrein

Eleanor Unrein, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Eleanor Unrein, of Great Bend, KS, 91, died at the Great Bend Infirmary at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse on August 25, 2019. She was born in 1928, made her First Profession in 1945, and served God’s people for nearly 75 years as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

Sr. Eleanor earned her RN and a certificate in Psychiatric Nursing from St. Rose Hospital in 1951. She completed postgraduate courses in Obstetric Nursing at the same facility in 1954, while serving as a nursing supervisor in Kansas City and Garden City Hospitals. Later in her career, she also became certified as a Chaplain, better to serve both the bodies and the spirits of her patients.

Sr. Eleanor was dedicated in her ministry to the sick in Kansas and Colorado, serving as a nurse, a nursing instructor, a nursing supervisor and a pastoral care counselor. She especially loved caring for babies in her obstetric ministry.

Retirement for Sr. Eleanor did not mean slowing down. When she returned to the Great Bend Motherhouse at the age of 77, she stayed busy. She was an active member of the Pilgrim Servants Study Group, an archival assistant, and an enthusiastic community volunteer. She also enjoyed celebrating with her Sisters and attending reunions of her large extended family. Even in retirement, she continued her ministry of care by witnessing the peaceful deaths of some of the Great Bend Sisters.

In her preaching at Sr. Eleanor’s Vigil Service, Sr. Renee Dreiling, OP, said “Long before we did our study on racism, Sister Eleanor was always inclusive. Her ministry included Caucasians, Hispanics, Vietnamese, Laotians, as well as Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, and Buddhist patients. She treated them all with love and respect.”

Sr. Eleanor was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers, and three sisters.  She is survived by a brother, Tim Unrein, and a sister, Sister Charlotte Unrein, and her community at the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

A Vigil of Remembrance and the Mass of Christian Burial were held on August 27 and 28, respectively, at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend, KS. Sr. Eleanor was interred at the Sisters’ Resurrection Cemetery.oppeqace

Memorial gifts in Sr. Eleanor’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219.

To download a printable copy of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in Obituaries