June 25, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – In a spirit of joy, gratitude, and friendship, Diamond (60 years), Golden (50 years), and Silver (25 years) Jubilarians returned to the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse for a week of prayer and celebrations and took time to renew their friendships and their commitment to the Congregation’s Mission. The special week, June 20-23, 2018, was set aside to recognize and celebrate the Congregation’s 23 Diamond Jubilarians, eight Golden Jubilarians, and one Silver Jubilarian.
The 18 Double-Diamond Jubilarians, celebrating their 70th Jubilees, had been recognized during a special Liturgy and Dinner in May.
Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, set the tone for Jubilee week during the opening session and public reception for the Jubilarians on June 20. “Jubilee is a time of stepping back, to give thanks and express gratitude,” she said. “It is a time when we recognize God’s year of favor. … It’s a time of rest and inner renewal, a time for creativity and imagination, a time to slow down, a time to be with family and friends.” Above all, Sister Pat said, Jubilee is a time to “allow God to love us even more tenderly.”
Noting her own personal joy in welcoming the Jubilarians home, Sister Pat invited them to take time to gather together but also to “take some leisurely and prayerful time to spend in our multiple sacred spaces across our beautiful campus.”
The Jubilarians met the next day with Sister Pat and the General Council of the Congregation for a traditional tea. During the week, Jubilarians also had the opportunity to spend time with friends, to visit the Sisters in the Dominican Life Center, and to enjoy a concert by Sister Magdalena Ezoe, OP.
June 22 brought a more reflective spirit to the Jubilee Week as the Jubilarians and other Sisters on campus gathered for a Liturgy for Deceased Jubilarians and former Adrian Dominican Sisters. In a special ritual, Jubilarians recalled the life stories of the deceased and the qualities and gifts that they brought to the world.
Specially honored were Sisters Barbara Ann Beerkle, OP, Sharon Carroll, OP, Phyllis Duffie, OP, Barbara Matteson, OP, Mary Rita McSweeney, OP, Lorraine Mordenski, OP, and Mary Tardiff, OP, deceased Diamond Jubilarians, and Mary Jane Bourgeois, Mary Jane Bruske Blau, Linda Jackson Glance, Ann Mary Kreft, Gloria Maliszewski, and Mary Catherine Wildern, deceased former Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Diamond Jubilarian and former Prioress of the Congregation, welcomed the assembly to the memorial of the women who are now in the “invisible neighborhood, where the dead dwell. ... Our friends are now enjoying eternal life where all that we see – goodness, unity, beauty, truth, love, eternal life – are no longer distant but are now completely present to them.”
Father James Hug, SJ, presider and Motherhouse Chaplain, prayed in gratitude for the lives of the deceased Jubilarians and former members. “Their generous willingness to commit their lives with us, to extend your tender love to all your people in so many places and in so many ways is a gift that touches and challenges our spirits to rise to your call today,” he said.
Sister Carol Jean Kesterke, OP, Golden Jubilarian and Chapter Prioress of the Detroit-based Great Lakes Mission Chapter, reflected on the Scripture passages that were proclaimed during the Liturgy – and on the “fourth text” – the lives of the deceased women who were being honored. “The point of this fourth text is not to eulogize these 13 women, but to search the text of their lives, just as we search the other texts, for insights about how we may live more fully in God,” Sister Carol Jean said. “These women have left us many beautiful qualities and many things to admire.”
The week culminated on June 23 with a celebration open to the Jubilarians and their guests. The bilingual Mass brought in the elements of joyful music and dance to proclaim the joy and hope of the Jubilarians, their families and friends, and the Congregation.
“Today we are gathered to honor and celebrate our Sisters who have joyfully and with great fidelity lived their vows as Dominican women for 25, 50, and 60 years,” said Sister Pat, in her formal welcome to the liturgy.
Bishop Emeritus of Tucson Gerald F. Kicanas, presider of the Jubilee liturgy, echoed Sister Pat’s spirit of joy in honoring the Jubilarians. “What a great joy it is to gather here to celebrate the anniversaries of so many of our Sisters,” he said.
In her reflection, Sister Patricia Harvat, OP – Golden Jubilarian and member of the General Council – picked up on the theme of the text of the Jubilarians’ lives from the previous day’s reflection. “The daily text of our book of life as Dominicans began with clean and empty margins,” she noted. “But as we gather today to celebrate this life, those margins of the text are filled with daily entries of our words and gestures of love, mercy, hope, suffering, doubts, and longing.”
She spoke of the years in which the Jubilarians followed the call of Jesus. “There really are no adequate words to describe the ride, what it meant to leave our homes and walk into the lives of hundreds of people … in different cultures and global realities,” she said. After 60, 50, and 25 years, the Jubilarians continue to follow Jesus and to write the text of their lives. “There still is room in the margins of our text in the book of our lives to continue writing the call to live a dream and to love, following God with all the twists and turns life may present us.” Read Sister Patricia's full homily.
The Jubilarians demonstrated their commitment to follow their call as vowed Dominican women as they gathered at the altar to renew their vows to Sister Pat Siemen, to “make profession and promise obedience to almighty God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to our holy Father St. Dominic,” and to Sister Patricia and her lawful successors, “according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary until death.”
The celebration continued after Liturgy with a festive dinner for the Jubilarians and their special guests. The week was planned by the Jubilee Committee: Co-workers Krystal Baker, Susan Kremski, and Jeanette McIntosh and Sisters Virginia Corley, OP, and Joan Sustersic, OP. Sister Joy Finfera, OP, served as Chair, succeeding Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, who had chaired the committee for some 20 years before her death in May 2018.
Feature photo: Jubilarians gather around the altar to renew their vows during the Jubilee Mass on June 23, 2018.
October 26, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and interested local community members gathered October 15 at Weber Retreat and Conference Center to explore issues of concern for Earth and the creatures who inhabit her. The free program was offered by the Congregation’s Office of Global Mission, Justice and Peace, directed by Sister Kathy Nolan, OP.
After a welcome by Sister Kathy and contemplative prayer led by Sister Esther Kennedy, OP, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, focused the morning on exploring Laudate Sí, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change and care for Earth. Sister Pat, founder of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, walked participants through a “roadmap” of the encyclical: its various themes and its hopeful message. Sister Pat repeated this presentation on October 17 for the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. Watch her presentation, recorded and posted on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ website.
Sister Pat returned in the afternoon to speak about the United Nations Climate Summit, planned for November 30 through December 11, 2015, in Paris. This is the 21st UN gathering on climate change, Sister Pat said, noting that during the 17th conference in 2011, the negotiators said that by 2015 they would have a framework that could be implemented.
“The ultimate objective of the climate summit is really to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations or emissions internationally,” Sister Pat explained. The purpose is “to limit global temperature increase above the pre-industrial levels by no more than 2 degrees Celcius” – 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. “Scientists today are saying that [we can afford] an increase of no more than 1.5 degrees.
Sister Elise García, OP, spoke of the urgency of the issue, of the great need for the negotiators from the 195 member nations to succeed in bringing about a binding agreement. She noted that global temperature has already increased by nearly 1 degree. “That’s why it’s so critical now that we really stop the path that we’re on in order to make sure that we don’t hit the tipping point.”
The 2015 UN gathering is the 21st to focus on climate change, Sister Pat said, noting that during the 17th conference in 2011, the negotiators said that by 2015 they would have a framework that could be implemented. “Let’s hope that this time the countries around the world really are able to accomplish this.”
At the same time as the UN Conference – at which about 15,000 official representatives are expected to gather – members of the Civil Society Sector will gather, representing a variety of activist groups concerned about the environment and its impact on low-income people. Sisters Pat and Elise will attend events at the Civil Society Sector. Sister Pat will preside at a special tribunal, the Third International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature, organized by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.
“We’re trying to plant the seeds for a legal system that’s going to protect not only human rights but sees human rights as a part of the larger rights of nature, and that nature itself – our rivers and our mountains and our other brothers and sisters in beings – have intrinsic rights to exist and flourish,” Sister Pat explained.
The tribunal called by the Global Alliance – modeled on the concept of the war crimes tribunals that were held after World War II – will present a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to show corporations or other organizations have violated the rights of aspects of nature such as eco-systems. “We don’t have any judicial body to take this to, even if there are violations,” Sister Pat explained. “We are trying to model what we think a world tribunal on climate justice should look like.”
The first international tribunal, held in Ecuador in January 2014, looked at the evidence of eight cases of environmental rights violations, including the endangerment of the Great Barrier Reef.
Sister Elise, who covered the first tribunal for the National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report, will again be covering the tribunal and other events in Paris for the Global Sisters Report. “The reason I’m going is to try to bring some press and publicity to what’s happening in the civil side of the Paris talks,” Sister Elise explained.
Rounding out the afternoon events were three brief reports on different ways that care for Earth is addressed at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse.
- Sister Carol Coston, OP, spoke of the work of the Permaculture Office, which is finding ways for the Motherhouse grounds to be more sustainable.
- Father James Hug, SJ, sacramental minister at the Motherhouse, spoke of a letter from Catholic colleges and universities throughout the world, promising their support for the Pope’s environmental efforts, as described in Laudate Si.
- Lura Mack, Executive Director of the Congregation’s Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) spoke of ways that the PAB is supporting the Congregation’s sustainability efforts through its work in corporate responsibility and through making low-income loans to organizations such as the Solar Energy Loan Fund in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The Day of Education ended in prayer, with a special Mass at which Father Jim presided.