August 19, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The nearly 70 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters who gathered at Weber Center August 12-14, 2016, for Partners IV, found a quieter, more contemplative focus in the annual gathering of Associates. Centered on the theme of seeds, the gathering provided input, moving prayer services, and the opportunity to reflect on the Enactments of the 2016 General Chapter.
Adrian Dominican Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and their mission and vision. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, and attend Congregational events.
Roberta Clemak, Associate, co-chair of the planning committee, elaborated on the weekend’s theme in her welcoming talk, “Who’s to say you haven’t already planted a seed, nurtured a seed, and helped a seed to take root?”
The group was also welcomed by Jacci Brown, Associate, co-chair, and by Mary Lach, Associate, Director of Associate Life. Associates from the Florida Mission chapter planned and led the prayer services.
Members of the newly formed Associate Life Advisory Board took the opportunity to introduce themselves. Associates who serve on the Board are Chairperson Connie Brady, Jacci Brown, Carol Johnson, Deb Carter, and Trudy McSorley.
The program on Saturday offered ample opportunities for nurturing the seeds of the Dominican charism. Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, long-time professor of theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, presented the background and principles of Catholic social teaching. The teaching is traced to Rerum Novarum (On the Conditions of Labor), an 1891 document by Pope Leo XIII and further developed through papal encyclicals and documents written by bishops. Catholic social teaching focuses on principles such as dignity of the human person, preferential option for the poor, and solidarity.
Amy Palmer, Development Director, led participants on a virtual tour, through videos, of the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden. Set to be dedicated at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, the garden was especially designed to give retired Sisters a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.
Arlene Bachanov, Associate and Co-worker in the History Department, gave a presentation on To Fields Near and Far, the latest history volume of the Congregation, which she co-authored with Sister Nadine Foley. The book focuses on 1933-1961, the years that Mother Gerald Barry led the Congregation. During her talk, Arlene focused on the growth in the Congregation during those years and on the Sisters’ willingness to go wherever they were sent, knowing the faith that Mother Gerald had in them.
Associates were given time to contemplate the 2016 General Chapter Enactments and to discern their call to continue as Adrian Dominican Associates.
Participants gathered in St. Catherine Chapel for the Ritual of Acceptance into Associate Life for Mary Veen. Mary, of Cheboygan, Michigan, entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1957 but left to marry and raise a family. She is active in the Cheboygan Catholic Community through ministry at funerals and as a Eucharistic minister, lector, sacristan, faith-sharing group leader, and leader of Sunday Communion services in the absence of a priest.
“It is my desire to reconnect with the Adrian Dominican spirit, which continues to pervade my daily life,” Mary said. She was mentored by Associate Joyce Frugé.
Mary Lach then led the Associates in a brief ritual of recommitment.
During the closing session on Sunday, the Associates heard from their new General Council Liaison, Sister Patty Harvat, OP, who introduced herself and gave a brief reflection on the illuminated life of Dominicans. She shared her working definition of preachers: “He or she deals out to his or her people his or her life, a life passed through the fire of thought. Our Enactments provide that fire of thought.”
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