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 email@example.com.
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.
August 18, 2015, Henderson, Nevada – Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, currently a chaplain at the Siena Campus of St. Rose Dominican hospitals, recently renewed her vows as an Adrian Dominican Sister in the presence of Adrian Dominican Sisters and her new family from St. Rose.
“It was a very simple and beautiful celebration during an evening prayer service,” Sister Xiomara recalled. Presiding was Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Dominican Midwest Mission Chapter based in Chicago. The service was followed by an informal gathering to continue the celebration.
Sister Xiomara came to St. Rose on January 2, 2015, after completing the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. During this time, Sister Judith Benkert, OP, then Chapter Prioress of the Dominican West Chapter, invited her to serve as chaplain at one of the two hospitals sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
While visiting Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals, Sister Xiomara said, she “fell in love with the quality of the care and the beautiful facilities in Henderson, and I was so proud of the work our Sisters have achieved here in our ministry.” Although she loved Chicago, Sister Xiomara added, she felt called to serve at St. Rose Dominican to be part of the Adrian Dominican presence there.
As chaplain at the Siena Campus, Sister Xiomara ministers to patients in about half of the campus facilities, including neo-natal intensive care, the pediatric unit, and surgical units. She is also on call twice a month, responding to emergencies at all three campuses, including Rose de Lima and the newest campus, San Martín.
Sister Xiomara also offers her pastoral presence to family members of patients, as well as to the staff members. “The staff is always appreciative of our support because they are affected by their work,” she explained. “This is a very vulnerable work and everybody’s exposed to this vulnerability.”
She gave the example of an incident that took place on the night of her Renewal of Vows, when a nurse came to her in great worry over a colleague, a nurse who had worked at the hospital for 10 years and was now in intensive care because of cancer. The next morning, she visited the nurse and “took time with everyone who needed it – nurses and people on staff.”
“It’s a privilege to be with them,” Sister Xiomara said. “It’s not just being a chaplain. For me it’s an honor and a commitment to serve as the compassionate presence of God as St. Dominic asks of us.”
Along with loving her new family at St. Rose, Sister Xiomara is enthralled by the “unique beauty” of the area and amazed by the wetlands that are found in the desert. The water runs beneath the desert surface, she said, and plants have to develop deep roots to get to that water. “It was a beautiful metaphor for me,” she said. “To survive you have to develop deep roots. The longer the roots, the more beautiful and fruitful.”
A native of the Dominican Republic, Sister Xiomara first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters in her home country in 1994. She earned her Licentiate in Industrial Arts at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in 2002 and a master’s degree in industrial sewing from Instituto Nacional de Formación Técnico (INFOTEP), Santo Domingo in 2006. Before entering, Sister Xiomara owned a fashion design business and taught fashion design.
Sister Xiomara entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2008 from her home parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. She was an Adrian Dominican Associate for three years before her entrance.