By Sister Theresa Mayrand, OP
Sister Theresa Mayrand wrote the following article for the newsletter of Gianna House Pregnancy and Parenting Residence, whose mission is to serve as “a sacred sanctuary for its residents, each of whom deserve to continue the life of her unborn child in an environment imbued with spiritual grace, emotional and social support, and knowledge.”
January 9, 2017, Detroit – As Gianna House prepared to host a holiday shower for 25 expectant and new mothers on December 19, untold people showered us with gifts of their time, talent, and treasure!
Their incredible goodness enabled us to offer a wonderful evening of enrichment for the mothers, who enjoyed a meal, beautiful raffle gifts, a large infant gift bag, a gift bag for themselves, a presentation on the importance of reading to infants, and a tote bag with children’s books.
To prepare a festive Christmas environment, 20 teens belonging to Students for Life at Grosse Pointe South came on December 4 to decorate, make name tags for the infant gift bags, fill the moms’ gift bags, and sanitize donated used plastic toys. In addition, they contributed $310, which they used to purchase new toys.
Gianna House Partners Donna Neuman, Patti Ralko, and Sister Helen Susalla, CSJ, spent much time on the phone taking and confirming reservations. The infant gift bags were all filled by Gianna House Partner Christie Burley-Lietzow, who took great time to ensure that each infant would receive clothing and other gifts of appropriate sex and size. Each infant received four outfits, blankets, hooded towel, bibs, hats, diapers, wipes, baby wash and shampoo, and a stuffed animal. All items were new and most had been contributed from parish giving trees and showers hosted by Daughters of Isabella and other organizations. When the supply of baby soap and shampoo had run low, several Adrian Dominican Sisters contributed more of these items.
Gianna House Partner Bonnie Garofalo sent out a Facebook SOS for toys and collected four boxes of new stuffed animals and other toys. Others also contributed toys. Several Gianna House Partners, as well as the visiting teens, had spent many hours sanitizing all used toys.
Many unique gift items, which had come in during the year were beautifully wrapped in bows and sprigs by Gianna House Partner Sister Helen Susalla, CSJ. Each mom received a gift of her choice during the evening’s raffle.
Toiletries donated by many individuals and groups over the year and were used to fill the mothers’ gift bags. Christmas footies brought unexpectedly by four individuals the week before the shower were added to each bag. Also added to each bag was a $15 gift certificate donated by a group of women gathered together via Facebook by Dominican High alum Katy Walsh, a former student of Sr. Theresa.
Michelle Block Garr, organizer of the Slippers for Mom project, brought 30 pairs of new slippers. These and many crocheted scarves, hats, and headbands made by numerous women were special treats for the guest.
The evening began with an icebreaker, followed by a presentation on the importance of reading to infants by Cathy Rostoni, a reading specialist from St. Clair Shores Lakeview Schools, who also contributed a book to each of the 25 reading tote bags donated by Macomb Intermediate School District.
After prayers for both infants and mothers, all enjoyed a meal prepared by 12 Gianna House partners and served by five others. Eight partners served as elves in the family room, helping with the raffle and gifting, and four others set up an amazing toy shop in the dining room after the meal. Board member Tom Masson was on hand again this year to take portrait photos of each mom and her infant.
Our holiday event was truly a feat of amazing gifting!
To read an article about this event, published in the Macomb Daily, please click here. Also please note that, while this article refers to students of Dominican High School, the women involved in Gianna House are actually alumnae of Dominican; the school closed several years ago.
December 30, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – As we near the countdown to another calendar year, let us take some time to review the 10 most memorable events for the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2016.
General Chapter 2016
After nearly two years of contemplative and collaborative study and preparation, about 200 delegates to the second session of the 2016 General Chapter gathered at the Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan, February 18-26, to set the direction of the Congregation for the next six years. After input and much work together, four Enactments were approved and a Prioress and General Council were elected to lead the Congregation in living out those Enactments.
St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center Responds to Flint’s Water Crisis
When the water of Flint, Michigan, was found to be contaminated with lead co-workers at St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center found ways to offer special services to the troubled community. The Center – founded by Sister Carol Weber, OP, and Sister Judy Blake, CSJ – responded in a variety of ways, from serving as a water distribution center to offering support and nutrition classes to mothers of young children. Sister Carol also found hope and support from a community meeting, called and attended by President Barack Obama.
Adrian Dominicans Stand in Solidarity with Those Seeking Justice
Throughout the year, groups of Adrian Dominicans participated in various events in solidarity with people who are seeking justice. A group of Adrian Dominican Sisters from the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in Pampanga, the Philippines, joined a protest with 3,000 indigenous peoples from their country. Participants set up camp at the University of the Philippines to raise awareness of their efforts to reclaim self-determination and liberation. Six Adrian Dominican Sisters and one Dominican Volunteer traveled to Nogales, Arizona, to join in the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch’s first-ever Convergence at the Border, which called attention to increased militarization of U.S. borders. Three Adrian Dominican Sisters were part of a contingent of U.S. Dominican Sisters who spent a weekend in solidarity with Native Americans who were encamped at Standing Rock in protest the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed on sacred tribal land.
Dominicans around the World Celebrate 800th Jubilee
For Dominicans throughout the world, 2016 was a year-long Jubilee of the founding of the Order of Preachers by St. Dominic. Among the many celebrations taking place during this year was “Living our Legacy: A Dominican Conference in Celebration of 800 Years of Preaching,” attended by three Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Reflective Garden Brings Joy to Retired Sisters
Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden was built in the summer and dedicated in August. The garden was designed with the special needs of memory-loss Sisters in mind to give them a safe and beautiful place to enjoy nature.
Adrian Dominicans Dedicate Formation House in Dominican Republic
The Adrian Dominican Sisters renovated a 100-year-old house in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and dedicated it as a House of Formation. The house is open to women in the Dominican Republic who are discerning a call to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, women who are in formation, and for those who seek a place for spiritual growth and renewal. Read more.
Siena Heights University Opens St. Joseph Academy Building to Education Students
After receiving the old St. Joseph Academy building from the Adrian Dominican Congregation, Siena Heights University renovated the first floor and dedicated it to the Department of Education. In gratitude for the gift of the building, the faculty and students in the Education Department hosted an open house for Adrian Dominicans to showcase the new facilities.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Plans Four New Neighborhood Hospitals
Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals announced plans to build four new neighborhood hospitals in the Las Vegas area to increase access to health care in these areas. The first of the four is scheduled to be dedicated in the first quarter of 2017.
Associate Life Creates Advisory Board
An Advisory Board was created for Associate Life, the organization that coordinates Adrian Dominican Associates, as a way to respond to the specific Dominican charism of Associates. Made up of five Associates, the Director of Associate Life, the Formation Director, and the General Council liaison to Associate Life, the Advisory Board first met in the Spring of 2016 and reported on its accomplishments and goals during an August gathering of Associates.
Adrian Dominican Sisters Present on Global Stage
In the past year, three Adrian Dominican Sisters have taken part in global events. Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, was part of the U.S. delegation to the canonization in Rome of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Sister Mary Priniski, OP, participated in the Global Seminar on Sustainable Development and the Future of Work in the Context of the Jubilee of Mercy, in Rome in early May. Sister Cheryl Liske, OP, attended the third World Meeting of Popular Movements, held in Rome in November to help advise Pope Francis on how to address the challenges faced by poor people and Earth.