March 17, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Maurine Barzantni, OP, and Sister Patty Harvat, OP, accompanied students from St. Mary’s Dominican High School, New Orleans, on their recent Alternative Spring Break to the Dominican Republic. Sister Maurine and the late Sister Renee Richie, OP, had founded a school, Centro Espíritu Santo, in the Dominican Republic and watched the school grow and thrive. Sister Maurine reflects on her experience of returning to the school.
By Maurine Barzantni, OP
When I was recently asked about my most important experience during my recent trip to Centro Espíritu Santo in the Dominican Republic, it took me more than a minute to think of which of the many remarkable learnings was most important. I finally said that it was hearing that more than a dozen of our former students are teachers or teacher’s aides in our school.
Our journey with the people has been such a joyous part of the Adrian Dominican story in the Dominican Republic. Parada San José, formerly known as Cruce de Arroyo Hondo, remains a very poor community, but it is rich in faith and hope. The families believe that anything is possible. Why wouldn’t they, when they have watched their community change from a desolate collection of houses without electricity, water, or school to a thriving place with an excellent school?
It took 25 years for the transformation, which was brought about by cooperation among the families, government, the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and the Jesuit-sponsored network of schools called Fe y Alegría. The school is well-known as an Adrian Dominican School, and graduates from the Colegio Santo Domingo take pride in it. Six Adrian Dominican Associates from the community are involved in the school and take pride in their connection to the Sisters.
Three of our Sisters minister at Centro Espíritu Santo: Sister Basilia De la Cruz, OP, as the director; Sister Eneida Santiago, OP, as chair of the Counseling Department; and Sister Neri (Luchy) Sori, OP, as a high school teacher.
These three women are highly respected. As I walked around the community, I heard so many comments about how blessed the families feel to have the Sisters serve in the school. Together, the Sisters and the faculty have weathered storms of change within the educational system of the Dominican Republic.
Just over two years ago, the Dominican Republic decreed that all schools must offer a full day of school, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Because of high enrollment and lack of space in the school facilities, Centro Espíritu Santo had offered only half days of school. Some students attended in the morning and others in the afternoon.
To offer a full day of school for all of the students, Centro Espíritu Santo needed double the classrooms and employ twice as many faculty members to serve the 1,350 students. Somehow, the school community met this goal, resulting in a beautiful, clean, and large campus filled with students receiving a good education. According to the Provincial Office of Education, the number of our graduates who go on to the university is remarkably high.
I witnessed the strength of Adrian Dominican education – and I am so proud of it!
Sister Maurine Barzantni, OP — back row, fourth from right — with faculty members of Centro Espíritu Santo
Feature photo at top: Sister Maurine Barzantni, center, with Sisters Eneida Santiago, OP, and Basilia De la Cruz, OP.
December 30, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – As we near the countdown to another calendar year, let us take some time to review the 10 most memorable events for the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2016.
General Chapter 2016
After nearly two years of contemplative and collaborative study and preparation, about 200 delegates to the second session of the 2016 General Chapter gathered at the Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan, February 18-26, to set the direction of the Congregation for the next six years. After input and much work together, four Enactments were approved and a Prioress and General Council were elected to lead the Congregation in living out those Enactments.
St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center Responds to Flint’s Water Crisis
When the water of Flint, Michigan, was found to be contaminated with lead co-workers at St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center found ways to offer special services to the troubled community. The Center – founded by Sister Carol Weber, OP, and Sister Judy Blake, CSJ – responded in a variety of ways, from serving as a water distribution center to offering support and nutrition classes to mothers of young children. Sister Carol also found hope and support from a community meeting, called and attended by President Barack Obama.
Adrian Dominicans Stand in Solidarity with Those Seeking Justice
Throughout the year, groups of Adrian Dominicans participated in various events in solidarity with people who are seeking justice. A group of Adrian Dominican Sisters from the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in Pampanga, the Philippines, joined a protest with 3,000 indigenous peoples from their country. Participants set up camp at the University of the Philippines to raise awareness of their efforts to reclaim self-determination and liberation. Six Adrian Dominican Sisters and one Dominican Volunteer traveled to Nogales, Arizona, to join in the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch’s first-ever Convergence at the Border, which called attention to increased militarization of U.S. borders. Three Adrian Dominican Sisters were part of a contingent of U.S. Dominican Sisters who spent a weekend in solidarity with Native Americans who were encamped at Standing Rock in protest the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed on sacred tribal land.
Dominicans around the World Celebrate 800th Jubilee
For Dominicans throughout the world, 2016 was a year-long Jubilee of the founding of the Order of Preachers by St. Dominic. Among the many celebrations taking place during this year was “Living our Legacy: A Dominican Conference in Celebration of 800 Years of Preaching,” attended by three Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Reflective Garden Brings Joy to Retired Sisters
Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden was built in the summer and dedicated in August. The garden was designed with the special needs of memory-loss Sisters in mind to give them a safe and beautiful place to enjoy nature.
Adrian Dominicans Dedicate Formation House in Dominican Republic
The Adrian Dominican Sisters renovated a 100-year-old house in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and dedicated it as a House of Formation. The house is open to women in the Dominican Republic who are discerning a call to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, women who are in formation, and for those who seek a place for spiritual growth and renewal. Read more.
Siena Heights University Opens St. Joseph Academy Building to Education Students
After receiving the old St. Joseph Academy building from the Adrian Dominican Congregation, Siena Heights University renovated the first floor and dedicated it to the Department of Education. In gratitude for the gift of the building, the faculty and students in the Education Department hosted an open house for Adrian Dominicans to showcase the new facilities.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Plans Four New Neighborhood Hospitals
Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals announced plans to build four new neighborhood hospitals in the Las Vegas area to increase access to health care in these areas. The first of the four is scheduled to be dedicated in the first quarter of 2017.
Associate Life Creates Advisory Board
An Advisory Board was created for Associate Life, the organization that coordinates Adrian Dominican Associates, as a way to respond to the specific Dominican charism of Associates. Made up of five Associates, the Director of Associate Life, the Formation Director, and the General Council liaison to Associate Life, the Advisory Board first met in the Spring of 2016 and reported on its accomplishments and goals during an August gathering of Associates.
Adrian Dominican Sisters Present on Global Stage
In the past year, three Adrian Dominican Sisters have taken part in global events. Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, was part of the U.S. delegation to the canonization in Rome of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Sister Mary Priniski, OP, participated in the Global Seminar on Sustainable Development and the Future of Work in the Context of the Jubilee of Mercy, in Rome in early May. Sister Cheryl Liske, OP, attended the third World Meeting of Popular Movements, held in Rome in November to help advise Pope Francis on how to address the challenges faced by poor people and Earth.