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[By Sharon Bock, Associate]
Consistency, steadiness, and a dose of daring might be a good way to describe Nancy Mason-Bordley. She is not only a native of Michigan, but has lived there her entire life. Her history with Dominicans almost parallels this stability. Except for her first five or six years before beginning school, Nancy has been in some way associated with Dominicans ever since. Her sense of daring has led her to take on challenges outside her comfort zone.
Her Dominican history begins with the Oxford Dominican Sisters who taught her while she was in grade school. This experience made a deep impression on her, for as a young woman, Nancy felt drawn to become an Associate of the Oxford Dominicans. These Sisters, who maintain a Motherhouse north of Pontiac, Michigan, are one of seven Dominican congregations which merged into the Dominican Sisters of Peace in 2009.
Nancy maintained her membership as an associate with the Oxford Dominicans for several years, then elected to take a break from active participation with them. During this hiatus, while ministering in religious education with Sister Janet Schaeffler, OP and Sister Mary Margaret (Maggie) Mannard, OP, Nancy also met Sister Mary Ann Dixon, OP. Sister Mary Ann asked Nancy if she was ready to come back to Associate life and mentored her through her preparation and acceptance as an Associate in 2000.
Although currently taking a break from active involvement in a Mission Group and Chapter Assemblies, Nancy had been very active in both her Mission Group and working with Associate programs for more than 15 years. She helped to create the first Partners retreat for Associates five years ago. She stays connected through friendships with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and through her spiritual direction from Sister Carol Johannes, OP. And, she notes, she is willing to step up and help when needed.
Nancy is a pastoral minister at St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where she enjoys preaching and counseling parishioners. When her pastor asked what led her to engage in a preaching ministry, her response was immediate: “My ties with Dominicans!”
She earned her certification as a spiritual director at the Dominican Center for Religious Development in Detroit. She also served on the center’s staff, training and supervising intern spiritual directors and assisting with program planning and development.
As an adjunct professor at Siena Heights University, armed with her D.Min. degree, and using the wizardry of online technology, Nancy taught Ministry, Management and Leadership last fall. She also regularly teaches theology courses designed for those who plan to minister as religious educators and pastoral ministers.
Nancy is the founder and owner of Parish Services, LLC., which operates as a resource to the Archdiocese of Detroit, assisting parishes in contracting services for degreed and certified ministers, who are speakers, musicians or facilitators.
Nancy’s life ministry includes her boundless support of her large extended family. She lives with her husband and one cat and regularly reaches out to her many family members, including her 84-year-old mother and the families of her two brothers and two sisters.
Nancy most deeply resonates with the Chapter Enactment which reads, “We commit to deepen our spirituality and to engage with others in prayer and presence.” She has done a significant amount of exploration and study in emerging theology and spirituality, including works by Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ. She looks for opportunities to challenge herself, even spending time in Africa doing missionary work. It will be interesting to see where Nancy’s abundant talent and willingness to dare lead her now.
Why I'm an Associate
by Mary Lach
Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, did not afford me very many opportunities to meet Adrian Dominican Sisters, but I did meet Grand Rapids Dominicans at Aquinas College. I began to realize that I was challenged and inspired by the Sisters I had as professors, especially Sister Theresa Houlihan, OP, my philosophy professor, and Sister Thomasine Bugala, OP, my German professor. Eventually, I studied in Germany where I stayed with Sister Thomasine at the Motherhouse - yes, the Motherhouse -- in Regensburg. Little could I imagine that I would some day meet Adrian Dominican Sisters, who were one of the groups represented on the wall of the convent.
I began to work part time at a parish in Clinton Township, Michigan, and there I met Sister Arlene Kosmatka, who has been my spiritual director for 25 years. I worked with Audrey Wentz, one of our first Associates. She persuaded me to consider Associate Life. When I signed the document to be known as an Associate, I only knew Arlene and Audrey, but I felt right at home in Adrian. I began to attend retreats and programs there.
I have been involved in many ministries at our parish but eventually I began to realize that the relationships I made in the Mission Group I have been privileged to participate in (Peacemakers) and the friendships I made through Arlene and Audrey were helping me to grow and bringing me life. I am proud to be an Associate and I have made so many wonderful friends and met amazing women who have mentored and nurtured me. I have so many opportunities to learn through the many social justice issues the Congregation is engaged in and by the many challenges.
The one big drawback is that, because many of the Sisters are older, I have had to say good-bye to many friends, which brings grief and sadness. However, there is risk in all relationships and I find the benefits of Associate Life are worth the challenges.