December 20, 2017, Henderson, Nevada – Shauna Walch, long-time student, friend, and co-worker of Adrian Dominican Sisters, formalized her relationship with the Congregation on December 16 when she became the newest Adrian Dominican Associate. The Ritual of Acceptance was in the chapel in the St. Rose de Lima Campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, an institution sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in their mission and vision. While maintaining their own independent lifestyle, Associates may take part in many social, spiritual, and ministerial activities with the Sisters.
“I began this journey [to become an Associate] based on a deep, abiding admiration for the Adrian Dominican Sisters,” Shauna said. “I felt privileged to work for and among the Sisters and to actively communicate and help carry out their vision and values.”
Shauna pointed to a recent time of loss and change, through which she was helped by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, her co-workers at St. Rose Dominican, family members, and friends. “God, through the nearly 20 years I have known the Adrian Dominican Sisters has schooled me on the fruits of community,” she said. “He has placed women like you on my path. Thus, I choose to become an Adrian Dominican Associate to honor and further the blessing of community God has gifted me with.”
In addition to her remarks, the ritual involved the call to Shauna; the signing of the formal Agreement of Association with the Adrian Dominican Congregation; her reception of the Associate logo; and a prayer of blessing and welcome by Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters.
Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, was Shauna’s mentor. Other Sisters and Associates who took part in Shauna’s formation were Sisters Michael Thomas Watson, OP, Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, and Kathleen McGrail, OP, as well as Associates Maria “Susie” Aceto and Sharon Carelli.
Shauna first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Las Vegas, where the Sisters taught her. Since 1998 and until recently, she worked in the Communications Department of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals. She still writes articles for the hospital’s publications.
Those interested in joining Associate Life should contact Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or email@example.com. For information on becoming an Adrian Dominican Sister, contact Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, at 517-266-3537, 866-774-0005, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature photo (top): Shauna Walch signs the Agreement of Association while her mentor, Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, watches.
Some who attended the Ritual of Acceptance were, from left, Sister Kathleen (Katie) McGrail, OP; Associates Colleen York, Shauna Walch, and Susie Aceto; and Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, Shauna’s mentor.
August 10, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Nearly 80 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters gathered August 4-6 at Weber Center in Adrian to get to know one another better and to reflect on the General Chapter Enactment on diversity. They were participating in Partners V, the annual gathering of Associates.
The Enactment on Diversity reads: “Rooted in the joy of the Gospel, we will embrace and nurture our rich diversity, commit ourselves to deepening our relationships with one another, invite others to vowed and Associate life, and expand collaboration for the sake of the Mission.”
Activities throughout the weekend event not only reflected the group’s own diversity, but challenged the Associates to think about how they can promote the Enactment in their own communities.
During the opening prayer service August 4 participants mingled water they brought from their homes or nearby waterways and poured it into a common bowl. The water represented not only the geographic diversity of the group – people came from 11 states and the Dominican Republic – but also the diversity ministries, family situations, and interests.
Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, who ministers in the Dominican Republic, delivered the keynote address. She set the context of her talk by describing the multicultural nature of the Catholic Church, specifically in the United States. She noted a recent study showing that 38 percent of the U.S. Catholic Church is made up of Hispanic or Latino Catholics and that 54 percent is made up of non-Hispanic whites. Other ethnic groups include Asian and native Hawaiin, 5 percent; Non-Hispanic Black, 3 percent; and Native American, 1 percent. People in multi-cultural parishes, she said, need to learn how to work with and embrace parishioners from other cultures.
Drawing on the work of Craig Storti, author of The Art of Crossing Cultures, Sister Rosa Monique described roadblocks facing people when they are adjusting to a new country or a new culture: language, climate, food, illness, and homesickness. But she focused her talk primarily on psychological roadblocks to cross-cultural adjustment.
Unreasonable expectations are “at the heart of the problem of cross-cultural adjustments,” Sister Rosa Monique said. “We expect everyone else to behave as we do and we assume we behave like everyone else. We assume that under normal circumstances, we all think about and perceive the world in basically the same way.”
However, she said, not everybody shares these specific expectations – and encountering unexpected behaviors from people in a foreign country can make it difficult to know how to respond, leading the newcomer to withdraw from the culture and people.
Sister Rosa Monique suggested instead of having an expectation of conformity to see the experience as a chance to learn about a different culture – beginning with the moment when we react with anger or agitation to an unexpected behavior. “The trick is to make ourselves aware of these feelings and identify them immediately,” she said. “We are then in a position to observe what is going on around us. This will form the basis of what we expect the next time we encounter the situation.” She added that this awareness presents an option: we can withdraw or reflect on the situation and change our expectations.
After her talk, participants gathered in small groups and were given a Scripture passage or article to read and questions on how to respond to diverse populations in those situations. The entire group met later in the afternoon to share the fruits of their discussions.
In addition to the talks and activities presented on diversity, Partners V also included a Ritual of Acceptance for six new Associates (see related article); opportunities for Associates and Sisters to come to know one another informally through meals and socials; and a closing prayer service on August 6. During the closing prayer, participants were given samples of the water that had been combined at the beginning of the weekend, symbolizing their unity.
Associates are women and men – single, married, divorced, or widowed – at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to the Adrian Dominican Congregation. While living independent lives, they share in the Mission and Vision of the Sisters and are welcome to participate in many of the Congregation’s events.
For information on becoming an Associate, contact Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or email@example.com.
Feature photo (above): Some Partners V participants present findings of their discussion in a unique and exuberant way.
Top: Deb Carter, Associate, pours a sample of her local water into the common bowl during the opening prayer service. Right: Tibisay Ellis, an Associate, introduces herself to other Partners V participants during the opening session. Left: Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, delivers the keynote address on diversity.