August 16, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – During Partners VI, the annual gathering of Associates, three new Associates were welcomed through the Rite of Acceptance on August 11.
Judi Engel, an Adrian Dominican Sister from 1964 to 2006, is an artist, educator, and consultant living in Columbus, Ohio. She had taught in inner city schools and was involved in a variety of other ministries for the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Diocese of Columbus. While beginning her retirement, she anticipates remaining involved in spirituality and art – drawing, watercolors, and photography.
“Judi is best known for her preaching with her gift of art,” said Associate Trudy McSorley, who mentored Judi. She noted examples of Judi’s work around the Motherhouse campus. “In the Roncalli hallway, Judi’s mural of Dominic looking over this very campus is a powerful meditation as we consider resiliency in community,” Trudy said. Judi’s sculpture, Christ Rising, in the meditation room at INAI: A Space Apart “invites us into that very mystery,” she said.
Judi said she is “a Dominican for life – not just in the vowed structure.” Upon her acceptance, she presented a new art work, distributing printed copies to those present, using the theme, “It happens, sometimes, that the way is beautiful.” That line, her own simplified translation of a line from the French book, Miserere, by French painter Georges Rouault, “is a summary of my own journey with the Adrian Dominican Congregation, and with profound gratitude I offer it as a statement of my desire to continue to share that journey as an Adrian Dominican Associate.
Gladys Cruz, of Isleton, California, was born in Tokyo, Japan, to a U.S. Roman Catholic father and a Japanese Buddhist mother. She has lived in the United States since the age of 6. Gladys met the Adrian Dominican Sisters at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. She and her husband Greg are the parents of four adult sons – including a special needs son – and have four grandchildren. She is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and a catechist.
Associate Connie Brady, mentor of Gladys, said the two of them have come “full circle.” Twenty years ago, she said, Gladys was instrumental in Connie entering the Catholic Church. “We became great friends, and over the years, I learned that Gladys had one phrase she said over and over again: ‘When somebody needs help, you just help them.’”
Thanking Connie and Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, for their formation work with her, Gladys noted how she had been influenced by the Dominican family. “When I look back at my life, Dominican priests and nuns have been a firm part of my religious journey,” she said. “I can hear God saying, ‘Gladys, I’m not through with you yet.’”
Eileen Negus, of Adrian, has been involved with Sisters at the Dominican Life Center, especially assisting at Bingo games and baking for the Sisters, funerals, and fundraisers. A life-long Catholic, she assists at the food pantry and hospice program at St. Mary’s Parish in Adrian and with a cancer support group; she lost her only daughter to cancer years ago.
Associate Marge Coneset, mentor of Eileen, met Eileen four years ago when they both took a water aerobics class from the late Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP. During her formation in Associate Life, “it became very clear that Eileen has what it takes to be committed to Associate Life,” Marge said. “Her faith is steadfast and she is grateful to God for all of her blessings. Her love of community and of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and caring for those in need have become her mission.”
Ellen expressed her gratefulness in becoming an Associate. “It has become very clear that my mission of serving my community and my church fits in with the Dominican charism. … I’m blessed with my life and want to help others when I can. I hope to continue my mission as an Associate.”
After the formal introductions, Mary Lach formally questioned Judi, Gladys, and Eileen, on their willingness to be known as an Adrian Dominican Associate. All Associates and Sisters present at the ritual affirmed the new Associates, saying, “We acknowledge the oneness of our baptismal commitment and work together to deepen our faith in Jesus Christ. … May we continue to explore the meaning and exercise of ministry for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a developing future.”
The new Associates completed the formalities of their new status by signing the Agreement of Association, stating their willingness to enter into a formal relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. As a symbol of this commitment, the new Associates each received an Associate logo from her mentor.
At the conclusion of the ritual, the Associates in attendance presented their own signed commitments to Associate Life until the next General Chapter in 2022. The signed documents were placed in a basket at the foot of the altar, where they represented the Associates’ offering of their lives to God.
Associates are women and men – married or single – at least 18 years of age and committed to sharing the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their independent lifestyles, Associates share in the Sisters’ mission and vision and participate in Congregational, spiritual, and social events with the Sisters.
If you’re interested in becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or email@example.com. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in discerning vowed religious life with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, contact Vocation Co-Directors Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532, firstname.lastname@example.org or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, at 517-266-3537, email@example.com.
Feature photo (top): Mentors present the Associate Life logo to new Associates. From left are Associates Gladys Cruz, Connie Brady, Eileen Negus, and Marge Coneset.
Associates sing the Dominican Blessing over the new Associates.
April 25, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Five people became Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters during two Rituals of Association held in recent weeks. Associates are women and men – single or married – who are at least 18 years old and who make a non-vowed commitment to share in the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
The Ritual of Acceptance traditionally involves music, the presentation of the new Associates and their statements on why they want to be known as Adrian Dominican Associates, the signing of the agreement of association, and the presentation of the Associate Logo.
The Ritual of Acceptance in the Dominican Republic took place March 11 at the Convento Santa Catalina, the Congregation’s new formation house. Presiders at the ceremony included Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, who ministers in vocation work in the Dominican Republic; Sister Carol Gross, OP, mentor of Rosario Guerra and Mayra Méndez; Mary Morros, Associate and sponsor of Luchy Mejía; and Fabiola Reyes, Associate and member of the Associate Life Advisory Board.
The Ritual of Acceptance in Miami took place at the Cor Jesu Chapel of Barry University during the 11:00 a.m. Mass on April 8. Mentors for the two new Associates were Sisters Mary Fran Fleischaker, OP, Myra Jackson, OP, Evelyn Piche, OP, and Mary Tindel, OP.
Following are profiles of the new Associates.
Rosario Guerra came to know Adrian Dominicans at Colegio Santo Domingo, where she earned a certificate as an executive secretary. She has worked El Salvador and the United States and says she feels that she has been a Dominican since her early school days.
A hospital volunteer, Rosario serves women who come for mammograms, especially the first-timers who are often afraid and nervous. She also organizes retreats and serves in other ministries at the university Parish of the Anunciación.
After the death of her husband, Rosario raised their two daughters and one son. She enjoys visiting them and her grandchildren in the United States and in Chile.
Lizbeth James earned a Master’s of Social Work at Barry University and is now the Coordinator of Service Learning in the Center for Community Services Initiatives at Barry. She hopes to “further develop a life of reflection and action, rooted in the Gospel and in accord with the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Mission, Vision, and the Enactments.”
“I have worked at Barry University for over 13 years and have always felt grateful for working at a place that fits well with my values,” she said. “The Dominican charism has called to me particularly in this past year, as I have explored the intersection of faith and justice.”
Luz Altagracia Mejía Medrano, known as Luchy, was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She was taught by Adrian Dominicans in Colegio Santo Domingo from fifth grade through her training to become a bilingual secretary.
After working as a secretary for 22 years in the Agriculture Department, Luchy retired and then became pharmacy manager at the Dr. Heriberto Pieter Institute of Oncology. With another generous volunteer she co-founded the Dominican Association of Healthcare Volunteers in 1973 during her short time working at the pharmacy. She later served in the cancer institute for 26 years.
Luchy believes she still carries the foundation of the Adrian Dominican charism. As an Associate, she wants to continue to offer her dedication and service to all who are in need.
Mayra Méndez, a mother and a grandmother, came to know Adrian Dominicans about two years ago. She attended the inauguration of the new Dominican convent in Santo Domingo and answered a general invitation to become an Associate. In addition to her Associate formations studies, she takes theology classes taught by Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP.
Born in San Juan de la Maguana, Mayra has spent most of her life in Santo Domingo. She is a parishioner at Santísima Trinidad, a lawyer, and lover of literature – particularly poetry. She volunteers with the Servants of Mary, visiting the sick, especially in poor areas. For several years, she has cared for an elderly couple, but also has a special interest in poor children.
John Musulin, a native of Bristol, Connecticut, is the Media Center Manager at Barry University, where his ministry is to provide a “transformative, Catholic educational experience.” He is also the advisor for to the student newspaper, The Buccaneer, and to the Film and TV Club. He is joining Associate Life for fellowship, knowledge, and spiritual enrichment.
“The Adrian Dominican Sisters, with their long history of service to humanity, are an inspiration to me,” he said. “I believe whole-heartedly in the Dominican charism and I aspire to live my life in support of the Adrian Dominican Vision: to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”
Those interested in becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate should contact Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Single Catholic women interested in life as a vowed Adrian Dominican Sister should contact Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, at 517-266-3537, 866-774-0005 or email@example.com.