Sister Beatrice Zawisza, 73, a schoolteacher and principal for many years who later had duties at parishes in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, died of cancer Tuesday in Rosary Care Center on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania.
Most recently, she was a religious director at Franciscan Care Center on Holland-Sylvania Road, her sister, Dolores Kaitaniak, said. She also served at the Sisters of St. Francis Trinity House of Prayer.
The daughter of Stella and Steve Zawisza, she was a graduate of St. Hedwig grade school in Toledo. She entered the Sylvania Franciscan community June 20, 1949, after grade school.
She professed her final vows Aug. 10, 1958.
"She was very strong in her faith and her love for God. That's number one," said her friend Kay Connelly. "She didn't have money resources necessarily, but she was a giving person and big-hearted. She would do whatever she could for another person to help out."
Formerly known as Sister Elzear, she received a bachelor's degree in history and mathematics from the College of St. Teresa, a Roman Catholic women's college in Winona, Minn.
She had a master's degree in education and history from what is now University of Detroit Mercy.
As an educator, Sister Beatrice's assignments in northwest Ohio included Ss. Peter & Paul School, Sandusky. She taught at Our Lady Queen of Heaven School in Detroit; St. Raphael School in Garden City, Mich., and St. Ladislaus School in Hamtramck, Mich.
She also taught at schools in Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.
"She liked being around students," her sister said. "When she was principal of some of the schools, she made sure she went out for the grade-school football games, just so students knew she was there to participate."
Sister Beatrice was a former parish minister at St. Hedwig Church in Toledo.
In the 1990s, she was a pastoral associate of St. Perpetua Church in Waterford, Mich., and was spiritual care director at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Farmington, Mich.
She had certification in grief and bereavement counseling and hospice work, and she counseled people and consoled families, Miss Connelly said.
"Anybody sick or suffering was something she was concerned about," Miss Connelly said.
She and Miss Connelly traveled extensively, mostly driving vacations with Miss Connelly at the wheel.
"I called her my backseat driver in the front seat, and I called her my navigator," Miss Connelly said. "She did all the map reading and all the looking in the books for motels. We thoroughly enjoyed each other and got along great.
"We traveled most of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, and all the way from British Columbia to Nova Scotia."
In 2000, they visited Ireland, England, and Scotland.
Sister Beatrice enjoyed family gatherings, whether with her family or Miss Connelly's, and she liked to play pinochle and euchre.
Surviving are her sister, Dolores Kaitaniak; and brothers, Joseph, John, and Peter Zawisza.
A welcoming service will be at 6 tonight at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania. The body will be in Madonna Hall after 8 tonight. Funeral services will be at
10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Queen of Peace Chapel.
Arrangements are by the Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home.
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