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Why I'm an Associate
by Mary Lach
Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, did not afford me very many opportunities to meet Adrian Dominican Sisters, but I did meet Grand Rapids Dominicans at Aquinas College. I began to realize that I was challenged and inspired by the Sisters I had as professors, especially Sister Theresa Houlihan, OP, my philosophy professor, and Sister Thomasine Bugala, OP, my German professor. Eventually, I studied in Germany where I stayed with Sister Thomasine at the Motherhouse - yes, the Motherhouse -- in Regensburg. Little could I imagine that I would some day meet Adrian Dominican Sisters, who were one of the groups represented on the wall of the convent.
I began to work part time at a parish in Clinton Township, Michigan, and there I met Sister Arlene Kosmatka, who has been my spiritual director for 25 years. I worked with Audrey Wentz, one of our first Associates. She persuaded me to consider Associate Life. When I signed the document to be known as an Associate, I only knew Arlene and Audrey, but I felt right at home in Adrian. I began to attend retreats and programs there.
I have been involved in many ministries at our parish but eventually I began to realize that the relationships I made in the Mission Group I have been privileged to participate in (Peacemakers) and the friendships I made through Arlene and Audrey were helping me to grow and bringing me life. I am proud to be an Associate and I have made so many wonderful friends and met amazing women who have mentored and nurtured me. I have so many opportunities to learn through the many social justice issues the Congregation is engaged in and by the many challenges.
The one big drawback is that, because many of the Sisters are older, I have had to say good-bye to many friends, which brings grief and sadness. However, there is risk in all relationships and I find the benefits of Associate Life are worth the challenges.
Holy Rosary Chapter
Annie was raised on a farm near Tecumseh, Michigan, by what she describes as a “Catholic, not so Catholic” family. She married her husband, Delbert, in 1955.
She worked in two Lenawee County factories, first at Faraday and then at Peerless Gear in Clinton, where she worked on making lawnmower transmission. When the factory moved out of state, she was “too young to retire but too old for more factory work,” so she got a job as a nursing assistant at Maria Health Care Center where she spent the next 15 years.
While working for the Sisters, “something just jumped at me,” she says, in the form of the Holy Spirit stepping in. “My life changed and I felt like I belonged.”
Years later, the Spirit acted again when Sister Rita Brunette asked her if she would be interested in becoming an Associate. And when she did, “I was so proud,” she says. It gave her a chance to live out her Catholic faith in a new way.
Annie’s ministry now is sewing for Sisters and helping them out in numerous other ways as well as serving regularly as a sacristan at St. Catherine Chapel.
She was married to husband Delbert for over 60 years; he passed away in March of 2016. Together they had three children (Kim, Kirk and Kris), 12 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.