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.
November 18, 2016, Henderson, Nevada – Sister Phyllis Sikora, OP, was recently appointed by Dignity Health as one of eight professionals to take on a new position within the health care system.
Dignity Health has appointed eight regional vice presidents for mission integration. Since November 6, Sister Phyllis has been serving as the health system’s Nevada Service Area Vice President of Mission Integration. This new responsibility is in addition to her position as Vice President of Mission Integration for the Rose de Lima Campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.
The purpose of the new system of regional vice presidents for mission integration is “to build a unified mission integration team across the service areas,” Sister Phyllis explained. “It’s also to assure that each of our people in the mission position has the needed professional development,” and to ensure that each mission leader throughout Dignity Health reports to someone else in the mission field – rather than to human resources or other professionals.
The new position also helps to “standardize care” across the entire health care system. “Mission doesn’t look one way in one hospital and operated in a different way in a different, but would operate at the same level in all of the service areas,” Sister Phyllis explained.
Sister Kathleen McGrail, OP, is Vice President of Mission Integration for the Siena Campus. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals also includes the San Martin Campus, whose Vice President of Mission Integration has taken a new position in San Francisco, headquarters of Dignity Health.
Sister Phyllis said she has been blessed in the Nevada Service Region because those involved specifically in mission have been integrated into the leadership team. “We already go to operations meetings and executive leadership teams,” she said, but that has not always been the case for mission leaders in other service areas. The new system will integrate mission into leadership across the eight regions of Dignity Health.
Dignity Health is a system of 60,000 caregivers and staff members across 21 states. Its mission states that the health care system is “committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable, health services for all; to serving and advocating for our brothers and sisters who are poor and disenfranchised; and partnering with others in the community to improve the quality of life.” The system’s core values are dignity, collaboration, justice, stewardship, and excellence.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals was founded nearly 70 years ago by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, who still sponsor St. Rose, as well as Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California – also part of Dignity Health.
Sister Phyllis has already met with the seven other service area vice presidents and is particularly excited that, as a group, they will be able to share best practices. For example, she said, she learned of one service area that developed an ethics notebook for its staff – a practice that she was able to follow.
“It’s a team,” she said. “You’re not in this position in isolation, but you’re part of an eight-member team.” One of the challenges of this new team, Sister Phyllis believes, is to develop the new team. “We’re still in the exploration stage of who we are as a group, what we want to accomplish, what it would look like, and what benefits we would bring to our organization.”
In her ministry of mission integration, Sister Phyllis has helped to conduct orientations, introducing mission and values to the new employees. “We’re at employee forums. Our presence is very visible,” she said. As St. Rose Dominican nears its 70th anniversary, Sister Phyllis also strives to make employees aware of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who founded the hospital.
“The original women brought the gift of being committed to the health of the communities they served in,” Sister Phyllis said. “That’s the mission – how do we serve the people in the communities that our hospitals are in? How do we bring in the healing presence of our original Sisters?”