ARCHIVE PHOTO Elmhurst Independent
Sister Thomas Leo shows the street sign the Visitation community presented to her. The long-time principal at Visitation School passed away on Friday, Nov. 13. Services will be held in Adrian, Mich., but will be livestreamed for anyone who cares to attend virtually.

Visitation Catholic School sadly announces that on Friday, Nov. 13, esteemed former principal, Sister Thomas Leo, OP, passed away at the Adrian, Mich., Dominican Life Center she moved to after retiring from her Visitation School principal position after 40 years.

“Sister made such an impact on generations of students and their families,” said current Visitation School Principal Carrie Mijal. “She will be greatly missed. Please join me in keeping her family in our prayers.”

Indeed, generations have been greatly affected by Sister’s devotion to elementary education. At Visitation School, many alumni have seen their own children graduate from Visitation and can share Sister Thomas Leo stories, looking back on the profound benefits and memories they all share.

“My sisters and I were blessed to have attended Visitation under Sister’s dedication,” said alum Colleen Goodall Muno, who has two sons who’ve also graduated from Visitation. “All in her presence felt safe and cared for. When my husband Dave and I dropped our oldest off on his first day, Sister waved us out the door and said, ‘Don’t worry. I will take care of all the children.’

“Sister’s answer to most cares or problems was, ‘Pray to the Holy Spirit.’”

Sister Thomas Leo graduated from Amundsen High School in Chicago, earned her bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich., and her master’s degree in administration/school supervision from DePaul University, Chicago. She entered the Convent of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Adrian in 1951. She was the proud aunt of 19, great aunt of 55, and great-great aunt of 41.

Sister was an awarded member of the Elmhurst community. Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation (ECAF) named her 2013’s Friend of the Children for her dedication to not only Visitation but to the entire community. She was a huge supporter of the Annie Ryan Run and made sure Visitation students always had a large presence at the event for 17 years. In 2013, she was also the run’s honorary starter and was inducted into ICCP’s Wall of Honor.

Former Visitation School Board President and alum Tom Ryan says,

“Sister definitely pointed me down the right path,” former Visitation School Board President and alum Tom Ryan said. “[She] showed me how to live and conduct myself, as she did for so many others.”

Ryan and his wife Mary Beth are thankful to have had the opportunity to watch their own five children graduate from Visitation.

“Sister was strong in faith and discipline,” Ryan said. “Her dedication to the students and families of Visitation School and Parish was remarkable. Her spirit will live on in her students and the Visitation community knows she is looking over us again up in heaven.”

Services and burial are being held at the Dominican Motherhouse in Adrian, Mi. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Services will be available on livestream for all to participate in the Vigil and Funeral at Afterwards, recordings will be posted on Sister’s In Memoriam page for six to eight weeks at


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