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August 25, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – More than 70 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters gathered at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse August 14-16 for Partners III, a weekend of prayer, inspiration, talks, discussion, discernment, and community-building.

Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who share in the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters through a non-vowed commitment.

After registration and dinner, Partners III opened officially on Friday evening with a welcome and overview by Planning Committee Chair Connie Brady and an opening prayer in memory of the seven Associates who had died since Partners II in August 2014. The assembly remembered and rejoiced in the gifts of deceased Associates Milandros Rodriguez, Joanne Bellaire, Wilma Brandt, Judy Lavelle, Sonia Gutierrez, Henrietta Oenbrink, and Virginia Michael.


Participating in the opening hymn of the Ritual Acceptance are, from left: new Associate Carole Watters with her mentor Sister Jo Gaugier, OP, and Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, mentor, with new Associate Marge Coneset.        

Participants in Partners III pose in front of Madden Hall on the Motherhouse Campus. Photo by Lad Strayer.



In her opening address, “Fuel the Fire,” Associate Peggy Treece Myles spoke of the symbolic significance of fire in all cultures. Fire is symbolic of passion, energy, assertiveness and, in the Christian tradition, the Holy Spirit.  She focused her talk on outlining the four fires addressed as part of the planning process for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Chapter 2016 and of the related Dominican charisms exhibited by Associates.

The Soul’s Fire calls us to be “authentically who we are” (John O’Donohue), which involves self-knowledge and a life of depth. “Sometimes, we are so busy trying to fit into our contemporary society that we neglect our inner lives,” Peggy said. “Exploring and giving voice to our inner lives is not selfish; it is authentic.”

The Creative Fire “signals the work we love, energizing our willingness to express our gifts in their fullness,” Peggy said, quoting Angeles Arrien. Peggy noted that this fire “requires that we take ourselves out of the familiar and challenge ourselves to grow, to learn, to experience.” She gave the example of 14th Century Dominican mystic St. Catherine of Siena, who took such risks as confronting popes.

The Fire of Vision “reveals dreams and possibilities, inspiring us to manifest what we see or are called upon to do” (Clarissa Pinkola Estes). Peggy described St. Dominic as the model of this fire, for envisioning and bringing about the new mendicant Order of Preachers, in contrast to previous orders that remained in monasteries.

The Fire of the Heart “teaches us about what and whom we love, opening us to new beginnings” (Ilia Delio). “The Fire of the Heart is the love we feel, the love we cannot define or describe.” This kind of love – the kind that shows deep appreciation for all of creation – “shows in every word and every action,” Peggy said.

Peggy concluded her talk by encouraging the participants in Partners III to “feel the flames burning within us and allow the flames to spread among us,” so that with united flames, they could “go forth with passion to act on our God-given gifts.”

During the Saturday morning session, participants heard from four Associates who related their particular ministries with one of the four fires. Opening this session, Associate Dee Joyner, Chair of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) spoke passionately about the 40 years of the PAB’s pioneering work in fostering corporate social responsibility and making low-interest loans to non-profit community organizations. Watch her talk.

Associate Pat Heriford described her involvement with her husband in a 20-week program on Christian living for prisoners at the Jackson, Michigan reception and guidance center. Watch her entire presentation.

Associate Katie Love walked her audience through her experiences in the fall of 2014 as a volunteer at Annunciation House, a center for immigrants in El Paso, Texas. Watch Katie's entire talk.

Susan Jayich spoke of her unique ministry: leading participants through Viso-Divina, a process of reflecting on Scripture through art. Watch this presentation.

The Saturday afternoon session focused on the future of Associate Life. Sister Lorraine Reaume, OP, spoke of the positive impact of the Associates and of the affirmation that their involvement with the Congregation gives to the Sisters. She noted that Associates have an important and distinct role to play in the Congregation. Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, walked the Associates through some changes that will take place and invited small groups to discuss their ideas for a special board of Associates.

Saturday concluded with a special celebration: the formal Ritual of Acceptance of five women as Adrian Dominican Associates. The new Associates are: Carole Watters, of Saginaw, Michigan, former director of Saginaw’s Diocesan Center and leader of Befriender Ministry in two parishes; Marge Coneset, of Adrian, who ministers through her crafts and her outreach to those in need; Mary Miller, of Toledo, secretary of St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Parish and member of the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society; Pam Kyzer, of Anchorage, Alaska, a nurse, volunteer parish nurse, and volunteer dog handler for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race; and Cindy Lentine, also of Anchorage, who teaches a faith formation class, volunteers with the Paws Therapy Dog Training program, and is developing a free library for her local neighborhood.

Partners III closed on Sunday with a presentation by Sister Cheryl Liske, OP, Co-Convener of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Chapter Planning Committee, and Associate Tibbi Ellis on her efforts to procure a first-degree relic of St. Catherine of Siena for the formation house chapel in the Dominican Republic.

Associate Life is open to any adults who share in the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Mission and Vision. For more information, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or associates@adriandominicans.org. 



Fire of Vision - Dee Joyner



The Soul's Fire - Pat Heriford



The Creative Fire - Katie Love



Fire of the Heart - Susan Jayich



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August 20, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – Five women were formally welcomed as Associates of the Adrian Dominican Sisters on August 15 during a special evening Ritual of Acceptance. The ceremony took place in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse during a weekend gathering of Associates, Partners III.

Participating in the opening hymn of the Ritual Acceptance are, from left: new Associate Carole Watters with her mentor Sister Jo Gaugier, OP, and Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, mentor, with new Associate Marge Coneset.

“We’ve had a joyous, Spirit-filled gathering up until this moment, and it will be even more exciting as we welcome these five new Dominican Preachers among us,” said Sister Lorraine Reaume, OP, Formation Director of the Congregation in her brief welcoming address to the assembly. “I just invite us all to join in celebration, to hear their words, to offer them our prayer and our support, and rejoice in our being together to celebrate this very special event.”

“It is with open hearts and minds and much love that we welcome these women to walk with us as Associates in spreading the Good News and living out the mission of the Dominicans of Adrian,” said Associate Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life.

During the ceremony, each new Associate’s mentor – an Adrian Dominican Sister or Associate – gave a brief introduction of the new Associate and lit a candle in her honor. Mary Lach then questioned each woman as to her willingness to be “named and known as an Adrian Dominican Associate” and invited her forward to explain her decision. Associate Janice Donner served as the ritual leader.

The new Associates are:

Carole Watters, mother of four, grandmother of seven, and an active lay minister in the Diocese of Saginaw. She was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters at Resurrection School in Lansing, Michigan, and attended Siena Heights College (now University), sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in Adrian, as well as Aquinas College, founded by the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters. Sister Jo Gaugier, OP, her mentor, interviewed her for the lay ministry formation program in the Diocese of Saginaw. She noted Carole’s service at Saginaw’s Diocesan Service Center and her ministry as a Befriender Ministry leader for two parishes in that diocese. “Saying yes to this call is like coming home full circle,” Carole said. “For me, the mission of this community of Dominic says it all.”

Marge Coneset, sister-in-law of Associate Barbara Coneset. Her ministries include creating beautiful, uplifting greeting cards; crocheting prayer and healing shawls for people in need; reaching out to neighbors in need; and helping to organize a monthly bingo session for the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center. “Marge has a deep faith in God, extraordinary compassion for others and all creation, and is always available to help those in need,” said Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, her mentor. “I’ve been impressed by Marge’s joy, sense of humor, hospitality, kindness, and desire to grow spiritually.” Marge, for her part, spoke of her own feeling of home-coming when she first came to the Motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “It is a home of compassion, truth, justice, prayer, and community. …These charisms are in my heart and soul and they enable me to carry out God’s work.”

Mary Miller, the secretary at St. Patrick’s of Heatherdown Parish in Toledo, Ohio, as well as a lector and member of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society. “I witnessed Mary’s deep devotion to God and her prayer life way back in our years at St. Joseph Academy together,” said her mentor, Associate Jacqui Richardson. “I invited Mary to consider the Associate Life program because I knew she would be faithful to the commitment of preaching God’s Word and living the Adrian Dominican charism.”  In her response, Mary noted that she had been inspired from her elementary school days by the “reverence and love of God” demonstrated by her Adrian Dominican teachers. “I want to continue the charism of St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena and be led by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel, not only by words but by daily living.”

Pamela Kyzer, a nurse who also volunteers as a parish nurse at her parish in Anchorage, Alaska. In her introduction, Pam’s mentor, Associate Susan Jayich, spoke of the 30 years they shared together in Anchorage. Pam and her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, had provided health care to Alaskans for many years before his retirement. She has also been involved in hospice; co-founded the Catholic Parish Ministers and Health Ministers Association of Anchorage; and volunteers as a dog handler for the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Pam noted she was attracted to Associate Life for many reasons, including the example of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who once served in Anchorage – Sisters Lorraine Reaume, Jo Gaugier, and Ann Romayne Fallon, and former Adrian Dominican Sister Jacqueline Stoll. She has also been influenced by the Associates in Anchorage. “The support they offer me is invaluable to my spiritual growth,” she said.

Cynthia Lentine, also of Anchorage, who has been involved in teaching a faith formation class, completing a three-year Scripture and leadership program, and serving the community through such means as the Paws Therapy Dog training program. Her mentor, Associate Barbara Block of Anchorage, also noted Cindy’s work in helping to develop a local library, her gifts of compassion and hospitality, and her willingness to give her time for those in need. “Cynthia is a woman of deep faith, committed to passing on the faith,” Barbara said, adding that her circle of friends includes the Sisters who formally served in Anchorage, as well as Sisters Patricia Magee and Nancy Murray, who recently visited and ministered there. Cindy noted that she identifies with the mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters to “seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.”

The ceremony continued with the new Associates’ signing of the Agreement of Association, noting their willingness to enter into a formal relationship with the Adrian Dominican Sisters through a non-vowed commitment to the mission and vision. The new Associates also received a special logo.

Associate Life is open to women and men, at least 18 years of age, who are married, single, widowed or divorced. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various social, spiritual, and ministerial experiences with Adrian Dominican Sisters and attend Congregational events.  If you are interested in Associate Life, please contact Mary Lach, director, at 517-266-3531 or associates@adriandominicans.org.


Sister Jo Gaugier, OP, right, explains the Agreement of Association to new Associate Cindy Lentine, while Cindy’s mentor, Associate Barbara Block, watches.


Signing the Agreement of Association are, from left: Associates Pam Kyzer, Jacqui Richardson, Mary Miller, Marge Coneset, and Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP.




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