$35 million gift to help Mercy Housing Northwest build new housing and services facility

May 1, 2017, Seattle, Washington – Mercy Housing Northwest received a gift of $30 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and another $5 million from the City of Seattle to “develop, own, and operate” a supportive housing and services facility for families experiencing homelessness in Seattle, according to a press release from the City of Seattle, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and Mercy Housing Northwest. 

“Yesterday we received an anniversary gift beyond our biggest dreams,” Sister Judy Byron, OP, wrote in an April 27 email to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. Sister Judy serves on the Board of Directors of Mercy Housing Northwest. “The [Paul G. Allen Family] Foundation came to us and invited us into this partnership.”

The purpose of the project is to create permanent, stable homes for families experiencing homelessness and, through a number of onsite services, help them to break the cycle of homelessness. Some 1,684 families in King County, Washington, are homeless. 

Sister Judy and Sister Lorene Heck, OP, have been involved in Mercy Housing Northwest from its beginning 25 years ago. They were Edmonds Dominican Sisters and the organization was founded as Intercommunity Housing. The Edmonds Dominican Sisters and the Adrian Dominican Sisters merged in 2003.

“Each year, more than 5,000 children and adults, including single-parent families, multigenerational households, elders, immigrants, and refugees in Washington State are at home in one of our properties,” Sister Judy said. “And, because a home is just the beginning, we provide on-site services such as health and wellness classes, life skills training, and after-school programs that help residents live up to their potential and move out of poverty.” 

Sister Judy expressed deep gratitude to Paul Allen and to the religious communities of the Northwest – the Tacoma Dominicans, the Edmonds (now Adrian) Dominicans, the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary – for their long-time commitment to the housing ministry.

To learn more about the project, read this article by Vernal Coleman of the Seattle Times.


Associate’s Article on Sister Ann Joachim Published in Michigan History Magazine

April 27, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – History fans in Michigan are now familiar with Sister Ann Joachim Joachim, OP (1901-1981), a particularly colorful and prominent Adrian Dominican Sister, thanks to an article written by an Adrian Dominican Associate. 

Arlene Bachanov’s article, “‘Sister Cannonball’: The Nun Who Shook Up Adrian,” was published in the May/June issue of Michigan History. The article details the amazing life of Sister Ann Joachim before and after she entered the Congregation and her influence on society.

“She led such a colorful life,” Arlene said of Sister Ann Joachim in an interview. She was a pilot; a boxer; a lawyer who waged a two-year court battle to keep the Wabash Cannon Ball train running (which earned her the moniker “Sister Cannonball”); the first woman attorney to be admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court; and a one-term Commissioner for the City of Adrian. Because of her involvement, Sister Ann Joachim was “very important to the history of southeastern Michigan,” Arlene said.

Researcher and writer for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ History Department since September 2010, Arlene said she was impressed with Sister Ann Joachim’s decision to enter the Congregation. “She struggled greatly about the idea of joining the Congregation,” Arlene said. “It came down to making a bargain with God. If she won a certain difficult case, she would join up. I really respected the fact that she was willing to give up everything she had. She gave up the treasures of the world. It was not enough for her.” 

Sister Ann Joachim had been a socialite before she entered the Adrian Dominicans, Arlene noted. She knew a number of prominent people, including Michigan Governors Frank Murphy (1937-1939), one of her law professors, and G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams (1949-1951), as well as Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh (1962-1970). 

Arlene first encountered Sister Ann Joachim while writing archival profiles of a number of Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Nadine Foley, OP, Congregation Historian, had suggested that she write about Sister Ann Joachim. 

Arlene had wanted to write about Sister Ann Joachim for a long time after first encountering her. She submitted a proposal to the Historical Society of Michigan in August 2016 and later that month received a request for a manuscript for the Society’s approval. She submitted the manuscript on October 25 and received the approval the next day. 

Arlene conducted her research in the Congregation’s archives, the Siena Heights University archives, and at the Lenawee County Historical Society, the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the State Library of Michigan, and state archives. In addition, she received help from the reference librarian at Michigan State University. 

Arlene relishes the work of historians. “I’ve always liked history,” she said. “I like to hear stories about people and events and to put them in the context of our times. History lets me be a puzzle-solver, putting together the bits and pieces that I uncover.” 

She hopes that readers of her article will take away is the idea that “Sister Ann Joachim was an amazing person. She exploded the stereotypes of women religious. … She was a go-getter and deeply committed, never doing anything half-heartedly.”

The current issue of Michigan History can be found at Meijer and Barnes & Noble stores in addition to a variety of Michigan bookstores. To order online, click here.


 

 

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