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Adrian Dominican Sisters 'On Track' in Efforts to Live more Sustainably

September 14, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Congregation is “on track” and making “significant progress” in its efforts to live out the 2016 General Chapter Enactment to “sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation.”

Joel Henricks, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Sustainability Office, gave an update on September 6 on campus sustainability efforts.

Among the areas of progress is a 21 percent reduction in the use of electricity in the past six years, Joel said. “We’re still using the same number of lights and air conditioning, but we’re trying to use energy smarter and in different ways.”

The Congregation has cut down on its use of electricity by installing energy-efficient Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs throughout campus; installing energy-efficient windows; and replacing the old heating and cooling units with newer, energy-efficient and cost-saving models.

The Congregation has also joined Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program which, for a slightly higher rate per kilowatt hour, ensures that the power the Congregation uses from Consumers Energy is from 100 percent renewable sources. During the sustainability report, Phil Walsh, of Consumers Energy, presented Joel with a plaque recognizing the Congregation’s participation. 

Joel also informed the audience that he and Sister Corinne are exploring other ways of equipping the campus with renewable energy, such as wind and solar. At this point, studies are being completed to  “make sure we have the most accurate and up to date information we can as those decisions are starting to be explored,” Sister Corinne explained.

Another sustainability effort Sister Corinne talked about is campus storm water management. “We are capturing our rain in rain barrels,” she said, explaining that the rain captured during the early spring season was enough to water the Permaculture gardens for a good part of the summer, including five weeks of drought.

In addition, rain gardens direct rain water from impervious sources such as driveways and parking lots into a basin, where it can be slowly absorbed into the ground and, in the process, becomes purified of toxins, Sister Corinne said.

Another success story, Sister Corinne said, is the increase of composting, aided by thousands of healthy worms in the Congregation’s vermiculture area. Since October, she said, the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus and Chartwells, the food service company at Siena Heights University, have reduced the amount of carbon dioxide sent to the landfill by 6,294 pounds. Sister Corinne noted that that is the equivalent of one ton of waste kept from the landfill and to planting 3.5 acres of forest per year.

Sister Corinne also had suggestions for individuals who hope to live more sustainably.

  • Focus on reducing, reusing, and repurposing items even before recycling them.
  • Don’t buy items that have too much packaging.
  • When you recycle, do so properly, following the rules set forth by your recycling company.
  • If you’re in the Adrian area and are interested in the sustainability efforts of the Congregation’s permaculture area, take advantage of golf cart tours, offered from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through October 4, 2018. The tours leave from the entrance of the Dominican Life Center on Tuesdays and from the main entrance of the Weber Retreat and Conference Center on Thursdays. To reserve your place, email Elaine Johnson at ejohnson@adriandominicans.org.

 

More about this year's Season of Creation events


Feature photo at top: Joel Henricks, left, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, receives a plaque from Phil Walsh of Consumers Energy, recognizing the Congregation in the utility company’s Green Generation program.

 


Sisters and Co-workers Bless New Beauty Salon

September 14, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Retired Adrian Dominican Sisters residing at the Dominican Life Center (DLC), along with DLC Administrators, Chaplains, and Co-workers, blessed a place of beauty, friendship, and restoration on September 6: the newly renovated DLC Beauty Salon.

“This is a sacred space,” said Sister Mary Rae Waller, OP, Chaplain and Pastoral Minister. “We have claimed it as our sacred space, so all the love and light, the renewal, the courage, the encouragement, the tears that flow – all of that is for the health of the whole community.”

During the blessing ritual, Beauticians Lisa Schneider and Chris Iott walked through the crowded hallway outside of the beauty salon, accepting the blessing of touch from each Sister in the assembly.

Beautician Chris Iott walks among the Sisters to have her hands blessed.

Jennifer Jenkins, Chaplain and Pastoral Minister, blessed the new salon with water from the font in St. Catherine Chapel. Sister Mary Rae noted that the water has transforming power – the same power that, through the hands of Chris and Lisa, transforms the Sisters, “so that we will feel within ourselves that we have been refreshed and recommitted to move forward in the beauty that is still burning within our souls to find a place to express itself.”

With the help of donations from benefactors, the former beauty shop at the DLC was relocated to a larger space next door. The new beauty salon was updated with styling chairs and height-adjustable shampooing sinks that can be accessed from a wheelchair, mirrored salon stations, and dryers.

In addition, the larger space allows Sisters to wait inside the salon. “This is a social event,” explained Adrian Dominican Associate Cheryl Pickney, DLC Administrator. “The beauty shop is probably the most frequented common space in this building.”

Cheryl explained that the Beauty Salon fulfills an important role in the lives of the residents. The salon “is good for the Sisters’ morale,” she said. “Everybody wants to feel like they look good and Sisters don’t have to go outside the building to have it done.”

Cheryl thanked all the people who were involved in the renovation of the Beauty Salon: Jan Perry, DLC Administrative Assistant, who “worked tirelessly to find just the right equipment;” the beauticians, Chris Iott and Lisa Schneider; Sister Carol Fleming, OP, for her “artistic insight;” Joel Henricks, Director of Facilities and Grounds, who served as project manager, working with Krieghoff-Lenawee Construction; Nilda Rau, Director of Resident Services; and Amy Palmer, Director of Development, who reached out to benefactors to provide funding.

Rounding out the construction project was repurposing the space of the former beauty shop into an art room, used by groups of Sisters to create arts and crafts. Refurbished with updated tables, chairs, and cabinetry, the art room is a fitting place for Helping Hands, a group of Sisters, to create crafts for local charitable organizations – currently dog and cat toys for the Lenawee County Humane Society. “It gives Sisters the opportunity to give to the community,” Cheryl explained.  “They’ve always been giving people, and this group gives Sisters the avenue to give back.”

Feature photo at top: Jennifer Jenkins, Chaplain and Pastoral Minister, blesses Sisters Betty Gaiss, OP, and Marion O’Connor, OP, during the dedication of the Dominican Life Center Beauty Salon.


 

 

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