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By Associate Melinda Mullin
What one notices most about Associate Faye Jahnigen during Adrian Dominican Associate Zoom meetings are her highly articulate contributions to discussions, her careful listening when others speak, and her ready laugh attesting to her sense of humor. What is less obvious, but at the heart of Faye’s Dominican Charism, is that she lives life as a continuous pray-er. She truly believes that she is in the presence of God at all times and tries to make every situation a prayerful one. Through continuous prayer and lifelong education, Faye has embraced a wide range of experiences in her life.
Growing up in the Detroit area, Faye attended Santa Maria Grade School, run by Sisters of St. Rita, an Italian order. She attended Blessed Sacrament High School and Girls’ Catholic High School, both run by Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters from Monroe, Michigan.
After high school, Faye joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Alabama for basic training. She describes the experience as culture shock for a young African-American woman in 1960s Alabama. While stationed in Germany, Faye became what was then called a tertiary, or lay, Dominican. Sixty-four years later, she still keeps in contact with the parish in Germany.
Faye’s last post during her time in the Army was at the Presidio in San Francisco. During one of her weekend jaunts down the California coast, she visited Santa Cruz, loved it, and decided to move there. Faye feels blessed to live by the ocean and Sea Cliff State Park, as it is here that she can see the awe of God’s creativity manifested. It was in Santa Cruz that she met the Adrian Dominicans, Sisters Rita Eileen Dean, OP, and Jane Celeste Fries, OP, who invited Faye to join them and their Mission Group.
Faye has had a long career in healthcare, including working in residential care homes, acute care nursing at Stanford University Hospital, and finally as a radiology technologist at Santa Cruz Medical Clinic for 23 years. It was there, she says, that “I really learned and honed my craft,” and she credits Dr. Victor Mockus for helping her become skilled in reading X-rays.
Faye taught X-ray technician students how to position patients to get the best view of underlying bone structure for diagnostic purposes, a job she really enjoyed. She also worked with the coroner on forensic investigations, suicides, executions, and exhumations. During this time, Faye saw, too often, the cruelty humans inflict on each other. Through it all she felt called to help and to pray especially for those who had no one to pray for them.
As a perpetual student, Faye is fascinated by languages and cultures. Her passion started in grade school while listening to the Italian Sisters speak in their native language. As part of Latin studies in high school, she performed plays and skits, her most memorable being Catiline Orations, a set of speeches given to the Roman Senate by Marcus Tullius Cicero in 63 BC. While working as a radiology technologist she learned Spanish to better communicate with some of her patients.
Faye learned German during the three-and-a-half years she was stationed in Germany and she joined a local judo club that gave judo demonstrations at nearby towns. Seeing Germany as lived by the locals, she developed lasting affection for the country, its people, and its food.
Since then, whenever Faye travels, she tries to learn some of the language and culture ahead of time, such as for her trip to China where she visited the Great Wall, and for a three-week solo trip to Japan. While in Japan she rode on the bullet train and enjoyed the Japanese specialty unagi, grilled eel over rice. She delighted in learning about Japanese customs, such as having special shoes to wear only in the bathroom.
Faye has been playing the flute for 25 years and studies with a teacher from Kazakhstan. The teacher lives with her elderly mother, who only speaks Russian or German, giving Faye an opportunity to speak German and pick up a few Russian words as well. While Faye is quite proficient on the flute, she prefers to play for herself or with her teacher for the flute teacher’s mother. She says she is too nervous to play for anyone else.
Her fear of performing, however, doesn’t keep her from serving as cantor, acolyte, and lector in the 40-plus years that Faye has attended Mass at Resurrection Parish in Aptos. She practices ahead of time, asks the Holy Spirit for extra assistance, and reminds herself that these are God’s people. Besides, as she says, they can’t see her knees knocking behind the lectern!
By Associate Melinda Mullin (Spanish version below)
Associate Kathy Woods was a vowed Adrian Dominican Sister from 1962 to 1977. The values that attract Kathy to the Adrian Dominicans, then and now, are expressed in the Mission of the Congregation. Kathy believes “Mission is a driving force” that facilitates “a different or more expansive option for others.” At the forefront is the willingness of the Adrian Dominican Sisters to take risks for the Mission of seeking truth and working towards social justice.
Providing opportunities to find one’s charism is an important way to give voice to how Dominican life is evolving. Kathy believes the Dominican charism can spring forth from everyone and she appreciates how Dominicans can take the sublime and make it realistic, “giving to others the fruits of our contemplation.” In sharing our commitment to the Adrian Dominican Mission, Kathy says, “we bring our whole self to the table.”
From the mid-1970s until 1977, Kathy was a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), initiated by then-Prioress Sister Rosemary Ferguson OP, for the purpose of influencing corporate policies for the common good. In 2013, Kathy was asked to rejoin the PAB. After six years of intense involvement, she felt the desire to continue the Adrian Dominican connection and came to Associate Life in 2018.
Kathy is a member of the Envisioning 2030 Committee, a group composed of Adrian Dominican Associates from all over the country. Its purpose is to consider the future of Associate Life and how it will be structured in 10 years. Associate Life, as Kathy sees it, is an ongoing organic process – which we are still trying to ascertain – of living the Dominican Charism in relation to and in collaboration with the Sisters. The growth of Zoom meetings, inadvertently encouraged by the pandemic, created new opportunities to share values, have deeper conversations, and build community and connectedness.
Kathy also participates in the St. Louis Sojourner Group and the Bethany Mission Group. In preparation for the upcoming General Chapter, she has been reading the Awakening Circles booklets and enjoys reading and discussing the cosmological concepts of Teilhard de Chardin and Ilia Delio.
A life of service for Kathy started with teaching in elementary and high schools in the Detroit area and directing a youth crisis center. After earning a master’s degree in social work at Wayne State University in Detroit, she moved back to her native Chicago to be closer to family. At the University of Chicago Medical Center, she worked in oncology, taught medical students, and supervised social work students.
In the early 1980s, Kathy was recruited by Illinois Masonic Medical Center to start a hospice program and developed the first inpatient hospice program in the state. While at Illinois Masonic, she became Director of Home Health, Social Work, and Hospice, moving to the position of Director of Education for the Medical Center for 13 years. After a hospital merger, she worked in leadership development and organizational development training. Hospice care, however, was what Kathy really loved, and she then became Senior Director of Education and Quality Improvement at a hospice center.
Throughout, she maintained a general private psychotherapy practice, while specializing in patients and families experiencing chronic or terminal illness. She also ran a bereavement support group. “Dying,” Kathy says, “is a sacred moment.” Hospice care has become one of Kathy’s most cherished charisms. The pandemic halted her volunteer work, but when she is able to resume, she would like to be a “listening ear” for those who want to share their experiences of loss and grief.
Kathy has traveled to Italy and Ireland many times, as well as to Greece and Majorca. In 2013, she traveled to St. Clare Orphanage in Kenya, a trip that Kathy says “changed my life.” She saw the many children who needed to be cared for, and she “adopted” her daughter Odelia. Although Odelia still lives in Kenya, Kathy keeps in contact with her, sends her gifts, and hopes to be able to help her further her education now that she has graduated high school.
Before the pandemic, Kathy enjoyed going to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for vacations with family and friends. Now she is connecting with them through Zoom and phone calls. When she is not “Zooming,” Kathy loves to read.
Por Melinda Mullin
Asociada Kathy Woods fue una Hermana Dominicana Adrian (ADS) de 1962-1977. Los valores que atraen a Kathy a los dominicanos de Adrian, entonces y ahora, se expresan en la misión de la Congregación, que abarca espiritualidad, propósito, significado y dirección. Ella siente que “la misión es una fuerza impulsora” que facilita “una opción diferente o más amplia para los demás.”
A primer plano está la voluntad de la ADS de asumir riesgos por la Misión de buscar la Verdad y la Justicia Social. Brindar oportunidades para encontrar el carisma de uno es una forma importante de dar voz a cómo está evolucionando la vida dominicana. Kathy cree que el carisma dominicano puede brotar de todos y aprecia cómo los dominicanos pueden tomar lo sublime y hacerlo realista, “dando a los demás los frutos de nuestra contemplación”. Al compartir nuestro compromiso con la Misión de Adrian, Kathy dice, “traemos todo nuestro ser a la mesa”.
Desde mediados de la década de 1970 hasta 1977, Kathy estuvo en la Junta Asesora de Cartera Adrian Dominican (PAB), iniciada por la hermana Rosemary Ferguson OP con el propósito de influir en las políticas corporativas para el bien común. En 2013, se le pidió que se reincorporara al PAB. Después de seis años de intensa participación, sintió el deseo de continuar la conexión con Adrian y llegó a la vida de Asociada en 2018.
Kathy está actualmente en la junta de Associate Envisioning 2030, un grupo compuesto por Asociados de ADS de todo el país. Su propósito es considerar el futuro de la vida del Asociado y cómo se estructurará en diez años. La vida asociada, como Kathy la ve, es un proceso orgánico continuo de vivir el carisma dominicano en relación con la colaboración con las Hermanas que todavía estamos tratando de determinar. El crecimiento de las reuniones de Zoom, inadvertidamente alentado por la pandemia, creó nuevas oportunidades para compartir valores, tener conversaciones más profundas y construir comunidad y conexión.
Kathy también participa en el grupo de St. Louis Sojourner y grupo de la Mision de Bethany. En preparación para el próximo Concilio General, ha estado leyendo los folletos del Círculo del Despertar y disfruta leyendo y discutiendo los conceptos cosmológicos de Teilhard de Chardin e Ilia Deleo.
Una vida de servicio para Kathy comenzó enseñando en escuelas primarias y secundarias en el área de Detroit y dirigiendo un centro de crisis juvenil. Después de obtener una maestría en trabajo social en la Wayne State University en Detroit, regresó a su Chicago natal para estar más cerca de su familia. En el Centro Médico de la Universidad de Chicago trabajó en Oncología, enseñó a estudiantes de medicina y supervisó a estudiantes de trabajo social.
A principios de los años 80, el Illinois Masonic Medical Center reclutó a Kathy para iniciar un programa de cuidados paliativos y desarrolló el primer programa de cuidados paliativos para pacientes hospitalizados en el estado. Mientras estaba en Illinois Masonic, se convirtió en Directora de Salud en el Hogar, Trabajo Social y Hospicio, pasando al puesto de Directora de Educación del Centro Médico durante trece años. Después de la fusión de un hospital, realizó capacitación en Desarrollo de Liderazgo y Desarrollo Organizacional. El cuidado de hospicio, sin embargo, era lo que realmente amaba a Kathy, y luego se convirtió en directora principal de Educación y Mejora de la Calidad en un centro de hospicio.
Durante todo el tiempo, mantuvo una práctica de psicoterapia privada general, mientras se especializaba en pacientes con enfermedades crónicas o terminales y sus familias. También dirigió un grupo de apoyo para el duelo. “Morir”, dice Kathy, “es un momento sagrado”. El cuidado de hospicio se ha convertido en uno de los carismas más preciados de Kathy. La pandemia detuvo su trabajo voluntario, pero cuando pueda reanudarlo, le gustaría ser un “oído atento” para aquellos que quieran compartir sus experiencias de pérdida y dolor.
Kathy ha viajado muchas veces a Italia e Irlanda, así como a Grecia y Mallorca. En 2013, viajó al orfanato St. Clare en Kenia, un viaje que Kathy dice, “cambió mi vida”. Vio a los muchos niños que necesitaban ser atendidos y “adoptó” a su hija Odelia. Aunque Odelia todavía vive en Kenia, Kathy se mantiene en contacto con ella, le envía regalos y espera poder ayudarla a continuar su educación ahora que se graduó de la escuela secundaria. Antes de la pandemia, a Kathy le gustaba ir a Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, de vacaciones con familiares y amigos. Ahora se está conectando con ellos a través de Zoom y llamadas telefónicas. Cuando no está “haciendo Zoom”, a Kathy le encanta leer.