August 6, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and special guests celebrated the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sister Marilín Llanes, OP. The Liturgy and Ritual of Profession took place August 4, 2019, in St. Catherine Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sister Marilín’s Final Profession followed the conclusion of Embracing the Future / Encuentro con el Futuro / Pagyakap sa Hinaharap, a gathering of more than 600 Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and specially invited Partners in Mission who work with the Congregation in sponsored institutions and other shared ministries. Special guests for the profession liturgy included Sister Marilín’s family members and friends.
Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Council Liaison to the Formation Department, welcomed the assembly. “Some insights from our hearts can only be told with a story and today we ritualize the insights of Marilín’s heart, having fallen in love with the divine mystery beyond all space and time, leading to a lifetime commitment,” Sister Patricia said. “We rejoice with you, Marilín, in celebrating your ‘yes’ that was meant to be.”
A member of the Adrian Dominican Congregation from 1988 to 1995, Sister Marilín entered the discernment process for readmission on August 8, 2015, the Feast of St. Dominic, and made her First Profession of Vows on April 10, 2016.
A native of the province of La Habana in Cuba and an only child, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 with her parents, Nancy and Ricardo Llanes. Sister Marilín grew up in the Miami area and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Barry University, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She also holds a master’s degree in counseling from St. Mary’s University and a graduate degree in school psychology from Trinity University, both in San Antonio, Texas.
Sister Marilín has been a school psychologist for 15 years, starting in 2004 for the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, and, after her First Profession, with the Joliet, Illinois, School District.
Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, offered a reflection on the day’s Gospel, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Sister Rosa Monique described the woman as one whose life changed after her encounter with Jesus. Because of that encounter, Sister Rosa Monique said, the Samaritan woman was called to be an apostle to the people of her Samaritan town. Every time the woman returned to the well after that encounter, she would be reminded of her call to apostolic service.
In the same way, Sister Rosa Monique said, St. Dominic found his place of discernment at an inn, where he spent the night praying for guidance as he tried to convert the innkeeper from heresies.
“You, too, started in one direction and finished in another,” Sister Rosa Monique told Sister Marilín. “Let me say that your place of encounter was a desk in a second-grade classroom.” She described Sister Marilín’s first call when she volunteered to teach a religious education class and was assigned to a second-grade class. “Your analytical mind said that since you did not have religious education, the best place to start would be at the bottom.” Thinking she was a member of the class, Sister Marilín was surprised to learn that she was the teacher, but she accepted the challenge and it changed her life, Sister Rosa Monique said.
“If the Samaritan woman had a well to go to for reflection and Dominic had a guest house, you, Marilín, have a second-grade desk,” Sister Rosa Monique concluded. “Go there frequently.” She encouraged members of the assembly to identify their own wells, their own places of reflection, and go to that place.
During the Rite of Profession, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, formally questioned Sister Marilín on her willingness to unite herself more closely to God by a bond of religious profession and to live a life of charity and center her ministerial activity in contemplation.
Sister Marilín then stated her intent: “with all my heart and soul to enter into a lifetime communion with my loving God and my dear Adrian Dominican Sisters. I pray that I may be open to God’s grace and invite the Holy Spirit to weave in me a clear, strong, trusting, and joyful heart.”
Speaking in Spanish, Sister Marilin professed a vow of obedience to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, and Sister Patricia and her lawful successors, “according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary until death.”
Sister Patricia presented her with a ring, signifying her perpetual fidelity to Jesus Christ. The ritual concluded with the signing of the profession documents by Sister Marilín and Sister Patricia Siemen; Sister Marilín’s two witnesses, Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, and Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP; Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, her Chapter Prioress; and Father Marcelo Solórzano, OP, celebrant.
“On behalf of the whole Dominican family, and most especially our Adrian Dominican Congregation, I am truly delighted to affirm your profession as a Dominican Sister of Adrian,” Sister Patricia Siemen said. “We joyfully congratulate you and pray that our God continue to inspire you with a generous heart to answer the call to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”
Enhancing the joy of the bilingual liturgy was the music, led by Music Director Denise Mathias. Musicians were Sisters Jean Keeley, OP, trumpet; Jeanne Wiest, OP, clarinet; and Sue Schreiber, OP, percussion. Serving as cantors were Sisters Katherine Frazier, OP, Mary Jones, OP, and Mary Priniski, OP. The Chapel Choir also helped to lead the assembly in music.
Feature photo (top): Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, right, addresses Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, shortly after the Final Profession of Vows.
Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, professes her Perpetual Vows to Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress. Observing the profession are her witnesses, Sisters Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, left, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, center.
July 30, 2019, Washington, D.C. – Four representatives of the Adrian Dominican Congregation participated in a campaign by a coalition of Catholic organizations to end the abuse of immigrant children and families at the border of the United States and Mexico.
Phase One – the Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children – was a prayerful direct action in Washington, D.C., on July 18, 2019, in which more than 300 people participated. The event included a rally on the south lawn of the U.S. Capitol with a prayer service and speakers. About 70 people then participated in a public action in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. In a peaceful protest, five formed a living, human cross on the Rotunda floor while the others prayed before all were arrested.
Representing the Adrian Dominican Congregation were Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, Director of the Congregation’s Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation; Sisters Susan Van Baalen, OP, and Maurine Barzantni, OP; and Lisa Boris, Campus Minister at Regina Dominican High School, an all-girls school in Wilmette, Illinois, sponsored by the Congregation. None of the Adrian Dominican contingent was arrested.
Among the Catholic organizations involved in planning the event were NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby; the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an organization of the elected leadership of about 80 percent of the Catholic Sisters in the United States; and Pax Christi, a Catholic organization working toward peace.
Dominican Sisters attending the Catholic Action in Washington, D.C. were: back row, from left, Sisters Susan Van Baalen, OP, and Maurine Barzantni, OP, Adrian; Sisters Quincey Howard, OP, and Peggy Ryan, OP, Sinsinawa; Sister Kathleen Nolan, Adrian; Sister Mary Feigen, OP, Hope; and Sister Ellenrita Purcaro, OP, Blauvelt; and front row, from left, Sisters Reg McKillip, OP, Sinsinawa; Sisters Carol Gilbert, OP, and Ardeth Platte, OP, Grand Rapids; and Sister Didi Madden, OP, Blauvelt.
“The purpose was to take a stand – to be visible and to make public the Catholic social document on immigration, Welcoming the Stranger,” Sister Maurine said.
Sister Susan spoke of making a statement by attending the rally and of being a source of support for those who had chosen to take direct action and be arrested. “It was clear that the people who made that decision couldn’t have done it without support – the support I was able to give by my presence,” she said.
Lisa said many of her friends are first- or second-generation immigrants. “To support my friends and strangers in this way was huge,” she added. “These are real people, and decisions made here in Washington are impacting and ending their lives.”
The prayer service included quotes from immigrant children in the detention centers who spoke of not being able to shower and of being afraid to ask for food. “These were kids who tried to escape a horrible situation [in their home countries] and wound up in a situation as bad or worse,” Lisa said. She hopes that by taking this action, she will inspire the students at Regina Dominican to become involved in justice and peace work.
The three Adrian Dominican Sisters traveled to Washington, D.C., on July 17, 2019, and spent that evening at the Stuart Center, a facility founded by a religious congregation, the Society of the Sacred Heart. There, they met Lisa and other Sisters and lay people who were involved in the event.
“The highlight was having a chance to share with other people who are committed to Catholic social teachings,” Sister Maurine said. They had the opportunity to share their experiences of the immigration issue the day before the event, as well as during a meeting afterwards.
For Sister Susan, the highlight was “the opportunity to share with other people and to hear from them how deep their concerns were and what a global issue it is.” The witnesses of the people who had been to the border and seen the conditions of the detention centers were also impressive, she said.
Lisa commented on how humbling it was to be surrounded by people who care about the immigration issue and allowed themselves to be arrested in their efforts for justice. She said the July 17 action and others that follow are being organized “until they close the detention camps and they’re not holding people without food and water and freedom.” The hope that the practice of detaining immigrants, especially children, “seems like an unrealistic hope, but educating the people and helping them to see what’s going on so they close the camps” is key, she added.
Sister Susan said that “in unity there is strength, and I hope that groups coming together to offer this kind of support will inspire others to join them. The churches, I believe, do have a Gospel mandate to be present and to respond. … It might not be through physical presence but it might be through the ballot box or funding.”
In the meantime, the Catholic organizations plan to continue their efforts on behalf of the immigrant families at the border. Sister Kathleen said the Catholic Action on July 18 is only phase one in the Catholic coalition’s efforts to persuade the government to not detain immigrant children in such inhumane conditions. “The organizers made it clear that there would be at least two more events – maybe one in August and one in September,” she said.
Read more about Catholic Action for Immigrants in recent articles from The Washington Post and The Catholic News Service.