In the course of 16 days in April, 11 Felician Sisters at a Livonia convent died. At least five of their deaths were linked to COVID-19. The causes of the other deaths could not be immediately confirmed.
The following information was provided by the Felician Sisters of North America on the 11 women:
Sister Mary Luiza Wawrzyniak, 99
Sister Mary Luiza Wawryzniak
Sister Mary Luiza Wawryzniak was a Felician sister for 80 of her 99 years. A native of South Bend, Indiana, she joined the order after high school, where she served in the convent caring for Sisters and in prayer ministry.
While still a novice, Sister Luiza was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but would go on to teach primary grades briefly at St. John Cantius in Detroit, substituting at St. Hyacinth in Bay City.
As a resident at the Livonia campus, she assisted with laundry and at its hobby shop and packed bread for the poor. Despite advancing M.S. and a wheelchair, Sister Luiza remained self-sufficient for years and said the Stations of the Cross daily in chapel. She was faithful in sending feast day and birthday cards to the Sisters in the infirmary.
She died on April 10.
Sister Celine Marie Lesinski
Sister Celine Marie Lesinski, 92
Born in Detroit, Sister Celine Marie Lesinski was a Felician for 71 years.
Organist, librarian and director of volunteers at Angela Hospice Home Care, Sister Celine Marie had a primary mission of education, having earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1960 from Madonna University, and a master’s degree from Wayne State University.
She spent 55 years in education, including 27 years as a librarian at Ladywood High School, Bishop Borgess High in Detroit and at Madonna University library.
She died on Easter.
Sister Mary Estelle Printz
Sister Mary Estelle Printz, 95
A Detroit native, Sister Mary Estelle Printz formally began her journey as a Felician Sister in 1946, professing her final vows in 1954.
She completed a business degree at Madonna University, with minors in social studies and English. She received a secondary education certificate and a master’s of business administration from Notre Dame.
Sister Estelle worked as an elementary teacher, then later as a business teacher in high school, and served as a principal for 14 years. She was a supervisor of the business office at St. Mary Hospital and — after retiring from education — as local minister at the Provincial House. She also worked in its treasury office for 14 years. She formally retired in 2016.
She died Easter.
Sister Thomas Marie Wadowski
Sister Thomas Marie Wadowski, 73
Sister Thomas Marie Wadowski, a Detroit native, was a Felician sister in Livonia for 54 years. She formally joined the Felicians in 1965, professing final vows in 1973. She received a bachelor’s degree in home economics and family life and religious studies from Madonna University and a master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University.
A highlight of her teaching ministry was a project with the second-graders of St. Damian School in Westland, acting out a commercial written for Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Their effort earned grand prize in a “Bring the Campbell Kids to Life” contest by the soup maker. She also taught primary school and worked at St. Joseph Home for Boys in Jackson.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis years earlier and facing chronic health conditions, Sister Thomas Marie retired from teaching in 1999 but continued as a library aide at Madonna University. Within the convent, she served as an advocate for other sisters’ needs and provided vigil ministry to dying sisters.
She died on April 15.
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