August 19, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The nearly 70 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters who gathered at Weber Center August 12-14, 2016, for Partners IV, found a quieter, more contemplative focus in the annual gathering of Associates. Centered on the theme of seeds, the gathering provided input, moving prayer services, and the opportunity to reflect on the Enactments of the 2016 General Chapter.
Adrian Dominican Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and their mission and vision. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, and attend Congregational events.
Roberta Clemak, Associate, co-chair of the planning committee, elaborated on the weekend’s theme in her welcoming talk, “Who’s to say you haven’t already planted a seed, nurtured a seed, and helped a seed to take root?”
The group was also welcomed by Jacci Brown, Associate, co-chair, and by Mary Lach, Associate, Director of Associate Life. Associates from the Florida Mission chapter planned and led the prayer services.
Members of the newly formed Associate Life Advisory Board took the opportunity to introduce themselves. Associates who serve on the Board are Chairperson Connie Brady, Jacci Brown, Carol Johnson, Deb Carter, and Trudy McSorley.
The program on Saturday offered ample opportunities for nurturing the seeds of the Dominican charism. Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, long-time professor of theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, presented the background and principles of Catholic social teaching. The teaching is traced to Rerum Novarum (On the Conditions of Labor), an 1891 document by Pope Leo XIII and further developed through papal encyclicals and documents written by bishops. Catholic social teaching focuses on principles such as dignity of the human person, preferential option for the poor, and solidarity.
Amy Palmer, Development Director, led participants on a virtual tour, through videos, of the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden. Set to be dedicated at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, the garden was especially designed to give retired Sisters a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.
Arlene Bachanov, Associate and Co-worker in the History Department, gave a presentation on To Fields Near and Far, the latest history volume of the Congregation, which she co-authored with Sister Nadine Foley. The book focuses on 1933-1961, the years that Mother Gerald Barry led the Congregation. During her talk, Arlene focused on the growth in the Congregation during those years and on the Sisters’ willingness to go wherever they were sent, knowing the faith that Mother Gerald had in them.
Associates were given time to contemplate the 2016 General Chapter Enactments and to discern their call to continue as Adrian Dominican Associates.
Participants gathered in St. Catherine Chapel for the Ritual of Acceptance into Associate Life for Mary Veen. Mary, of Cheboygan, Michigan, entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1957 but left to marry and raise a family. She is active in the Cheboygan Catholic Community through ministry at funerals and as a Eucharistic minister, lector, sacristan, faith-sharing group leader, and leader of Sunday Communion services in the absence of a priest.
“It is my desire to reconnect with the Adrian Dominican spirit, which continues to pervade my daily life,” Mary said. She was mentored by Associate Joyce Frugé.
Mary Lach then led the Associates in a brief ritual of recommitment.
During the closing session on Sunday, the Associates heard from their new General Council Liaison, Sister Patty Harvat, OP, who introduced herself and gave a brief reflection on the illuminated life of Dominicans. She shared her working definition of preachers: “He or she deals out to his or her people his or her life, a life passed through the fire of thought. Our Enactments provide that fire of thought.”
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.