August 6, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and special guests celebrated the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sister Marilín Llanes, OP. The Liturgy and Ritual of Profession took place August 4, 2019, in St. Catherine Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sister Marilín’s Final Profession followed the conclusion of Embracing the Future / Encuentro con el Futuro / Pagyakap sa Hinaharap, a gathering of more than 600 Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and specially invited Partners in Mission who work with the Congregation in sponsored institutions and other shared ministries. Special guests for the profession liturgy included Sister Marilín’s family members and friends.
Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Council Liaison to the Formation Department, welcomed the assembly. “Some insights from our hearts can only be told with a story and today we ritualize the insights of Marilín’s heart, having fallen in love with the divine mystery beyond all space and time, leading to a lifetime commitment,” Sister Patricia said. “We rejoice with you, Marilín, in celebrating your ‘yes’ that was meant to be.”
A member of the Adrian Dominican Congregation from 1988 to 1995, Sister Marilín entered the discernment process for readmission on August 8, 2015, the Feast of St. Dominic, and made her First Profession of Vows on April 10, 2016.
A native of the province of La Habana in Cuba and an only child, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 with her parents, Nancy and Ricardo Llanes. Sister Marilín grew up in the Miami area and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Barry University, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She also holds a master’s degree in counseling from St. Mary’s University and a graduate degree in school psychology from Trinity University, both in San Antonio, Texas.
Sister Marilín has been a school psychologist for 15 years, starting in 2004 for the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, and, after her First Profession, with the Joliet, Illinois, School District.
Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, offered a reflection on the day’s Gospel, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Sister Rosa Monique described the woman as one whose life changed after her encounter with Jesus. Because of that encounter, Sister Rosa Monique said, the Samaritan woman was called to be an apostle to the people of her Samaritan town. Every time the woman returned to the well after that encounter, she would be reminded of her call to apostolic service.
In the same way, Sister Rosa Monique said, St. Dominic found his place of discernment at an inn, where he spent the night praying for guidance as he tried to convert the innkeeper from heresies.
“You, too, started in one direction and finished in another,” Sister Rosa Monique told Sister Marilín. “Let me say that your place of encounter was a desk in a second-grade classroom.” She described Sister Marilín’s first call when she volunteered to teach a religious education class and was assigned to a second-grade class. “Your analytical mind said that since you did not have religious education, the best place to start would be at the bottom.” Thinking she was a member of the class, Sister Marilín was surprised to learn that she was the teacher, but she accepted the challenge and it changed her life, Sister Rosa Monique said.
“If the Samaritan woman had a well to go to for reflection and Dominic had a guest house, you, Marilín, have a second-grade desk,” Sister Rosa Monique concluded. “Go there frequently.” She encouraged members of the assembly to identify their own wells, their own places of reflection, and go to that place.
During the Rite of Profession, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, formally questioned Sister Marilín on her willingness to unite herself more closely to God by a bond of religious profession and to live a life of charity and center her ministerial activity in contemplation.
Sister Marilín then stated her intent: “with all my heart and soul to enter into a lifetime communion with my loving God and my dear Adrian Dominican Sisters. I pray that I may be open to God’s grace and invite the Holy Spirit to weave in me a clear, strong, trusting, and joyful heart.”
Speaking in Spanish, Sister Marilin professed a vow of obedience to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, and Sister Patricia and her lawful successors, “according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary until death.”
Sister Patricia presented her with a ring, signifying her perpetual fidelity to Jesus Christ. The ritual concluded with the signing of the profession documents by Sister Marilín and Sister Patricia Siemen; Sister Marilín’s two witnesses, Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, and Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP; Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, her Chapter Prioress; and Father Marcelo Solórzano, OP, celebrant.
“On behalf of the whole Dominican family, and most especially our Adrian Dominican Congregation, I am truly delighted to affirm your profession as a Dominican Sister of Adrian,” Sister Patricia Siemen said. “We joyfully congratulate you and pray that our God continue to inspire you with a generous heart to answer the call to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”
Enhancing the joy of the bilingual liturgy was the music, led by Music Director Denise Mathias. Musicians were Sisters Jean Keeley, OP, trumpet; Jeanne Wiest, OP, clarinet; and Sue Schreiber, OP, percussion. Serving as cantors were Sisters Katherine Frazier, OP, Mary Jones, OP, and Mary Priniski, OP. The Chapel Choir also helped to lead the assembly in music.
Feature photo (top): Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, right, addresses Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, shortly after the Final Profession of Vows.
Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, professes her Perpetual Vows to Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress. Observing the profession are her witnesses, Sisters Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, left, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, center.
July 26, 2018, St. Catharine, Kentucky – Dominican temporary professed Sisters are diverse in culture and nationality, but hold in common their search for their identity as women religious, living out that reality in the Dominican tradition.
That was one of the findings of Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, an Adrian Dominican Sister in temporary profession, who attended the fourth annual Gathering of Dominican Women: Temporary Professed Sisters and their Companions. The event, which drew 25 participants, was held July 1-4, 2018, at St. Catharine, Kentucky, site of the former Motherhouse of the Kentucky Dominican Sisters – now part of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Participants included 14 temporary professed Dominican Sisters from nine congregations.
Sister Marilín attended the gathering along with two other Adrian Dominican Sisters: Sister Patricia Walter, OP, her companion on the continuing formation journey, and Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, who will begin her position as Co-director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri. Temporary professed Sisters have made their first profession of vows, their initial commitment to religious life, and are still discerning the call to their final, or perpetual, profession of vows.
Sister Marilín, who served on the planning committee for the event, said her hope in planning the weekend was that participants “would deepen our connections, our relationships with each other; that we would have opportunities to have fun together, as well as to have meaningful conversations and sharing that help us to continue to say that ‘yes’ every day.”
Each day began and ended with prayer, planned and led by the various congregations. The gathering also included a talk by guest speaker Sister Gloria Marie Jones, OP, a Mission San Jose Dominican Sister, on the Dominican Futuring Project, a collaborative effort between Dominicans in the United States and Africa. The schedule also included times for temporary professed and companions to meet in their respective groups and come together again to share the fruits of their meetings.
The temporary professed also discussed ways to maintain their connections, including designated, private social media that would keep Sisters connected even after they professed their perpetual vows. The annual meeting would continue to focus on temporary professed Sisters and their companions.
Even the shared free time offered participants the opportunity to deepen their connections. Sister Marilín noted that one evening focused on Dominican Jeopardy, in which questions focused on Dominican history, the lands of St. Dominic, and Dominican saints. “We were revisiting our Dominican history, and so there’s a sense of reverencing the past and honoring the present – and then being excited about the future,” she said.
The informal time together also gave the Sisters the opportunity to come to know each other. “In the evenings we just gathered around and shared our challenges in a very sincere and honest way, listening to each other but also sharing our own lived wisdom and challenges.”
Both Sisters Marilín and Pat were impressed by the diversity of the group – with participants representing U.S. Dominican Congregations but coming originally from diverse nations, including Korea, Indonesia, Hungary, the Philippines, Mexico, and Peru.
“It was rich,” Sister Marilín said. “We’re becoming much more of an international body. We’re joined by our Dominican charism and our Dominican way of life.”
“It was good just to meet the women and get a sense of the diversity of the multi-culturality, which really is our future, and to hear what the [temporary professed Sisters’] concerns were, what their challenges were,” Sister Pat said.
Adding to the sense of diversity was the presence of the Maryknoll Sisters, members of the Dominican family who serve primarily as missionaries outside of their home countries. The presence of the Maryknoll Sisters was a “great gift,” Sister Pat said. “They leave their home country and they won’t come back to it except to visit. They know they’ll be sent to other countries. We’re all missionaries, but they witness far more profoundly what it means to be itinerant.” Itinerancy, the willingness to change to a new ministry and a new location for the sake of the mission, is an integral part of Dominican spirituality.
Sister Pat, who recently took on her new role in formation as companion to the temporary professed Adrian Dominican Sisters, said the gathering was “very helpful for multiple reasons. I really appreciated meeting the women in temporary vows and was reinvigorated and refreshed by their commitment to the charism and by their passion, their zeal, their enthusiasm.” As companion and formator, Sister Pat will continue to walk with Sister Marilín and Sister Katherine Frazier, who will make her First Profession of Vows on August 5, 2018. “I’m delighted to continue being a conversation partner – another person to talk to them and provide continuity from the perspective of formation.”
She also came away from the gathering with a renewed sense of hope for religious life and for the Dominican Order. “My takeaway is that the Dominican family has a future,” she said. “The charism still speaks to women….It gives me hope for a future beyond my life.”
Temporary Professed Dominican Sisters and their Companions in formation gathered July 1-4, 2018, at St. Catharine, Kentucky.