Sister Virginia (Joan Patrice) O’Reilly, O.P., celebrating 75 years as an Adrian Dominican Sister, is a native of Detroit and a 1943 graduate of Saint Joseph Academy in Adrian, Michigan. She entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation on June 21, 1942; made her first profession of vows on January 4, 1944; and professed her perpetual vows on January 4, 1949.
Sister Virginia earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Barry College (now University) Florida, 1949; a master’s degree in mathematics from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., 1952; a master’s degree in education, specializing in guidance, from Siena Heights College (now University) 1973; and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco 1977. She is a licensed psychologist in the states of California, New York, and Michigan.
Sister Virginia’s first assignments took her to classrooms in Illinois, Florida, and Georgia. After earning her master’s in mathematics, she taught in high schools in Michigan and Illinois, and then taught at the college level in Illinois.
Sister Virginia returned to Adrian, Michigan, to serve at the Congregation’s Motherhouse, first as Director of Studies and then as Director of Research, 1968-1971. She completed her years in education ministry as a college professor and high school guidance counselor in Michigan, 1971-1974. She then switched her ministerial focus to clinical psychology, serving in that capacity at the House of Affirmation, Montara, Calif., 1977-1979; the Jesuit Institute of Family Life, Los Altos 1979-1980; Consultation Services to Religious, South San Francisco 1980-1981; and the Dominican Pastoral Institute, Oakland 1981-1985. She continued her ministry as a psychologist in South Africa, New York State, and Michigan.
After her retirement in 1996, Sister Virginia moved to Adrian and continued to serve the community: as adjunct professor of psychology at Siena Heights University, 1999-2003; spiritual director, 2005-2007; and as a library assistant, 2007-2010.
Sister Virginia said that being an Adrian Dominican Sister “has been the most important thing in my life.”