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December 18, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Elise García, OP, President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), recently took part in a discussion on the pandemic, racism, and religious life with other leaders from LCWR and the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). The discussion was facilitated by Global Sisters Report, a project of National Catholic Reporter.
During the discussion, Sister Elise noted the challenges that many Adrian Dominican Sisters face in sheltering in place at the Dominican Life Center rather than serving on the front lines. Her hope is that as a society we would emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with new learnings. “There is no going back to the other normal,” she said. “The experience of this last year of forcing ourselves to find other ways, meaningful ways of gathering at the heart level, using technology has been really significant, and it coincides with the imperatives of climate change going forward.”
Sister Elise also spoke of the LCWR’s focus in the next five years on dismantling racism, and particularly of the focus of the LCWR leadership on white privilege and white supremacy. The process “really involves looking at both personal and systemic racism in a very rigorous way,” Sister Elise said. “We recognize that this whole issue of racism is multilayered and it's not something that you can address with one action. There are multiple pathways we're taking.”
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December 16, 2020, Chicago – In a letter to the Chicago Sun Times, Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins echoed the gratitude of her classmate, now Cardinal Wilton Gregory, for the education and encouragement they received from their Adrian Dominican teachers at St. Carthage School in Chicago.
“It was the dedication and compassion of the Adrian Dominican Sisters that empowered us to reach beyond our experiences and environments,” she wrote. “They believed in the promise and possibility of their Black students and their faith in us was the wind beneath our dreams.”
Read Sen. Collins’ letter, “Grateful for a Catholic Education,” the second letter on the webpage (scroll past the "Proposed Tenant Ordinance..." letter).
Sisters Johneda (Lorraine) Pepin, OP, and Pilar Martin, OP, are shown with students at St. Carthage School in Chicago, circa 1956-60. Adrian Dominican Sisters Archive Photo