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headshots of authors Thomas Berry and Evelyn Underhill

July 7, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Do you envision mystics as people who lived in the distant past and had unique visions of God? A Retreat on the Mystics: Thomas Berry and Evelyn Underhill, offers participants the opportunity to learn about and reflect on two mystics who taught that mysticism and contemplation are available to anyone.

A Retreat on the Mystics is from 7:00 p.m. Sunday, July 23, 2023, through 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2023, at Weber Retreat and Conference Center. The focus is on two mystics:

    •    Thomas Berry (1914-2009), a Catholic priest, cultural historian, and author of The Dream of the Earth, urged that humanity return to a deeper knowing and seek guidance from the ultimate powers of the universe as they make themselves present to us. Sister Gail Worcelo, SGM, co-founder of the Sisters of the Earth Community, offers the presentation on Thomas Berry and on his belief that we are in an emerging geobiological era in which humanity learns to live as mutually enhancing members of the Earth community.

    •    Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) was an English mystic, theologian, spiritual director, and pacificist who wrote 39 books on spirituality. She insisted that contemplative prayer – which she understood as union with Reality – is possible for everyone. Sister Patricia Walter, OP, former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and an educator, author, and preacher, offers the presentation on Evelyn Underhill. 

The cost – which includes all meals for overnight guests and lunch for commuters – is $180 for commuters, $280 per person double occupancy, and $380 for single occupancy. Registration is required and is available at www.webercenter.org; click on “programs.” Registrations may also be made by calling 517-266-4000 or emailing webercenter@adriandominicans.org. Limited scholarships are available.

Weber Center is on the campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse, Adrian, Michigan. Traveling east on Siena Heights Drive, pass the Adrian Rea Literacy Center and turn left just before the solar panel-covered parking lot. Follow the signs to Weber Center. For information, call the Weber Center at 517-266-4000.

June 28, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – In a spirit of joy and gratitude, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, family members, and friends gathered at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse to celebrate the combined 2,545 years of service and ministry by 38 Sisters marking their Jubilee – milestone anniversaries of their years of religious life.

Jubilee 2023 celebrated the loving dedication of eight 75-year Jubilarians, 19 Double-Diamond (70-year) Jubilarians, nine Diamond (60-year) Jubilarians, one Golden (50-year) Jubilarian, and one Silver (25-year) Jubilarian. 

The celebration began on the afternoon of June 22, 2023, with a meeting of the Jubilarians with the General Council, followed by dinner. The Sisters also had time during the celebration to catch up with one another and to share memories. Sister Magdalena Ezoe, OP, composer and pianist, offered the Jubilarians, guests, and other Sisters and Associates a special piano concert on the evening of June 23, 2023.

The Jubilee celebration also included a time of remembrance and gratitude for the commitment of the Congregation’s 68 deceased Jubilarians who would have marked 75, 70, or 60 years of religious life this year. Sisters Mary Suzanne Kennedy, OP, and Janet Doyle, OP, both 60-year Jubilarians, opened the Mass for Deceased Jubilarians on June 23, 2023, with a solemn recitation of their names.

Sisters Patricia McKee, OP,
Double-Diamond Jubilarian,
carrying the cross, and candle
bearers Sisters Janet Wright, OP,
Double-Diamond Jubilarian, left,
and Lorraine Réaume, OP, Silver
Jubilarian, lead the procession into
 St. Catherine Chapel for the Jubilee Mass.

“Can you feel it – can you feel their presence?” Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, asked in her reflection on the Mass readings. The deceased Jubilarians “are here to celebrate our shared lives and commitment that are bigger than time and space as we experience them,” she said. “Our fore-Sisters are here and they rejoice with us.”

Sister Lorraine – Vicaress, General Councilor, and Silver Jubilarian – noted that the Sisters who are alive and serving today are continuing the work of the deceased Jubilarians, who now “bask in the divine gaze of the fullness of eternal love … Isn’t that the spirit of love we have tried, at our better times, to reflect to those we encounter, to those we want to serve?” 

Sister Lorraine noted the trust that Jesus still has for his disciples of today, even with their limitations. She gave the example of a Sister who, during a recent Mass, reached out to another Sister who was struggling to find her place in the hymnal and gently found the right page for her. Afterward, she helped the same Sister who was struggling to stand. “That was an example of compassion and love right here in this chapel,” she pointed out. “We see it all the time.”

Finally, Sister Lorraine recalled strongly feeling the gentle and comforting presence of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who had died. “Our Sisters go before us and are with us,” she said. “We are not alone. … We are united today in our love, our commitment, and our fidelity. In the great timeless force of Love that carries us all, we celebrate our fore-Sisters and know they still share the journey with us.”  

The hymn, Jubilate Deo, sung during the June 24, 2023, Jubilee Mass, captured the joy of the Jubilarians and of the entire assembly. While every Jubilee celebration is joyous, this year’s celebration marked two additional causes for joy: it was the first in which all Jubilarians – marking Jubilee years from 75 to 25 – could celebrate together, and it was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that guests other than Sisters could join in the celebration in person and without masks.

In her welcome, Sister Josephine Gaugier, OP, a Double-Diamond Jubilarian, noted that the designation of Jubilarians as silver, golden, and diamond implies richness, “but in this case, [they] mean an abundance of years and blessings.” In the years 1948,1953, 1963, 1973, and 1998, the Jubilarians officially gave their “yes” to vowed Dominican life. “Our yes was abundant with God’s grace, year upon year,” she said. Through both the smooth and rough times, “the Holy Spirit guided us on the way culminating in this year of Jubilee.”

Prioress Elise D. García, OP,
reflects on the readings.

In her reflection, Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, noted the rich diversity of the Jubilarians and of the calls they received. “Each of you possesses an incredible … fidelity to follow God’s call, no matter when or where or how often you heard it,” Sister Elise said to the Jubilarians. She noted the diversity of ministries: from education at all levels, as teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, and campus ministers; to ministry as therapists, counselors, or spiritual directors; in multiple roles in parishes and dioceses, with expertise in canon law, liturgical ministry, religious education, music, and adult and youth ministries. 

“Who among you thought your vocation would find expression through your giftedness as an artist, or as a communicator in public relations, or through healing ministries in nursing, pharmacy, healthcare, or as a convent administrator?” Sister Elise asked. She added that commitment to justice, peace, and making the world a better place has led other Jubilarians to witness in corporate board rooms and to serve in prison ministry, justice and ecology centers, community organizing, and retreat and conference centers. “These are among the many beautiful and surprising pathways” taken by this year’s Jubilarians, she said.

Sister Elise noted that all are chosen and beloved by God. “That insight is a gift of our Christian faith,” she said. “It is another and more rare gift of our faith tradition to be called, as you were, to give your entire lives in radical service to the mission of Jesus.”

After her reflection, Sister Elise received the Jubilarians’ willingness to continue to say “yes” to their call as they renewed their vows. A festive dinner after Mass rounded out the formal celebration, but Jubilarians and their guests continued to have ample time to celebrate together informally. The sense of Jubilee continues throughout the year.



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