July 13, 2018, San Fernando, Philippines – Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in San Fernando, the Philippines, gathered June 30 to celebrate the Transfer of Leadership of Chapter Prioress to Sister Rosita Yaya, OP. Sister Rosita was elected in April 2018 to that position, succeeding Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, the first Chapter Prioress of the Remedies Chapter.
The Our Lady of Remedies Chapter had at one time been a separate congregation of Dominican Sisters. At the request of Bishop Emilio Cinense, the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1961 took on the formation of the first members of the Congregation based in the Philippines. The community became an independent congregation in 1972. In 2011, at the request of the Filipino Sisters, Our Lady of Remedies merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and became a Mission Chapter within the Adrian Dominican Congregation. Sister Zenaida was elected as the first Chapter Prioress in 2012.
Sister Rosita saw her election as a “graced moment,” particularly because it had taken place on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. “Jesus is assuring me, ‘Do not be afraid. I am here with you. I am alive,’” she said. “With this assurance, we continue to live out our preaching mission, guided by the 2016 General Chapter Enactments, centered in the context of our Philippine situation.”
Sister Rosita hopes that the Sisters in her Chapter will remain “centered in the risen Christ” as they continue their pastoral ministry, “empowering our poor brothers and sisters, in becoming self-reliant communities, especially those we serve: the Aetas, the indigenous peoples; the street children; the families of victims of extra-judicial killings; those in family and life ministry; the people on the move; and migrant workers in Norway.”
As Chapter Prioress, she hopes to “explore possibilities of deepening our relationship with our North American Sisters,” and to work closely with the Prioress, General Council, and Leadership Council in implementing the General Chapter Enactments.
Sister Rosita was involved in leadership for the Remedies Congregation several times. She served on the Council from 1994 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2007. No stranger to Adrian, Michigan, she traveled there with her Congregation’s Council to discuss the possibility of the merger between the two Dominican Congregations. She also served as the Remedies Congregation’s Vocation Director and a Formator of Novices and Postulants.
At the time of her election in April, she was School Head of the Dominican School of Apalit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education with a major in guidance and counseling, both from the University of the Assumption in San Fernando, and a doctorate in education management from the University of St. Tomas in Manila.
From left, Sisters Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; Sister Rosita Yaya, OP, newly elected Chapter Prioress; Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, outgoing Chapter Prioress; and Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor after the April 1, 2018, election of Sister Rosita.
January 9, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The Doctrine of Discovery, a series of 15th-century papal bulls that gave European Christian explorers the right to subdue native, non-Christian people, still has an impact on the rights of indigenous peoples in the Americas, particularly in the area of land rights.
A group of about 50 Adrian Dominican Sisters heard more about this sobering situation on January 5 when they viewed The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code. The presentation was hosted by the Laudare Mission Group, a group of Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates who are part of the Chicago-based Dominican Midwest Mission Chapter.
Sister Marilee Ewing, OP, a member of the Laudare Mission Group, welcomed the audience, noting that the presentation was part of Mission Group and Chapter’s efforts to educate the Sisters and Associates on the Doctrine of Discovery. The ultimate goal is to reaffirm the 2014 Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) plea that Pope Francis rescind the bulls “to repudiate the period of Christian history that used religion to justify political and personal violence against indigenous nations and peoples.”
Directed by Sheldon Wolfchild and co-produced by author Steven T. Newcomb, the production explores the origins of the Doctrine of Discovery and its implications, even today, through Supreme Court rulings that deal with land ownership.
The Doctrine of Discovery originated in a time when non-Christians were seen as enemies of Christianity. The papal bulls charged European settlers into the Americas and Africa with converting the native peoples. A 1452 directive by King Alfonso permitted the settlers to subdue the native people of Africa who would not convert, and to “reduce them to slavery and take away their property,” according to the production.
In U.S. law, the Doctrine of Discovery was used as a precedent to keep Native Americans from claiming land that was taken from them. Chief Justice John Marshall, in the 1823 case Johnson v. McIntosh, ruled that colonists who claimed to have discovered tribal land had title to that land. As recently as 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court used the Doctrine of Discovery. In City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, the court allowed the City of Sherrill to sell what had been tribal land, claiming that the tribe did not have sovereignty over the land.
“This showing tonight was the first step in educating our Congregation about the Doctrine of Discovery,” said Sister Anele Heiges, OP, also a member of Laudare Mission Group. Sister Anele led a question and answer and discussion session after the presentation.
Sister Marilee noted that the issue of the Doctrine of Domination – and efforts to rescind it – is directly related to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2016 General Chapter Enactment on relationships and diversity.
Feature photo: Sister Marilee Ewing, OP, welcomes Sisters and friends to the Weber Center Auditorium to view The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code.