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November 14, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The day before her departure to Iraq, Sister Rose Ann Schlitt, OP, spoke to WTOL-TV reporter Tyler Paley about the mission of solidarity that she and two other Dominican women were about to undertake. Sister Rose Ann, Adrian Dominican Sister Nancy Jurecki, OP, and Gloria Escalona, of the Dominican Laity of the St. Albert the Great Province, hope to be a presence of support and solidarity to the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of St. Catherine of Iraq. The Sisters from Iraq, after ISIS drove them out of their convents and ministries on the Nineveh Plains, spent three years as internally displaced persons, ministering with other refugees. They returned to their homes last year to find their churches and convents demolished by ISIS. Watch the interview with Tyler Paley. You may also follow the delegation on Facebook.
Read more about the delegation here.
April 12, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Ashley Stegg, a Co-worker who works in the Finance Office at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse, recently won a victory for her daughter and other children facing special needs. After three years of persistent effort on her part, the Meijer grocery and department store in Adrian now has a special cart on hand for children who would otherwise outgrow the seat in a typical grocery cart.
Thanks to this new development, Ashley can now take Sophie, her five-year-old daughter, to the grocery store – without having to worry about pushing a grocery cart and a wheelchair at the same time. “As a parent of a child with special needs, you have to make [grocery shopping] an event,” Ashley explained. “I can bring her out into the community, because that’s what she really likes.”
For more information about the cart and how she persuaded Meijer to provide it for her and other families, watch the local coverage by WTOL in Toledo.
Sophie is one of only about 300 people in the world who suffer from Mowat-Wilson Syndrome. Developmentally, Ashley explained, Sophie will always be at a low age-range. At the age of five, she still cannot walk or talk, but Ashley believes that she will eventually develop these skills. “We have to let her set the pace,” she explained.
Mowat-Wilson Syndrome can also cause serious physical problems. Sophie has already undergone open-heart surgery, heart cauterizations, and intestinal surgery, but she still faces the problem of unpredictable seizures. “Once everything else is corrected, if you can get the seizures under control, kids and adults [with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome] usually lead pretty healthy lives.”
While raising Sophie entails challenges and worries, Ashley said that Sophie also brings blessings to her and her husband. “She changes the hearts of everybody she comes into contact with,” Ashley explained. “You can’t be around her and feel that she is not truly a child of God. She’s happy 95 percent of the time, an there’s this innocence that she’ll always have, that nobody can take away.” Sophie also loves people, shares laughter, and enjoys clapping and kicking balls.
Ashley encourages others who come into contact with Sophie not to be afraid to ask questions. “Let your kid come up to me and say, ‘Why does your daughter have braces on her feet?’ because it’s going to make us a more compassionate people, and I think that’s what we need.”
Ashley also believes that her daughter will help to make the world a better place. “Sophie’s going to change the world one heart at a time,” she said. “It’s already happening and she just turned five.”