May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Mary Janice (Margaret) Zolkowski, CSSF

Sr. Mary Janice (Margaret) Zolkowski, CSSF, of Detroit, completed her life’s journey of 86 years on April 22, 2020, in Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent), Livonia, Michigan. Sr. Mary Janice was 68 years in the community.

Margaret was the first of four children of John and Isabelle (Pelzer): Joseph, Ilene Masiarczyk, and Paul+. Born in Detroit on Oct. 29, 1933, she was baptized and confirmed in St. Albertus Church, Detroit, where she attended grade school and then completed high school at the Seminary of the Felician Sisters in Detroit, graduating in 1951. On Aug. 28, 1951, she was accepted into the Felician Congregation and the following year received the name Sr. Mary Janice. Final profession of vows was in 1959.

A celebration of Sr. Mary Janice’s life will be held at a future date at the Felician Sisters’ convent located at 36800 Schoolcraft Road, Livonia. 
Sr. Mary Janice (Margaret) Zolkowski, CSSF

Sr. Mary Janice earned a bachelor’s degree from Madonna (College) University, and a master’s degree from the University of Detroit, and pursued post-graduate studies at Marquette University and the University of Michigan. In 2007, Sister was granted an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Madonna University.

Sr. Janice taught primary and secondary grades at Sacred Heart, St. Stephen, St. Stanislaus and St. Albertus, all in Detroit; St. John Vianney, Grand Rapids; and St. Florian, Hamtramck. Sister also taught English and journalism at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Wyandotte; Ladywood High School and Madonna University, Livonia.  

Sister also served on the faculty of Madonna University in the admissions, public relations and continuing education departments. This was followed by a further assignment to Orchard, where she was commissioned to write a book: Felician Sisters of Livonia, Michigan: First Province in America. During this time, she also served as administrative assistant to the president of St. Mary’s College, Orchard Lake.   

During the provincial elections in Livonia, Sr. Mary Janice was elected as second councilor and provincial secretary, a position she held for two terms (1982 to 1994).  

Active in the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA), Sr. Mary Janice was elected third vice president and contributed to the establishment of the Polish American Encyclopedia with an article on the Felician Sisters in America. Her journalistic abilities were also evidenced in several articles that appeared in the Catholic Educator and the Livonia Observer and Eccentric Newspaper. Sister also lectured in several places on Felician history.

Election of members of the generalate in Rome was held in 1994, and Sr. Mary Janice was elected secretary general and elected for a second term in 2000.

Following a return to Livonia, Sister was involved in writing the Michigan and Madonna University history and was a member on the boards of Madonna University and St. Mary Hospital. 

As of 2017, Sister was engaged in prayer ministry at St. Joseph Hall of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. As her health declined and slowly limited her activity, she was placed in hospice care. On April 22, Sr. Mary Janice peacefully breathed her last and journeyed to the Lord whom she so faithfully served on this earth. 

Interment was in Mt. Elliot Cemetery, Detroit, on April 27, 2020.

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