March 11, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Five Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters have agreed to take on the new task of serving on Associate Life’s newly-formed Advisory Board.
Associates are men and women, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, as well as attending Congregational events. Associate Life is a way to live out the Dominican charism (spirituality) of seeking truth and preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ through a non-vowed commitment.
“The idea for the Advisory Board came out of a need that we’ve had the last few years of trying to figure out how to respond to the distinct charism of Associates,” who live out the Dominican spirituality in different ways than do their vowed Sisters, said Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life and herself an Associate.
Serving on the Advisory Board with Mary Lach; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Director of the Formation Department; and Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, General Council Liaison to Associate Life, are the following Associates:
Connie Brady, of Ben Lomond, California, a retired registered nurse and case manager, first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters through her work at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. As chair of the Peace and Justice Committee of her parish, St. John’s Catholic Church in Felton, California, she coordinates outreach to people who come to St. John’s on Thursdays to be treated by Dominican Hospital’s Mobile Wellness Clinic.
“It became evident that many of the folks who came for care were also hungry,” Connie explained. She and a group of committed parishioners prepare and serve about 120 lunches every Thursday.
An Associate since 2007, Connie chaired Partners III – the annual gathering of Associates in Adrian – and serves as a Representative of Associate Life (RAL).
Jacci Brown, of Waterford, Michigan, spent 10 years as a vowed Adrian Dominican Sister in Chicago and, after leaving the community, moved to Detroit. She has served as a religion teacher and then as principal for four years at Beahan Junior High School in Farmington; Religion Department Chair at Marion High School, Birmingham; Assistant Director for Catechetics for the Archdiocese of Detroit; and an adjunct faculty member at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake.
Jacci’s work as a grief counselor has included giving a workshop on loss to the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. An Associate since 2011, she chaired Partners II and is co-chairing Partners IV.
Deb Carter, of St. Joseph, Michigan, retired this past Fall from Siena Heights University after working there for 33 years. In her last position, which she held since 2000, Deb served as Dean of the College for Professional Studies, overseeing Siena’s seven degree completion centers, a nationally recognized online program, and the Theological Studies Program in the Diocese of Lansing. She is Dean Emerita, holding the rank of Assistant Professor of the Liberal Arts.
An Associate since 1995, Deb is interested in unifying Associates through educational opportunities, using technology to help Associates communicate with one another, and involving Associates in local service projects.
Carol Johnson, of Decatur, Illinois, is part of the tightly knit group of 13 Associates in the St. Louis area. After volunteering as a music minister at Holy Family Parish in Decatur, she became involved in music ministry at neighboring St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. She interrupted this ministry to study at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, and recently retired as music director at St. Thomas. She serves on the parish council and, for the past nine months, on the parish’s Year of Mercy Committee.
A RAL, Carol hopes to bring the model of the St. Louis Associates to other Associates, especially those who live near few Sisters in active ministry. She is also interested in helping Associates connect with one another.
Trudy McSorley, of Adrian, spent nearly 20 years as a vowed member and 40 years in ministry at Siena Heights University, where she served as Assistant Professor of Theater and Director of the Child Drama Program, Dean for Students, and Assistant to the President for Mission Education.
Her experience includes presenting workshops in storytelling, journaling, and theater techniques. Trudy is a spiritual director at Weber Center, as well as a retreat director and a hospice volunteer. She has served on several boards, including St. Joseph Academy and Catholic Charities of Lenawee County. Trudy hopes to share her expertise and develop ways that the Associates can grow in the Dominican charism.
For information about becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 5, 2016, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – In the midst of Santo Domingo, the bustling capital of the Dominican Republic, women in discernment, women in formation, and Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, and all who seek God can find a haven of peace, community, discernment, and reflection. That place is Convento Santa Catalina, the Congregation’s new house of discernment and formation in the Dominican Republic.
The 100-year-old renovated house was officially blessed and dedicated on January 29 and 30, beginning with a special blessing of the rooms and entryways. Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, also installed a relic of 14th-century Dominican mystic, St. Catherine of Siena – for whom the house was named – into a special reliquary in the house’s chapel, or oratorio.
Adrian Dominican Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, Director of Formation for the Dominican Republic, said she is especially excited about this unique relic of St. Catherine of Siena. “[St. Catherine] prayed in a little oratorio in her house, very small, and she decided to come to our little oratorio, very small,” she noted.
Also participating in the event were Sister Carol Gross, OP, who also lives in the house with Sister Rosa Monique and shares in the ministry; Sisters Luisa Campos, Eneida Santiago, Nery (Luchy) Sori, and Basilia De la Cruz, who minister in the Dominican Republic; Sisters Tarianne DeYonker and Corinne Sanders, of the General Council; Sister Lorraine Réaume, Director of Formation; three women who helped to renovate the convent; and a group of local Adrian Dominican Associates, along with Associate Tibi Ellis, who had obtained the relic.
The next day, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez opened the House of Formation with a special Mass. “It is gratifying that Dominican Sisters never cease their spiritual work,” he said. “I am sure that this House of God will be very helpful to those seeking the true God.”
“This is a house of Dominican presence, intended to foster the call to religious life and Associate Life,” said Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Director of Formation. “It is also intended to be a place of spiritual outreach and support among others who walk with us.”
Convento Santa Catalina will also be a house of hospitality for women in discernment, where they can experience religious life, as well as a place where women in formation and Sisters who minister outside of the capital can stay when they’re in Santo Domingo.
“We hope that it’s going to be a place where people can come together to know more about their faith and to develop their spiritual life,” Sister Rosa Monique said. “What that means is that we hope to have workshops, some retreats, days of reflection and some courses that would help them develop their own spirituality.” Sister Carol, a spiritual director, has already been meeting at the convent with people she directs.
The house has been renovated to allow for such gatherings. The main room – furnished predominantly with rockers and chairs – is largely an open space that can easily accommodate 20 to 30 people.
Sister Rosa Monique said people have already approached her, asking about the possibility of using the convent as a site for a talk or an evening of reflection. During the second week in February, she hopes to host the first evening of reflection. But the exact use of the convent in coming months has yet to be determined. “I’m letting the activities and requests tell me how to develop the ministry down the road,” she said.
Admitting that this is a new kind of ministry for her, Sister Rosa Monique added, “We Dominicans never mind starting something new. That has been a trademark of our Congregation.”