A Tribute to Sister Adrienne by Louise Dickey
It would be impossible to sufficiently explain the tremendous impact that Sister Adrienne has made on the lives of so many children, families and adults at Our Lady of the Wayside. So many members of the community recognize and appreciate that her life has been a model of faith, selfless service and kindness to all she encountered. Sister touched lives of teachers, parents, students, and staff.
Sister Adrienne was a precision wordsmith who also had a memory for numbers and names. People were always amazed that she could recall the names and family relationships of students whom she had once taught in her many years and locations. It was not surprising that in Sister Adrienne’s daily life she would encounter many adults who once had been students at St. Alexander’s, or attended Wayside years ago. She was always patient, cheerful, smiling and gracious no matter how long it had been since she had spoken to others. Her positivity and sociability rested on: her faith and love of God, true love of people, and her genuine interest in every person. She loved being a teacher, administrator, a friend, a guide on the journey of every soul on earth. She brought out the best in everyone.
Sister Adrienne was the oldest of four children. Her baptismal name is actually Ardis. She had a brother, Ronald (Ronnie), sister, Jacqueline (Jackie) and the youngest, Joan, who is actually 23 years younger than Sister Adrienne, and born after Sister was in the order. After professing over 70 years ago as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, in Cincinnati, Ohio, she began teaching in Dayton, Ohio. It is here she began her friendship and life-long ministry with Sister Joan, who had professed later. Sister Adrienne and Sister Joan arrived almost twenty-three years ago at Wayside. As her parents aged, she and Sister Joan made a decision to move back to Illinois so Sister Adrienne could be closer to her family. When they made the decision to leave St. Al’s in Villa Park, their journey fortunately brought them to Our Lady the Wayside. Father Vince Costello was pastor at the time and was recalled saying, “I have hired a great number of people over the years, and these two were among the best hires I ever made.”
Among what Wayside will very much miss in her earthly absence is witnessing her faith-based leadership. She showed the world that we should be; kind, patient, generous and always think about serving others. She managed to always focus on finding the good in other people. Her heart was huge.
Speaking personally: “The Dickey family has been honored and blessed to know this grace-filled woman whose qualities of kindness, compassion, generosity, intelligence and humor have filled and enriched our lives. We are better for her presence. I have always told both Sister Adrienne and Sister Joan that they we have become a close family together with us and our relationship goes beyond being just coworkers. The thought of having a guardian angel in heaven to watch, pray and petition God on behalf of those she left behind is the consolation I hold dear. Her physical presence leaves a large void. With God’s grace, many of us intend to try to follow her life’s model and one day again have the opportunity to meet up with this amazing woman.”
Louise Dickey, Religious Education Secretary