August 10, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The joy of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers and guests as they celebrated the Feast of their founder, St. Dominic, was enhanced as they also witnessed the Ritual of Reception of Sister Katherine Frazier into the novitiate. Father James Hug, SJ, Motherhouse chaplain, was the presider.
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Director of Formation, welcomed the assembly to the Liturgy and Ritual, which took place on August 8, 2016, in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse. This year’s Feast of St. Dominic falls within the 800th Jubilee Year of the founding of the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans.
During the brief ritual, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, formally examined Sister Katherine on her desire to “be received into the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian as a novice, and to experience more fully [their] way of life in faithful observance of [their] Rule and Constitution.” Sister Katherine, who had spent the past year as a candidate of the Congregation, also declared her willingness to study and reflect on the Constitution as she continues her mutual discernment with the Congregation.
As a first-year novice, Sister Katherine will spend the coming 10 months in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, an effort of about 17 congregations of U.S. Dominican Sisters. With Sisters from other Dominican congregations, Sister Katherine will participate in a program designed to provide novices with “a quality experience of Dominican community life, study [and] ministry.”
Sister Katherine entered the Congregation as a Candidate a year ago on the Feast of St. Dominic. She spent her candidacy year coming to know the Adrian Dominicans better, while studying the Congregation’s identity and history and ministering in Adrian and Detroit, Michigan, and in New Orleans.
Sister Katherine is the older of the two daughters of Lee and Lynne (McKenna) Frazier, of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Before entering the Congregation, she had ministered as coordinator of the Bishop Donald Trautman Catholic House at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania. She holds a B.A. from St. Mary’s of Notre Dame, Indiana, and an MPhil in world archeology from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.
Sister Katherine’s Rite of Reception was the first initial formation ritual that Sister Pat officially presided over since she took office on July 2, 2016. “This year we celebrate 800 years of [St. Dominic’s] founding the Order of Preachers: men and women who for 800 years have been bringing good news to mountain tops and in the city streets,” Sister Pat said in her reflection.
Noting the joyful spirit of St. Dominic, and his work of compassionately refuting the heresies of his day that the material world is evil, Sister Pat speculated that St. Dominic would pray that his modern-day followers would preach “a salvation of liberation, compassion, and wholeness.” At the same time, she said, he would want today’s Dominicans to “address the heresies of individualism and excessive consumption that are at the root of so much separation and alienation.”
Sister Pat challenged the Sisters to live out St. Paul’s mandate to St. Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-8: to preach at all times, “whether convenient or inconvenient” and to “be self-possessed at all times; to put up with hardship; to perform the work of an evangelist; to fulfill your ministry.”
Sister Pat spoke with great optimism about the future of the Adrian Dominican Congregation – if members truly lived out Paul’s mandate, trusted in God enough to give themselves fully to the ministry, and lived out the Enactments of the recent February 2016 General Chapter.
“It just might be possible that we are facing into the most significant moments of our communal life,” she said. “What if, by living out [the Enactments] and giving them communal expression, our best years are not behind us, but truly ahead of us,” she said. “It is conceivable that our journey of individuated ministerial competencies and significant experience with collaboration and partnerships has readied us to embrace what the world is asking of us today: to be willing to sacrifice anew for the sake of the future.”
With that optimistic and challenging message – together with the joy of the 800th anniversary of the Order and the reception of Sister Katherine – the assembly continued the Liturgy in a spirit of joy and true celebration. The Liturgy included a special Litany of Dominican Saints, as well as special Dominican hymns.
The spirit of celebration continued throughout the day with a special reception for Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers, and a festive dinner.
July 7, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The new Prioress and General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters formally took office on July 2, 2016 during a special Liturgy, the Celebration of Leadership. The Congregation’s new leadership team is composed of Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation; Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, and Sister Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors. Elected during the Congregation’s General Chapter in February 2016, they will hold office through June 2022.
Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, the outgoing Prioress of the Congregation, welcomed an assembly of Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers, as well as special guests of the new General Council members and representatives of sponsored institutions and other Congregations of women religious.
Sister Attracta took the opportunity to explain the model of leadership practiced by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and many congregations of women religious in the United States. Unlike leadership in secular organizations, she explained, leadership in the Adrian Dominican Congregation “is not a climbing the ladder” of success. Rather, she said, it is a call by the Sisters of the community for a limited time – one six-year term, non-renewable. “We expect our leaders to have the capacity to call the Congregation to be who we say we are, to have great trust in the power of the Spirit and of the power when all of us, each one of us as an individual, knows that our contribution is vital to the whole.”
On behalf of the Congregation, Sister Attracta thanked the “five generous-hearted Sisters” for their willingness to serve, and promised the “unending love and prayer” of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates.
The new General Council succeeds the 2010-2016 General Council. Along with Sister Attracta, they are Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP, and Sister Rosemary Abramovich, OP, General Councilors.
In the brief ritual, each member of the 2016-2022 Council in turn formally stated her willingness to accept the responsibility to serve as a General Councilor: to “carry forward the decisions and directives of General Chapter 2016 and to care for the ordinary governance of the Congregation.”
As Prioress, Sister Patricia Siemen holds the highest ordinary authority in the Adrian Dominican Congregation. She will be responsible for promoting the unity of the Congregation, as well as representing the Adrian Dominican Sisters in Church and civic affairs and chairing the General Council.
In her reflection on the Scriptural readings, Sister Patricia described the Beatitudes as Jesus’ “foundational teachings. It was a counter-cultural message then and indeed it remains so today.” But, she noted, the 2016 General Chapter Enactments – the documents that the 2016 General Chapter delegates approved in February – “mirror, in contemporary form, the work of the Beatitudes”: reaching out to those who suffer spiritual and material hunger; studying the reality of poverty and racism and their effects on people’s lives; working to “intensify our ecological sustainability practices and reduce our carbon footprint”; and “participating in creating resilient communities with people who are relegated to the margins of society.”
Sister Patricia is not new to Congregation leadership. She served as Chapter Prioress (“Major Superior”) of the Sisters in the Congregation’s Mid-Atlantic Mission Chapter from 1988 to 1992, when she was elected to serve as Vicaress/General Councilor until 1998.
An attorney, Sister Patricia founded and directed the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University’s School of Law to help develop a philosophy and practice of law that respects and protects the natural world in its own right. She has also served at Barry University, Miami Shores, as an adjunct faculty member and, since 2010, as a team member of Barry’s Office of Mission Engagement. From 2001 to 2004, she directed the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College, and, as a staff attorney with Florida Rural Legal Services, worked with immigrant farmworkers in Florida.
Sister Mary Margaret brings a wealth of education and leadership experience to her new position. After teaching for years at Catholic elementary schools in Ohio, California, Arizona, and Michigan, she served as principal of two schools in the Diocese of Lansing: St. Patrick School, Brighton, from 1978 to 1986, and St. Joseph Academy in Adrian from 1986 to 1993.
Sister Mary Margaret then taught at St. Anne’s High School in Modimong, South Africa, from 1993 to 1996. She served as the School and Curriculum Consultant for the Diocese of Toledo until 2001, when she returned to Africa to serve as National Coordinator for Literacy and Numeracy for the Catholic Institute of education. She has served since 2008 as President of Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, an all-girls college-preparation school sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. In her position as Vicaress, Sister Mary Margaret would take on the responsibilities of the Prioress should Sister Patricia Siemen become incapacitated or vacate the office.
Sister Frances’s earliest experiences of leadership included serving as principal of St. Thaddeus School in Chicago for five years. She also served the Archdiocese of Detroit as Director of the Department of Education, Associate Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Schools. For the past two years, she has served as the Director of the Congregation’s Ministry Trust Office, which provides grants to organizations in which Adrian Dominicans minister, lead as Board members, or volunteer. In addition, Sister Frances was elected Chapter Prioress (Provincial) of the Congregation’s Great Lakes Dominican Mission Chapter, based in Detroit.
Sister Patricia Harvat has spent much of her ministerial life serving overseas: from 1973 to 1981 serving in Head Start and in pastoral work in Puerto Rico and directing the Congregation’s Lay Ministry Program in the Dominican Republic from 1982 to 1989. She then returned to the United States to teach theology at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, Michigan, until 1993. She has also served as Director of Formation for the Adrian Dominican Congregation and as Director of Lay Ministry Formation for the Hispanic Ministry Office of the Diocese of Cleveland. Since 2008, she has served at St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
In 2011, Sister Elise began her ministry to the Adrian Dominican Sisters as Director of Communications and Technology, overseeing many of the Congregation’s technology upgrades. After three years, Communications and Technology were separated into two departments and Sister Elise focused on Communications.
Before coming to Michigan, Sister Elise and Adrian Dominican Sister Carol Coston founded and directed Santuario Sisterfarm, an ecology center based in Boerne, Texas, and dedicated to cultivating biodiversity and cultural diversity. The organization also established Sor Juana Press, which published such titles as the Dominican Women on Earth series and Drawn by Love, the history of the Dominican Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena of Mosul, Iraq. Sister Elise was founding editor of Sor Juana Press.
Sister Elise has served as Director of Communications and Development for St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas; Vice President for Membership and Media Communications for Common Cause in Washington, DC; and as consultant to numerous national and regional non-profit organizations.
Watch the video of the Celebration of Leadership below, and read a related article in the Daily Telegram.
Left: Participating in the Celebration of Leadership, beginning at the ambo and moving clockwise, are: Sisters Attracta Kelly, Tarianne DeYonker, Corinne Sanders, Rosemary Abramovich, Kathleen Schanz, Elise D. García, Patricia Harvat, Frances Nadolny, Mary Margaret Pachucki, and Patricia Siemen. Right: Sister Patricia Siemen blesses the Sisters on the balcony during the Sprinkling Rite.
Feature photo: Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, new Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, with Sister Attract Kelly, OP, former Prioress, during the Celebration of Leadership Liturgy. Photo by Lad Strayer