July 19, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Marci Hamilton, a retired registered nurse and former student of Adrian Dominican Sisters, was welcomed into Associate Life July 15, 2019, during a Ritual of Acceptance in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse. She was mentored by Sister Barbara Quincey, OP.
Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, welcomed Sisters and Associates to the Ritual of Acceptance. Members of the Assembly also welcomed Marci. “You have journeyed with us for this time and you will continue to get to know us, deepen the bonds between us, and share faith and prayer with us,” they said in unison during the ritual.
After an introduction by Sister Barbara, Marci noted the reason for her decision to become an Adrian Dominican Associate. Her mother, Rose Todaro Hamilton, was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Joseph Academy in Adrian, she said. A student at Queen of the Miraculous Medal School and St. Mary, Star of the Sea High School in Jackson, Michigan, she also was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters. Two of the Sisters – Norma Dell, OP, who taught first grade, and Marilyn Francoeur, OP, who taught seventh grade – attended the ritual.
As a young woman, Marci joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and while still a member of that Congregation became a nurse. She continued as a nurse until her recent retirement. She and her husband Colin Baker – who died more than two years ago – raised a son, who lives on the West Coast.
Marci decided to become an Adrian Dominican Associate when, on the same day about a year ago, Sister Barbara and Sister Margaret Urban, OP, invited her to consider joining Associate Life. “Thus began my journey,” Marci said. “Thank you for inviting me. I belong here.”
The Ritual of Acceptance continued with Marci signing the Agreement of Association, a formal document expressing her willingness to enter into a relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Barbara presented Marci with the Associate Life pin.
Mary Lach reflected on her own experience of having a DNA test and of seeing, on a screen, the blueprint of her genetic code. “We all have this unique blueprint which causes every cell in our bodies to be formed in a certain way in the image of God,” she said. In the same way, Dominicans have a genetic blueprint – a charism or spirituality – that characterizes members of their family, Mary said. Common characteristics of Dominicans are prayer, study of the signs of the times, and involvement in the Mission, Mary said.
“You’re joining a joyful group of people,” Mary told Marci. “We often laugh and enjoy life. We also help each other to become the best versions of ourselves. And finally, we offer one another signs of hope in a world that desperately needs it.”
Mary noted Marci’s lifetime work as a nurse, her desire to grow spiritually as an Associate, and her decision as a widow to live her life to the fullest to reach out to others. “We wholeheartedly welcome you to Associate Life and hope, as we journey together, you will continue to grow in holiness and happiness – and that you will find what we have here, a blueprint for your spiritual life.”
Associates are women and men – married or single – at least 18 years of age and committed to sharing the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their independent lifestyles, Associates share in the Sisters’ mission and vision and participate in Congregational, spiritual, and social events with the Sisters.
For more information on becoming an Associate, contact Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed religious life – or know of a young Catholic woman who is – contact Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or email@example.com or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, a 517-266-3537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 9, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – About 55 sixth-grade students from Morenci (Michigan) Middle School enjoyed a five-hour field trip May 1 at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse, catching insects, learning about rain gardens and vernal pools, and coming to appreciate the value of water and the River Raisin watershed.
They were taking part in a new program, The River Raisin Water Festival, hosted by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and organized in collaboration with the River Raisin Institute, the River Raisin Watershed Council, and Lenawee Intermediate School District. Underwriters for the festival were Anderson Development Company, General Federation of Women’s Club, and Rotary International.
Corinne Sanders, OP, and Patricia Benson, OP, working with the planning committee, coordinated the event on the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus. Students moved through a number of inside and outside learning centers, “experiencing topics that are intended to inspire us to protect, preserve, and enhance the River Raisin, its tributaries, and the land around it,” Sister Corinne said.
Topics included Habitat Restoration, Marsh Bird Management, Macroinvertebrates, Vernal Pools, River Raisin Plant Fun, Rain Gardens, Vermicomposting (composting with worms), and Where Water Flows.
Students and chaperones alike were quick to tell of the highlights of their experience of the Water Festival and what they learned from it. “It’s been fun going through the wild areas and learning about the bugs and flowers,” said Dea Ewald, a student. “The bugs were the most interesting – I used to be scared of them.” Her classmate, Jordan Watkins, also appreciated the bugs, especially the crayfish and dragonflies, and learned about camouflage.
Caroline Stuck, a substitute teacher at Morenci and a chaperone, learned about rain gardens and hopes to build one at home.
Sister Pat, a Board member of the River Raisin Institute, said the Institute has held a similar program, the Lake Erie Water Festival, at the Motherhouse of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters in Monroe, Michigan, for three or four years. Sister Pat suggested expanding the program into Lenawee County. “We just wanted to have this for our students in Lenawee County,” Sister Pat said. “We feel it’s a good exposure to what’s good for the watershed and the future.”
Sister Pat and Sister Corinne worked with Brittany Leick, Program Coordinator for the River Raisin Institute, who recruited the presenters and invited school participation. Planning for the event began in October 2018.
Sister Corinne said about 45 volunteers were involved in the program, including the nine presenters and their assistants. Among the volunteers were Adrian Dominican Sisters, who accompanied the students to the learning centers throughout the campus and enjoyed the presentations with the students.
Sister Corinne was most excited by the small groups of students who attended the presentations together. “There were 10 to 12 in each group, which gave them high quality small group experiences,” she said. “The students were very inquisitive and asked good questions.”
Feature photo: Elaine Johnson, former Permaculture Specialist for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, gives a presentation on rain gardens.