June 26, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters celebrating their Diamond Jubilee – 60 years in the Congregation – gathered from throughout the country June 19-22, 2019, at the Motherhouse for four days of prayer, activities, joy, renewal of friendships, memories, and reflection. In all, 22 Sisters celebrated their Diamond Jubilee.
The Diamond Jubilarians are Sisters Sean Eileen Allgeyer, OP, Beverly Bobola, OP, Mary Jean Clemenger, OP, Delores DeBets, OP, Teresa Disch, OP, Mary Ann Ferguson, OP, Dorothy Glaister, OP, Jo Ann Jauquet, OP, Jean Keeley, OP, Joan Krajewski, OP, Christa Marsik, OP, Joan Christine Meerschaert, OP, Mary Kay Moran, OP, Emilie Petelin, OP, Peter Anthony Schulte, OP, Sarah Ann Sharkey, OP, Mary Emidio Singer, OP, Susan Van Baalen, OP, Joan Marie Weithman, OP, Helen Wilson, OP, Jane Zimmerman, OP, and Rosemary Zuccaro, OP.
Also honored during that time were Jubilarians living and ministering in the Philippines: Sisters Estrellita David, OP, and Arsenia Marie Puno, OP, marking their Golden (50-year) Jubilee and Sister Rowena Marie Cruz, OP, celebrating her Silver Jubilee, 25 years as a Dominican Sister.
Jubilarians marking 80, 75, and 70 years of religious life were honored at a celebration in May.
The Jubilarians were formally welcomed during an opening program and reception June 19, 2019, by Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; members of the General Council; members of the planning committee; and Sisters and friends. They met with the General Council for brunch the next day and attended a concert by composer and musician Sister Magdalena Ezoe, OP, that evening. But much of the early week offered the Jubilarians time to gather with friends, pray, rest, and enjoy the Motherhouse grounds and the surrounding area.
The Jubilarians paused on June 21 to remember and honor the deceased members of their Jubilee crowd. During the Mass for Deceased Jubilarians in St. Catherine Chapel, Jubilarians and friends carried forward flowers to represent those who were being honored.
“The readings of today’s memorial Liturgy invite us to remember and invoke the spirit of seven Jubilarians – all Adrian Dominican Sisters who left us too soon to somehow live forever in God’s presence,” said Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP, Diamond Jubilarian, in her reflection. She compared the unique flowers that had been brought forward to represent the deceased Jubilarians with the uniqueness and diversity of the Jubilarians themselves. “How rich, how beautiful is the diversity of their gifts and their works,” she said.
Sister Susan spent much of her reflection describing the lives of the deceased Jubilarians and the rooms in Heaven to which she imagined they were escorted, according to their specific call as Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The deceased Diamond Jubilarians are:
The presider at the Mass for Deceased Jubilarians was Father Ian Bordenave, OP, who was taught in second grade by Diamond Jubilarian Sister Mary Jean Clemenger, OP. He also took two courses of preaching from Sister Joan Delaplane, OP, at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri.
Father Ian was also the presider at the Jubilee Mass the following day, which was the highlight of the Jubilee Week as Jubilarians and guests celebrated their year of Jubilee.
“Jubilee is such an appropriate time of giving thanks and remembering our first response to our call as Dominican Sisters of Adrian … a response that led to our women giving 60 years of Dominican life,” Sister Patricia Siemen, noted. “Each of you has been blessed by so many people and places. … You’ve poured out your love among seminarians, helping to form their spiritual lives; among prisoners in federal prisons … among those in parishes and schools, hungry for God’s word and your passionate presence; among those who are sick, materially poor, and in need of education.”
Paraphrasing the words of St. Paul to the Philippians, Sister Patricia expressed her gratitude and that of the Congregation to each of the Jubilarians by name. She also challenged the Jubilarians and all of the Adrian Dominican Sisters present to remain close to God so that they could carry out God’s work. Read the full text of her reflection here.
“The words from our Adrian Dominican Constitution remind us of the heritage we bear in carrying forth the mission of Jesus, to bring reconciliation, justice, peace, mercy, and love at all times, to all peoples, and to Earth herself,” she said. “To do this intentionally requires that we are in an alignment and in an intimate relationship with the Beloved,” so that God’s grace can flow through us.
The Jubilarians were then invited to continue their commitment by renewing their vow to Sister Patricia: “To the honor of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I make profession and promise obedience to Almighty God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to our holy father, St. Dominic, and to you, Sister Patricia Siemen, and to your 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, Jan Bourg, Susan Kremski, and Jeanette Desgrange, and Sisters Virginia Corley, OP, Joy Finfera, OP, Patricia Harvat, OP, and Joan Sustersic, OP.
Even before the Jubilee Week, the 2019 Jubilarians had the opportunity to reflect on what the Jubilee Year meant to them. Sister Christa Marsik, OP, wrote that she was inspired to enter the Congregation by the lives and purposefulness of her Adrian Dominican high school and college teachers. “Living that mission daily has its rewards and challenges, but I have never been disappointed. God is always there!”
“Religious life is such an amazing gift,” Sister Jane Zimmerman, OP, wrote. “The Mission of Jesus is what we’re about. We’re meant to be co-creators with him of God’s justice and peace. Religious life has freed me up to do that.”
Clockwise from left: Sister Rosemary Zuccaro, OP, places a flower in a vase in memory of deceased Jubilarian Sister Diane McMeekin, OP. Sister Christa Marsik, OP, a Diamond Jubilarian, adds her welcome to the Jubilee Mass. Jubilarian Sisters Dorothy Glaister, OP, left, and Peter Anthony Schulte, OP, present the offertory gifts.
June 26, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – The 25 Adrian Dominican Sisters marking their Diamond (60-year) and 14 celebrating Golden (50-year) Jubilees gathered at the Motherhouse in Adrian June 20-24 for reminiscing, gathering, prayer, thanksgiving, and festivities.
The Jubilee Class of 2016 also includes six Sisters celebrating 75 years of religious life and 22 marking 70 years in the Congregation. These Jubilarians celebrated together on May 13.
Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress and herself a Golden Jubilarian, welcomed the Jubilarians during an opening reception on the evening of June 20, noting that together they represent 2,200 years of faithful commitment. Observing that their Jubilee Year is a time of gratitude, she invited them to celebrate during the week by gathering together and visiting the sacred spots of the Motherhouse: Holy Rosary Chapel, the labyrinth, the Cosmic Walk, and the Sisters residing at the Dominican Life Center. Jubilee is not only about gratitude for the past, Sister Pat said, but also about looking ahead to where God might be calling them in the coming years.
Jubilarians joined Sister Pat and the General Council for a meeting and tea on June 21. On June 22, they gathered for a social with the Sisters of the Dominican Life Center and were treated to a concert by Sister Magdalena Ezoe, OP, who is a musician, composer, and professor emerita at Siena Heights University in Adrian. Free time gave the Jubilarians the opportunity to gather informally and to reflect on their lives as Adrian Dominican Sisters.
During a special liturgy on June 23, the focus shifted to the 11 deceased Diamond Jubilarians and one deceased Silver Jubilarian. Each deceased Jubilarian was remembered with a rose and a brief presentation on her life and on the difference she made in other people’s lives. To read the list of deceased Jubilarians, including Sisters who would have marked 85, 80, 75, and 70 years of religious life, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, Diamond Jubilarian, offered a reflection on the deceased Jubilarians and on the 10 years – roughly 3,650 days – since her Golden Jubilee that she said were mostly made up of ordinary days. “These are the days of walking the Earth … of witnessing the sky,” she said. “We’ve had countless conversations, meals prepared and shared.”
During Jubilee, Sister Barbara said, “we remember our Sisters and friends who walked with us for a time and who have passed before us. We can remember with great tenderness their efforts to grow up, to grow old, to grow well, to become who they were called to be.” Just as Jesus, at the end of his life, called his friends together, and calls all of us to be his friends, “I think that these many days and years, we have learned, all of us, to be friends,” she concluded.
On Saturday, Jubilarians and their guests – family members, friends, and other Adrian Dominican Sisters – gathered for the Jubilee Liturgy at St. Catherine Chapel. Father James Hug, SJ, Chaplain, noted that the years of service of the Golden and Diamond Jubilarians – together with those celebrating 70 and 75 years of religious life – totaled more than 4,000 years.
In her reflection, Sister Pat compared the love Jesus calls us to – and the love of the Jubilarians – to that of a couple who have been happily married for 50 years. In spite of trials and occasional stress, “they grow as companions to and with one another.… This is what Jesus is inviting each of us into in today’s Gospel – a time of unconditional acceptance and love and communion.”
In the same way, Sister Pat said, “We have been gifted with the extraordinary grace of sharing our lives in community, sharing life and faith with one another.” Noting that among the community, Sisters sometimes experience stress and misunderstanding. “Yet we witness to the power of healing and sisterly love for one another.”
Sister Pat noted the qualities of resiliency, creativity, hard work, and sacrifice that many of the Jubilarians learned from their parents who had lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Some of those qualities, she said, are also reflected in Sophia, Lady Wisdom, in the book of Proverbs: a woman of strength and compassion who, in her deep confidence in God, “laughs at the days to come with no fear of the future.”
“As Jubilarians – and I place myself in their midst – we give joyful thanks to God and the beloved community of women who have loved us into friendship and discipleship for the past 50 and 60 years,” Sister Pat said.
After her reflection, the Jubilarians gathered around the altar to renew their vows: “To the honor of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I … make profession and promise obedience to Almighty God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to our Holy Father St. Dominic, and to you, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, and to your lawful successors, according to the rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary until death.”
After Mass, the Jubilarians and their guests continued the celebration with a festive dinner and other informally scheduled events.
During their Jubilee Year, the Sisters have had time to reflect on the meaning of this special time and on what religious life has meant to them.
Religious life “has been 60 years of developing and strengthening my relationship with God and those I worked with daily,” said Sister Helen McAllister, OP. “I’ve come to realize that God is with us in the good times and the difficult times. I know God loves me and that I’m an instrument of His/Her plan.”
Sister Donna Baker, OP, said her 50 years in religious life has been a blessing. “I am so grateful for my extended family – women who embrace the Gospel values and who are committed to working toward peace and justice for all. Each morning I thank God for the new day and for the realization of my dream to become an Adrian Dominican Sister.”
Feature photo (top): Jubilarians gather around the altar in St. Catherine Chapel June 24 to renew their vows.