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August 12, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – Noraleen Renauer and Diane Burgermeister were welcomed as Adrian Dominican Associates on August 10, 2020, during a Ritual of Acceptance broadcast through Zoom. 

Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and live out the Dominican charism, or spirit, in their daily lives.

“Today we gather across states, cities, towns, and even countries through technology to join our hearts in relationship as Dominican Associates and Sisters,” said Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, in welcoming more than 60 people to the Zoom event. “We participate together in the building of a holy community and Church as we welcome Diane Burgermeister and Noraleen Renauer to Associate Life.” Their acceptance marked the fourth and fifth women to become Associates in the past month.

Noraleen Renauer

Associate Trudy McSorley, Noraleen’s mentor, noted that early in her life Noraleen had responded to a call to religious life by entering the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After leaving that community in 1968, she still felt the call to minister in Catholic education, Trudy said. 

Noraleen earned a Master’s of Divinity degree from St. John Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, served in Catholic broadcasting, and taught religious education at the high school level. She also served as pastoral associate at St. Andrew Parish in Saline, Michigan, and is now involved in ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Noraleen said she came to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters through her involvement in programs at Weber Retreat and Conference Center at the Motherhouse. During her time at the Motherhouse, she said, “I would hear the call to follow Christ and I would be strengthened in my journey.”

Noraleen spoke of her own witness of the Sisters and Associates who live out the charism and spirit of St. Dominic. “I have seen how the community responds to the needs of our ever-changing world, to bring light into darkness,” she said. “I believe the Spirit has led me to join you to seek truth, make peace, reverence life.”

Diane Burgermeister

Diane Burgermeister, an Adrian Dominican Sister from 1984 to 2016, was introduced by Sister Janet Doyle, OP, and other members of Connections, the Mission Group she had belonged to as a Sister. Diane, a psychotherapist with her own practice, is also a full professor in the College of Nursing at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, where she is Director of the Doctor of Nursing Program (DNP).

“I found her to be very thoughtful, somebody not afraid to question, somebody who wants to give a lot of her life to justice and poverty issues,” Sister Janet said of Diane. She noted that one of Diane’s students had described her as knowledgeable, flexible, understanding, and “a kind spirit.”

Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP, added that she admired Diane’s “search for the truth.I also appreciate the vastness of her talents,” not only in health care and education but in the world of competitive synchronized swimming, she said. 

Diane said she has always felt called by the Dominican motto, to contemplate and to share with others the fruits of your contemplation. “This is the Dominican way: to contemplate and reflect on Scripture with the objective of promoting human dignity and social justice,” Diane said.

The ritual concluded with the signing by the new Associates of the Agreement of Association, which signifies their formal commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates.

If you feel called to be an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or mlach@adriandominicans.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed life as an Adrian Dominican Sister, contact one of the Co-Directors of Vocations: Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or tdeyonker@adriandominicans.org.

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September 10, 2019, Adrian, Michigan — Suzanne Duquet — a former student of the Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Suzanne Elementary School and Bishop Borgess High School in Detroit and at Siena Heights College — recently formalized her long-time connection to the Congregation when she was accepted as an Associate. The Ritual of Acceptance took place September 4, 2019, in St. Catherine Chapel.

In opening the Ritual, Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, noted Suzanne’s past connections to the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “You will continue to deepen the bonds between you and the Congregation,” she told Suzanne. “May we all deepen our bonds as we journey together.”

Associate Suzanne Duquet signs her Agreement of Association, while her mentor, Associate Trudy McSorley, watches.

Associate Trudy McSorley, her mentor along with Sister Betty Flaherty, OP, introduced Suzanne. “Not unlike many young girls at the time, she dreamed of becoming one of those happy, young, and spirited Sisters,” Trudy said of Suzanne. 

The journey led her to Siena Heights College, now University, where she met Sister Betty and served for years as her administrative assistant, Trudy said. They have remained friends over the past 40 years. Sister Betty described Suzanne as a “model for women who carry Christ in their hearts and lives.” 

While serving as teacher and principal at Boysville of Michigan, Suzanne met her husband, Michael. Together they raised three children. She retired after working with special needs children at Pinckney (Michigan) Public Schools for 25 years.

Suzanne is active at her parish, Holy Spirit in Brighton, Michigan, serving as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, a lector, and a member of the St. Joseph Guild. Her involvement in charitable activities includes serving as a trustee on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Livingston County, Michigan.

Associate Trudy McSorley presents the Associate Life logo to Suzanne.

“You are indeed a faithful witness to the Gospel,” Trudy told Suzanne. “You do the preaching mission in your daily ministry. It is a blessing and a grace to have you be known as an Associate of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.”

For her part, Suzanne expressed her gratitude to her parents, her Catholic education, her long-time relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, her friend Sister Betty, and her husband Michael. She said she desires to “share my faith through prayer and good works” and hopes to support the Mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.  

The Ritual of Acceptance continued with Suzanne and her mentors signing the Agreement of Association, a formal document expressing her willingness to enter into a relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Trudy then presented her with the Associate Life logo.

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 mlach@adriandominicans.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 tdeyonker@adriandominicans.org or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, a 517-266-3537 or mfahlman@adriandominicans.org.  


Feature photo: Associate Suzanne Duquet, right, with Sister Betty Flaherty, OP, her long-time friend



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