August 8, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, family members, friends, and colleagues of Sister Janet Capone, OP, gathered August 5-6, 2018, for two days of formal and informal services to honor the former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The special days included an August 5 wake and Vigil Service, during which participants shared their personal memories of Sister Janet, and the Funeral Mass and Rite of Committal on August 6. Participants also had the opportunity to share their memories after the formal Vigil Service on August 5, during the lunch that followed the Committal, and at various other informal gatherings.
Highlights of Sister Janet’s term as Prioress, from 1998 to 2004, included the merger of the Adrian Dominican Sisters with the Edmonds Dominican Sisters. In addition, she and the General Council oversaw the renovation of Holy Rosary Chapel, the construction of St. Catherine Chapel to replace the smaller Maria Chapel at the Dominican Life Center, and the renovation of Weber Retreat and Conference Center.
During the Vigil Service on the evening of August 5, Sister Mary Ann Caulfield, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Florida Mission Chapter, gave a eulogy, focusing on the life of Sister Janet. Read some of the details of her life here.
As a professed Adrian Dominican Sister, “Janet continued to grow as a woman of prayer, wisdom, and grace,” Sister Mary Ann said. Sister Janet’s mantra were the words she spoke to the Congregation at General Chapter 2004 toward the end of her term as Prioress of the Congregation. Drawing on the words of Lee Ann Womack in her song, “I Hope You Dance,” Sister Janet had told the Adrian Dominican Sisters, “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
Sister Mary Ann used that theme throughout her eulogy in describing Sister Janet’s various ministries and the spirit with which she lived. In September 2017, Sister Janet began to experience health issues “but continued the dance of life as a valiant and courageous woman until her death,” Sister Mary Ann said. “So, Janet, you have graced us with your presence. You have blessed us in so many ways. Now you rejoice with your Beloved. Your spirit dances with the divine presence. You are clothed in majesty.”
Sister Maureen Comer, OP, who had served on the General Council when Sister Janet was Prioress, maintained a friendship with Sister Janet after their terms in office. Sister Maureen drew on Sister Janet’s favorite quote from Rumi: “Beyond the place of right judgment and wrong judgment, there is a field. I will meet you there.”
“One of the outstanding gifts of Janet was that she would invite people to meet in that field, where one is known and accepted, right or wrong, and here we are – blessed persons, each one of us, and especially blessed because Janet Ann Capone came into our lives,” Sister Maureen said.
She further described Sister Janet as “the consummate educator,” who successfully taught first-grade students to read. “She was a great teacher for those of us a lot older than first grade,” Sister Maureen said. “She helped many to know who we are, to accept who we are, to celebrate who we are.”
Carole Goguen, Sister Janet’s grand-niece, spoke for the family. “We call Boston home, and while Sister Janet was not always present physically, her presence was always with us – a faraway friend who always answered the phone when we needed her. She was always watching over us. She was observant. She was thoughtful. She was helpful. She was concise – and she was ours,” Carolyn said. “Today, as we honor our sister, our friend, our friend, our leader, we should take comfort in knowing that our everyday angel on Earth now has a better view, and we’ll continue to honor her memory.”
During the funeral on August 6, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, offered a brief reflection on Sister Janet and the courage she showed throughout her life – particularly during their visit in January 2018, when Sister Janet had begun to realize that she would likely not recover from cancer. “She said to me, ‘Pat, I have placed myself within the heart of God. I know that it’s safe there.’ And that is one of Janet’s last gifts to us: her placing herself into God’s heart. It gives us permission to do the same.”
Sister Eunice Drazba, OP, who had ministered with Sister Janet at Emmaus Community in St. Louis, delivered a reflection, focusing in turn on each of the readings. The first reading, from Wisdom, described a valiant, faithful woman. “What gives this woman wisdom and makes her faithful?” Sister Eunice asked. “Being able to dance for joy and in sorrow, knowing her labors are worthwhile and pursuing them daily, and a step at a time.”
Psalm 111, the responsorial psalm, “leads us to giving thanks to God and celebrating the goodness present to us daily,” Sister Eunice said. “Janet lived these praises daily, starting each day putting two feet on the floor and showing up. This was one of her mottos: just show up. In showing up, we trust God to be with and lead us to our next move, decision, choice, plan.”
Describing the Beatitudes as “the blueprints of walking with Jesus,” Sister Eunice noted that Sister Janet “created and followed her blueprint that Jesus modeled.” She invited the assembly, in memory of Sister Janet, to reflect on their own lives as inspired by the readings and to “tweak or affirm our own blueprint for the life worth living.”
The formal farewell to Sister Janet concluded at the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ cemetery, where Sister Janet was laid to rest in the circle of discipleship and friendship among other Adrian Dominican Sisters who have joined the Communion of Saints in Heaven.
Feature photo (top): Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, places into the hands of Sister Janet Capone, OP, vows she made as a Sister.
Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, blesses Sister Janet during the Rite of Committal in the Congregation Cemetery.
August 6, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – In an atmosphere of great joy and celebration, Sister Katherine Frazier, OP, made her First Profession of Vows August 5, 2018, in St. Catherine Chapel, which was packed with Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, Dominican Sisters from other Congregations, family members, and friends.
| NOTE: The video of the First Profession is at the very bottom of this article. |
During the Rite of Profession, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, formally examined Sister Katherine on her willingness and readiness to “unite [herself] more closely to God by a bond of religious profession.” Sister Katherine then stated her intent to profess vows with the Adrian Dominican Sisters to answer God’s call in her life.
“I desire to share faith and life with my Sisters and to carry into the world alongside them the mission of Jesus,” Sister Katherine said. “Having started this adventure three years ago as a candidate and then as a novice, I want to see where God is leading us next, trusting that God’s plans for the future are always good.”
After lying prostrate during the Litany of the Saints, Sister Katherine professed her vow, promising obedience to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, Sister Patricia and her lawful successors. The Rite continued with the presentation of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ logo to Sister Katherine and signing the profession documents by Sister Katherine; Sister Patricia; Father Greg Heille, OP, presider; and Sister Katherine’s two witnesses, Sister Joan Delaplane, OP, and Sister Mary Soher, OP.
“I am awed to have been called to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and I am grateful for each Sister who has come into my life for being an example of loving and faithful service,” Sister Katherine wrote to members of the assembly. “I look forward to seeing what adventures God will lead us on in the future.”
Sister Katherine entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2015 and spent her first year as a candidate, coming to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters better; studying the Congregation’s Constitution, history and identity; and ministering in Adrian and Detroit, Michigan, and in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sister Katherine spent the next year, her canonical novitiate year, at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri. In the past year, as a second-year novice, Sister Katherine studied at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
Sister Patricia Walter, OP, preached during the liturgy and focused on the message of the Gospel as an alternative vision to that of the dominant culture – and the role of preachers as “subversives,” people who preach a vision deeper than the message of popular culture. Basing her message on that of theologian Walter Brueggermann, Sister Patricia said when a culture understands the world without any reference to God, “what the preacher, what the faith community is called to do, is to help people to see, to notice, to name, to re-imagine the world as if God’s will counted, as if God is an actor in it. This is our good news, our truth, which is seen as fake and certainly as alternate. Preaching this is subversion.”
Just as the Israelites became people on a mission, and the disciples, in response to Jesus, became a people on a mission, Sister Patricia said, Sister Katherine’s call is to join a community on a mission, the Adrian Dominican Sisters, a community of the holy preaching, the Order of Preachers.
“The good news is that alternative reality, that alternative subversion, that vision of God’s reign and what the world would really be like if God’s will were done on Earth as it is in Heaven,” Sister Patricia said.
Sister Patricia added that St. Paul’s vision – that we are all part of one another – is also an alternative vision in our world today. “[This is] good news, the joy of living in mutual affection, with deep respect, with giving and receiving, with mutuality, with trying to discern the will of God: to rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. This is a joyful invitation Paul gives us, a joyful imagining – so much better than being polarized.”
The older of the two daughters of Lee and Lynne (McKenna) Frazier, Sister Katherine hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana. At the time of her entrance, she had ministered as the coordinator of the Bishop Donald Trautman Catholic House at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Sister Katherine will minister in the area of Mission Integration at Regina Dominican High School, an all-girls school sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in Wilmette, Illinois. Her role will be to keep members of the Regina Dominican Community aware of and help them live out the Mission of the Congregation.
Sister Katherine begins her new life as a vowed Adrian Dominican Sister with a sense of optimism and hope. The Adrian Dominican Sisters “give me the gift of the example of their lives lived in the mission of God,” she said. “Their example of trusting in God’s provident care is a continual reminder that God’s plan for us is larger than we can imagine.”
As Sister Katherine looks to the future of religious life, she said, “I am confident in the foundations and work that has been done before me by Adrian Dominican Sisters and women religious from other congregations. Having met and had conversations with other younger women religious, I find hope because God continues to call us to work in the mission and that young men and women are still open to hearing this call.”
For more information on how you or a single Catholic woman in your life can become an Adrian Dominican Sister, please contact Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or email@example.com or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, at 517-266-3537 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at http://adriandominicans.org/BecomeaSister/EnteringtheLife.