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Those of you in the far reaches on the eastern side of our country may not have had the opportunity to meet Suzanne Slankard, Associate. Suzanne lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She greatly cherishes the friendships and spiritual connections she has made with her mission group, Women of the Word.
Suzanne began her association with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1973 when she met Sisters Kay Muzzy, OP, and Ann Rozalia Szabo, OP, and was impressed by their joy. Suzanne was officially welcomed as an Associate in 1976. This was a positive transformation that healed a painful experience with other nuns while she was in high school.
Suzanne’s Dominican spirit has flowered over the past 40 years through her association with Adrian Sisters and Associates as well as with the Dominican Ecclesial Institute (DEI), sponsored by the Central Province of the Dominican Fathers. The DEI offers engaging and inspiring speakers each month, as well as spiritual guidance and direction.
Suzanne’s primary ministry is the care of her husband, Jean, who suffered a severe stroke last December and has required her constant loving and attentive care. Although Suzanne gets some support from an aide who comes in overnight, she is focused on making Jean’s days as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Her sensitivity to his needs has become a living example of the Adrian Dominican vision to “reverence life.”
Although her ministry keeps her quite busy, Suzanne finds time to enjoy swimming and reading, as well as occasional afternoons out. Her goal is to finish reading the diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalski, Divine Mercy in my Soul. She also plans to study Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on Care for Earth, with her mission group. She remembers all Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates in prayer and hopes that a gathering and retreat for all of the Associates in the Dominican West Chapter will be held soon.
Holy Rosary Chapter
Annie was raised on a farm near Tecumseh, Michigan, by what she describes as a “Catholic, not so Catholic” family. She married her husband, Delbert, in 1955.
She worked in two Lenawee County factories, first at Faraday and then at Peerless Gear in Clinton, where she worked on making lawnmower transmission. When the factory moved out of state, she was “too young to retire but too old for more factory work,” so she got a job as a nursing assistant at Maria Health Care Center where she spent the next 15 years.
While working for the Sisters, “something just jumped at me,” she says, in the form of the Holy Spirit stepping in. “My life changed and I felt like I belonged.”
Years later, the Spirit acted again when Sister Rita Brunette asked her if she would be interested in becoming an Associate. And when she did, “I was so proud,” she says. It gave her a chance to live out her Catholic faith in a new way.
Annie’s ministry now is sewing for Sisters and helping them out in numerous other ways as well as serving regularly as a sacristan at St. Catherine Chapel.
She was married to husband Delbert for over 60 years; he passed away in March of 2016. Together they had three children (Kim, Kirk and Kris), 12 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.