August 16, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – About 50 Adrian Dominican Associates, along with some Sisters, gathered in Adrian August 10-12, 2018, to study and discuss the Congregation’s General Chapter Enactment on Resilient Communities, reflect on Dominican spirituality, deepen relationships with one another, and to welcome three new Associates.
The gathering, Partners VI, is an annual event that signifies the partnership in Mission between the Associates and the Sisters.
Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor and liaison to Associate Life, welcomed the group, which included Associates from Michigan, the Dominican Republic, Florida, and California. She reflected on the meaning of St. Dominic’s dying wish to be buried at the feet of his Dominican brothers. “His request expresses the reality of his brothers’ fraternity as a place of holiness,” she said. “There’s the sense of that holiness among us tonight. It is the holy preaching that you’ll hear about tonight, all day tomorrow, and Sunday.”
Associate Trudy McSorley prepared the group for the work of the next day: study and discussion on the Congregation’s General Chapter Enactment on Resilient Communities. The Enactment calls on the Sisters and Associates to pledge their “lives, money and other resources to facilitate and participate in creating resilient communities with people who are relegated to the margins, valuing their faith, wisdom, and integrity.”
Trudy noted that the Adrian Dominican leadership had designated 2018 as a year of study to learn more about resilient communities. As preparation for the work of the next day, Trudy showed a video with excerpts from a Resilient Communities Symposium, hosted by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and featuring a panel of thought leaders on five aspects of resilient communities: vision, economic empowerment, racial equity, environmental justice, and collaboration.
On the morning of August 11, Associate Dee Joyner, Director of the Congregation’s Office of Resilient Communities, led participants in further exploration of resilient communities and of the people who are relegated to the margins in local areas.
“People are very confused about what is a resilient community,” Dee said. “If you Google it online, you’ll find many references. Each group has a different take on what that means to them.” She invited participants to spend time as a group “unpacking” the meaning of the Congregation’s working definition of a resilient community: “one that has a long-range sustainable vision that emerges from the community through an inclusive, collaborative process that engages diverse grassroots leaders and person who have traditionally been marginalized; creates partnerships built on trust; seeks equity and justice; draws on spiritual wisdom and is healing; and reflects a concern for future generations, living within Earth’s regenerative capacity (i.e., ‘one-planet thinking’). These elements combine to promote the well-being and vitality of the community and its ability to address ongoing stressors from crises or disasters and sustain itself into the future.
Each local Mission Chapter of the Adrian Dominican Sisters has been asked to set up a Resilient Communities committee, co-chaired by a Sister and an Associate, to ascertain geographical areas of need and to work with the people in that area to address the needs that the people themselves experience, Dee explained. Participants were also asked to discuss the ways in which they as individuals envisioned themselves becoming involved in local resilient communities.
Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, Co-director of Vocations, began the afternoon session August 11 by suggesting ways that Associates can help Catholic young adults in their discernment for vocations to the priesthood or religious life. She suggested that the Associates invite other adults in their neighborhoods or parishes to a dessert gathering to raise their awareness of young adults that they know who might have a vocation – who might be active in their parish or in community service. “Young adults want their lives to make a difference,” she said. “They need to be accompanied and they need to be invited.”
Sister Patricia gave a presentation on Dominican spirituality. “Our spirituality is not about special ways of praying but finding a good attitude in the midst of all that is and all that happens,” she explained. “We rely on grace. There’s no other way we can sometimes get through life.”
She drew on Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church issued at the time of Vatican II, to explain the Dominican charism. A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit, given to a religious congregation for the benefit of the Church, she said. The Dominican charism is to preach the Word of God. “Our mission is to live the charism – a common gift, one that belongs to us as Sisters and Associates. It’s dynamic and unfolding and constantly being rediscovered.”
The evening included the Rite of Acceptance of three new Associates: Gladys Cruz, of Isleton, California; Judi Engel, of Columbus, Ohio; and Eileen Negus, of Adrian. Read more in the accompanying article. The Associates wrapped up Partners VI on Sunday morning before celebrating the Sunday Liturgy at St. Catherine Chapel.
Associates are women and men – married or single – at least 18 years of age and committed to sharing the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their independent lifestyles, Associates share in the Sisters’ mission and vision and participate in Congregational, spiritual, and social events with the Sisters.
For more information on becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in discerning vowed religious life with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, contact Vocation Co-Directors Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532, email@example.com or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, at 517-266-3537, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature photo (top): Stones brought in by Partners VI participants help create the environment for the opening prayer on August 11.
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.”