December 30, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – As we near the countdown to another calendar year, let us take some time to review the 10 most memorable events for the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2016.
General Chapter 2016
After nearly two years of contemplative and collaborative study and preparation, about 200 delegates to the second session of the 2016 General Chapter gathered at the Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan, February 18-26, to set the direction of the Congregation for the next six years. After input and much work together, four Enactments were approved and a Prioress and General Council were elected to lead the Congregation in living out those Enactments.
St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center Responds to Flint’s Water Crisis
When the water of Flint, Michigan, was found to be contaminated with lead co-workers at St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center found ways to offer special services to the troubled community. The Center – founded by Sister Carol Weber, OP, and Sister Judy Blake, CSJ – responded in a variety of ways, from serving as a water distribution center to offering support and nutrition classes to mothers of young children. Sister Carol also found hope and support from a community meeting, called and attended by President Barack Obama.
Adrian Dominicans Stand in Solidarity with Those Seeking Justice
Throughout the year, groups of Adrian Dominicans participated in various events in solidarity with people who are seeking justice. A group of Adrian Dominican Sisters from the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in Pampanga, the Philippines, joined a protest with 3,000 indigenous peoples from their country. Participants set up camp at the University of the Philippines to raise awareness of their efforts to reclaim self-determination and liberation. Six Adrian Dominican Sisters and one Dominican Volunteer traveled to Nogales, Arizona, to join in the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch’s first-ever Convergence at the Border, which called attention to increased militarization of U.S. borders. Three Adrian Dominican Sisters were part of a contingent of U.S. Dominican Sisters who spent a weekend in solidarity with Native Americans who were encamped at Standing Rock in protest the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed on sacred tribal land.
Dominicans around the World Celebrate 800th Jubilee
For Dominicans throughout the world, 2016 was a year-long Jubilee of the founding of the Order of Preachers by St. Dominic. Among the many celebrations taking place during this year was “Living our Legacy: A Dominican Conference in Celebration of 800 Years of Preaching,” attended by three Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Reflective Garden Brings Joy to Retired Sisters
Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden was built in the summer and dedicated in August. The garden was designed with the special needs of memory-loss Sisters in mind to give them a safe and beautiful place to enjoy nature.
Adrian Dominicans Dedicate Formation House in Dominican Republic
The Adrian Dominican Sisters renovated a 100-year-old house in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and dedicated it as a House of Formation. The house is open to women in the Dominican Republic who are discerning a call to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, women who are in formation, and for those who seek a place for spiritual growth and renewal. Read more.
Siena Heights University Opens St. Joseph Academy Building to Education Students
After receiving the old St. Joseph Academy building from the Adrian Dominican Congregation, Siena Heights University renovated the first floor and dedicated it to the Department of Education. In gratitude for the gift of the building, the faculty and students in the Education Department hosted an open house for Adrian Dominicans to showcase the new facilities.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Plans Four New Neighborhood Hospitals
Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals announced plans to build four new neighborhood hospitals in the Las Vegas area to increase access to health care in these areas. The first of the four is scheduled to be dedicated in the first quarter of 2017.
Associate Life Creates Advisory Board
An Advisory Board was created for Associate Life, the organization that coordinates Adrian Dominican Associates, as a way to respond to the specific Dominican charism of Associates. Made up of five Associates, the Director of Associate Life, the Formation Director, and the General Council liaison to Associate Life, the Advisory Board first met in the Spring of 2016 and reported on its accomplishments and goals during an August gathering of Associates.
Adrian Dominican Sisters Present on Global Stage
In the past year, three Adrian Dominican Sisters have taken part in global events. Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, was part of the U.S. delegation to the canonization in Rome of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Sister Mary Priniski, OP, participated in the Global Seminar on Sustainable Development and the Future of Work in the Context of the Jubilee of Mercy, in Rome in early May. Sister Cheryl Liske, OP, attended the third World Meeting of Popular Movements, held in Rome in November to help advise Pope Francis on how to address the challenges faced by poor people and Earth.
October 13, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters Catherine DeClercq, OP, and the late Sharon McGuire, OP, were recognized as Outstanding Alumni during a ceremony October 7 in St. Dominic Chapel. The special recognition was part of Siena Heights University’s Homecoming festivities.
The Outstanding Alumni Award is given to a Siena Heights graduate “whose outstanding professional achievements and/or volunteer contributions promote Siena positively to the community; who demonstrate strong leadership characteristics; who serve as significant role models for others; and who embody the spirit of Siena Heights University.”
Sister Catherine serves as Executive Vice President of Sponsorship and Governance at Trinity Health Systems in Livonia, Michigan, where she has ministered for 29 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Siena Heights and a master’s degree in music education from the University of Michigan, but much of her ministerial life has been spent in leadership and health care.
After serving as a musician and high school music teacher, Sister Catherine was appointed as Co-Provincial Superior in the Detroit area. After that, she served as administrative secretary and then assistant director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Recognizing her leadership skills, delegates at two General Chapters – 1978 and 1982 – elected her as Administrator on the Congregation’s General Council.
In 1987, she began her health care ministry as assistant to the President of Mercy Health Services in Detroit, which later – with Sister Catherine’s assistance – evolved into Trinity Health. In her current role, she has developed a formation program for lay leaders, helping them to understand their roles in the mission of Catholic health care.
Sister Sharon McGuire devoted her life to teaching, nursing, advocating for social justice, and scholarly writing. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English from Siena Heights and teaching at the elementary level, she earned a master’s degree in physical education from Wayne State University.
She began to focus on ministering to migrants and immigrants as a community organizer and fundraiser at the United Farm Workers Center in Keene, California, and later ministered with migrant farm workers in Florida. Realizing the migrants’ need for health care, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Her ministry took her to the Colorado Migrant Health Program, where she served as a community health nurse, and to the San Vicente Family Health Center in El Paso as a nurse practitioner.
Sister Sharon then returned to the ministry of education, coordinating the newly established community health nursing major at the University of Texas at El Paso. After earning her PhD in nursing from the University of San Diego, she returned to Siena Heights in 2008 to serve as consultant and faculty member of the University’s new Nursing Department. While still living in Adrian, she also taught in the Nursing Education online program at Walden University in Minneapolis. During this time, Sister Sharon wrote numerous scholarly articles and chapters in nursing textbooks. She died on May 17, 2016.
Also receiving awards were Amy Wertenberger, a licensed professional counselor specializing in equine assisted counseling, Recent Graduate Award; Patty Driscoll-Shaw, a nurse who has advocated for the poor and oppressed, particularly in Latin America, the Sister Ann Joaquim Award; Katie Guilbault Decker, who, as principal, transformed an inner-city Las Vegas school into the best in the state, St. Dominic Award; and Dr. Louis Vaccaro, president of Siena Heights from 1978 to 1983, Honorary Alumni Award.
Siena Heights University’s Homecoming Weekend also included an art welcome reception and gallery opening; a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Spencer Performing Arts Center; evening productions of The Addams Family: A New Musical; Siena Heights Saints football against St. Francis University, Indiana; an alumni reunion and dinner; Homecoming Mass; and concluding brunch.
Feature photo: Sister Fran Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, introduces Sister Catherine DeClercq, OP, Outstanding Alumni Award recipient at Siena Heights University. Photo by Laura Harvey, of Siena Heights University