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St. Louis, Missouri, September 28, 2023 – “What are you doing here?”
For Adrian Dominican Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, Professor of Homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, that is the “most vital spiritual question every human being must answer. What supreme reality can claim your whole heart and free you to live for one another at any cost?”
Sister Sara posed those questions during a recorded video homily for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, focusing on the story of the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a and on Jesus’ loving support for his apostles – and us – in Matthew 14:22-33.
“What makes it possible for us to embrace hardships, to put aside self-indulgence and indifference to the sufferings of others and the Earth, ‘to lay down our lives’ for the people we love and the common good?” Sister Sara asked. She turned to the prophet Elijah for the answer, noting how Elijah fled for his life from the rulers of Israel, Ahab and Jezebel, and was finally crushed in spirit. God treated him with kindness and compassion, giving him rest and appearing as a gentle whisper until, ultimately, Elijah answered God’s questions with his life. “With spirit renewed, liberated from fear, he rededicates himself to participate in God’s saving plan for Israel,” Sister Sara said. Jesus offered the same loving support to his apostles when he appeared to them in their boat on the stormy sea.
Sister Sara’s homily was part of a unique initiative, Catholic Women Preach (CWP), in which Catholic women offer homilies on the readings for each Sunday, encouraging Catholics in their daily faith lives. CWP provides “a global platform for women’s voices and faith reflections so that the fullness of our Catholic giftedness can be accessed by all Catholics,” according to the website.
Read more about Sister Sara and watch a video of her preaching.
September 28, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, former Administrator and General Councilor of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, was named a member of the General Council on September 14, 2023, and will serve in that role through 2028. The General Council unanimously elected her to fill a vacancy left by General Councilor Janice Brown, OP, who resigned in August due to health issues.
The Adrian Dominican Sister General Council is “the governmental unit that provides for and directs the life in mission of the Congregation,” according to the Congregation’s Constitution and Statutes. Members of the General Council are generally elected by Sisters serving as Delegates at a General Chapter convened every six years. However, the Constitution further calls for the General Council to elect a successor to fill a vacancy left by a member before her term is completed.
Sister Frances took office on September 18, 2023. She was formally called forth into leadership by Prioress Elise D. García, OP, during a brief ritual at the beginning of Mass on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Sister Elise asked Sister Frances about her willingness to accept the responsibility of General Councilor to minister in collaboration with the rest of the General Council “by providing for and directing the life in mission of the Congregation and carrying forward the decisions and directions of General Chapter 2022.” Sister Frances accepted “willingly and happily.”
“We see in Fran a host of gifts and experience to bring to the table of leadership,” Sister Elise wrote in a September 14, 2023, letter to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, announcing the election. “She is someone who can hit the ground running and assume most any responsibility in our collective portfolio with great skill, dedication, and insight.”
Fran said that her previous service as a General Councilor was a privilege. “I’m very honored that the Congregation would put its trust in me once again to be of service in this ministry,” she added.
Sister Frances comes to the General Council with broad experience in Congregational leadership. From 2008 to 2014, she served as Chapter Prioress (Provincial) of the Sisters in the Congregation’s Great Lakes Dominican Mission Chapter based in Detroit. For the next two years, she directed the Congregation’s Ministry Trust Office, which provides grants to organizations in which Sisters are involved. Sister Frances was elected Administrator and General Councilor during General Chapter 2016 to serve on the 2016-2022 General Council.
The Archdiocese of Detroit also benefited from Sister Frances’ leadership and dedication. She served as Associate Superintendent and then Superintendent of
Schools for a total of 11 years. She also ministered for five years as the archdiocese’s Director of the Department of Education, overseeing several offices, including Schools, Catechetics, Family Life, Youth, and Young Adults. Sister Frances was principal twice: four years at St. Mary School in Royal Oak, Michigan, and five years at St. Thaddeus School in Chicago.
Serving on the 2022-2028 General Council with Sister Frances are Sister Elise; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Sisters Bibiana Colasito, OP, and Corinne Sanders, OP, General Councilors. They will serve in leadership through June 30, 2028.