March 24, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse Campus celebrated National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW) by reaching out March 14 to local Partners in Mission – Motherhouse Co-workers, Siena Heights University Torchbearers (faculty and staff members who are specially trained in the Mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters), and tutors of Adrian Rea Literacy Center.
Begun in 2014, NCSW is recognized March 8-14 to shine a spotlight on the commitment and ministries of U.S. Catholic Sisters. Adrian Dominican Sister Mary Soher, OP, was instrumental in this initiative.
In recent years, the Adrian Dominican Sisters marked the week with special outreach programs to the Adrian area community. “This year we decided to bring [the NCSW celebration] closer to home with all of us on Siena Heights Drive,” said Sister Rosemary Abramovich, OP, Co-chair of the Campus NCSW Committee.
The Committee invited Torchbearers, tutors, and Sisters to the March 14 Mission Retreat, a program presented four times throughout the year to help the Congregation’s new Co-workers become more steeped in the Mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “The Mission Retreat is all about what our partnership means,” explained Erin Dress, Director of Human Resources.
Sister Esther Kennedy, OP, traced the Congregation’s history from St. Dominic’s original mission in 13th century Spain to combat the heresy that creation is evil and only the spirit is good. He founded the first convent of Dominican cloistered nuns in 1206 in southern France, which, in turn, ultimately founded 11 other convents for women. The Adrian Dominican Sisters trace their history to one of those convents: Holy Cross in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, which sent four Sisters to the Americas.
“The seeds of St. Dominic scattered across the ocean, landed in New York, and soon spread to Michigan,” Sister Esther said. The foundation of Sisters who originally came to Adrian to serve at St. Mary and St. Joseph Parishes eventually grew. In 1885, the community became a province of the original New York foundation, and in 1923 became a separate Congregation of Dominican Sisters.
“You are bringing forth the seed in this time,” Sister Esther told the participants. “It is a new moment in time for collaboration with people and for working with others in really profound ways.”
Sisters Peg O’Flynn, OP, and Carleen Maly, OP, shared their own call to the Mission as Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Peg said that many of her family members served in religious life and that she was pleased to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation. She currently serves as the Congregation Fleet Coordinator in the Finance Office and as interviewer for a series of videos, Our Dominican Lives: A Sister’s Story. Sister Carleen, Director of the Adrian Rea Literacy Center, recalls hearing a message from God, “Be for more people,” and entering the Congregation in response.
Jennifer Hunter, Executive Director of Campus Services and the daughter of a Lutheran Minister, also shared her story. While working at ProMedica Health Systems, Jennifer received a call from a friend, informing her of an opening for Executive Director of Campus Services for the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She began in that ministry in October 2012. “I feel like this is my call,” Jennifer said. “God knows what he’s doing and leads you to serve those who need you. I’m a Partner in Mission, learning from the Sisters, serving alongside them.”
Several participants in the NCSW program recognized their own call to the Mission.
Tina Adams sees her role as tutor at Adrian Rea Literacy Center as “giving back. I see tutoring as part of the mission, making the adult learners more comfortable and familiar with our language.” She said she appreciates the many opportunities that the Sisters give to the adult learners and others in need.
Tim Tracy, who works in the Technology Department for the Congregation, said, he sees the Mission in action as he assists Sisters, listens and shares his own knowledge of technology.
Melissa Tsuji, Career Services Specialist at Siena Heights University, graduated from there in 1990. “One of the reasons I was excited to be a Torchbearer is that many of my role models as a student were Adrian Dominicans,” she said. “Every day I get to walk with our students and help them figure out their story. … The work that I do with our students helps them to understand their multifaceted role in the fabric of the Siena community but also the greater community and the world as a whole.”
Read more about how you can become a Partner in Mission as an Adrian Dominican Sister, Associate, or Co-worker.
Feature photo (top) Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, welcomes the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Partners in Mission to a special program for National Catholic Sisters Week.
April 29, 2016, Flint, Michigan – A Goodwill van that left Adrian, Michigan for Flint on April 22 carried with it much more than generous supplies of tuna, salmon, diapers, and baby wipes. The van carried with it the heart-felt desires of members of the Adrian community to make a difference in the lives of people who still hurting from the disastrous contamination of lead in their water.
The collection brought in 577 cans of tuna, 179 cans of salmon, 82 packages of diapers, 19 cases of diapers, and 217 packages of baby wipes.
Sister Carleen Maly, OP, Director of Adrian Rea Literacy Center on the Motherhouse Campus, spearheaded the collection among the Sisters and those involved in the literacy center. Also participating in the collection were members of St. John Lutheran Church in Adrian, whose pastor, Joel Sarrault, is a former board member of Adrian Rea; parishioners of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Adrian, at the request of Associate Katie Love, of the Congregation’s Spiritual Life Office; and Goodwill Industries in Adrian. Dan Buron, executive director of Goodwill, drove the van. Members of the Adrian Rea staff also traveled to Flint to make the donation.
“We have felt so helpless,” Sister Carleen explained. “We didn’t know what to do to help.”
But instructions on how to help came through a letter by Sister Carol Weber, OP, co-founder and co-director of St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center in Flint to Sister Carol Jean Kesterke, OP, her Chapter Prioress, and to members of the Chapter’s Mission Council.
N.E.W. (North End Women) Life was established in 2002 to “support at-risk families in the North End of Flint,” Sister Carol explained. Services have included nutrition education, life skills classes, employment skills training, a sewing co-op that has enabled the women of Flint to earn a decent living through their sewing skills, and, in 2008, a literacy center.
“In response to the water crisis in Flint, the center has become a distribution center for bottled water,” Sister Carol wrote. She has also requested donations of tuna, salmon, juice, milk, diapers, and baby wipes. N.E.W. Life has begun offering a nutrition and support group for pregnant women and the mothers of small children, teaching them how to serve nutritious meals to counteract the effects of the lead in their children.
“We are focused on being proactive in combatting the fallout from this human disaster,” Sister Carol wrote. And so many people, touched by the situation, are willing to stand with their sisters and brothers in Flint.
Adrian Rea and N.E.W. Life Literacy Center are two of seven literacy centers sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, under the umbrella of the Dominican Rea Literacy Corporation. Other sponsored literacy centers are Aquinas, Chicago; DePorres Place, West Palm Beach, Florida; and Dominican, Siena, and All Saints, all in Detroit.
Feature photo: Pictured in Adrian with the donations for N.E.W. Life Center are staff members of Adrian Rea Literacy Center, from left: Sister Joan Mary, Brenda Sparkman, Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, Sister Joanne McCauley, Sister Carleen Maly, and Sister Kathleen Clausen.