In Memoriam

Deceased Members of the  Servants of Jesus Community:

Patricia Wojtaszek, SJ                                  January 1, 2014  

Roberta Kolasa, SJ                                      September 25, 2013

Betty Ann Clor,SJ                                        February 18, 2012

Esther Joyce Zawacki,SJ                              October 26, 2011

Barbara Ann Celeskey,SJ                             May 9, 2011

Irene Louise Doman,SJ                             July 3, 2006

Elizabeth Ozdych,SJ                                 January 31, 2004

Marguerite Niedzwiecki,SJ                         November 21, 2003

Alice Peplinski, SJ                                    June 30, 2002

Rosalyn Nowak, SJ                                   February 11, 2001



Patricia Wojtaszek, SJ

1924 - 2014

Sr. PatSr. Patricia Wojtaszek, member of the Servants of Jesus, died on January 1, 2014 at St. Francis Home in Saginaw MI.   Sr. Patricia was 89 years old and in her 72th year of religious life.  


Born on August 14,  1924 in Detroit, Patricia was the fifth  of  the eight children of Mary and John Wojtaszek.   All her siblings preceded her in death, but Patricia is survived by several nieces and nephews.   Sr. Patricia attended St. Josaphat Elementary School and the Felician Academy High School.     Shortly after her graduation from high school,  Patricia entered the convent of the Felician Sisters in Livonia, MI.   She professed her final vows in the Order on August 15, 1952.  After much discernment, Patricia joined the Servants of Jesus Community in 1978.


Sr. Patricia was well prepared to generously share her gifts in the ministries to which she aspired.

She graduated from Madonna College in 1953,  and continued her education at the University of Detroit, University of Ottawa, at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Philadelphia, and Notre Dame.

From her earliest years, Patricia was drawn to teaching young children.   She was recognized as a top-notch educator in the many elementary schools in which she taught in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Muskegon.


Pat was considered an educational leader not only Our Lady Help of Christians in Detroit and Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids where she served as principal,  but in several other areas.   She conducted math and phonics workshops for teachers and supervised their implementation.   Patricia spent many summers teaching at and supervising the reading clinic at Madonna University    She was also hired to revise many phonetic and reading materials for the Michigan Reading Association.


For some 30 years, Patricia loved her role as teacher and friend to hundreds of children – at one time she had 72 youngsters in the second grade.  Nevertheless, in the early 80’s Patricia began to pursue studies to minister to the elderly,  especially those in poor health.   She earned her Clinical Pastoral Education certification at St. Francis Medical Center in LaCrosse, WI and was also certified  for pastoral care by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.


Patricia began using her new education and formation  when, in 1981, she became the Pastoral Associate Director at Mercy Hospital in Port Huron.  The pain and suffering she encountered daily moved her often to pray her favorite psalm and share it with the patients,  “The Lord is my Shepherd;  there is nothing I shall want.”  Psalm 23


In 1985 Patricia accepted a full-time position as the Director of Pastoral Care at Bon Secours Nursing Center in St. Clair Shores where she established the department.   Here she provided spiritual care, ecumenical services, grief counseling and group presentations to staff, patients and family members.

Patricia’s  prior studies in gerontology, hospice, and ministry to people in crisis  were used extensively and highly regarded by the Institute.  Patricia also established a broad-based volunteer program involving people from all over the area.   She often remarked “Only together were we able to accomplish all that we did here.” 


Patricia also brought her special concern and care to each member of  the Servants of Jesus.   It was most fitting that she was always of an active member of the Community Life committee where she shared thoughtful gifts, birthday cakes, messages, fun card games and interest in each Sister and her family.  Little Pat, as she was affectionately called, loved to read, tell stories of the children and patients in her care,  help with SJ publications,  and cheer on the Detroit sports teams – especially the Red Wings. 


Her gifts of the heart were easily recognized by those with whom Patricia lived and ministered.   One of the Sisters of Mercy who was Patricia’s supervisor described her as a “non-threatening,  amiable person who listens attentively to others;   she is relaxed with people, at ease in stressful situations and has an exquisite sensitivity to others’ needs.”     In another instance, the wife of a very unhappy gentleman praised Patricia for his total change of attitude.  She quotes him “She works very hard, that little nun and is certainly the heart of this place.”


After her retirement in the mid-90’s, Sr. Patricia continued to live the mission of the Servants of Jesus to bring compassion to the needy and hope to the downtrodden.  Her visits to the homebound, hospitals and nursing homes brought joy and prayerful trust to people.  She also engaged in a telephone and letter ministry – always remembering how these gestures cheered seniors and those suffering illness.


Patricia has been cremated and interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.    The Servants of Jesus, Patricia’s family and friends will celebrate her almost-90 years of life with  a Memorial Mass at St. Sabina Church in Dearborn Heights on January 21 and 11 a.m.   Rev. Edward Zaorski, friend of Sr. Patricia’s will celebrate the Liturgy.  Luncheon will follow at the Parish Hall.   Anyone wishing to remember Sr. Patricia with a memorial is asked to consider the Servants of Jesus Retirement Fund or a charity of their choice.


Well done,  our dear little Pat.   You know that your Redeemer lives and will welcome you to Paradise!



Roberta Kolasa, SJ

1938 - 2013

Sr. Roberta Kolasa, SJSister Roberta Kolasa was born on September 22, 1938 in Saginaw MI, the younger of the two children of Stanley and Grace Kolasa (Kosinski). Roberta graduated from Holy Rosary High School in 1956 and entered the Felician Sisters’ Convent in Livonia MI in September, 1956.

After receiving her BA from Madonna College in Livonia, Roberta was well prepared to teach English, Latin and Religious Studies in several high schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Diocese of Saginaw. 

In 1964 she began studies in Theology at Regina Mundi University in Rome. These studies inspired Roberta to devote her career to teaching Christian spirituality and theological classes to countless numbers of adults. She was primarily instrumental in beginning and directing the Lay Ministry Program in the Diocese of Saginaw from 1984 to her retirement in 2009.  Roberta also received an MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University in Omaha in 1982.

As a Felician Sister, Roberta was involved in several leadership positions, formation director for the young Sisters and a delegate to Rome for the Chapters of the Order in the late 1960’s.  In the summer of 1973, Roberta was among the first Sisters who founded the new order of the Servants of Jesus. The Community received the official approval of the Vatican on August 6, 1974.  In addition to her ministry of spiritual direction; directorship of the Lay Ministry program and the Center for Ministry; work with engaged couples using the Meyers-Briggs testing; teaching weekend theology, scripture and spirituality classes; and directing retreats and workshops,  Roberta spent several years of leadership in the Servants of Jesus Community. She was currently President of the Community. During her years of ministry, Roberta was recognized with the National Association of Lay Ministry Award and the Saginaw Catholic Schools Hall of Fame.


Roberta’s Funeral Liturgy will take place at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Shields on Thursday, October 3 at 11 a.m.  Rev. William Taylor will preside and preach. There will be no visitation at the Snow Funeral Home.  Family and friends are invited to come to Holy Spirit Church on Wednesday, October 2, 12 - 8 p.m. A Vigil Service will be led by Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Cistone.  Rev. James Bessert will deliver the homily at the Service.  A private internment will take place at Mt. Olive Cemetery.

Roberta is survived by her brother Frank (Norma); many nieces and nephews; great-nieces and nephews; friends and colleagues; lay ministers; caretakers; and, the Sisters and Associates of her Order, the Servants of Jesus.

When asked what she would like her legacy to be, Roberta responded: “That I was a true servant; that I loved and served God’s people; that I lived life to the fullest.” Truly, Roberta’s wisdom, sense of humor, love of a good party, and gifts of discernment of persons will live on the hearts of all who knew and loved her.

In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to the Servants of Jesus Retirement Fund.


     Well done, good and faithful servant!




Betty Ann Clor, SJ

1936 - 2012

   Sister Betty Ann Clor, member of the Servants of Jesus since its founding, died on February 18, 2012 at Beaumont Hospital, Troy. Betty was 75 years old and in the 59th year of religious life.

   Betty was born on April 13, 1936 in Detroit to Gertrude and Anthony Clor. Her father was a police officer with the post at Belle Isle and her mother worked for the Detroit Traffic Court. Betty learned many of her culinary skills by helping out at home. Her elementary schooling took place at St. Anthony School and St. Louis the King School. It was at St. Louis School that Betty became acquainted with the Felician Sisters and went on to graduate from Felician Academy High School. She entered the Convent in Livonia, Michigan in June, 1953.

   Early in her religious life Betty earned a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics at Madonna College (now University) and a Master of Home Economics degree from Wayne State University. This background prepared her well for the 55 years that she spent in active ministry. For a number of years Betty taught a variety of home economic classes at Catholic High Schools in Detroit, Manistee, Riverview and Wyandotte. Her approach to teaching was always hands-on, creative and productive. Betty’s classes were filled with students, both male and female, who delighted in learning “reality” skills for life.

   Not confining her talent for teaching to the classroom, Betty conducted classes at various community centers and Hudson’s – providing instructions in sewing, knitting, crocheting, calligraphy and preparing special culinary dishes.

   In the mid-eighties Betty shifted her ministry to that of Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Parish, Grosse Ile. For almost ten years she worked with the Christian Service and Worship committees and shared the secretarial and bookkeeping tasks of the Parish. Highlighting these years was the reputation she built up for designing and sewing liturgical vestments, antipendiums and banners. She also developed computer-enhanced gift items, cards and programs.

   In early 1992 Betty accepted a full-time position with the Archdiocese of Detroit as secretary to Bishops Bernard Harrington and Moses Anderson. She also maintained the archival records of the closed schools in the Archdiocese, supplying documents and transcripts as needed. 

   Betty served in leadership in the Servants of Jesus for a three-year term and willingly shared her gifts whenever called upon.  She worked very closely with Srs. Barbara Celeskey and Irene Doman in the publication of the semi-annual publication of the Servants’ Word.

   Although she officially retired in 2007, Betty continued to keep busy with her special projects, spending quality time with her family, sewing vestments and creating an array of greeting cards. 

   Despite the lung problems that dogged her for a couple of years, Betty was present at Mass, at meetings and all special events. She truly lived her life to the fullest.

   Betty is survived by her sister Mary, and many special nieces and nephews. Her brother Anthony and her sister Patricia predeceased her within the past year.

   Betty’s wake took place at the Hauss Funeral Home on Monday, February 20. Her funeral Mass was held at St. Matthias Church, Sterling Heights, on February 21. Betty was laid to rest in the Sisters’ section of Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit.


May the Angels welcome our Sister Betty into paradise!





Esther Zawacki, SJ

1933 - 2011

Esther was born on the east side of Detroit to Anna and Henry Zawacki. She, her sister Rose and brother Tom remained steadfast to the religious practices and life lessons of their parents: love for study, prayer, hard work and generosity to those in need.

She began kindergarten at Compau School and transferred to St. Albertus in the third grade. She graduated from Dominican High in 1951.

Esther’ young adult years were filled with the joys of learning, friendships, part-time work at the local grocery store and developing her gifts. It was here she excelled in her love of singing, music dancing and drama, eventually starring in her senior play “The Mikada.” Esther and her friends patriotically spent their Friday evenings at St.Ann’s Center in Hamtramck and Dom Polski in Detroit entertaining and dancing with the Polish and American soldiers. Language proved to be no barrier!

Following high school, Esther heard the call to religious life and entered the Felician Sisters in Livonia, MI. She earned a BA from Madonna University, a Masters degree in library science from Rosary College, a license in Practical Nursing from Schoolcraft College and a license in cosmetology.

Initially, Sr. Esther’s ministry was spent in education. She was an exceptional teacher; creative, resourceful, and enthusiastic. There is a tale she used to tell of a day when she was teaching the letters of the alphabet. She was so happy that the children were accomplishing so much. It was just before lunch and she figured they could do one more letter, so she asked, “How about doing one more letter?” The whole class gave a resounding “No!” Her enthusiasm was not appreciated.

 Esther spent many years as a teacher and principal in the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Diocese of Saginaw. She conducted workshops for teachers in reading skills and phonics. She guided and supervised many teachers during their internships.

After years in education, Esther devoted herself to Practical Nursing and Hospice, primarily to senior citizens. She even lived above the local funeral parlor so that she would be available to families as loved ones died.

 Esther walked shoulder to shoulder with senior citizens in her ministry: making meals for them, conducting scripture sharing, baking bread, writing letters, using her cosmetology skills to cut and set hair and especially listening to them.

These gifts were shared with family. She babysat for nieces and nephews. The parents loved to have her come because she made the children clean the house before the parents returned. She made good meals, golobki by the roasterful, loaves of bread, cookies and many other goodies.

In their words, “Aunt Esther was eloquent with words; every year she would prepare a special Christmas message that she’d read after sharing oplatik (Christmas wafer). She was wise and never preachy when she gave advice.”

Esther’s constant openness to God’s call in her life, and her search for honesty and integrity led Esther to join the Servants of Jesus in 1974. In the prolific writing and journaling that she left behind, Esther says, “My Servant years have renewed my understanding of my relationship with God, my spiritual life and my personal growth and development. The opportunities afforded me in ministry have been especially rewarding. With my contacts in parish Christian Service Groups, the St. Vincent de Paul Societies and the Social Justice Committee in my Servant Community, I feel that I have been deeply sensitized and touched many lives. What a privilege it is to bring the compassion of Jesus to the disabled, the homebound, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the forgotten, the neglected and the shunned in society.”

Esther ends one of her personal writings with “I have had many loves in my life and I continue to be open to whatever God may ask of me. Here and now I remember that ‘For those who love God all things work together for good.’”

We commend our Esther to an eternal life of love and joy. We will miss her wisdom and her warmth!


Sr. Paula Mierle and Sr. Jean Marie Wojtas


Barbara Ann Celeskey, SJ

1933 - 2011

     Sister Barbara Ann Celeskey, member of the Servants of Jesus since its founding, died on May 9, 2011 at Marywood Health Center, Livonia. Barbara was 78 years old and in the 60th year of religious life.

     Born April 4, 1933 in Detroit to Leonard and Josephine Celeskey, Barbara grew on the city's west side. She was a graduate of St. Casimir High School in Detroit and earned her BA from Madonna College (now University). Barbara went on to receive an MA from Notre Dame in math and a master's degree in Theology from St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. She did post-graduate studies in Administration at the University of Michigan.

     Barbara entered the Felician Sisters convent in Livonia in June, 1951 and transferred to the Servants of Jesus in August, 1974. Her ministry included several years of teaching at Catholic Central High School in Toledo, Ladywood High School in Livonia and Madonna College.

     At Ladywood Barbara served as Principal for three years and at Madonna she held the position of Dean of Students. She also served for several years as a Pastoral Associate, both at St. Edith Parish in Livonia and Sacred Heart Parish in Grosse Ile.

     Highlighting Barbara's ministry was her appointment as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit by Cardinal Adam Maida. Barbara was the first woman and first non-cleric appointed to this position which she held from 1990-2006. Her ministry was marked by profound love of the Church, generous sharing of her special gifts of leadership and ability to bring creative solutions to numerous challenges. Barbara was especially concerned about the education and faith formation of youth and members of parishes in the Archdiocese.

     As a Servant of Jesus, Barbara was a visionary, a strong and caring leader and a prophetic witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her love of music, good literature, board games, talk shows, movies and card games brought joy and a spirit of unity to the community.

     Barbara is survived by her brother Jerry; three sisters, Patricia (Norbert) Zapinski, Corinne Wiland, and Roni (John) Nantais. She also leaves many nieces, nephews and relatives who cherish her memory.

     A funeral mass was celebrated May 12 by Msgr. John Zenz at Our Lady of La Sallette Church in Berkley. Cardinal Maida offered the final blessing over Barb's coffin. She was buried at St. Hedwig Cemetery in Dearborn Heights.

Rest in peace, good and faithful Servant!