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Why I Am an Associate
By Susan Jayich
I learned about Associate Life through Sister Ann Fallon, OP, and Sister Jo Gaugier, OP. As I got to know them, I saw how their faith guided their lives and was impressed by their generosity, kindness, and integrity. In them, I sensed a deep and healthy balance in life and service and devotion to the Mission of Jesus, and a sense of humor! I was drawn to that.
Through Sisters Ann and Jo, I learned about the charisms of contemplative prayer and study and realized that my own values matched those – that what I had done over the years was the stated charism of the Dominicans. I longed to continue to be with and learn from this community of Sisters and Associates, to grow in my own expression of faith. When I stayed at the Weber Center for Partners, the weekend gathering of Associates and my second trip to Adrian, I felt I was at home.
Several things sustain me as a Dominican Associate. Our cohort of four Alaskan Associates is a great source of sustenance. We try to gather regularly for a meal and prayer as we discern how we are growing into Associate Life and how we might best express the Dominican charisms, Mission and Vision here in Alaska. It is an energizing challenge. We are literally and figuratively on the frontier.
As a member of the program committee for the Anchorage Archdiocese Holy Spirit Center, I taught Christology last spring to the men studying to be deacons for the Archdiocese of Anchorage. In this ministry, I seek truth for myself and try to open my students to some of the difficult truths that are embodied in Jesus’ challenges to us. I teach that the universe is driven by the love-energy of God, exemplified in the saving Mission of Jesus, a concept that I feel grounds making peace and reverencing life. This is my way to live out the Adrian Dominican Vision of making peace and reverencing life.
Prayer has really become an integral part of my ministry. I always feel a particular prompting to pray for the children of Syria. Through my daily practice of prayer and contemplation, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me see the truth in any given situation. I am learning more and more deeply that things are not going to go my way, but to honor with patience and life-giving presence the people around me.
I believe that I am being called to the creative arts, but I also am discerning a new path in teaching. I would like to put all of the knowledge I have gained in the subjects of Christology and Scripture to work at the parish level.