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.
April 21, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Mary Priniski, OP, who has long been involved in labor issues, will have the opportunity to study development and labor issues in the light of mercy with activists and experts from around the world. She will be participating in the May 2-5, 2016 Global Seminar on Sustainable Development and the Future of Work in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy, to be held in Rome.
“The main objective of the seminar is to deepen our understanding of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church in relation to the concept of decent work, its constitutive elements, and its significance, especially with a view to contributing to the eradication of poverty,” according to a letter that Sister Mary received from Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Sister Mary said that she received the invitation on the recommendation of Father Clete Kiley, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who has also been active in ministry with labor unions. He had been asked by the organizers of the seminar to recommend some labor representatives from the United States. “He invited me because of my long history of involvement with labor issues,” Sister Mary explained. “To have a conference co-sponsored by the International Labor Organization and the Vatican is an amazing thing. I want to be there – and fortunately I was invited.”
The conference was scheduled to coincide with May 1, the International Workers Day and the Catholic Feast of St. Joseph the worker. The feast was established in 1955, most likely as a response to the Communist establishment of Workers Day on the same date. Cardinal Turkson will celebrate a special Mass for the feast day on Sunday, May 1 – an optional part of the conference, followed by the Angelus. The conference itself will open on the evening of Monday, May 2. The two full days of May 3 and 4 will include group sessions on such topics as transformation of the world of work, youth and access to employment, ethics and values in the workplace, and peace through social justice and development. Panel discussions will focus on such themes as critical issues of the world of work and innovative solutions. Sister Mary has volunteered to serve on a panel.
Sister Mary said she is particularly interested in discovering the Pontifical Council’s perspective on future engagement with workers, and on what people in the international community are doing in terms of promoting workers’ rights. Because of Pope Francis’ emphasis on standing with people in the margins, she expects that the conference will discuss lowest-wage workers, the future of work, and “how religious people can be supportive of those who are most hurt by the economic system as we have it now.”
Sister Mary has been involved in labor issues since 1979, when she moved to South Carolina to work with Southerners for Economic Justice. Her role was to engage the Church and the broader community to support the workers of the J.P. Stevens textile plants during a major labor dispute between the textile company and the workers, members of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTW). The famous movie, Norma Rae, was based on this dispute, she said.
In the early 1980s, Sister Mary participated in a coalition between unions and churches to support the efforts of low-income workers to be treated justly in their work. Sister Mary was the director of the Research Center and then the Commission on Justice for Glenmary in the 1990s; served on the board of Interfaith Worker Justice; and was the director of the Labor Guild for the Archdiocese of Boston, where she was responsible for the education of union workers and helped to run union elections.
“I went to South Carolina knowing little about labor organizing,” Sister Mary said. “What I learned was that it was through the labor movement that in the United States we have an eight-hour work day and no child labor. Because of unions, the middle class developed.” She noted that many people have the stereotyped view that unions are corrupt, yet unions are basically only the organization of workers. The unions are “not some outside force that’s coming in to wreak havoc but the workers getting together to ensure their rights. I really do believe that when unions are at their best and the Church is at its best, we are all working for a better world, the transformation of society.”