March 14, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters at the Motherhouse campus in Adrian and throughout the United States reached out to their local communities during National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW), March 8-14, to share their lives and ministries, giving people a glimpse of what their vocation means to them.
Begun in 2014 as part of National Women’s History Month, NCSW was founded by the National Catholic Sisters Project to shine a spotlight on Catholic Sisters in the U.S.
Members of the General Council – Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress; Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator; and Sisters Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors – gave a presentation on the Congregation’s history, background, ministries, and Enactments to the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce on March 8. The presentation was repeated March 9 at a special breakfast at the Motherhouse prepared for local community and non-profit leaders.
“We really delight in the opportunity to share with you a glimpse of our life and what happens on this side of the campus,” Sister Patricia Siemen said, noting that many of the guests were familiar with life on the other side of campus – Siena Heights University.
Sister Pat situated the Adrian Dominican Sisters among the 47,000 Catholic Sisters; the 300 Congregations of Catholic Sisters, the 4,000 Dominican Sisters, and the 19 Congregations of active Dominican Sisters across the United States. Sister Pat also spoke of the history and spirituality of the Dominican Order and of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. In addition, the other members of the General Council each spoke on one of the 2016 Enactments, focuses that the Congregation chose for the next six years after General Chapter 2016. In each description of the Enactments – Spiritual Longings, Sustainability, Resilient Communities, and Diversity – the General Councilors invited members of the local community to participate and to collaborate with the Sisters.
Also on March 9, about 16 Sisters and Co-workers from the Motherhouse spent part of the day with members of the Hope Community Center, an organization for developmentally disabled adults. The Sisters and Co-workers presented the members with cards created by retied Sisters and spent time talking to the members and leading activities such as basketball, games, coloring, and karaoke. Hope Community Center is also the recipient for the six months of 2018 of funds raised through ADS Gives, a Co-worker initiated charitable fund.
Other Sisters living and ministering in Adrian spoke at 10 different service club meetings between March 6 and 14.
Sister Mary Jones, OP, Director of Mission Education and Heritage Development at Siena Heights University in Adrian, organized the annual “speed date a Sister” event. During lunch on March 13, students, faculty, and staff members of Siena Heights spent time with a few of the dozen Adrian Dominican Sisters who came to the University. The event gives members of the Siena Heights community the opportunity to learn more about the lives of the Sisters.
Sisters throughout the United States also reached out to their communities during the week. National Catholic Sisters Week came early to Plantation, Florida, where, on February 27, Sister Joan Leo Kehn, OP, and St. Gregory the Great School hosted 900 sixth-grade students from Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Miami. The day of retreat introduced the students to possible Church vocations, including religious life and the priesthood.
Women and men religious of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, gathered on March 4 for an afternoon reflection by Father John D’Mello on Pope Francis’ January 2017 message, Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace.
Aquinas Literacy Center in Chicago – one of seven literacy centers sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters – hosted a special “Dine and Discuss” evening on March 14. The evening included dinner, followed by a presentation on “The History and Impact of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in the McKinley Park Community.” Sisters Claudia Hinds, OP, and Rosemary Brennan, OP, opened Aquinas Literacy Center in the basement of the convent at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in 1996. Adrian Dominican Sisters still serve on the Board and as tutors.
Adrian Dominican Sisters also hosted special NCSW events for their parishes and other communities. Sister Carol Johannes, OP, for example, facilitated a reflection on the great Dominican mystic, St. Catherine of Siena, for a women’s spirituality group at St. Mary’s Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters offer numerous ways for people of good will to partner with them: as vowed Sisters; non-vowed Associates; as Co-workers at the Motherhouse and sponsored institutions; as donors; and through retreats and spiritual programs offered at Weber Retreat & Conference Center.
March 13, 2018, Seattle, Washington – Faith-based shareholders – including the Adrian Dominican Sisters and other congregations of women religious – have found some success in their long-term campaign to work with gun manufacturers and dealers to reduce gun violence in the United States.
In the spring of 2016, Adrian Dominican Sister Judy Byron, OP, met with a group of faith-based members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to address the issue of gun safety. In response, 15 religious communities, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, bought stock in gun manufacturers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, and retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods so that they could work with these companies to reduce the availability of guns.
The faith-based investors requested a dialogue with the three companies. As a result of their discussions, Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to stop selling assault weapons in their stores. Because the other two companies did not respond to their request, the investors filed shareholder resolutions asking that the companies issue reports by February 2019 on their “activities related to gun safety measures and the mitigation of harm associated with products produced by the company.”
Sister Judy said that when the issue of gun safety was brought up two years ago, “we never wanted to be where we are today, grieving our children and teachers who were murdered and wounded at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day. But we are here, and we are being led by the young people who are demanding that we take action to end gun violence.”
The religious communities’ work with the corporations is one example of the corporate responsibility work of organizations such as the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB is also involved in community investment, granting low-interest loans to non-profit organizations that address the needs of local communities.
For more on the efforts in the area of gun violence, read the CNBC article and the report by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center.