August 19, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The nearly 70 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters who gathered at Weber Center August 12-14, 2016, for Partners IV, found a quieter, more contemplative focus in the annual gathering of Associates. Centered on the theme of seeds, the gathering provided input, moving prayer services, and the opportunity to reflect on the Enactments of the 2016 General Chapter.
Adrian Dominican Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and their mission and vision. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, and attend Congregational events.
Roberta Clemak, Associate, co-chair of the planning committee, elaborated on the weekend’s theme in her welcoming talk, “Who’s to say you haven’t already planted a seed, nurtured a seed, and helped a seed to take root?”
The group was also welcomed by Jacci Brown, Associate, co-chair, and by Mary Lach, Associate, Director of Associate Life. Associates from the Florida Mission chapter planned and led the prayer services.
Members of the newly formed Associate Life Advisory Board took the opportunity to introduce themselves. Associates who serve on the Board are Chairperson Connie Brady, Jacci Brown, Carol Johnson, Deb Carter, and Trudy McSorley.
The program on Saturday offered ample opportunities for nurturing the seeds of the Dominican charism. Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, long-time professor of theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, presented the background and principles of Catholic social teaching. The teaching is traced to Rerum Novarum (On the Conditions of Labor), an 1891 document by Pope Leo XIII and further developed through papal encyclicals and documents written by bishops. Catholic social teaching focuses on principles such as dignity of the human person, preferential option for the poor, and solidarity.
Amy Palmer, Development Director, led participants on a virtual tour, through videos, of the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden. Set to be dedicated at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, the garden was especially designed to give retired Sisters a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.
Arlene Bachanov, Associate and Co-worker in the History Department, gave a presentation on To Fields Near and Far, the latest history volume of the Congregation, which she co-authored with Sister Nadine Foley. The book focuses on 1933-1961, the years that Mother Gerald Barry led the Congregation. During her talk, Arlene focused on the growth in the Congregation during those years and on the Sisters’ willingness to go wherever they were sent, knowing the faith that Mother Gerald had in them.
Associates were given time to contemplate the 2016 General Chapter Enactments and to discern their call to continue as Adrian Dominican Associates.
Participants gathered in St. Catherine Chapel for the Ritual of Acceptance into Associate Life for Mary Veen. Mary, of Cheboygan, Michigan, entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1957 but left to marry and raise a family. She is active in the Cheboygan Catholic Community through ministry at funerals and as a Eucharistic minister, lector, sacristan, faith-sharing group leader, and leader of Sunday Communion services in the absence of a priest.
“It is my desire to reconnect with the Adrian Dominican spirit, which continues to pervade my daily life,” Mary said. She was mentored by Associate Joyce Frugé.
Mary Lach then led the Associates in a brief ritual of recommitment.
During the closing session on Sunday, the Associates heard from their new General Council Liaison, Sister Patty Harvat, OP, who introduced herself and gave a brief reflection on the illuminated life of Dominicans. She shared her working definition of preachers: “He or she deals out to his or her people his or her life, a life passed through the fire of thought. Our Enactments provide that fire of thought.”
June 20, 2016, St. Louis, Missouri – Through the collaborative efforts of the Development, Communications, and Technology Departments, the Adrian Dominican Sisters received two awards from the Catholic Press Association (CPA): second place for best freestanding videos depicting religious life for a Christmas greeting to benefactors and a tie for third place for best annual reports by Catholic non-profit organizations.
The awards were announced June 3 at the conclusion of the CPA’s Annual Catholic Media Conference, “Tweet Me in St. Louis,” held May 31-June 3 in St. Louis, Missouri.
The award-winning video, Christmas Wishes from the Adrian Dominican Sisters, placed between first-place winner Nuns Rock by Catholic Extension and third-place winner Nuns Usher Dying into Heaven by Catholic News Service. Amy Palmer, Director of Development, commissioned the video as part of her donor-centered approach to Development. She and Technology AV Specialist Scott Miller did the voice-over narration of the script; Scott also filmed and edited the video. Also collaborating in the project were Communications Department members Sister Elise D. García, OP, Communications Director, and Ashley LaVigne, Sheila Wathen, and Melinda P. Ziegler.
The Congregation’s 2014-2015 Annual Report, Your Generosity, Our Service, tied with ONE Magazine, the 2015 annual report of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Taking first place were the Jesuits for their annual report, Jesuits Transforming Lives. The second-place award recipient was Catholic University of America for Then and Now, their 2014-2015 annual report.
Amy Palmer, Development Director, worked with the Communications Department to ensure that the annual report took on a new focus: the donors. Also involved with the Congregation’s annual report were Sister Elise D. García, OP, editor; Sister Barbara Kelley, OP, copy writer; Melinda D. Ziegler, graphic designer and photographer; and Sister Kathleen M. Schanz, OP, General Council liaison.