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.
February 12, 2018 – A March 12 symposium at Weber Retreat & Conference Center provides an extraordinary opportunity to hear what five national thought leaders in community development have learned is vital to creating and sustaining resilient communities. The event is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, March 12, 2018.
Speakers will talk about the role of vision, financial empowerment, racial equity and social justice, environmental justice, and collaboration in creating resiliency. Then attendees will break into small groups to participate in more in-depth discussions with the speakers. A panel conversation among the speakers, facilitated by Root, Inc. CEO Jim Haudan, will complete the dynamic day.
Creating and Sustaining the Vision
Nick Tilsen, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and Executive Director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, has worked for 15 years with nonprofits and tribal nations on projects to create social change. By providing resources and support to leaders of positive social change in North American communities, he serves as a bridge between governmental and philanthropic partnerships.
Economic Empowerment as a Pathway to Resiliency
Janie Barrera, founding president and CEO of LiftFund, has received nationwide recognition for her work at this nonprofit micro- and small-business lender. Since its founding in 1994, LiftFund has disbursed more than 18,000 loans, totaling more than $222 million, with a 94 percent repayment rate. Because of her accomplishments, Janie was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Board on Financial Capability.
Resiliency Through a Racial Equity Lens
The Reverend Starsky D. Wilson is President and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, a pastor, philanthropist, and activist pursuing God’s vision of community marked by justice, peace, and love. In 2014, Jay Nixon, Governor of Missouri, appointed him to lead the Ferguson Commission to study the underlying conditions and issues that brought about the tragic death of Michael Brown Jr. and to make public-policy recommendations to help the region progress through the issues involved in that tragedy.
Environmental Justice and the New Economy
As the U.S. and Canada Regional Coordinator with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Ahmina Maxey works to support communities that oppose polluting industries and advocate for zero-waste alternatives. A 2011 Green for All Fellow and the 2014 recipient of the Sierra Club’s Bunyan Bryant Environmental Justice Award, she was included on Grist’s 2017 list of 50 emerging green leaders.
Partnering to Move Edgy Ideas to Mainstream Action
Michael Rozyne is the founder and “evangelist” of Red Tomato, a regional food hub based in Plainville, Massachusetts, that sources from 45 mid-ranged fruit and vegetable farms. In 1986, he co-founded Equal Exchange, a fair-trade coffee company and worker-owned cooperative. He began his work in the area of organic farming by working on conventional and organic farms in Maine and as buyer and marketing manager for Northeast Cooperatives, a natural-foods warehouse.
Registration for the March 12 Symposium – $45 per person, including lunch – is now available on the Weber Center website. Those who prefer registering by phone and those needing accommodations should call the Weber Center at 517-266-4000. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
Weber Center is on the campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse, 1257 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian.