April 29, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – For many people around the world, 2020 will mark the year of the COVID-19 virus and the many fears and challenges that it brought about. But 2020 is also a special year for 69 Adrian Dominican Sisters. It marks their Jubilee in religious life, whether 25, 50, 60, 70, or 75 years.
In the midst of sheltering in place and physical distancing, Sisters have found creative ways to celebrate their Jubilees this year.
Before most areas imposed shelter-in-place orders, Sister Patricia (Michael Dominic) Erickson, OP, celebrated her Diamond (60-year) Jubilee with nine other Sisters from the Diocese of San Diego, California. The diocese’s 21st Annual Appreciation and Jubilee Celebration for Women Religious included Mass and dinner. Bishop Robert W. McElroy and Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan presided over the celebration.
Sister Pat, a nurse practitioner, came to San Diego to offer her medical services to migrants who had applied for asylum in the United States but were forced to stay in Mexico while awaiting their hearing. “I miss going to the shelters and wonder every day how the migrants in Tijuana are,” she said.
Before this ministry in San Diego, Sister Pat had served as a nurse in Florida, caring for unaccompanied children from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras who were awaiting sponsors in the United States while staying at a specially designated Air Reserve Base in Florida.
At the Jubilee Celebration of the Diocese of San Diego are, back row, from left, Bishop Robert W. McElroy; Sisters Judith Sheridan, SMSM, Lilia Vega, SJS, Rosemary Nicholson, RJM, and Kathleen Warren, OSF, and Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan; and front row, from left, Sisters Maureen Kelley, RSM, Patricia Erickson, OP, Katharina Contreras, TM, Angelina Robles Larios, HCJS, Maria Luisa Pelayo, SJS, and Guadalupe Jimenez, TM. Photo by Denis Grasska, The Southern Cross Newspaper
In the Detroit area, Sister Mary Kay (Mark Christine) Homan, OP, received an impromptu, heart-warming Jubilee celebration when Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates drove through the parking lot of her apartment complex in Warren, Michigan, A Mass and dinner scheduled for Friday, April 24, was postponed.
“COVID-19 can take away a lot of things, but it can’t ever take away our spirit, love, and care for each other,” said Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, who coordinated the event. “Seventeen cars processed through the Burg apartment complex, horns blaring and faces covered in masks, with broad smiles.”
In her 60 years in religious life, Sister Mary Kay ministered as a teacher, principal, high school president, pastoral associate, and member of the Congregation’s General Council. Now she brings Communion to the homebound, visits hospital patients, and tutors weekly at the Dominican Literacy Center in Detroit.
“I made the decision to enter at a young age but I found I had to keep making the decision,” she said. “It has been a good decision for me, one I never regretted. I have made dear friends and have felt great support throughout my life.”
The Congregation’s celebration of the 2020 Adrian Dominican Jubilarians is suspended until 2021. The Adrian Dominican Congregation also honors the memory of the 2020 deceased Jubilarians, who would have celebrated 80, 75, 70, 60, and 50 years of religious life.
From left: Sisters Pat Magee, OP, left, and Mary Kay Homan, OP, enjoy the celebration. Associate Carol Hofer participates in the drive-by Jubilee celebration.
Feature photo (top): From left, Sister Patricia Erickson, OP, Sister Rosemary Nicholson, RJM, and Bishop Robert McElroy at Jubilee Mass. Sister Pat reads intercessions in Spanish and Sister Rosemary in English. Photo by Denis Grasska, The Southern Cross Newspaper
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.