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Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, PhD
Sister Sara is an associate professor of theology at Barry University, a Dominican university in Miami, Florida. She teaches systematic theology and previously worked in campus ministry at the university. She has also published a number of articles, especially on the issues involved in lay liturgical preaching.
She was the Pollok Lecturer at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has lectured at the National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy, the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Dominican Association of Secondary Schools.
She holds an MA in theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis and a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.
Sister Maribeth Howell, OP, PhD, STD
In addition to serving the Congregation as its Director of Formation, Sister Maribeth is an adjunct professor of Biblical studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. She has taught not only at Aquinas but also at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis and St. Mary Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio.
She earned her Licentiate of Sacred Theology degree from St. Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and completed her doctoral studies (PhD and Doctor of Sacred Theology) in Hebrew Scriptures at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
Sister Maribeth regularly gives talks, workshops, retreats and days of reflection throughout the United States and internationally.
Sister Salvacion Attributes Her Vocation to Providence – and the Prayers of a Sister
By Sister Rose Ann Schlitt, OP
December 16, 2015, Pampanga, the Philippines – Sister Salvacion B. Valenzuela, OP, better known as “Salve,” is the first to acknowledge the action of Divine Providence in her life and vocation. She was born January 18, 1980 in Sipocot, Camarines Sur in the southern Luzon region of the Philippines. She and a sister and brother were raised by their grandparents in a religious and prayerful environment.
When Sister Salve was seven, her mother traveled abroad and later became seriously ill. While studying nursing at the Universidad de Santa Isabel, Naga City, she prayed for her mother’s recovery, promising in return to serve God. After being comatose for a month, her mother was able to return to the Philippines, though without finances or properties.
At the age of 19, Sister Salve studied in the province and stayed with a non-Catholic family. In return Salve helped with her foster parents’ business, tutored their grandchildren, and assisted around the house. Aware that she had attended a Catholic school, they sent her to the University of the Assumption in San Fernando, Pampanga, which Sister Salve attributes to the working of the Holy Spirit.
As Sister Salve began to attend her classes in 2001, she noticed a sign dedicating a building to Sister Mary Philip Ryan, OP. Believing Sister Mary Philip to be a declared saint, she began to ask her intercession daily. The content of her prayer was often: “Sister Mary Philip Ryan, please pray for me. I want to finish my studies. I want to be a nun.” She passed without even reviewing her coursework before exams.
But what steps did she need to take to become a sister? She knew none and had only seen Sister Arsenia Puno from afar at the university. Providentially, she was with a friend at the marketplace and, on seeing Sister Arsenia, approached her on the topic of vocation. This was 2005 and the beginning of her relationship with the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies. In the meantime, she continued to pray to Sister Mary Philip, and again passed her Licensure exam.
After entering the congregation in 2007, Sister Salve was astonished to learn of Sister Mary Philip’s role in the foundation of the Sisters in Pampanga – one of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who arrived in San Fernando in 1965 to serve as a support for the new Dominican congregation. In 2010, Sister Salve made first profession of vows and continued to work on her master’s degree in educational management. The next year, the Congregation of Our Lady of Remedies merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters; the Sisters in the Philippines now make up the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter.
Her yearly ministry assignments were education-related: directing the school canteen in Lubao; teaching pre-school initial stage of our Dominican School in Mining, Angeles City; teaching in the Dominican School of Apalit; and teaching special education students in Manibaug; and teaching pre-school teacher in Mining. Sister Salve is drawn to special education, especially to the hearing-impaired. Her goal is to help teachers assist students to participate in mainstream education, which is the focus of her master’s thesis.
Sister Salve respectfully acknowledges the role of the Holy Spirit throughout her life and is grateful for her special Intercessor, Sister Mary Philip. As she prepares to make her final vows, she hopes to offer her life to God as a Dominican Sister through her passion for teaching.