January 19, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates were among hundreds of other concerned citizens to gather for half an hour of prayer on January 15 for peace and unity prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The simultaneous half-hour of prayer and holding of hands took place in some 22 states, as well as foreign countries such as Australia and Guam.
Adrian Dominicans witnessed in prayer and silence through “Circle the Cities with Love” in front of Madden Hall and Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan; the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in LaGrange Park, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Key West, Florida.
Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, director of the Congregation’s Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, said she first heard about “Circle the Cities with Love” through one of the Justice Promoters at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The initiative was first organized by the Congregation of St. Joseph of Cleveland, Ohio, at the time of the Democratic National Convention last summer and was resurrected in January to offer prayer for a peaceful inauguration.
Sister Kathy worked with Siena Heights University, The Sunnyside Peace and Justice Center, and the Lenawee County Interfaith Alliance to organize “Circle the Cities with Love” in Adrian. As a result, some 72 Sisters, Associates, and local residents gathered in front of Madden Hall and Siena Heights University to hold hands and pray in silence.
Sister Kathy said she felt moved to organize “Circle the Cities with Love” in Adrian because it sends a message consistent with that of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council in a letter they had written to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates after the election:
“[The Enactments of General Chapter 2016] call us to be signs of [the] life-giving work of God in our midst, especially among those who might read the results of this election as a condemnation – our Muslim brothers and sisters, our Mexican neighbors, immigrants who have long called this country home, women victimized by sexual assault, people with disabilities. … This election calls on us to reach out to friends and neighbors, who responded to the message for change but do not endorse the ugly speech of the campaigns, in our common cause to improve the lives and well-being of all our people. Let us manifest our unshakable belief in the power of peace, non-violence, and the possibility of creating resilient communities.”
“I believe in the power of prayer,” Sister Kathy said. “We are Dominicans. We are preachers, and one of the ways that we preach is with our actions.” She added “Circle the Cities with Love” was a “preaching to our community – our Adrian-Lenawee County community. We have hope for the future and we believe in the goodness of people to come together and to stand up for peace and reconciliation.”
Sister Anne Beauvais, OP – one of five Adrian Dominican Sisters to participate in “Circle the Cities with Love” in Illinois – also saw her prayer and participation as a way to preach peace. “I was very proud to be there,” she said. “It felt like we were giving witness to something we believe in.”
Sister Anne saw a special relevance in the timing of the event. “With all the terrible rhetoric you see around us … we could pray that people will accept this and make the best of the situation,” she said. “It was a sign of unity, that we could get the best outcome possible.”
Along with some 50 to 60 people who stood in prayer in front of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Sister Anne said, the chapel was filled with Sisters who could not stand outside but who prayed in unity with the others.
Sister Patricia Erickson, OP, said she heard about “Circle the Cities with Love” from Sister Kathy and discovered that the event was being held near her, in Key West, Florida. The group consisted only of Sister Pat and the convener and her spouse who gathered in front of the Key West court house.
“Standing in silence heightened my sense of hearing … the myriad languages spoken by people passing in front of us, the roosters crowing, the bells on the bike Lorries, the children playing on the lawn in front of the court house,” Sister Pat said. “As I stood there, I looked at every person passing by, thinking what a wonderful world this would be if there was true peace and respect for everyone.”
Other women religious also took part in “Circle the Cities with Love.” Adrian Dominican Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, peace and justice director for the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, helped to organize “Circle the Cities with Love” for that community.
Feature photo: Some of the 72 participants in Adrian’s Circle the Cities with Love pray in silence in front of Madden Hall at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse.
By Sister Theresa Mayrand, OP
Sister Theresa Mayrand wrote the following article for the newsletter of Gianna House Pregnancy and Parenting Residence, whose mission is to serve as “a sacred sanctuary for its residents, each of whom deserve to continue the life of her unborn child in an environment imbued with spiritual grace, emotional and social support, and knowledge.”
January 9, 2017, Detroit – As Gianna House prepared to host a holiday shower for 25 expectant and new mothers on December 19, untold people showered us with gifts of their time, talent, and treasure!
Their incredible goodness enabled us to offer a wonderful evening of enrichment for the mothers, who enjoyed a meal, beautiful raffle gifts, a large infant gift bag, a gift bag for themselves, a presentation on the importance of reading to infants, and a tote bag with children’s books.
To prepare a festive Christmas environment, 20 teens belonging to Students for Life at Grosse Pointe South came on December 4 to decorate, make name tags for the infant gift bags, fill the moms’ gift bags, and sanitize donated used plastic toys. In addition, they contributed $310, which they used to purchase new toys.
Gianna House Partners Donna Neuman, Patti Ralko, and Sister Helen Susalla, CSJ, spent much time on the phone taking and confirming reservations. The infant gift bags were all filled by Gianna House Partner Christie Burley-Lietzow, who took great time to ensure that each infant would receive clothing and other gifts of appropriate sex and size. Each infant received four outfits, blankets, hooded towel, bibs, hats, diapers, wipes, baby wash and shampoo, and a stuffed animal. All items were new and most had been contributed from parish giving trees and showers hosted by Daughters of Isabella and other organizations. When the supply of baby soap and shampoo had run low, several Adrian Dominican Sisters contributed more of these items.
Gianna House Partner Bonnie Garofalo sent out a Facebook SOS for toys and collected four boxes of new stuffed animals and other toys. Others also contributed toys. Several Gianna House Partners, as well as the visiting teens, had spent many hours sanitizing all used toys.
Many unique gift items, which had come in during the year were beautifully wrapped in bows and sprigs by Gianna House Partner Sister Helen Susalla, CSJ. Each mom received a gift of her choice during the evening’s raffle.
Toiletries donated by many individuals and groups over the year and were used to fill the mothers’ gift bags. Christmas footies brought unexpectedly by four individuals the week before the shower were added to each bag. Also added to each bag was a $15 gift certificate donated by a group of women gathered together via Facebook by Dominican High alum Katy Walsh, a former student of Sr. Theresa.
Michelle Block Garr, organizer of the Slippers for Mom project, brought 30 pairs of new slippers. These and many crocheted scarves, hats, and headbands made by numerous women were special treats for the guest.
The evening began with an icebreaker, followed by a presentation on the importance of reading to infants by Cathy Rostoni, a reading specialist from St. Clair Shores Lakeview Schools, who also contributed a book to each of the 25 reading tote bags donated by Macomb Intermediate School District.
After prayers for both infants and mothers, all enjoyed a meal prepared by 12 Gianna House partners and served by five others. Eight partners served as elves in the family room, helping with the raffle and gifting, and four others set up an amazing toy shop in the dining room after the meal. Board member Tom Masson was on hand again this year to take portrait photos of each mom and her infant.
Our holiday event was truly a feat of amazing gifting!
To read an article about this event, published in the Macomb Daily, please click here. Also please note that, while this article refers to students of Dominican High School, the women involved in Gianna House are actually alumnae of Dominican; the school closed several years ago.