Equity and Inclusion

In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

From January 2021 through June of 2023, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters collaborated on a project to provide information on prominent Black and Indigenous Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

In May of 2022, Kevin D. Hofmann was named the founding Director of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion for the Congregation. With the goal of normalizing conversations about race and culture and discussing what it means to feel included and excluded, Kevin began contributing to this blog in June of 2022. He shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit and educates on topics of equity and inclusion.

Equity and Inclusion Project


Click here to return to the latest update

Ghost Supper

Close up of a place setting with white china at a beautifully decorated formal table

Ghost Supper

By Kevin Hofmann 
Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion

My grandmother was an amazing German immigrant. She was raised in Bad Herenalb, Germany, and came to settle in a German neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. She became a mother to three boys and a stay-at-home mother. My father, Richard, was her oldest. Then there was Norman and the youngest was Gordon.    

When Norman was about 7 years old, he passed away from spinal meningitis. My father was about 9 years old when Norman passed and occasionally Dad would tell me about Norman. Dad would recount the sadness that filled the room he shared with his brother. Dad spoke of the crib that Norman died in that was only feet from my father’s bed. I wondered how scary that must have been to see your young brother just waste away and die.   

When I was a teenager, my father shared the story of Norman with me. To that point, I didn’t know Dad had another brother. The pain of losing a child was unspeakable for my grandmother. She never spoke about Norman, and no one ever brought him up out of respect for Grandma’s heart and sanity.   

I remember when I first heard about Norman and his untimely death. I looked at my grandmother. I had never met a mother who lost a child. I assumed mourning had a certain look; it weighed on you I was sure. I never saw it on Grandma. She hid her emotions as well as she hid her homemade chocolate chip cookies.  

Grandma was my safe place to land. I was the only adopted child in our home. I was the only Black person in our family, and I was self-conscious about that and very untrusting of people. When I was with my grandmother, I knew I was safe. She and I would spend hours sitting on her davenport (the couch) with the white doilies draped over the back of the couch and we would watch the news or cartoons if we could get a clear signal. 

When I was a freshman in high school, Grandma wasn’t feeling good and after several months and plenty of begging by family members, Grandma went to her doctor to get checked out. She was diagnosed with cancer. Dad would travel back and forth to Cleveland from Detroit over the next couple of weeks as Grandma’s health deteriorated. While Dad was in Cleveland with Grandma early one morning before I went to deliver the morning paper to my customers, Dad called. Grandma had passed away. I never went to visit her in the hospital before she died because death scared me. I was afraid to see death in my grandmother. I was sure once I saw grandma with cancer, death would be revealed and it would only be a matter of time before death won. I wanted to remember my short, German grandmother with her incredible German accent and pure white hair who didn’t have cancer. I wanted to preserve the healthy picture I had of my grandmother.  

We treated grandma’s death like grandma treated Norman’s death. The memories attached to that person were never spoken of again. Grandma died and after the funeral, it was like she was never there. She was gone and forgotten publicly but quietly I missed her. I missed our cartoon-filled afternoons on the davenport. 

This past Sunday I got to participate in a Ghost Supper, a native American tradition that honors those that have passed. It was held by a small group of Catholic Sisters and a local group of Native Americans. Each person at the supper arrived with their plate settings and food that reminded them of their loved one. I brought with me small chocolate candies called Melt-Aways. My grandmother was an amazing baker and every Christmas she would make all kinds of holiday loveliness and the Melt- Aways were my favorite. It felt good to think about and tell others about my beloved grandmother. 

Just prior to us sharing the food we brought we were directed by a native elder to come outside. One of the leaders of the Ghost Supper had gathered a sample of all the food that was brought. Then we put a paper plate full of food on the fire to feed our loved ones who have passed and now watch over us. We gave them food to keep them strong as they look out for us. 

All of us present were given a pinch of tobacco and one by one we approached the fire, said a prayer for our loved one, and added the tobacco to the fire. It was nice to think about my grandmother and remember her. It felt good to let her know I missed her. I wished she would have been able to see me date, get married, and have children. She would have loved them.

I was honored to be a part of such a great experience and so humbled to be asked to join the Ghost Supper.

your Comment will be showing after administrator's approval

b i u quote

Save Comment
Showing 1 Comment
Avatar  Elizabeth Sheroian last yearReply

What a beautiful way to celebrate our loved ones who have passed. This article is particularly touching-even though we don't often speak of the ones we lost, they are forever close in our thoughts and hearts.

Subscribe to receive these blog posts directly to your email inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and we do not use your information for any other purpose.

  • Equity and Inclusion Blog

Search Equity and Inclusion Blog

Recent Posts

  • Will We Speak Up? Posted 9 months ago
    I recently watched a video of a college lecture. The students were listening intently to the professor and in mid-sentence the professor stopped and singled out one female student. He spoke directly to her ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Dr. C. Vanessa White Posted 9 months ago
    Black Catholic Project: Dr. C. Vanessa White Dr. C. Vanessa White comes from a family of ministers of various faith traditions. She has known from a young age that she was being called by God ...
  • Woman We Should Know Posted 9 months ago
    by Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion In honor of pride month, I wanted to lift up women in the LGBTQ+ community and highlight their activitism. Three activists and trail-blazers you ...
  • The History and Significance of Pride Month Posted 9 months ago
    by Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion Pride Month, observed every June, is a vibrant and significant time for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies worldwide. It is a time ...
  • Curiosity Makes Better Friends Posted 10 months ago
    The new family was moving in and the neighborhood was buzzing. They were moving into the house on the corner of Outer Drive and Byrne in our Northwest Detroit neighborhood. Most of the neighbors ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Bishop Edward K. Braxton Posted 10 months ago
    Black Catholic Project: Bishop Edward K. Braxton Bishop Edward Braxton was born on June 28, 1944, in Chicago, the third of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Cullen Braxton. After elementary school, Edward attended Quigley ...
  • Our Diverse Cultures Make us Stronger Posted 10 months ago
    May is National Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and honor the rich and diverse history and cultures, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ...
  • May: Indian Heritage Month Posted 10 months ago
    May is Indian Heritage Month, a time to reflect on the rich and diverse cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America. However, it is also a time to acknowledge the atrocities that Native ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Toni Morrison (1931-2019) Posted 11 months ago
    Black Catholic Project: Toni Morrison (1931-2019) Our Black Catholic of interest this month is Toni Morrison. She is one of the great American authors whose novels are overflowing with spiritual overtones and an exploration into ...
  • Planting Seeds In Good Soil Posted 11 months ago
    by Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion   April is Celebrate Diversity Month as well as Earth month! When I heard this is the month to celebrate diversity, I envision people ...
Read More »

People of African Descent on the Path to Sainthood

Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois