May 9, 2016, San Fernando, Pampanga, the Philippines – Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Director of Formation for the Adrian Dominican Congregation, shared some key moments in late March and early April with Adrian Dominican Sisters in the Philippines, members of the Congregation’s Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter.
The Remedies Chapter recently celebrated the 50-year Jubilee of its founding. The Adrian Dominican Congregation helped with the formation of the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies, and, in November 2011, the Remedies Congregation merged with the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister Lorraine had the opportunity to accompany the Remedies Chapter during some key moments: a Holy Week retreat at the Provincial House in San Fernando; the Easter Triduum, a three-day Liturgy that spans the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Good Friday service, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. In addition, Sister Lorraine was present for the final profession of vows of Sisters Salvacion Valenzuela, OP, and Alma Zapanta, OP. She also had the opportunity to take part in another key moment in the Philippines: the closing of the school year and graduations.
“The highlight of the Philippines trip for me was getting to know our Sisters,” Sister Lorraine said, noting that they had all gathered together for the Holy Week retreat. “I was very struck by our Sisters’ commitment to the poor and their immersion with the poor, and their awareness and involvement in issues affecting the people.”
Sister Lorraine noted the poverty that she saw in the Philippines, and the way that people live in corrugated tin houses and in polluted areas. But, after praying to see the situation through Jesus’ eyes, she said, she also saw the hope, joy, and energy of the people. “In the midst of some real poverty and chaos, I noticed all the lovely human interactions. …I thought, ‘What a drive for life!” In spite of the hardship that they faced daily, she said, the people “worked so hard in such heat and difficult conditions to survive, and I was really quite impressed by their enterprising nature and their energy.”
In spite of their work with people in poverty – and their efforts to bring relief to those suffering from natural disasters, such as the recent typhoon that struck in 2014 – Sister Lorraine saw joy in the Remedies Sisters as well. “I was struck by how much they enjoy life,” she said. “They laugh easily and have fun easily – and there’s a real gift in that.”
The Remedies Sisters share that joy with the people around them. Sister Lorraine noted the large crowds of people from the greater community who came to celebrate the final profession of Sisters Salvacion and Alma. “It was a huge celebration, with many guests, many friends, seminarians, family – just lots of people there, joyously celebrating. It felt like a real community celebration in the broad sense of community.”
Some of the cultural experiences also impressed Sister Lorraine. For example, after the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the people maintain the tradition of visiting seven churches. Sister Lorraine was impressed by the number of people who participated in this custom – and by the traffic, which limited to five the number of churches they could visit in five hours. “At every church we went to, there were hundreds and hundreds of people. It was the strength of their faith – how much that devotion meant to the people.”
Sister Lorraine was also impressed by the family values that shone through the four graduation ceremonies she attended – each different. “The parents actually go on stage with the graduate,” she said, and each graduating class sings a particular song that captures their class spirit.
Finally, Sister Lorraine came away from the experience with a greater appreciation for the Asian culture of the Philippines. She had believed that the Filipinos had adopted some of the Hispanic heritage. While the Spanish conquerors gave them Spanish last names, she said, they never took on that culture. “They took on the Catholic faith, because that fit, but they never took on the culture,” she said, adding that the Filipino culture is truly Asian.
April 26, 2016 – Seven women in two separate ceremonies on two separate days became Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters over the weekend of April 23-24.
Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who are married, single, widowed or divorced and who resonate with the mission and ministry of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various social, spiritual, and ministerial experiences with Adrian Dominican Sisters and attend Congregational events.
The first Associate Ritual of Acceptance took place on April 23 in Boca Raton, Florida, where all three women reside. All were mentored by Sisters Carmen Álvarez and Frances Madigan – will make their Commitment to Associate Life.
Bonnie Aymat, originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, studied engineering at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. She and her husband, Luis, a mechanical engineer, run a company that sells and installs pollution control equipment and water systems.
Diana Castro, a native of Bogota, Columbia, is an interior designer and architect by trade. Her ministry in her parish, St. Joan of Arc, includes working with migrant workers and with elders suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Neisy Nuñez, originally of Cuba, studied architectural design in Florida and is also active in St. Joan of Arc Parish. She works with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and helps in the diocesan religious reward program for Scouts.
Four women became Associates on April 24 in St. Catherine Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sharon Bock, of Palm Springs, California, first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters at Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1957 and entered the Congregation in 1961, withdrawing in 1976. Her professional work has included process facilitation, design of adult instruction, and management of trade show conventions. She was mentored by Sister Sharon McGuire.
Helene Knierim, of Tecumseh, Michigan, was born in Germany but moved to Australia at the age of two. Mentored by Sister Molly Nicholson, Helene operates a dance studio in Tecumseh; her gift for liturgical dance was evidenced during the Easter Vigil in Holy Rosary Chapel this year.
Peggy Ann Wilds, of Brooklyn, Michigan, is a retired teacher and a member of the Episcopalian Church. She met the Congregation while taking classes at Siena Heights and remained connected through retreats and spiritual direction at Weber Center. She was mentored by Sister Barbara Quincey.
Melinda Ziegler, of Litchfield, Michigan, has served the Congregation for more than six years as a graphic designer for the Communications Office. She completed the religious studies program at Siena Heights University and became a lay ecclesial leader. The late Sister Barbara Chenicek was her mentor.
The Ritual of Acceptance includes the introduction of each Associate and the opportunity for the Associate to explain why he or she chose this spiritual pathway. Associates then sign the Agreement of Association, noting their willingness to enter into a formal relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters through a non-vowed commitment to the mission and vision. The new Associates also receive a special Associate logo, similar to the logo worn by Adrian Dominican Sisters.
If you are interested in Associate Life, please contact Associate Mary Lach, director, at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature photo: Sister Frances Madigan, OP, left, one of the two mentors, watches as the new Associates sign their Agreement of Association, from left: Neisy Nuñez, Bonnie Aymat, and Diana Castro. Not shown is Sister Carmen Álvarez, OP, mentor. Photo by Associate Peggy Rowe-Linn