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By Sharon Foley Bock, Associate

Perhaps the seed for Faye Jahnigen’s blossoming into Associate life was planted in the late 1970s when she was a patient at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. It was there that she first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters. After several years, a substantial amount of reflection, and connections with several Adrian Dominicans – including Sisters Anne Russell, OP, Clara Ann Budenz, OP, and Mary Keefe, OP – Faye became an Associate during the Dominican West Chapter Assembly in November 1998.

Faye’s life story is rich with remarkable experiences. She grew up in Detroit, “about three blocks from Hamtramck,” one of the few people of color living in a predominately Polish and Italian neighborhood.  She was taught by the Sisters of St. Dorothy and by the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters from Monroe, Michigan. 

Faye earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California-Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in health service administration from St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California. As a result of her tour of duty in Germany in the U.S. Army, she speaks fluent German.  

Before her retirement in 2011, Faye worked at the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency as a radiology technologist.  In this capacity she worked with the forensic pathologist in preparing expert witness testimony for criminal cases. 

Now, she’s pursuing flute lessons and wants to learn Greek. Coming full circle, Faye does volunteer work in the Surgical and ICU waiting area desks at Dominican Hospital. Without a doubt her educational and work background are a valuable asset in this position!

Without hesitation, Faye declares that her Mission Group, Anawim, sustains her as an Associate.  She is one of four Associates in the nine-member group. Recently, Faye was asked to co-chair with Sister Judy Byron, OP, the Dominican West Mission Chapter Resilient Communities Committee. While all four of the Chapter Enactments resonate with her, particularly because she is a woman of color, Faye thinks her focus will be on Resilient Communities because of her work with that committee. 

In addition to her work with and financial support to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Faye serves her parish as a cantor, Eucharistic minister, and acolyte. To continue developing her own spirituality to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life, she is working with a spiritual director. Faye is also a faithful follower of Father Richard Rohr, OFM, whom she describes as “a prophet for our times.”

“Through the years, I’ve gotten to know some really good, holy women,” Faye states. She speaks lovingly of the women she with whom she is still involved, and fondly recalls several who have passed to their heavenly reward, including Sisters Diane Erbacher, OP, Chris Ostrowski, OP, and Helen Walsh, OP. Faye cherishes her participation as an Associate and attended the May 2018 Associates retreat in Santa Cruz, California.

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By Sharon Foley Bock, Associate.

Mercedes Fitzsimmons’ history with the Adrian Dominican Sisters goes all the way back to 1952.That was the year she entered the Postulate and began her 17-year journey as a vowed member of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Adrian, Michigan. Throughout those years, she lived the Dominican charism
through her ministry in elementary education and administration.

Although Mercedes withdrew from vowed membership in the community in 1970, she never lost her love of the Adrian Dominicans. In 1997, she was welcomed as an Associate so that she could more actively involve herself with the community again. “What sustains me,” she writes, “is the love of the
Adrian Dominican Sisters.”

Mercedes, a resident of Warren, Michigan, is in the Great Lakes Chapter, where she is a member of the Leaven Mission Group. She is also part of a group of Associates who meet each month with Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, at St. Basil’s Parish in Eastpoint, Michigan. In addition to sharing current events in their lives, the participants read and discuss books, currently Praying with Dominic by Michael Monshau, OP.

Mercedes has also been involved in the Great Lakes Associates’ initiative, “Save our Waters.” This project features an interactive exhibit explaining the need to protect this vital resource before it is too late.

“What occupies me these days is responding to the gift each of us has received – ministering to others ... as Dominic joyfully walked the path sharing the Good News ... so needed,” Mercedes writes.




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