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December 31, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – The year 2019 has brought about numerous challenges and changes to the Adrian Dominican Congregation and to the world at large. As we take a break from the busy-ness of the year to celebrate Jesus’ birth among us and the beginning of another year, let us reflect on the top 10 events that the Adrian Dominican Sisters experienced in the past year.
From left: Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and Partners in Mission gather in St. Catherine Chapel for the July 31-August 3, 2019, gathering. Sisters and Partners in Mission enjoy dancing during Pagyakap sa Hinaharap, the gathering in San Fernando, the Philippines, in October.
More than 600 Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and Partners in Mission gathered at the Motherhouse in Adrian July 31-August 3, 2019, to celebrate the past and the present and to look forward to a common future. The gathering in Adrian featured keynote speakers on issues of religious life, the Asian culture, and collaboration, as well as numerous opportunities for participants to pray together and come to know one another. A similar gathering took place in the University of the Assumption in San Fernando, the Philippines, hosted by the Adrian Dominican Sisters of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter.
Members of the 2016-2022 General Council are: back row, from left, Sisters Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor, and Elise D. García, General Councilor. Front row, from left, are Sisters Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; and Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor.
In response to current events, issues, and government actions, the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council issued statements bringing to light many faith-based responses. The General Council, together with other Michigan Catholic Sisters, issued an Earth Day statement supporting legislation that would ensure safe drinking water in the state (April 22, 2019). The General Council also issued a statement against the cruel treatment of children at the Mexico-U.S. border (June 25, 2019), and against mass shootings, racial hatred, and White Nationalism (August 6, 2019), and opposed U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement (November 8, 2019).
Top right: Sister Leizel Tedria, OP, left, is examined by Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter Prioress, Sister Rosita Yaya, OP, during the Ritual of First Profession. Bottom right: Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, professes final vows to Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress. With them are witnesses Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor.
Sister Leizel Tedria, OP, professed First Vows on February 23, 2019, to Sister Rosita Yaya, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, during a Ritual of Profession at the Chancery of the Repository Chapel of Virgen de los Remedies at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, the Philippines. Sister Leizel holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Our Lady of Fatima University in Pampanga and ministers at the Dominican School of Angeles City Foundation.
Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, professed Final (Perpetual) Vows August 4, 2019, during Mass in St. Catherine Chapel in Adrian. A native of Cuba, Sister Marilín earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Barry University, Miami, Florida, where she met the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She holds a master’s degree in counseling from St. Mary’s University and a graduate degree in school psychology from Trinity University, both in San Antonio, Texas, and ministers as a school psychologist for the Joliet, Illinois, School District.
Nancy Tuchman, PhD, keynote speaker at Growing Resiliency, explains the Planetary Boundaries graphic that shows the tipping points of various areas of the environment.
The Adrian Dominican Congregation has acted on its 2016 General Chapter Enactment to work with others to build resilient communities. In September, the Congregation hosted a symposium, “Growing Resiliency,” on building sustainable, resilient communities. Sister Pam Millenbach, OP, who ministers at Catholic Charities of Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale Counties, collaborated with her agency and other organizations took steps toward creating a trauma-informed resilient community in Lenawee County, Michigan.
Prioress Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, second from right, and Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, right, attend a ritual of the transfer of sponsorship of Dignity Health-Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California, and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada, from the Adrian Dominican Congregation to CommonSpirit Healthcare.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters were involved in the merger of Dignity Health and Catholic Healthcare Initiatives to create CommonSpirit Health, which serves 21 states with 142 hospitals and 700 care sites. The Adrian Dominican Sisters founded and sponsored Dignity Health-Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California, and Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada. During a February 1, 2019, ritual, the Congregation transferred sponsorship of these two hospitals to CommonSpirit Health and became a “Participating Member” of the healthcare system.
Jared Aslakson, Permaculture Specialist, right, watches as students in the 2019 Environmental Leadership Experience work in the permaculture area at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse.
The Congregation lived out its 2016 General Chapter Enactment on sustainability in a number of ways. In May, the Congregation hosted the first-ever River Raisin Water Festival to teach sixth-grade students from schools in Lenawee County about environmental matters, such as the preservation of the local River Raisin and its tributaries. In addition, the Congregation continued its Environmental Leadership Experience, during which students from Siena Heights University and Barry University gather at the Motherhouse, work on the permaculture site, and deepen their knowledge of environmental sustainability. Improvements on the sustainability of the Motherhouse Campus were discussed during an update given to the Sisters and Associates in September.
Left: From left, Sisters Basilia De la Cruz, OP, Maria Eneida Santiago, OP, and Nery (Luchy) Sori, OP, at the 25th anniversary celebration of Espirítu Santo School. Right: Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, President of Siena Heights University, lights the traveling torch during the dedication of the Centennial Mall. With her, from left, are Sister Nancy Murray, OP, portraying St. Catherine of Siena; Mykayla Pinder, Student Government President; Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, General Councilor and Administrator; and Margaret Noe, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Photo Courtesy of Siena Heights University Marketing
Organizations served by Adrian Dominican Sisters celebrated key milestone events in 2019. Two organizations in the Dominican Republic marked 25-year anniversaries. Sister Luisa Campos, OP, founded and continues to direct the Centro Antonio Montesino in Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital. Named after one of the earliest Dominicans in the New World who stood up for the rights of the indigenous people, the center forms local people in their knowledge of issues of justice, human rights, and civic education. Espirítu Santo, a school in the Jesuit system of schools, Fe y Alegría, has grown from a handful of students taught under a tree 25 years ago to a school of 1,500 students in preschool through 12th grade.
Siena Heights University, founded in 1919 as St. Joseph College, began its Centennial Year in August with the dedication of its Centennial Mall. The 2019-2020 academic year includes 100 special events to mark the school’s 100 years. Siena Heights offers more than 50 majors with a liberal arts focus, eight campuses in Michigan, and an online program.
The Barry University community applauds as Dr. Michael Allen, PhD, is inaugurated as the university’s seventh president. Photo Courtesy of Barry University Office of Communications
The Barry University community in Miami Shores, Florida, inaugurated its seventh President, Michael Allen, PhD, during its annual Founders Week in November. The first non-Adrian Dominican Sister and the first lay person to serve as President of Barry University, Dr. Allen served as administrator at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He succeeds Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP.
From left: Sister Elise García, OP, Father Gerard Francisco Parco Timoner III, OP, and Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP
During its August 2019 Assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona, members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious elected Adrian Dominican Sister Elise D. García, OP, General Councilor, as President-Elect. In the coming year, Sister Elise will serve as President of LCWR, which is comprised of the elected leaders of women religious congregations, representing 80 percent of 49,000 women religious in the United States.
During its July 7-August 4 General Chapter in Vietnam, the Dominican Friars elected Father Gerard Francisco Parco Timoner III, OP, the first Asian and the first Filipino Master of the Dominican Order. Before his election, Father Gerard had served as Socius of the Master for Asia-Pacific and as Prior Provincial of the Philippines. Adrian Dominican Sisters from the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in the Philippines, expressed their joy and optimism at his election.
The Dominican Sisters Conference (DSC) appointed Adrian Dominican Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, as the Dominican Representative at the United Nations. Her ministry entails connecting the Dominican family to the United Nations and attending sessions of UN working groups, particularly the working groups on homelessness and women and girls.
INAI Gallery at Weber Retreat and Conference Center features an exhibit of art by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. At right is a series of paintings by Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP.
Adrian Dominican Sisters have long preached through the arts, and in 2019 have been involved in the arts in numerous ways. In June and July, the Alfons Gallery in Milwaukee featured Sister Suzanne Schreiber’s photography exhibit, “Quiet Spaces,” and an exhibit of some of the 1,000 paintings of origami cranes created by Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, to raise awareness and funds for the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Iraq, who had ministered for years to fellow refugees from the Nineveh Plains after the arrival of ISIS.
The INAI Gallery, adjacent to Weber Center in Adrian, featured exhibits by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates during the summer gathering, Embracing the Future / Encuentro con el Futuro / Pagyakap Sa Hinaharap. In addition, Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates have been active in the Dominican Institute for the Arts (DIA). Sister Aneesah McNamee, OP, serves as Secretary and Sister Joella Miller, OP, as Treasurer. Other Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates are active in the DIA, which is open to Dominicans in all areas of art, including visual arts, music, theater, design, poetry, dance, and art appreciation.
December 2, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters issued the following statement on COP25 Madrid Climate Talks, taking place December 2-13, 2019.
As the nations of the world gather in Madrid these next two weeks for the 25th year of climate talks (COP25), we Adrian Dominican Sisters invite you to join with us in prayer and voice, calling for concrete action by world leaders to safeguard our common home from catastrophic climate chaos. The aim of the COP25 climate talks is to concretize commitments and implement the historic Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.
In the last year, people around the globe have suffered the harsh impacts of just 1⁰C of warming over pre-industrial levels – with record wildfires, drought, flooding, and mega-storms. Scientists warn that we have only one decade remaining to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming to well below 2⁰C, as called for by the Paris Agreement.
Tragically, we are still headed in the wrong direction. The latest UN climate report shows that countries “have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions despite repeated warnings from scientists, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, further increasing their emissions last year,” according to the New York Times.
Time is running out: We must change course now.
Join us by urging your Senators to enact the House-passed International Climate Accountability Act. It would give the White House 120 days to submit a plan to Congress to achieve our U.S. Paris Agreement goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% under 2005 levels by 2025 – and to update the plan annually.
And please join us in praying these words from the “Prayer for Our Earth” by Pope Francis:
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty…
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction…
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light. …