August 19, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The nearly 70 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters who gathered at Weber Center August 12-14, 2016, for Partners IV, found a quieter, more contemplative focus in the annual gathering of Associates. Centered on the theme of seeds, the gathering provided input, moving prayer services, and the opportunity to reflect on the Enactments of the 2016 General Chapter.
Adrian Dominican Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and their mission and vision. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, and attend Congregational events.
Roberta Clemak, Associate, co-chair of the planning committee, elaborated on the weekend’s theme in her welcoming talk, “Who’s to say you haven’t already planted a seed, nurtured a seed, and helped a seed to take root?”
The group was also welcomed by Jacci Brown, Associate, co-chair, and by Mary Lach, Associate, Director of Associate Life. Associates from the Florida Mission chapter planned and led the prayer services.
Members of the newly formed Associate Life Advisory Board took the opportunity to introduce themselves. Associates who serve on the Board are Chairperson Connie Brady, Jacci Brown, Carol Johnson, Deb Carter, and Trudy McSorley.
The program on Saturday offered ample opportunities for nurturing the seeds of the Dominican charism. Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, long-time professor of theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, presented the background and principles of Catholic social teaching. The teaching is traced to Rerum Novarum (On the Conditions of Labor), an 1891 document by Pope Leo XIII and further developed through papal encyclicals and documents written by bishops. Catholic social teaching focuses on principles such as dignity of the human person, preferential option for the poor, and solidarity.
Amy Palmer, Development Director, led participants on a virtual tour, through videos, of the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden. Set to be dedicated at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, the garden was especially designed to give retired Sisters a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.
Arlene Bachanov, Associate and Co-worker in the History Department, gave a presentation on To Fields Near and Far, the latest history volume of the Congregation, which she co-authored with Sister Nadine Foley. The book focuses on 1933-1961, the years that Mother Gerald Barry led the Congregation. During her talk, Arlene focused on the growth in the Congregation during those years and on the Sisters’ willingness to go wherever they were sent, knowing the faith that Mother Gerald had in them.
Associates were given time to contemplate the 2016 General Chapter Enactments and to discern their call to continue as Adrian Dominican Associates.
Participants gathered in St. Catherine Chapel for the Ritual of Acceptance into Associate Life for Mary Veen. Mary, of Cheboygan, Michigan, entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1957 but left to marry and raise a family. She is active in the Cheboygan Catholic Community through ministry at funerals and as a Eucharistic minister, lector, sacristan, faith-sharing group leader, and leader of Sunday Communion services in the absence of a priest.
“It is my desire to reconnect with the Adrian Dominican spirit, which continues to pervade my daily life,” Mary said. She was mentored by Associate Joyce Frugé.
Mary Lach then led the Associates in a brief ritual of recommitment.
During the closing session on Sunday, the Associates heard from their new General Council Liaison, Sister Patty Harvat, OP, who introduced herself and gave a brief reflection on the illuminated life of Dominicans. She shared her working definition of preachers: “He or she deals out to his or her people his or her life, a life passed through the fire of thought. Our Enactments provide that fire of thought.”
March 11, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Five Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters have agreed to take on the new task of serving on Associate Life’s newly-formed Advisory Board.
Associates are men and women, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, as well as attending Congregational events. Associate Life is a way to live out the Dominican charism (spirituality) of seeking truth and preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ through a non-vowed commitment.
“The idea for the Advisory Board came out of a need that we’ve had the last few years of trying to figure out how to respond to the distinct charism of Associates,” who live out the Dominican spirituality in different ways than do their vowed Sisters, said Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life and herself an Associate.
Serving on the Advisory Board with Mary Lach; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Director of the Formation Department; and Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, General Council Liaison to Associate Life, are the following Associates:
Connie Brady, of Ben Lomond, California, a retired registered nurse and case manager, first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters through her work at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. As chair of the Peace and Justice Committee of her parish, St. John’s Catholic Church in Felton, California, she coordinates outreach to people who come to St. John’s on Thursdays to be treated by Dominican Hospital’s Mobile Wellness Clinic.
“It became evident that many of the folks who came for care were also hungry,” Connie explained. She and a group of committed parishioners prepare and serve about 120 lunches every Thursday.
An Associate since 2007, Connie chaired Partners III – the annual gathering of Associates in Adrian – and serves as a Representative of Associate Life (RAL).
Jacci Brown, of Waterford, Michigan, spent 10 years as a vowed Adrian Dominican Sister in Chicago and, after leaving the community, moved to Detroit. She has served as a religion teacher and then as principal for four years at Beahan Junior High School in Farmington; Religion Department Chair at Marion High School, Birmingham; Assistant Director for Catechetics for the Archdiocese of Detroit; and an adjunct faculty member at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake.
Jacci’s work as a grief counselor has included giving a workshop on loss to the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. An Associate since 2011, she chaired Partners II and is co-chairing Partners IV.
Deb Carter, of St. Joseph, Michigan, retired this past Fall from Siena Heights University after working there for 33 years. In her last position, which she held since 2000, Deb served as Dean of the College for Professional Studies, overseeing Siena’s seven degree completion centers, a nationally recognized online program, and the Theological Studies Program in the Diocese of Lansing. She is Dean Emerita, holding the rank of Assistant Professor of the Liberal Arts.
An Associate since 1995, Deb is interested in unifying Associates through educational opportunities, using technology to help Associates communicate with one another, and involving Associates in local service projects.
Carol Johnson, of Decatur, Illinois, is part of the tightly knit group of 13 Associates in the St. Louis area. After volunteering as a music minister at Holy Family Parish in Decatur, she became involved in music ministry at neighboring St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. She interrupted this ministry to study at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, and recently retired as music director at St. Thomas. She serves on the parish council and, for the past nine months, on the parish’s Year of Mercy Committee.
A RAL, Carol hopes to bring the model of the St. Louis Associates to other Associates, especially those who live near few Sisters in active ministry. She is also interested in helping Associates connect with one another.
Trudy McSorley, of Adrian, spent nearly 20 years as a vowed member and 40 years in ministry at Siena Heights University, where she served as Assistant Professor of Theater and Director of the Child Drama Program, Dean for Students, and Assistant to the President for Mission Education.
Her experience includes presenting workshops in storytelling, journaling, and theater techniques. Trudy is a spiritual director at Weber Center, as well as a retreat director and a hospice volunteer. She has served on several boards, including St. Joseph Academy and Catholic Charities of Lenawee County. Trudy hopes to share her expertise and develop ways that the Associates can grow in the Dominican charism.
For information about becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.