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September 1, 2016, Adrian, Michigan — Five Adrian Dominican Sisters are attending the Jubilee International Congress on the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future. The Congress begins Thursday, September 1 and concludes Sunday, September 4 in Salamanca, Spain, at the Convent of San Esteban Protomártir.

Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, was invited to facilitate one of the workshops and to draft a policy paper that will form the basis for action by Dominican chapters, provinces, and congregations worldwide. Sister Pat's paper expands on human rights to include the rights of all of creation, drawing on her experience as founding director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and on Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical, Laudato Sí

The General Council asked two of our Sisters who work with children from displaced communities to participate: Basilia De la Cruz, OP, principal of Espíritu Santo Fe y Alegría School in Baní, Dominican Republic; and Jolyn "Jules" Dungo, OP, who ministers with the indigenous Aeta people at Villa Maria, Porac, Pampanga, in the Philippines. 

Also invited to the Congress are Luisa Campos, OP, champion of human rights and founding director of Centro Antonio Montesino in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Durstyne Farnan, OP, past Justice and Peace Promoter for North America, currently ministering in peace and justice with the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

The international Congress is intended for Dominicans who work in human rights and social justice ministry, academics and scholars specializing in human rights, leaders and faculty members of Dominican universities, those who work with indigenous peoples, and experts in international law.

The historic convent is the site of the School of Salamanca, where Dominican Friar Francisco de Vitoria, informed by the experience of Dominicans such as Antonio de Montesinos and Bartolomé de las Casas, articulated the beginnings of international human rights law by challenging the harsh treatment of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Congress is intended to be part of the "Salamanca Process" initiated by the Dominican men at their last General Chapter to more closely link study and intellectual life with ministry. It will begin on Thursday evening with a keynote address by Bruno Cadoré, OP, Master of the Order.


Feature photo: Clockwise, from top left, Sisters Luisa Campos, OP, Durstyne Farnan, OP, Jolyn "Jules" Dungo, OP, and Basilia De la Cruz, OP, are all attending the Jubilee International Congress on the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future with Sister Pat Siemen, OP, Prioress.

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August 26, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – More than 100 Sisters, donors and friends helped formally dedicate the new Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden on a warm afternoon on August 25.

To begin, Sister Esther Kennedy, OP, welcomed the energy from the Earth and the gifts those energies bring: from the east, the gift of insight; from the south, the gift of compassion; from the west, the gifts of acceptance and courage; from the north, the gift of freedom; and from the center, the gifts of relationship and interconnectedness.

In her remarks Prioress Sister Pat Siemen, OP, welcomed those in attendance and thanked donors and others who helped fund, plan and build the garden.

“We are so delighted that you are here today to celebrate and give witness to the blessing of this garden, which, because it is innately imbued with God’s presence, is already holy,” Sister Pat said. “Our blessing manifests this reality that exists among us.”

The ceremony also included prayer, poetry, a blessing ritual, tours, refreshments, and music by a saxophone quartet.

The Reflective Garden was created especially for Sisters living at the DLC with memory loss. The area is secured by a vinyl fence, which provides safety and reduces distraction. Design features include a prayer garden, butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, wide accessible walkways, and raised garden beds for Sisters who want to participate in planting.

More than 1,100 donors contributed $247,000 for the completion of the garden.


To watch a video of the dedication, visit the Adrian Dominican Sisters Facebook page, or see the embedded video below.

Click here to see photos from the event. 

Feature photo: Sister Pat Siemen, Prioress, uses lavender water to bless and dedicate the new Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden during a ceremony August 25.



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