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By Sharon Bock, Associate
Peggy Treece Myles is a scholar, educator, activist, volunteer, advocate, and a participant in the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, D.C. These amazing accomplishments demonstrate Peggy’s passion for living the mission and charism of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “Walking the talk” was what attracted her to Associate Life as was the Adrian Dominican Vision: “seek truth, make peace, reverence life,” which she sees as universal values by which to live.
Peggy’s dissertation advisor at the University of Toledo recommended Peggy to Sister Miriam (Michael) Stimson, OP, for an opening as adjunct professor on research methodology at Siena Heights College. When Sister Miriam retired from her position as Director of Graduate Studies, Peggy was chosen to take that position.
One of Peggy’s graduate faculty members was Sister Anthonita Porta, OP, founder and director of the Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute (ADMTEI). Peggy served as president of the ADMTEI board. Through her relationship with Sister Anthonita, she began her study of Associate formation materials and became an Associate in 2001.
Peggy is the only Associate in her Mission Group, but writes, “I do not feel like an ‘outsider’ at all.” She has become the group’s permanent secretary and has worked on various projects for Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, Chapter Prioress of the Adrian Crossroads Chapter, who also values Peggy’s generosity and talents.
Peggy supports the Associates and Sisters through prayer, presence, participation, and financial contributions.
A life-long educator in both public and private institutions, Peggy is now in “semi-retirement,” teaching research and statistics to doctoral students. A National Board-certified counselor, Peggy continues to serve on the ADMTEI board and volunteers at a fair-trade Ten Thousand Villages store.
In keeping with her interest in fair trade, Peggy participates in a local chapter of the global organization Dining for Women. “Each month, the group gathers for a potluck dinner and learns about a project in a developing/emerging country,” she explained. “These projects always seek to develop the capabilities and skills of women and girls so that they can continue with the project after their period of funding expires. The money we save by having the potluck instead of eating in a restaurant is dedicated to the projects.”
Peggy said she most resonates with General Chapter Enactment that focuses on creating resilient communities. Peggy has been more involved recently in advocacy and activism, particularly on issues relating to immigration and diversity. She plans to be active in upcoming marches and demonstrations.
In addition to all these activities, Peggy stays up to date on issues through such publications as The Nation, National Catholic Reporter, and Mother Jones, and by listening to BBC, PBS, and National Public Radio.
Peggy met her husband, John, in graduate school and they married in 1980. John completed 35 years in his second career as an educator before his retirement. He volunteers with the Fulton County Historical Society. They live in Wauseon, Ohio, and each summer travel to Kennebunkport, Maine.
Peggy enjoys reading and sewing. “I like to explore medieval history, especially the Cathars and the Knights Templars, and to study behavioral finance and economics,” she said. She has also traveled to 27 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, France, and Spain. A highlight for her has been participating in the Dominican Colleges and Universities Colloquium-sponsored study trip to Fanjeaux, in France.
Scholar, educator, activist, volunteer, advocate, demonstrator, bookworm, seamstress and explorer – Peggy indeed lives a rich Dominican life!
The elegant and flowing washes of jade and cerulean, the hints of lavender and the arches of color curving and entwining through the logo of our General Chapter 2016 documents are some of the gifts to the Congregation from Melinda Ziegler, Associate. As a member of the Congregation’s Communications Department, mentored to Associate Life by the late Sister Barbara Chenicek, OP, Melinda’s creativity was imprinted with the joy of the Adrian Dominicans.
Melinda was welcomed as an Associate in April 2016, but she first met the Adrian Dominicans when she was in high school, trying to choose a college where she would pursue graphic arts. Though she ended up going to the University of Michigan, Melinda has worked closely with the Adrian Dominican Sisters on the Motherhouse campus over the past seven years. It is through the richness of these relationships and her experience as a protégé of Sister Barbara Chenicek, that she realized she did not want to lose touch with the women who taught her so much about “graciousness and service to others.”
Melinda was born in Detroit, the second child of three. “My father was a playground equipment manufacturer; my mother, a wonderful mother and partner to my father. She died when I was 8 years old. My father married again, and my step-mother raised me in the Catholic faith. I was drawn to the arts because of the memories of my mother and the giftedness in the arts of my father in business.”
Melinda worked in Germany for an advertising agency for a year and a half; then married and moved to Vietnam for another year and a half. When she returned to the U.S. from Vietnam, she freelanced. During these years, she “had four children within five years, and recognized that they were my best ‘designs.’ ”
When the children were 6, 7, 9, and 11 years old, “their father left us to fend for ourselves.” She became a high school religious education coordinator, which led to other pastoral work: a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) team member and ultimately, a parish pastoral minister. She completed 36 hours in religious education studies at Siena Heights University.
Sadly, about the time Melinda completed her studies, the priest at her parish did not renew her contract. To support herself, she “returned to the arts – utilizing my photography skills to produce and sell my photography through art shows. It was at that time that I found an ad for a graphic designer for the Adrian Dominican Sisters. And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Even while working full time, Melinda dedicated her energies to RCIA. She employs her Dominican preaching charism to help people find God and understand what it means to be a Catholic. “So many people are searching, and I have discovered that they enjoy talking about where they are in their faith,” she writes.
When asked how she “seeks truth, makes peace and reverences life,” Melinda replies, “I have realized only recently that I am a seeker of truth – and the revelation has been life-changing for me. I will retire to learn how to become quieter, with time to contemplate the passion so deeply set into my heart.” Melinda plans to buy a dog and to train with the dog “so that we both become ‘service animals.’ ” She also plans to return to art, especially drawing and painting, “producing art only for the love of what surrounds me – instead of production art with deadlines.”
Melinda retired on January 31. While she will miss the rich relationships she experienced as a member of the Communications team, she plans to stay closely associated with her Horizons Mission Group, which she describes as “chock full of artists.” She is looking forward to attending the Great Lakes Dominican Chapter Assembly in 2017 as a retiree, when she’ll have a little more time to be involved.