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Adrian Dominican Sisters Dedicate Memorial Marker for Filipina Sisters

May 1, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – In a brief but moving ritual, the Adrian Dominican Sisters on April 28 dedicated a memorial marker for Sisters in the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in Pampanga, Philippines. 

Engraved on the stone marker in the Congregation’s cemetery are the names of Sisters Aleli Mayor José, OP; Esperanza Leonardo Bonifacio, OP; Lettyham Gomez Espiritu, OP; and La Purisima Alcantara Careso, OP. The names of other Sisters from the Remedies Chapter will be engraved on the marker upon their deaths.

The memorial marker is testament to the close connection between the Dominican Sisters in the Philippines and the Adrian Dominican Sisters, who helped the Filipino congregation become established in the 1960s. The Adrian Dominican congregation provided formation of the first Remedies Sisters. The two congregations merged in November 2011, on the Feast of Our Lady of Remedies.

The ritual began in the gathering space of St. Catherine Chapel, where Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP, former General Councilor, facilitated the service. Sister Rosemary Ferguson, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters at the time of the Remedies Sisters’ independence, read a letter she had written at the time. 

“It is gratifying to see the fruits of our own Sisters’ ministry among these Filipina Sisters,” Sister Rosemary had written. “They are a fine and noble group of women, beautiful in the Lord – unusually so – very Asian, very Dominican. They have a beautiful fortitude and grit. … I believe that our Congregation will be blessed for our part in the formation of the diocesan community, for they seem to be a prophetic sign in the Philippines.”

As a symbol of the connection, Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Remedies Mission Chapter, brought hand-sewn scarves of the colors of her native country. Each member of the Leadership Council – made up of the General Council and the Chapter Prioresses of each of seven Chapters – chose a scarf and wore it during the procession and dedication at the cemetery.

Noting poet John O’Donohue’s reference to stones as “tabernacles of memory,” Sister Kathleen spoke to the small group of Sisters and Co-workers gathered around the marker in the cemetery. “We stand within a circle of stone and of rich memory, at the same time surrounded by circle in this cemetery,” she said. “Circles of stone, in silence and stillness, they are tabernacles of memory for all of us as Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, our family and our friends.” 

During the ritual, members of the Leadership Council read brief biographies of the Sisters whose names are etched in the marker:

  • Sister Aleli Jose (1939-1994) was born in Manila and came to know the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies during her involvement with the Young Christian Workers in the region of Pampanga. She entered in May 1967 and was the Congregation’s third Prioress. She was always focused on struggling people, especially farmers and fisher folks, and pioneered the Congregation’s social action ministry.

  • Sister Esperanza “Esper” Bonifacio (1933-2007) was a pioneer of the Remedies Congregation, one of four Filipina Sisters who traveled to Adrian, Michigan, for their formation. Back in the Philippines, her first ministry was as a catechist (religion teacher); later she also ministered in training catechists; coordinated feeding programs for mothers and children; and served as secretary to the Office of Archbishop of San Fernando in Pampanga.

  • Sister Lettyham “Letty” Espiritu (1965-2011) was born in Saigan, Viet Nam, but at the age of 5 moved with her family to the Philippines, her family’s native country. She met the Congregation at Mother of Good Counsel Seminary in San Fernando and entered in 1993. She taught; served as treasurer of Holy Rosary College; ministered at the Tala Leprosarium Hospital; served as Formator for Sisters in temporary profession; and as coordinator of the Dominican Social Action Pastoral Ministry.

  • Sister La Purisima “PuringCareso, the first of the Filipina Sisters to die as an Adrian Dominican Sister, died on May 29, 2016, at the age of 62. She entered in 1982 and ministered as treasurer in various parochial schools; coordinated of the Social Action Center; and ministered with the indigenous Aeta community. She was also well known as a musician and composer. 

“We are reminded of the holiness and the aliveness of Aleli, of Esper, of Letty, of Puring, and of what a blessing their lives are to their people and to us,” Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, said as she began the sprinkling rite, blessing the marker.

   
LEFT: Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, right, holds a basket while Sister Carol Jean Kesterke, OP, a member of the Leadership Council, selects a hand-sewn scarf from the Philippines. Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, looks on. RIGHT: Sisters Zenaida Nacpil, OP, left, and Patricia Siemen, OP, lead a procession to the cemetery.

 


Sisters surround the memorial marker for the dedication.

2016 Brings Memorable Moments to Life of Adrian Dominican Congregation

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.


 

 

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