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By Sister Janice Brown, OP

May 27, 2015, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Sister Carleen Maly, OP, director of Adrian Rea Literacy Center at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse, was named the 2015 Literacy Champion. The award ceremony took place during the annual gathering of adult educators in the State of Michigan, held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.

Staff members from three of the Adrian Dominican-sponsored literacy centers – Adrian Rea Literacy Center in Adrian and Siena Literacy Center and Dominican Literacy Center, both in Detroit – attend this conference, joining 400 other participants. For the past four years, the memory of Sister Marie Damian Schoenlein, co-foundress of the Dominican Literacy Center.

Diane Duthie, Director of Education and Career Success (formerly Adult Education and Life Long Learning) presented the award to Sister Carleen. Ms. Duthie began with a few words about the woman who inspired the Literacy Champion Award. “Sister Marie’s passion to empower others with the gift of literacy exuded from her being,” she said. “Her enthusiasm was catching, and few would leave a conversation with her and not want to do something about literacy themselves, either as a volunteer tutor, a contributor, or an advocate.”

Ms. Duthie noted that “Sister Marie was very much a trailblazer. She believed that adult literacy was important because if a parent can’t read, they can’t teach their kids to read and the spiral of poverty will continue. She believed in people, and believed that education empowered the individual through practical skills and awakened them to an awareness of their own potential as God’s creature.”

Ms. Duthie then went on to describe the courage and dedication of Sister Carleen Maly, this year’s Literacy Champion. Sister Carleen was surprised and honored and, in her acceptance, pledged to “continue to walk in solidarity with people who are poor and challenge the structures that impoverish them.”

Sister Carleen has always been an advocate for those who are on the margins of society. Her role as Director of Adrian Rea Literacy Center has deepened her understanding and love for those who struggle with basic reading, writing, and math. Knowing that education is an equalizer, Sister Carleen works towards justice and peace by giving the tools of reading and writing in English to those who have very few choices in life. She works with individuals who desire to improve their life and the lives of their families through the gift of reading.

In a lovely turn of events, Dianne Duthie was also recognized as a Literacy Champion. She deeply appreciated Sister Marie Damian Schoenlein and the Adrian Dominicans and has been an advocate for the adult learner her entire career. She believes that any adult can learn under the right circumstances. Dianne plans to retire this year.

Thank you, Dianne and Sister Carleen, for all you do in adult education.

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May 21, 2015, St. Louis, Missouri – Sister Joan Delaplane, OP, will be remembered in a special way by preaching students at Aquinas Institute of Theology. The Dominican graduate school dedicated its Delaplane Preaching Studio May 11 in the presence of Sister Joan, family and friends, local Adrian Dominican Associates, and Aquinas faculty and staff. 

“I am deeply touched by the honor of this Preaching Studio bearing my name,” Sister Joan said in her own preaching during a prayer service before the dedication ceremony. “But as Paul reminded the Corinthians: Paul planted a seed, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So, too, perhaps Joan, by the grace of God, was one of those who helped plant a seed here; Ed Ruane, Greg Heille, Dan Harris, Honora Werner, Ann Garrido, the Administration and Faculty, and the Lilly Foundation have watered it. God blessed our efforts and gave the increase. To God be the glory!”

Funded by a grant from the Lilly Foundation, the Delaplane Preaching Studio offers state-of-the-art cameras – hidden in a room adjoining the studio – to record the preaching of the students in Aquinas’ Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program. Once a residential program, this doctorate program is now online. Students from across the world can watch the preaching of classmates and offer their critique.

The funding for the studio came from the Delaplane Initiative for Preaching Excellence, which, in partnership with the Lilly Foundation, aims to “offer preaching formation and enrichment opportunities for an audience beyond its student body.”

The Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program , initiated in 1996, is the only such program in the United States, Sister Joan said. “There are other schools that offer a doctor in ministry and you can major or put your emphasis on preaching, but there’s no other school that offers a doctorate in preaching.”  Aquinas Institute’s program is “not a remedial program” but one designed for “good preachers who want to hone their skills,” receive their doctorate, and help others in their diocese to improve their preaching, she explained.  Sister Joan said at least 13 graduates of the program are now teaching homiletics in seminaries and graduate schools of theology.

Sister Joan, described as a pioneer in homiletics, began her tenure as homiletics teacher at Aquinas Institute in 1977. “For a quarter of a century, Joan pressed the cause of quality preaching at the school – increasing the number of preaching courses in the curriculum, developing new material in oral interpretation, regularly preaching at school services,” wrote Ann Garrido, D.Min., Associate Professor of Homiletics at Aquinas and a 2003 graduate of the program.

Dr. Garrido also noted that Sister Joan was the first woman and the first Catholic to serve as president of the Academy of Homiletics, which granted her its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Sister Joan’s other accomplishments include “founding and directing the Summer Preaching Institute, and finally co-founding the Doctor of Ministry in Preaching,” Dr. Garrido added.    




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