June 20, 2019, Albuquerque, New Mexico – Sister Geneal Kramer, OP, recently received the Lumen Gentium Award from the Dominican Ecclesial Institute (DEI) during the organization’s annual awards gala. She was nominated for the award by her parish, St. Therese of the Infant Jesus in Albuquerque, for her commitment to “spiritual care, religious education, and parochial formation.”
The award is named after Lumen Gentium (“Light of Humanity”), the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, released in November 1964 by the Second Vatican Council.
“I was surprised – I was really surprised,” Sister Geneal said, adding that she hadn’t heard that she would receive the award until about a week before the gala, when the woman in charge of the event called for background information on her.
Sister Geneal, a parishioner of St. Therese for about five years, said she spends Thursday mornings as spiritual director for any parishioner who wants to meet with her. She is also a member of the interfaith justice group, of which St. Therese Parish is a member. But mostly, she said, her ministry at the parish involves presence to the people and to the parish’s neighborhood.
Before joining St. Therese, Sister Geneal was active for 20 years at the Newman Center, the Catholic student parish at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She has also been active in the DEI, which was established in the mid-1990s by Father Michael Demkovich, OP, a Dominican Friar from the Central Province.
The purpose of the DEI is to bring “outstanding speakers into the area,” Sister Geneal explained. “We have few resources here so we try to bring people in to give talks and stimulate good conversation for spiritual and religious development.”
Sister Geneal opens the DEI’s year of programming every year with a retreat in July. Speakers in the coming year include Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, who will speak in the spring on healing the Earth; Father James Marchionda, OP, a Dominican priest, preacher, and composer who conducts workshops; and Father Richard Rohr, OFM, a Franciscan priest, author, and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque.
In recent years, Sister Geneal has also served as an adjunct faculty member for the Master of Theological Studies program at St. Norbert College and as retreat director for the sabbatical program at the Conossian Spirituality Center in Albuquerque.
During her time in religious life, she said, she has appreciated “being mentored by spiritual friends, both lay and religious, and in turn mentoring others.”
June 12, 2019 – While some might believe that mysticism and action are opposite calls in the Christian life, a retreat offered at Weber Retreat and Conference Center connects mysticism directly with activism. Discovering Mysticism in our Call to Action is from 7:00 p.m. Monday, June 24, 2019 through 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 28, 2019.
The retreat focuses on the root of three contemporary mystics that led them to take action: Dorothy Day, a convert to Catholicism, went on to found the Catholic Worker Movement. Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ, was an anti-war activist, opposing the war in Vietnam and founding the anti-nuclear weapons and pacifist movement, Plowshares. Thea Bowman, an African-American Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, was empowered by her faith to resist oppression and racism.
Discovering Mysticism is led by three spiritual leaders. Sister Arlene Kosmatka, OP, a spiritual director, has been studying mystics since posing the question in her master’s thesis: Is everyone called to be a mystic? Patrick Henry, PhD, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, has written and spoken widely on the Holocaust and written an article on Daniel Berrigan. C. Vanessa White is Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union and a member of the faculty at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, where Sister Thea Bowman was a founding faculty member.
The cost – which includes meals and snacks – is $220 for commuters, $320 per person double occupancy, and $420 single occupancy. Registration is required and is available here. Registrations may also be made by contacting Weber Center at 517-266-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited scholarships are available.
Weber Center is on the campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse, 1257 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian. Enter the Eastern-most driveway of the complex and follow the signs to Weber Center. For information, call Weber Center at 517-266-4000.