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August 6, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and special guests celebrated the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sister Marilín Llanes, OP. The Liturgy and Ritual of Profession took place August 4, 2019, in St. Catherine Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sister Marilín’s Final Profession followed the conclusion of Embracing the Future / Encuentro con el Futuro / Pagyakap sa Hinaharap, a gathering of more than 600 Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and specially invited Partners in Mission who work with the Congregation in sponsored institutions and other shared ministries. Special guests for the profession liturgy included Sister Marilín’s family members and friends.
Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Council Liaison to the Formation Department, welcomed the assembly. “Some insights from our hearts can only be told with a story and today we ritualize the insights of Marilín’s heart, having fallen in love with the divine mystery beyond all space and time, leading to a lifetime commitment,” Sister Patricia said. “We rejoice with you, Marilín, in celebrating your ‘yes’ that was meant to be.”
A member of the Adrian Dominican Congregation from 1988 to 1995, Sister Marilín entered the discernment process for readmission on August 8, 2015, the Feast of St. Dominic, and made her First Profession of Vows on April 10, 2016.
A native of the province of La Habana in Cuba and an only child, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 with her parents, Nancy and Ricardo Llanes. Sister Marilín grew up in the Miami area and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Barry University, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She also holds a master’s degree in counseling from St. Mary’s University and a graduate degree in school psychology from Trinity University, both in San Antonio, Texas.
Sister Marilín has been a school psychologist for 15 years, starting in 2004 for the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, and, after her First Profession, with the Joliet, Illinois, School District.
Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, offered a reflection on the day’s Gospel, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Sister Rosa Monique described the woman as one whose life changed after her encounter with Jesus. Because of that encounter, Sister Rosa Monique said, the Samaritan woman was called to be an apostle to the people of her Samaritan town. Every time the woman returned to the well after that encounter, she would be reminded of her call to apostolic service.
In the same way, Sister Rosa Monique said, St. Dominic found his place of discernment at an inn, where he spent the night praying for guidance as he tried to convert the innkeeper from heresies.
“You, too, started in one direction and finished in another,” Sister Rosa Monique told Sister Marilín. “Let me say that your place of encounter was a desk in a second-grade classroom.” She described Sister Marilín’s first call when she volunteered to teach a religious education class and was assigned to a second-grade class. “Your analytical mind said that since you did not have religious education, the best place to start would be at the bottom.” Thinking she was a member of the class, Sister Marilín was surprised to learn that she was the teacher, but she accepted the challenge and it changed her life, Sister Rosa Monique said.
“If the Samaritan woman had a well to go to for reflection and Dominic had a guest house, you, Marilín, have a second-grade desk,” Sister Rosa Monique concluded. “Go there frequently.” She encouraged members of the assembly to identify their own wells, their own places of reflection, and go to that place.
During the Rite of Profession, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, formally questioned Sister Marilín on her willingness to unite herself more closely to God by a bond of religious profession and to live a life of charity and center her ministerial activity in contemplation.
Sister Marilín then stated her intent: “with all my heart and soul to enter into a lifetime communion with my loving God and my dear Adrian Dominican Sisters. I pray that I may be open to God’s grace and invite the Holy Spirit to weave in me a clear, strong, trusting, and joyful heart.”
Speaking in Spanish, Sister Marilin professed a vow of obedience to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, and Sister Patricia and her lawful successors, “according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary until death.”
Sister Patricia presented her with a ring, signifying her perpetual fidelity to Jesus Christ. The ritual concluded with the signing of the profession documents by Sister Marilín and Sister Patricia Siemen; Sister Marilín’s two witnesses, Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, and Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP; Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, her Chapter Prioress; and Father Marcelo Solórzano, OP, celebrant.
“On behalf of the whole Dominican family, and most especially our Adrian Dominican Congregation, I am truly delighted to affirm your profession as a Dominican Sister of Adrian,” Sister Patricia Siemen said. “We joyfully congratulate you and pray that our God continue to inspire you with a generous heart to answer the call to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”
Enhancing the joy of the bilingual liturgy was the music, led by Music Director Denise Mathias. Musicians were Sisters Jean Keeley, OP, trumpet; Jeanne Wiest, OP, clarinet; and Sue Schreiber, OP, percussion. Serving as cantors were Sisters Katherine Frazier, OP, Mary Jones, OP, and Mary Priniski, OP. The Chapel Choir also helped to lead the assembly in music.
Feature photo (top): Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, right, addresses Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, shortly after the Final Profession of Vows.
Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, professes her Perpetual Vows to Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress. Observing the profession are her witnesses, Sisters Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, left, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, center.
July 19, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Marci Hamilton, a retired registered nurse and former student of Adrian Dominican Sisters, was welcomed into Associate Life July 15, 2019, during a Ritual of Acceptance in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse. She was mentored by Sister Barbara Quincey, OP.
Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, welcomed Sisters and Associates to the Ritual of Acceptance. Members of the Assembly also welcomed Marci. “You have journeyed with us for this time and you will continue to get to know us, deepen the bonds between us, and share faith and prayer with us,” they said in unison during the ritual.
After an introduction by Sister Barbara, Marci noted the reason for her decision to become an Adrian Dominican Associate. Her mother, Rose Todaro Hamilton, was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Joseph Academy in Adrian, she said. A student at Queen of the Miraculous Medal School and St. Mary, Star of the Sea High School in Jackson, Michigan, she also was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters. Two of the Sisters – Norma Dell, OP, who taught first grade, and Marilyn Francoeur, OP, who taught seventh grade – attended the ritual.
As a young woman, Marci joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and while still a member of that Congregation became a nurse. She continued as a nurse until her recent retirement. She and her husband Colin Baker – who died more than two years ago – raised a son, who lives on the West Coast.
Marci decided to become an Adrian Dominican Associate when, on the same day about a year ago, Sister Barbara and Sister Margaret Urban, OP, invited her to consider joining Associate Life. “Thus began my journey,” Marci said. “Thank you for inviting me. I belong here.”
The Ritual of Acceptance continued with Marci signing the Agreement of Association, a formal document expressing her willingness to enter into a relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Barbara presented Marci with the Associate Life pin.
Mary Lach reflected on her own experience of having a DNA test and of seeing, on a screen, the blueprint of her genetic code. “We all have this unique blueprint which causes every cell in our bodies to be formed in a certain way in the image of God,” she said. In the same way, Dominicans have a genetic blueprint – a charism or spirituality – that characterizes members of their family, Mary said. Common characteristics of Dominicans are prayer, study of the signs of the times, and involvement in the Mission, Mary said.
“You’re joining a joyful group of people,” Mary told Marci. “We often laugh and enjoy life. We also help each other to become the best versions of ourselves. And finally, we offer one another signs of hope in a world that desperately needs it.”
Mary noted Marci’s lifetime work as a nurse, her desire to grow spiritually as an Associate, and her decision as a widow to live her life to the fullest to reach out to others. “We wholeheartedly welcome you to Associate Life and hope, as we journey together, you will continue to grow in holiness and happiness – and that you will find what we have here, a blueprint for your spiritual life.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com or Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, a 517-266-3537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.