By Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life
November 23, 2016, Miami, Florida – Four new Adrian Dominican Associates were accepted into Associate Life during two separate Rites of Acceptance at Barry University during Founders’ Week. All four serve on the faculty or in the administration of Barry.
The annual week in November celebrates the university’s Adrian Dominican heritage and its foundation by Mother Gerald Barry, OP, then Prioress of the Congregation; The Most Reverend Patrick Barry, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida; Monsignor William Barry, pastor of St. Patrick Parish on Miami Beach; and John (Jack) Graves Thompson, Mayor of Miami Shores.
Carmen McCrink and Michael Provitera were formally accepted during the Founders’ Week Mass on November 14.
Carmen, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Higher Education Administration, teaches doctoral students in leadership and education and higher education administration. She enjoys teaching the History of Education course, which includes the contributions of St. Thomas Aquinas to the founding of medieval universities.
Born in Cuba, Carmen moved to the United States with her family in 1962. Her hope is to continue to share the Dominican charism with her students and co-workers.
As professor of organizational behavior, Michael instructs students on helping veterans and the poor and founded the Coalition of Children’s Book Authors, which has sent brand new books to the people of Tanzania. He wrote the book Mastering Self-Motivation: Preparing Yourself for Personal Excellence.
Michael brings an enthusiasm to all that he does, and is ready to share the Dominican charism with his students, co-workers, and family, including his wife, Erin, and daughters Janet and Lauren.
Christopher (Kit) Starratt and Gerene (Gerry) Starratt – married for 42 years – were welcomed as new Associates during a ritual on November 16. They have three adult children and are active in their parish, St. Jerome, in Fort Lauderdale.
Kit, Vice President for Mission and Institutional Effectiveness, has served at Barry since 1993. His ministry is to increase the level of our Dominican heritage at Barry by establishing programs to facilitate this process. A clinical neuropsychologist, he noted, “I have found that education is a powerful tool to alleviate human suffering and to combat social injustice."
Gerry, an associate professor of education, teaches methodology and statistics for the School of Education and serves as a dissertation advisor. “Our family values – and my personal values – are aligned with the mission and vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters,” she said in explaining her attraction to Associate Life. She is a member of her parish’s Chancel Choir and Women’s Emmaus Ministry and makes and repairs rosaries.
The new Associates were mentored by Sisters Mary Fran Fleischaker, OP, Mary Tindel, OP, and Evelyn Piche, OP. Dr. Roxanne Davies, Associate Vice President for Mission and Institutional Effectiveness, facilitated the formation sessions taught by the Sisters and Associates at Barry. They will work with a new group of prospective Associates, who will study the Dominican charism and discern Associate Life.
Feature photo: Carmen McCrink and Michael Provitera, new Adrian Dominican Associates from Barry University, listen as Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, leads the November 14 Rite of Acceptance. Photo by Thierry Lach
October 25, 2016, Miami, Florida – Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, received the Community Service Award for her work with refugees during her years of service as President of Barry University, 1981 to 2004.
The award was presented to Sister Jeanne during the Peace and Dialogue Dinner sponsored by the South Florida Branch of the Atlantic Institute on October 15 in the Kovens Conference Center at Florida International University.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the Atlantic Institute is an independent, non-profit organization focusing on facilitating dialogue in the Southeastern United States. The organization’s efforts are based on Hizmet, a social movement that seeks to create a more harmonious world through interfaith dialogue, education, and service. While the movement began in a Muslim nation, the Atlanta Institute is open to people of all faiths.
The purpose of the Peace and Dialogue Awards is to “recognize influential persons who actively promote diversity and intercultural exchange in the workplace, the government, or other vocational spheres in their communities” as a way to encourage them to continue in their efforts.
“The beauty that is in this room overwhelms me,” Sister Jeanne said in accepting the award. “It is the goodness and the wonder of this human family that reaches out for one another – reaches out in cultural diversity to embrace and to love and to help the world ease its pains, ease its differences, and raise up the goodness of the human family as one. It is in the Atlantic Institute, it is in that mission, that is the promise and the hope of what can be.”
In an interview, Sister Jeanne said she had been approached about the award during the summer by members of the South Florida Branch, who were predominantly Muslim. “I don’t need another award, but I realized they need people to stand up and be vocal about the fact that there’s one God and we are all one people,” she said.
Sister Jeanne recalled the beauty of the experience, which was shared by her family members and by Sister Peg Albert, OP, President of Siena Heights University, and Sister Therese Margaret Roberts, OP.
Sister Jeanne said she attended the event out of the belief that the local Muslim community needed friends, “but when I got there I knew that I was the one that was blessed to be in their presence.… It was a privilege for me to be there with that group at a time when they need the witness of people who know that we are one, and that our communities have to be inclusive, that we all have a role to play in our community.”
During her tenure as President of Barry University, Sister Jeanne was involved in numerous community organizations and often worked on behalf of immigrants. She worked with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to ensure that children would not be locked in detention and to monitor 300 Haitian immigrants who had been in detention. Through her efforts, hundreds of immigrants were paroled to her.
In addition, Sister Jeanne intervened in two highly publicized cases: that of three Chinese women who had sought asylum and were kept in a room at Miami International Airport and in the case of Elian Gonzalez, a refugee from Cuba who was in the middle of a custody battle between his father in Cuba and his relatives in Miami.
Watch a video of the awards presentation.
Feature photo: Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, left, with Asli Akkaya, faculty member of the Florida International University. Photo Courtesy of the Atlantic Institute, South Florida Branch