April 14, 2016, Covington, Washington – A humorous performance reminiscent of old-fashioned Catholic schools in brought forth an evening’s of entertainment for some 250 people in Covington, Washington – and more than $1,000 to benefit retired Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will my Bunny Go to Heaven, one of seven distinct plays devised by the national theater group, Late Night Catechism, was performed on the evening of April 1 at the Kentwood High School Performing Arts Center in Covington, Washington. The performance was supported by the efforts of Ronda Billerbeck, cultural programs manager with the City of Kent (Washington) Arts Commission.
Among the evening’s special guests were four Adrian Dominican Sisters: Sister Lorene Heck, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Dominican West Chapter, and Sisters Francine Barber, Cele Gorman, and Iva Gregory. Actress Kimberly Richards, of Late Night Catechism, issued the invitation by phone to Sister Cele at Assumption Convent on March 30. While the Sisters were not excited by this last-minute invitation, Sister Lorene said, they enjoyed the performance, in which Kimberly, dressed in habit, conducted her class and corrected audience members who came in late or chewed gum in “class.”
But the evening also gave Kimberly and the Adrian Dominican Sisters a special opportunity to educate the audience about the situation facing today’s Sisters: fewer new members entering religious life, many Sisters retiring, and the merger of many congregations – such as the local Edmonds Dominican Sisters with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. When the audience had the opportunity to make donations for Sisters, Sister Lorene said, Kimberly asked them to be generous – and the audience contributed a total of $1,173.15 to benefit retired Adrian Dominican Sisters.
“At the mention of your order, the audience responded with overwhelming respect and gratitude,” Kimberly wrote in a letter to Sister Cele. “The Dominican Sisters are deservedly well loved by the community!” Sister Lorene explained that many of the audience members spoke of their experiences with the Tacoma Dominican Sisters. Also serving in the Seattle area were the Edmonds Dominican Sisters, who merged with the Adrian Dominicans in 2003.
Kimberly herself was a product of Catholic education, having been educated by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary at Holy Names High School in Oakland, California.
April 14, 2016, Las Vegas, Nevada – Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, who has served since 2011 as the director of caring and healing at San Martin Campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, was profiled in the Spring 2016 issue of Reach, a publication of the hospital.
In the article, Sister Vicki speaks of some of the highlights of her 60 years as an Adrian Dominican Sister. A native of Los Angeles, she returned there to teach in South Central Los Angeles in the 1960s, during the riots, and later opened a social service center for people who lived near the city’s Skid Row.
Sister Vicki first came to St. Rose Dominican in the 1990s, working on a variety of projects – such as classroom on wheels – and beginning her studies for a master’s degree in pastoral studies to allow her to minister as a counselor. She worked with pregnant women in Apple Valley, California and became certified as a chaplain. Back at St. Rose Dominican since 2011, Sister Vicki told Reach that she “love[s] visiting patients and working with the nurses.”
Sister Vicki is now working on the hospital’s new No One Dies Alone pilot program, “training volunteers who are interested in sitting with dying patients who would otherwise be alone.”