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.”
August 20, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – Five women were formally welcomed as Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters on August 15 during a special evening Ritual of Acceptance. The ceremony took place in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse during a weekend gathering of Associates, Partners III.
“We’ve had a joyous, Spirit-filled gathering up until this moment, and it will be even more exciting as we welcome these five new Dominican Preachers among us,” said Sister Lorraine Reaume, OP, Formation Director of the Congregation in her brief welcoming address to the assembly. “I just invite us all to join in celebration, to hear their words, to offer them our prayer and our support, and rejoice in our being together to celebrate this very special event.”
“It is with open hearts and minds and much love that we welcome these women to walk with us as Associates in spreading the Good News and living out the mission of the Dominicans of Adrian,” said Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life.
During the ceremony, each new Associate’s mentor – an Adrian Dominican Sister or Associate – gave a brief introduction of the new Associate and lit a candle in her honor. Mary Lach then questioned each woman as to her willingness to be “named and known as an Adrian Dominican Associate” and invited her forward to explain her decision. Associate Janice Donner served as the ritual leader.
The new Associates are:
Carole Watters, mother of four, grandmother of seven, and an active lay minister in the Diocese of Saginaw. She was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters at Resurrection School in Lansing, Michigan, and attended Siena Heights College (now University), sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in Adrian, as well as Aquinas College, founded by the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters. Sister Jo Gaugier, OP, her mentor, interviewed her for the lay ministry formation program in the Diocese of Saginaw. She noted Carole’s service at Saginaw’s Diocesan Service Center and her ministry as a Befriender Ministry leader for two parishes in that diocese. “Saying yes to this call is like coming home full circle,” Carole said. “For me, the mission of this community of Dominic says it all.”
Marge Coneset, sister-in-law of Associate Barbara Coneset. Her ministries include creating beautiful, uplifting greeting cards; crocheting prayer and healing shawls for people in need; reaching out to neighbors in need; and helping to organize a monthly bingo session for the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. “Marge has a deep faith in God, extraordinary compassion for others and all creation, and is always available to help those in need,” said Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, her mentor. “I’ve been impressed by Marge’s joy, sense of humor, hospitality, kindness, and desire to grow spiritually.” Marge, for her part, spoke of her own feeling of home-coming when she first came to the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “It is a home of compassion, truth, justice, prayer, and community. …These charisms are in my heart and soul and they enable me to carry out God’s work.”
Mary Miller, the secretary at St. Patrick’s of Heatherdown Parish in Toledo, Ohio, as well as a lector and member of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society. “I witnessed Mary’s deep devotion to God and her prayer life way back in our years at St. Joseph Academy together,” said her mentor, Associate Jacqui Richardson. “I invited Mary to consider the Associate Life program because I knew she would be faithful to the commitment of preaching God’s Word and living the Adrian Dominican charism.” In her response, Mary noted that she had been inspired from her elementary school days by the “reverence and love of God” demonstrated by her Adrian Dominican teachers. “I want to continue the charism of St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena and be led by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel, not only by words but by daily living.”
Pamela Kyzer, a nurse who also volunteers as a parish nurse at her parish in Anchorage, Alaska. In her introduction, Pam’s mentor, Associate Susan Jayich, spoke of the 30 years they shared together in Anchorage. Pam and her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, had provided health care to Alaskans for many years before his retirement. She has also been involved in hospice; co-founded the Catholic Parish Ministers and Health Ministers Association of Anchorage; and volunteers as a dog handler for the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Pam noted she was attracted to Associate Life for many reasons, including the example of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who once served in Anchorage – Sisters Lorraine Reaume, Jo Gaugier, and Ann Romayne Fallon, and former Adrian Dominican Sister Jacqueline Stoll. She has also been influenced by the Associates in Anchorage. “The support they offer me is invaluable to my spiritual growth,” she said.
Cynthia Lentine, also of Anchorage, who has been involved in teaching a faith formation class, completing a three-year Scripture and leadership program, and serving the community through such means as the Paws Therapy Dog training program. Her mentor, Associate Barbara Block of Anchorage, also noted Cindy’s work in helping to develop a local library, her gifts of compassion and hospitality, and her willingness to give her time for those in need. “Cynthia is a woman of deep faith, committed to passing on the faith,” Barbara said, adding that her circle of friends includes the Sisters who formally served in Anchorage, as well as Sisters Patricia Magee and Nancy Murray, who recently visited and ministered there. Cindy noted that she identifies with the mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters to “seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”
The ceremony continued with the new Associates’ signing of 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 received a special logo.
Associate Life is open to women and men, at least 18 years of age, who are married, single, widowed or divorced. 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. If you are interested in Associate Life, please contact Mary Lach, director, at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sister Jo Gaugier, OP, right, explains the Agreement of Association to new Associate Cindy Lentine, while Cindy’s mentor, Associate Barbara Block, watches.
Signing the Agreement of Association are, from left: Associates Pam Kyzer, Jacqui Richardson, Mary Miller, Marge Coneset, and Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP.