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August 12, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – Noraleen Renauer and Diane Burgermeister were welcomed as Adrian Dominican Associates on August 10, 2020, during a Ritual of Acceptance broadcast through Zoom. 

Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and live out the Dominican charism, or spirit, in their daily lives.

“Today we gather across states, cities, towns, and even countries through technology to join our hearts in relationship as Dominican Associates and Sisters,” said Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, in welcoming more than 60 people to the Zoom event. “We participate together in the building of a holy community and Church as we welcome Diane Burgermeister and Noraleen Renauer to Associate Life.” Their acceptance marked the fourth and fifth women to become Associates in the past month.

Noraleen Renauer

Associate Trudy McSorley, Noraleen’s mentor, noted that early in her life Noraleen had responded to a call to religious life by entering the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After leaving that community in 1968, she still felt the call to minister in Catholic education, Trudy said. 

Noraleen earned a Master’s of Divinity degree from St. John Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, served in Catholic broadcasting, and taught religious education at the high school level. She also served as pastoral associate at St. Andrew Parish in Saline, Michigan, and is now involved in ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Noraleen said she came to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters through her involvement in programs at Weber Retreat and Conference Center at the Motherhouse. During her time at the Motherhouse, she said, “I would hear the call to follow Christ and I would be strengthened in my journey.”

Noraleen spoke of her own witness of the Sisters and Associates who live out the charism and spirit of St. Dominic. “I have seen how the community responds to the needs of our ever-changing world, to bring light into darkness,” she said. “I believe the Spirit has led me to join you to seek truth, make peace, reverence life.”

Diane Burgermeister

Diane Burgermeister, an Adrian Dominican Sister from 1984 to 2016, was introduced by Sister Janet Doyle, OP, and other members of Connections, the Mission Group she had belonged to as a Sister. Diane, a psychotherapist with her own practice, is also a full professor in the College of Nursing at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, where she is Director of the Doctor of Nursing Program (DNP).

“I found her to be very thoughtful, somebody not afraid to question, somebody who wants to give a lot of her life to justice and poverty issues,” Sister Janet said of Diane. She noted that one of Diane’s students had described her as knowledgeable, flexible, understanding, and “a kind spirit.”

Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP, added that she admired Diane’s “search for the truth.I also appreciate the vastness of her talents,” not only in health care and education but in the world of competitive synchronized swimming, she said. 

Diane said she has always felt called by the Dominican motto, to contemplate and to share with others the fruits of your contemplation. “This is the Dominican way: to contemplate and reflect on Scripture with the objective of promoting human dignity and social justice,” Diane said.

The ritual concluded with the signing by the new Associates of the Agreement of Association, which signifies their formal commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates.

If you feel called to be an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or mlach@adriandominicans.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed life as an Adrian Dominican Sister, contact one of the Co-Directors of Vocations: Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or tdeyonker@adriandominicans.org.

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November 18, 2016, Henderson, Nevada – Sister Phyllis Sikora, OP, was recently appointed by Dignity Health as one of eight professionals to take on a new position within the health care system.

Dignity Health has appointed eight regional vice presidents for mission integration. Since November 6, Sister Phyllis has been serving as the health system’s Nevada Service Area Vice President of Mission Integration. This new responsibility is in addition to her position as Vice President of Mission Integration for the Rose de Lima Campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals

The purpose of the new system of regional vice presidents for mission integration is “to build a unified mission integration team across the service areas,” Sister Phyllis explained. “It’s also to assure that each of our people in the mission position has the needed professional development,” and to ensure that each mission leader throughout Dignity Health reports to someone else in the mission field – rather than to human resources or other professionals. 

The new position also helps to “standardize care” across the entire health care system. “Mission doesn’t look one way in one hospital and operated in a different way in a different, but would operate at the same level in all of the service areas,” Sister Phyllis explained.

Sister Kathleen McGrail, OP, is Vice President of Mission Integration for the Siena Campus. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals also includes the San Martin Campus, whose Vice President of Mission Integration has taken a new position in San Francisco, headquarters of Dignity Health.

Sister Phyllis said she has been blessed in the Nevada Service Region because those involved specifically in mission have been integrated into the leadership team. “We already go to operations meetings and executive leadership teams,” she said, but that has not always been the case for mission leaders in other service areas. The new system will integrate mission into leadership across the eight regions of Dignity Health. 

Dignity Health is a system of 60,000 caregivers and staff members across 21 states. Its mission states that the health care system is “committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable, health services for all; to serving and advocating for our brothers and sisters who are poor and disenfranchised; and partnering with others in the community to improve the quality of life.” The system’s core values are dignity, collaboration, justice, stewardship, and excellence. 

St. Rose Dominican Hospitals was founded nearly 70 years ago by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, who still sponsor St. Rose, as well as Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California – also part of Dignity Health. 

Sister Phyllis has already met with the seven other service area vice presidents and is particularly excited that, as a group, they will be able to share best practices. For example, she said, she learned of one service area that developed an ethics notebook for its staff – a practice that she was able to follow. 

“It’s a team,” she said. “You’re not in this position in isolation, but you’re part of an eight-member team.” One of the challenges of this new team, Sister Phyllis believes, is to develop the new team. “We’re still in the exploration stage of who we are as a group, what we want to accomplish, what it would look like, and what benefits we would bring to our organization.” 

In her ministry of mission integration, Sister Phyllis has helped to conduct orientations, introducing mission and values to the new employees. “We’re at employee forums. Our presence is very visible,” she said. As St. Rose Dominican nears its 70th anniversary, Sister Phyllis also strives to make employees aware of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who founded the hospital.

“The original women brought the gift of being committed to the health of the communities they served in,” Sister Phyllis said. “That’s the mission – how do we serve the people in the communities that our hospitals are in? How do we bring in the healing presence of our original Sisters?”



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