May 7, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Sharon Spanbauer, OP, a nurse practitioner who served retired Sisters at the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Dominican Life center (DLC) from 2001 to 2014, has been appointed Mission Prioress to work with the Sisters in the Holy Rosary Mission Chapter. Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, made the announcement May 4, 2020.
Sister Sharon will begin a four-year term on July 1, 2020, and will share collaborative leadership with Sister Patricia Dulka, OP, Chapter Prioress of Holy Rosary Mission Chapter. She succeeds Sister Joanne Peters, OP, who on June 30, 2020, completes her three-year term as Co-Chapter Prioress. The Holy Rosary Mission Chapter is comprised of retired Sisters residing at the DLC.
The Mission Prioress works as an equal with the Chapter Prioress as canonical major superiors to the Sisters in their Chapter. Only in the areas of formation and exclaustration – release from religious life – do Chapter Prioresses have full responsibility.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the Chapter members as individuals and to accompany them and facilitate their life in ministry,” Sister Sharon said. “I hope that together we might find a way to best follow the Vision of the Congregation and to live the best of life as Adrian Dominican Sisters individually and communally.”
Sister Sharon hopes to bring to her new ministry her background in health care – which can help her to advocate for the Sisters’ medical care – as well as her teaching and listening skills, her care and compassion, and a leadership style in which she “works with others and can help organize and facilitate their goals.”
A native of Rockford, Illinois, Sister Sharon graduated from Bishop Muldoon High School and entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in September 1967. She loved her early years as a teacher but yearned for a one-on-one ministry. In 1989, she left her ministry as a chemistry teacher at Bishop Foley High School in Madison Heights, Michigan, to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Wayne State University in Detroit.
After earning a Nurse Practitioner degree from Michigan State University, Sister Sharon ministered at Dillon Family Medicine, a large clinic in Dillon, South Carolina, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Mercy. She went on to become the first nurse practitioner to serve at the Dominican Life Center and, beginning in 2015, ministered as the Director of Health Services at Siena Heights University, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She ran a free, one-woman clinic for students, faculty, and staff members.
Her appointment as Mission Prioress brings her back to the DLC, to the retired Sisters and the Co-workers she has come to love. “I’m very delighted,” she said. “I loved my time at the Dominican Life Center and my ministry there, and I deeply respect all of our Co-workers and what they do to make life comfortable and productive for our Sisters. I’m really joyfully looking forward to this new ministry.”