October 31, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Branch #3162 of Lenawee County, presented its 2017 Humanitarian Award to the Adrian Dominican Sisters October 22 during its 24th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet.
The theme for the evening was “NAACP: Steadfast and Immovable.”
Sister Elise D. García, OP, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, accepted the award on behalf of the Congregation. Both are members of the Congregation’s General Council.
Sister Patricia spoke to the assembly of the work of Sisters and Associates in addressing their own white privilege and internalized racism. She noted the work of St. Dominic to bring about unity and community by preaching the truth and by living in right relationship with self, others, and God. “It is in that spirit of communion that we, your Adrian Dominican Sisters, humbly and gratefully accept this award,” Sister Patricia said.
The award was presented before a crowd of about 175 people, including a table of Adrian Dominican Sisters. The event included a keynote address by State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Dist. 8) and a presentation by children.
“Every year at our banquet, we honor organizations or people who deserve recognition,” Jeanette Henagan, President of the Lenawee County NAACP, explained in an interview. “This year a member of our executive committee spoke about the Adrian Dominican Sisters and mentioned the different activities, causes, and issues that they address.”
Jeanette cited activities such as intervening on behalf of Dreamers – adults who came to the United States as children and who are seeking protection from deportation and a pathway to citizenship through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was recently rescinded by President Trump. She also noted that the Congregation has donated a building to Share the Warmth – a volunteer-organized shelter for local people who are homeless – and that individual Sisters are involved in a variety of peace and justice issues.
Jeanette noted that the Adrian Dominican Sisters is a longtime supporter of the Lenawee County branch of the NAACP, most recently by granting the NAACP use of the Weber Retreat & Conference Center for its local government candidates forum.
She encouraged Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates to continue their support for NAACP of Lenawee County and to “express their feelings and their stance regarding issues like immigration and racism.”
NAACP of Lenawee County is active in promoting voting rights, educating citizens, addressing complaints regarding discrimination, and organizing forums and meetings between law enforcement officers and the public.
Feature photo: Children offer a special presentation during the 24th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lenawee County Branch.
October 27, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Two Adrian Dominican Sisters were recognized during Siena Heights University’s Homecoming Weekend, October 13-15, 2017.
The weekend officially opened with an alumni reception and art exhibit, featuring the paintings of Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP. On exhibit in the Klemm Gallery at Siena Heights University were the majority of the 1,000 cranes painted by Sister Barbara as a fundraiser for the ministries of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, of Iraq. The Sisters, along with thousands of other Christians and other minorities from the Nineveh Plains, were forced to flee their villages three years ago under the threat of ISIS. Since then, the Sisters have ministered to their fellow refugees through their presence and through clinics and schools that they built.
The 6 inches by 6 inches paintings of origami cranes are given to those who donate at least $100 to the 1,000 Cranes for Iraq Project. Donors also have the option of choosing the paintings of cranes by Sister Janet Wright, OP, and Sister Suzanne Schreiber, OP, who has taken photos of cranes and of people with origami cranes. During the reception, Sister Barbara told the story of her 1,000 Cranes for Iraq Project.
Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, with some of the 1,000 cranes she painted to raise funds for the ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Iraq. The cranes are exhibited at Siena Heights University’s Klemm Gallery through Friday, November 3.
Sister Patricia Dulka, OP, received the Saint Dominic Award during the October 14 Alumni Awards Ceremony in the university’s Rueckert Auditorium. Sister Peg Albert, OP, President of Siena Heights University, welcomed guests to witness the presentation of four alumni awards. “Listen to the stories of what an impact these people have had on the world,” Sister Peg encouraged her guests. “There’s a ripple effect. You do something positive in our world and it affects somebody, and they do something positive, and they do something positive. It’s the best change agent in the world.”
Sister Patricia received the Saint Dominic Award in recognition of her “commitment to Christian education in family, school, or community,” and as somebody who “embodies the Dominican philosophy and the spirit of Siena Heights University.” Sister Marilee Ewing, OP, presented the award.
Known as an “outstanding teacher” after years of ministering in Catholic schools in Michigan and Ohio, Sister Patricia reached a turning point when a number of new students came from the Appalachian region of Kentucky and Tennessee. “Pat realized that to truly understand her students, she must begin by understanding their values,” Sister Noreen Burke, OP, wrote in her nomination form. “So she spent her summers in the mountains of Kentucky, living among the people, learning from them.”
After earning her Master’s in Social Work (MSW), Sister Patricia served at Mercy Grace Home in Chicago and then, for 11 years, as director and therapist for Catholic Charities of Lenawee County. She was elected Chapter Prioress of the Dominican Midwest Chapter, based in Chicago, in 1998. She is now Co-Chapter Prioress of Holy Rosary Chapter, based at the Motherhouse in Adrian.
In accepting the award, Sister Patricia focused on two major influences in her life: St. Dominic and Siena Heights University. She noted that the founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) reached out to especially to the most vulnerable people of his time. “Driven by his deep love for the Gospel, [St. Dominic de Guzmán] was compelled to be God’s own compassion and mercy to others,” Sister Patricia said.
Sister Patricia Dulka, OP, right, receives the St. Dominic Award from Sister Peg Albert, OP, President of Siena Heights University, center. Also pictured is Katie Hatch ’07, President of the Alumni Association.
Siena Heights University influenced Sister Patricia from her early years of study at the college. “My teachers here at Siena encouraged the importance of making connections and seeing relationships in the content rather than just memorizing facts,” she recalled. “What I have learned from my Siena Heights education is that it’s all about relationship, all about making connections.”
Other events during the Homecoming Weekend included a luncheon for alumni; men’s and women’s soccer games; a matinee performance of Sunday in the Park with George; a football game against St. Francis-Indiana; Mass; brunch; and a “State of the University” presentation by Siena Heights administrators.