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February 2, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – The Dominican Charism of preaching truth can bring healing and wholeness to our polarized world, just as St. Dominic brought healing to the troubled Cathars of his time by his gentle preaching the Gospel. 

That was the message of Sister Carol Johannes, OP, in her January 25, 2022, live stream presentation, “The Dominican Charism.” Her talk was part of a monthly series of presentations sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Spirituality Committee.

What people today most need to hear to be fully human, holy, and happy is the message that “God exists as total loving, merciful, and self-giving gift to humankind, as revelation, self-communication through our ever-evolving, holy, mysterious universe,” said Sister Carol, a spiritual director and former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Sister Carol pointed to St. Dominic as an example of how to live out our call to preach the Gospel. During a diplomatic trip to the South of France, St. Dominic and Bishop Diego brought the message of a loving God to Cathars, sincere people who were misled by the Manichaen heresy of an evil god and a good God, she said. The heresy claims that the created world is the realm of the evil god.

“Dominic was overcome with compassion when he encountered an entire society which was lost in guilt, in sadness, and in heaviness,” Sister Carol said. “This passion to bring the healing word of the Gospel to those who never received it is the priority linked to the [Dominican] Order’s preaching mission, and it is a constitutive element of the Dominican Charism.”

Sister Carol contrasted St. Dominic’s approach to the Cathars with that of the ecclesiastical leaders of the Church, who “chose to use force to threaten and compel a return to orthodoxy.” For his part, she said, St. Dominic approached the Cathars humbly and took the time to listen to them. 

“Dominic was essentially a nonviolent man who chose to exercise power and authority by really listening to others, by allowing himself to be touched, changed, and formed by what he heard, and by trusting in the presence of the Holy Spirit and in the free choices of people striving to live the Gospel,” she said. He used that same approach in his leadership of the Friars in the Order of Preachers.

Sister Carol spoke of how our fractured world would benefit if leaders in today’s global, national, and ecclesiastical communities were to imitate St. Dominic’s stance. Leadership in those venues “often boils down to a simple power struggle … and tends too often to be the domination-subjection model” seen throughout history, she said. “It could well be that [St. Dominic’s] mode of leadership with its practice of prayerful, patient, respectful consensual decision-making shows contemporary society the way to transformation and healing.”

Watch Sister Carol’s entire presentation below.


January 5, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – For years the Adrian Dominican Congregation has worked to make the Motherhouse campus more environmentally sustainable and to encourage Sisters and Associates to live in a way that treads lightly on Earth’s resources. 

But now the Congregation has the opportunity to participate in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform and work collaboratively with Catholic organizations around the world – from schools and universities to parishes and communities of women and men religious. 

The Action Platform is named for Laudato Si’: Care for our Common Home, the 2015 encyclical, or letter, written by Pope Francis to describe the environmental crisis that Earth faces and to explore ways to address the crisis.

Sister Corinne Sanders
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP

“The Action Platform is a space for institutions, communities, and families to learn and grow together,” explained Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Congregation’s Office of Sustainability, during a live stream presentation. “What is most apparent right now is the critical urgency of this time, calling for a worldwide response. It is a call to be part of a community that will bring their skills and talents to this commitment to our common home.”

Noting that the Congregation has been involved in sustainability efforts for years, Sister Corinne explained that becoming part of the Action Platform would involve collaboration and accountability with other Catholic organizations. “The extra that is asked of us will be a public commitment, networking with others, and an assessment of what we have done.”

Sister Kathleen Nolan
Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP

Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, co-presenting with Sister Corinne, introduced the seven goals of this seven-year process, designed to be a worldwide response to the environmental crisis. “Solutions must be comprehensive and bring together different fields of knowledge, all in the service of a more integrated and integral vision,” Sister Kathleen said. She is Director of the Congregation’s Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation.

The Action Platform goals are:

  • Response to the Cry of the Earth, a call to protect our common home for the benefit of all creatures on Earth. “To listen to the cry of the Earth and to respond is something that we’ve been about, but we’re being called to go much deeper, to invest our very selves and even to listen more intently to that cry,” Sister Corinne said.

  • Adoption of a simple lifestyle: Sister Corinne said this goal calls on all individuals to “live a 1.5-degree life … the lifestyle we would adopt if we were really to live in such a way as to limit global warming to [an increase in Earth’s temperature of] no more than 1.5 degrees.” Currently, she said, many people in the United States live in a way that contributes up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to the environment. The 1.5-degree lifestyle would be limited to 1 or 2 tons each year.

  • Ecological education, which involves redesigning curricula to foster ecological awareness and transformative action. “We have to put a lot of energy into educating our political representatives,” Sister Corinne said. She added that the Adrian Dominican Sisters have already sponsored an Environmental Leadership Experience, a two-week program in which students from Siena Heights University in Adrian and Barry University in Miami, Florida, come to the Motherhouse to learn first-hand about sustainability efforts.

  • Response to the Cry of the Poor: Sister Kathleen noted that the cries of Earth and the cries of the poor are interrelated – as are all issues. “It’s about looking into each other’s eyes and promoting human life and all forms of life,” she said. “Our actions that contribute to climate change also contribute to the challenges of our neighbors, especially in poor countries.”

  • Ecological Economics: “The economy is a subset of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere of our common home,” Sister Kathleen said. She suggested ways to lower our carbon footprint and, at the same time, show concern for workers. These can include buying clothing and food only from fair-trade organizations and becoming involved in organizations such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which advocates for sustainable farming practices and fair wages for agricultural workers.

  • Ecological Spirituality: This involves “recovering the religious vision of God’s creation [and] encouraging greater contact with the natural world in a spirit of wonder, praise, joy, and gratitude,” Sister Kathleen said. She suggested opening our consciousness to new images of God in our relationship with the non-human world and finding ways to celebrate that reflect our new understandings of the universe.

Sister Corinne concluded the presentation by noting that becoming an Action Platform Congregation could be a decision of the 2022 General Chapter, scheduled for late June 2022. “Do we wish to join the public commitment of the global Church?” she asked. “It’s an institutional and personal commitment to a new relationship that will transform us as we enter into collaboration with other congregations, parishes, and societies of Catholic families.”

Watch the video of the entire presentation below.


Feature photo: This solar field, built in the north field behind the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse, will help to generate a significant percentage of the campus’ power.



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