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‘Sisterhood’ Exhibit Showcases Artwork of Sisters Rita Schiltz and Sarajane Seaver

January 24, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The artwork of two Adrian Dominican Sisters – Rita Schiltz, OP, and Sarajane Seaver, OP – is being showcased through Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at Lenawee Council for the Visual Arts Gallery at the Adrian Center for the Arts

Sister Maria Goretti Browne, OP, left, and Sister Christa Marsik, OP, examine some rings created by Sister Rita Schiltz, OP.

The exhibit gives the public the opportunity to view the work of the two Sisters, both life-long artists. Several Adrian Dominican Sisters and members of the general public attended a reception January 21.

Pieces on display include Sister Rita’s jewelry and metal-working arts and Sister Sarajane’s weavings.

Sister Rita hopes that people who view her work “are interested in seeing something that didn’t exist, something that was created out of various materials and did not exist before.” She said metalworking is a “good avenue for experimenting in the material. Most of the work that I’ve done is casting. It’s a case of creating the design in wax and then casting it by centrifugal force into the intended object.”

Sister Rita has been engaged in the arts her whole life. “Even as a small child, I was designing and making things,” she said. Her formal arts education was at at Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian; Universidad Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and California State College, Los Angeles. In turn, she taught art at the high school and college levels.

When she and the late Sister Barbara Chenicek, OP, a painter, opened their studio, INAI, 43 years ago, Sister Rita temporarily put her own metalworking and jewelry-making aside. The two artists were known throughout the world for their design of places of worship for parishes, schools, hospitals, and congregations of women religious.

Sister Sarajane Seaver, OP, seated, and Sister Nadine Sheehan, OP, explore one of Sister Sarajane’s weavings.

Like Sister Rita, Sister Sarajane began her art at an early age, embroidering and embellishing small quilt squares decorated with nursery rhymes. After she had completed more than 100 squares, Sister Sarajane said, she and her mother found fabric to frame the squares. She gave the two twin bed quilts to her nieces.  

Sister Sarajane studied art at the Center for Creative Studies and at Wayne County Community College, both in the Detroit area. While serving at the Center, she also worked with others on a handwoven piece commissioned by the Ford Motor Company. She has led many art experiences at Weber Retreat and Conference Center, and has woven prayer shawls, basing her design on musical notes in such hymns as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

“Being a weaver is not something I do,” she said. “It’s something I am. Taking that away from me is like taking away a part of me.”

When people look at her artwork, Sister Sarajane said, “I hope they see the gifts of God and the beauty of God.”

Seven Women in Two Locations Become Adrian Dominican Associates

April 26, 2016 – Seven women in two separate ceremonies on two separate days became Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters over the weekend of April 23-24.

Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who are married, single, widowed or divorced and who resonate with the mission and ministry of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various social, spiritual, and ministerial experiences with Adrian Dominican Sisters and attend Congregational events.  

The first Associate Ritual of Acceptance took place on April 23 in Boca Raton, Florida, where all three women reside. All were mentored by Sisters Carmen Álvarez and Frances Madigan – will make their Commitment to Associate Life. 

Bonnie Aymat, originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, studied engineering at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. She and her husband, Luis, a mechanical engineer, run a company that sells and installs pollution control equipment and water systems.

Diana Castro, a native of Bogota, Columbia, is an interior designer and architect by trade. Her ministry in her parish, St. Joan of Arc, includes working with migrant workers and with elders suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Neisy Nuñez, originally of Cuba, studied architectural design in Florida and is also active in St. Joan of Arc Parish. She works with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and helps in the diocesan religious reward program for Scouts.

New Associates and their mentors gathered at the altar, where Associates signed the Agreement of Association during the April 24 ritual in Adrian. They are, from left: Associate Peggy Ann Wilds; Sisters Barbara Quincey, OP, and Sharon McGuire, OP; Associate Sharon Bock; Sisters Elise García, OP, and Molly Nicholson, OP; and Associates Melinda Ziegler and Helene Knierim. Photo by Sheila Wathen

Four women became Associates on April 24 in St. Catherine Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. 

Sharon Bock, of Palm Springs, California, first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters at Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1957 and entered the Congregation in 1961, withdrawing in 1976. Her professional work has included process facilitation, design of adult instruction, and management of trade show conventions. She was mentored by Sister Sharon McGuire.

Helene Knierim, of Tecumseh, Michigan, was born in Germany but moved to Australia at the age of two. Mentored by Sister Molly Nicholson, Helene operates a dance studio in Tecumseh; her gift for liturgical dance was evidenced during the Easter Vigil in Holy Rosary Chapel this year. 

Peggy Ann Wilds, of Brooklyn, Michigan, is a retired teacher and a member of the Episcopalian Church. She met the Congregation while taking classes at Siena Heights and remained connected through retreats and spiritual direction at Weber Center. She was mentored by Sister Barbara Quincey.

Melinda Ziegler, of Litchfield, Michigan, has served the Congregation for more than six years as a graphic designer for the Communications Office. She completed the religious studies program at Siena Heights University and became a lay ecclesial leader. The late Sister Barbara Chenicek was her mentor.

The Ritual of Acceptance includes the introduction of each Associate and the opportunity for the Associate to explain why he or she chose this spiritual pathway. Associates then sign the Agreement of Association, noting their willingness to enter into a formal relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters through a non-vowed commitment to the mission and vision. The new Associates also receive a special Associate logo, similar to the logo worn by Adrian Dominican Sisters.

If you are interested in Associate Life, please contact Associate Mary Lach, director, at 517-266-3531 or associates@adriandominicans.org.


Feature photo: Sister Frances Madigan, OP, left, one of the two mentors, watches as the new Associates sign their Agreement of Association, from left: Neisy Nuñez, Bonnie Aymat, and Diana Castro. Not shown is Sister Carmen Álvarez, OP, mentor. Photo by Associate Peggy Rowe-Linn



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