June 8, 2018 – During a special ceremony, the Dominican Republic issued a postage stamp honoring Humberto Ruiz Castillo (1897-1966), a noted engineer and architect and father of two Adrian Dominican Sisters, Margarita (Margot) Ruiz, OP, and Teresita (Tete) Ruiz, OP.
During the event – held May 29, 2018 at the University of Santo Domingo – Licentiate Modesto Guzman, Director of the Postal Institute, noted the special significance of commemorative stamps. A citizen receives greater honor when a stamp is issued in his or her name than when a street is named for the person. The street name is known usually only to the neighbors, while stamps travel all over the world. Those who receive the stamp may be interested in the person who is honored.
“We were delighted and profoundly touched by what people at the event said about our father,” Sister Margot said. “Some of the speakers emphasized that he was very honest, disciplined, and generous – an example for all of society. He put his heart into everything he did.” While their nephew, Fernando Ruiz, represented the family at the event, Sister Margot and Sister Tete watched videos of the event.
The stamps depict Humberto Ruiz Castillo on the bottom right-hand corner, surrounded by a variety of buildings that he had constructed. He designed and constructed several Catholic churches, as well as the Colegio Santo Domingo, the grade school and high school opened by Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Humberto Ruiz Castillo taught for many years at the University of Santo Domingo, passing on to his students what he had learned in Europe. He was responsible for introducing Art Deco to his students, who in turn planted those seeds and spread them to new generations. He also co-founded the Dominican Republic’s first association of engineers and architects.
For his many contributions to the Church, Humberto Ruiz Castillo was named Diocesan Architect. At the time, the Dominican Republic encompassed one diocese. In 1949, he was consecrated by the Holy See with the Order of St. Gregory the Great.
Feature photo: A series of commemorative stamps, issued by the Dominican Republic, honor Humberto Ruiz Castillo, designer of the Congregation’s Colegio Santo Domingo and father of Sisters Margarita Ruiz, OP, and Teresita Ruiz, OP.
April 25, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Five people became Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters during two Rituals of Association held in recent weeks. Associates are women and men – single or married – who are at least 18 years old and who make a non-vowed commitment to share in the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
The Ritual of Acceptance traditionally involves music, the presentation of the new Associates and their statements on why they want to be known as Adrian Dominican Associates, the signing of the agreement of association, and the presentation of the Associate Logo.
The Ritual of Acceptance in the Dominican Republic took place March 11 at the Convento Santa Catalina, the Congregation’s new formation house. Presiders at the ceremony included Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, who ministers in vocation work in the Dominican Republic; Sister Carol Gross, OP, mentor of Rosario Guerra and Mayra Méndez; Mary Morros, Associate and sponsor of Luchy Mejía; and Fabiola Reyes, Associate and member of the Associate Life Advisory Board.
The Ritual of Acceptance in Miami took place at the Cor Jesu Chapel of Barry University during the 11:00 a.m. Mass on April 8. Mentors for the two new Associates were Sisters Mary Fran Fleischaker, OP, Myra Jackson, OP, Evelyn Piche, OP, and Mary Tindel, OP.
Following are profiles of the new Associates.
Rosario Guerra came to know Adrian Dominicans at Colegio Santo Domingo, where she earned a certificate as an executive secretary. She has worked El Salvador and the United States and says she feels that she has been a Dominican since her early school days.
A hospital volunteer, Rosario serves women who come for mammograms, especially the first-timers who are often afraid and nervous. She also organizes retreats and serves in other ministries at the university Parish of the Anunciación.
After the death of her husband, Rosario raised their two daughters and one son. She enjoys visiting them and her grandchildren in the United States and in Chile.
Lizbeth James earned a Master’s of Social Work at Barry University and is now the Coordinator of Service Learning in the Center for Community Services Initiatives at Barry. She hopes to “further develop a life of reflection and action, rooted in the Gospel and in accord with the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Mission, Vision, and the Enactments.”
“I have worked at Barry University for over 13 years and have always felt grateful for working at a place that fits well with my values,” she said. “The Dominican charism has called to me particularly in this past year, as I have explored the intersection of faith and justice.”
Luz Altagracia Mejía Medrano, known as Luchy, was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She was taught by Adrian Dominicans in Colegio Santo Domingo from fifth grade through her training to become a bilingual secretary.
After working as a secretary for 22 years in the Agriculture Department, Luchy retired and then became pharmacy manager at the Dr. Heriberto Pieter Institute of Oncology. With another generous volunteer she co-founded the Dominican Association of Healthcare Volunteers in 1973 during her short time working at the pharmacy. She later served in the cancer institute for 26 years.
Luchy believes she still carries the foundation of the Adrian Dominican charism. As an Associate, she wants to continue to offer her dedication and service to all who are in need.
Mayra Méndez, a mother and a grandmother, came to know Adrian Dominicans about two years ago. She attended the inauguration of the new Dominican convent in Santo Domingo and answered a general invitation to become an Associate. In addition to her Associate formations studies, she takes theology classes taught by Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP.
Born in San Juan de la Maguana, Mayra has spent most of her life in Santo Domingo. She is a parishioner at Santísima Trinidad, a lawyer, and lover of literature – particularly poetry. She volunteers with the Servants of Mary, visiting the sick, especially in poor areas. For several years, she has cared for an elderly couple, but also has a special interest in poor children.
John Musulin, a native of Bristol, Connecticut, is the Media Center Manager at Barry University, where his ministry is to provide a “transformative, Catholic educational experience.” He is also the advisor for to the student newspaper, The Buccaneer, and to the Film and TV Club. He is joining Associate Life for fellowship, knowledge, and spiritual enrichment.
“The Adrian Dominican Sisters, with their long history of service to humanity, are an inspiration to me,” he said. “I believe whole-heartedly in the Dominican charism and I aspire to live my life in support of the Adrian Dominican Vision: to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”
Those interested in becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate should contact Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or email@example.com. Single Catholic women interested in life as a vowed Adrian Dominican Sister should contact Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, at 517-266-3537, 866-774-0005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.