In memoriam: Sister Mary Gianini, OP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dominican Sister Mary Gianini, OP, died peacefully Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at St. John’s Hospital in the 66th year of her religious profession. Known for a time as Sister M. Mystica, she was born in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1930, to Philip and Rosa (Aguzzi) Gianini. She joined the Dominicans in 1954 and professed her vows in 1955 at Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Illinois.

Sister Mary taught first and second grade children for 36 years, preparing them for the sacraments. In Illinois, she taught at parochial schools in Granite City, Evergreen Park, Odell, Bethalto, Chicago, Springfield and Jacksonville. Sister Mary also taught grades 1-2 in Brawley, California, and served a year each at the religious education centers in Hillsboro and Arcola, Illinois. For a dozen years after leaving classroom teaching, she provided hospitality for visitors to Benincasa Renewal Center, Riverton, and later at Siena Hall in Springfield.

Proud of her Italian heritage and her Mississippi roots, Sister Mary often spent summers assisting in the medical records department at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, allowing her time with her sister Ann (Jack) Mellott in Columbus, Mississippi and brother Gus Gianini, Cleveland, Mississippi, both survive her. She is also survived by three nieces; three nephews; and many great-nieces and nephews and cousins.

Sister Mary’s funeral Mass was held on Oct. 11, 2021, at Sacred Heart Convent Chapel with Dominican Father Michael DeTemple, as celebrant. She is buried at Calvary Cemetery.

Mass and graveside services can be viewed at

Memorials to honor the memory of Sister Mary may be made to the Dominican Sisters Retirement Fund, 1237 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL, 62704.