June 20, 2019, Albuquerque, New Mexico – Sister Geneal Kramer, OP, recently received the Lumen Gentium Award from the Dominican Ecclesial Institute (DEI) during the organization’s annual awards gala. She was nominated for the award by her parish, St. Therese of the Infant Jesus in Albuquerque, for her commitment to “spiritual care, religious education, and parochial formation.”
The award is named after Lumen Gentium (“Light of Humanity”), the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, released in November 1964 by the Second Vatican Council.
“I was surprised – I was really surprised,” Sister Geneal said, adding that she hadn’t heard that she would receive the award until about a week before the gala, when the woman in charge of the event called for background information on her.
Sister Geneal, a parishioner of St. Therese for about five years, said she spends Thursday mornings as spiritual director for any parishioner who wants to meet with her. She is also a member of the interfaith justice group, of which St. Therese Parish is a member. But mostly, she said, her ministry at the parish involves presence to the people and to the parish’s neighborhood.
Before joining St. Therese, Sister Geneal was active for 20 years at the Newman Center, the Catholic student parish at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She has also been active in the DEI, which was established in the mid-1990s by Father Michael Demkovich, OP, a Dominican Friar from the Central Province.
The purpose of the DEI is to bring “outstanding speakers into the area,” Sister Geneal explained. “We have few resources here so we try to bring people in to give talks and stimulate good conversation for spiritual and religious development.”
Sister Geneal opens the DEI’s year of programming every year with a retreat in July. Speakers in the coming year include Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, who will speak in the spring on healing the Earth; Father James Marchionda, OP, a Dominican priest, preacher, and composer who conducts workshops; and Father Richard Rohr, OFM, a Franciscan priest, author, and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque.
In recent years, Sister Geneal has also served as an adjunct faculty member for the Master of Theological Studies program at St. Norbert College and as retreat director for the sabbatical program at the Conossian Spirituality Center in Albuquerque.
During her time in religious life, she said, she has appreciated “being mentored by spiritual friends, both lay and religious, and in turn mentoring others.”
June 19, 2019, Miami, Florida – Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, is being remembered in South Florida for her dedicated service as President of Barry College – later University – from 1981 to 2004. She was instrumental in increasing enrollment from 1,750 to more than 7,000 and for leading the growth of the school in terms of programs and buildings.
Sister Jeanne was also remembered for her extensive involvement in the Miami-Dade County community and in higher education. She was the first woman to serve on the Orange Bowl Committee, and was involved in Miami’s recovery from Hurricane Andrew; in the homeless crisis both in Florida and in Michigan; and as mediator in the 1999-2000 Elián González custody battle between his father in Cuba and his relatives in Miami. Sister Jeanne’s powerful life and her death at the age of 90 on June 18, 2019, brought extensive coverage on the Barry University website, in The Miami Herald, in The New York Times, Patch.com, and on television stations 4 and 10 in Miami. Sister Jeanne was recently featured on the "Life Well Lived" segment of TODAY.
Sister Jeanne’s Prayer Vigil will be held at 7:00 p.m. Monday, June 24, 2019, in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan, and her funeral will take place in St. Catherine Chapel at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Both events will be live streamed. Barry University will also hold a memorial service at a later date. Click here to view Sister Jeanne's obituary.