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August 6, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – Responding to a call from historian Shannen Dee Williams to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the Adrian Dominican Sisters and many other congregations have been exploring their congregations’ roles and complicity in racism with the goal of eradicating it. The COVID-19 pandemic and the May 2020 murder of George Floyd brought greater awareness to systemic racism in the United States, of which women religious were not exempt from racist practices.
An August 5, 2021, National Catholic Reporter Global Sisters Report article by Dan Stockman describes what congregations found and their efforts to address racism. "We as women religious are absolutely called to this work,” Adrian Dominican Sister Elise García, OP, President of LCWR, said in the article. “It's fundamental to who we say we are, and the first step is to revisit our history, all our collective history and our specific history.”
Read the entire article, “‘Our Reckoning’: U.S. Sisters Take Up Call to Examine their Role in Systemic Racism.”
Feature photo: Adrian Dominican Sisters pose with the community of Blessed Martin de Porres Mission, the Congregation’s first ministry to Black Catholics, West Palm Beach, Florida, 1938. Adrian Dominican Sisters Archive Photo
August 6, 2021, Westchester, Illinois – Sister Katherine Frazier, OP, renewed her vows with the Adrian Dominican Sisters for three years during a Vespers service August 1, 2021, in Chicago. Celebrating with Sister Katherine were Sister friends and the newly-elected leadership team of the Catherine of Siena Mission Chapter, Sisters Mary Jane Lubinski, OP, Mary Priniski, OP, and Mary Soher, OP.
During the ritual, Sister Katherine renewed her vows to Prioress Patricia Siemen, OP. Dominicans vow obedience to Almighty God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, and the Prioress and her lawful successors. The ritual concluded with the signing of papers by Sisters Patricia and Katherine and her formal witnesses, Sisters Mary Jane Lubinski, OP, and Dorothy Glaister, OP.
In a phone interview, Sister Katherine reflected on the grace of her Renewal of Vows. “There’s so much uncertainty right now,” she said. “It was very moving to be able to say that I have the path ahead of me, recommitting myself at this time. This is an invitation to keep on my journey with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and to continue to discover how God is calling me in my life.”
Sister Katherine said she was moved by Sister Patricia’s invitation “to continue to live into a brave space,” and by the presence of so many friends – Sisters who had been with her on her journey as an Adrian Dominican Sister. The use of the incense during the simple service was also moving, she said. “I really felt the prayers of everyone enveloping me.”
Sister Patricia Walter, OP, who has accompanied Sister Katherine on her formation journey since she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2015, said temporary vows and renewal of vows are important steps of initial formation into a religious community, giving the Sister and the Congregation the time to discern whether she is called to be an Adrian Dominican Sister. “The process of full incorporation into the Congregation is a lengthy one,” she said. “Religious life is not a common vocation.”
As Director of Formation, Sister Pat accompanies Sister Katherine in the initial formation process, helping her to understand the vows and shepherding her through the processes of renewal of vows and, ultimately, final profession. “It’s been a grace to accompany Katherine,” she said. “It affirms the relevance of the Dominican charism today because younger people still say, ‘There’s a call here and this is something I can give my life to.’”
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sister Katherine was serving as coordinator of the Bishop Donald Trautman Catholic House at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, at the time of her entrance into the Congregation. Since her First Profession in 2018, she has ministered in Mission Integration at Regina Dominican High School, an all-girls high school founded and sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in Wilmette, Illinois.
Sister Katherine is beginning a new ministry: refugee resettlement in New Haven, Connecticut, which will involve helping refugees to find their way in their new homes and to meet their basic needs as they become adjusted to life in the United States. “I’m looking forward to learning a lot,” Sister Katherine said.
Sister Katherine describes religious life as an adventure. “If there’s anything I have experienced in these last six years it is that religious life is very full of surprises,” she said. “Part of the mystery of religious life is discovering where God is calling us out of the community, and how often it takes us to unexpected places. It can sometimes be hard, but it’s always a place that is full of grace.”
If you or someone you know is a single Catholic woman, age 19 to 35, who is discerning God’s call, please contact Sister Katherine Frazier, OP, or Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, Co-directors of Vocations, at email@example.com. Registrations are also being taken for the next Come and See weekend, October 8-10, 2021, at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse campus in Adrian, Michigan.
Feature photo: Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, OP, one of Sister Katherine’s witnesses, embraces her as Prioress Patricia Siemen, OP, signs the Renewal of Vows document. Photo by Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP