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August 12, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – Noraleen Renauer and Diane Burgermeister were welcomed as Adrian Dominican Associates on August 10, 2020, during a Ritual of Acceptance broadcast through Zoom.
Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, Associates participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and live out the Dominican charism, or spirit, in their daily lives.
“Today we gather across states, cities, towns, and even countries through technology to join our hearts in relationship as Dominican Associates and Sisters,” said Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, in welcoming more than 60 people to the Zoom event. “We participate together in the building of a holy community and Church as we welcome Diane Burgermeister and Noraleen Renauer to Associate Life.” Their acceptance marked the fourth and fifth women to become Associates in the past month.
Associate Trudy McSorley, Noraleen’s mentor, noted that early in her life Noraleen had responded to a call to religious life by entering the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After leaving that community in 1968, she still felt the call to minister in Catholic education, Trudy said.
Noraleen earned a Master’s of Divinity degree from St. John Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, served in Catholic broadcasting, and taught religious education at the high school level. She also served as pastoral associate at St. Andrew Parish in Saline, Michigan, and is now involved in ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Noraleen said she came to know the Adrian Dominican Sisters through her involvement in programs at Weber Retreat and Conference Center at the Motherhouse. During her time at the Motherhouse, she said, “I would hear the call to follow Christ and I would be strengthened in my journey.”
Noraleen spoke of her own witness of the Sisters and Associates who live out the charism and spirit of St. Dominic. “I have seen how the community responds to the needs of our ever-changing world, to bring light into darkness,” she said. “I believe the Spirit has led me to join you to seek truth, make peace, reverence life.”
Diane Burgermeister, an Adrian Dominican Sister from 1984 to 2016, was introduced by Sister Janet Doyle, OP, and other members of Connections, the Mission Group she had belonged to as a Sister. Diane, a psychotherapist with her own practice, is also a full professor in the College of Nursing at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, where she is Director of the Doctor of Nursing Program (DNP).
“I found her to be very thoughtful, somebody not afraid to question, somebody who wants to give a lot of her life to justice and poverty issues,” Sister Janet said of Diane. She noted that one of Diane’s students had described her as knowledgeable, flexible, understanding, and “a kind spirit.”
Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP, added that she admired Diane’s “search for the truth.I also appreciate the vastness of her talents,” not only in health care and education but in the world of competitive synchronized swimming, she said.
Diane said she has always felt called by the Dominican motto, to contemplate and to share with others the fruits of your contemplation. “This is the Dominican way: to contemplate and reflect on Scripture with the objective of promoting human dignity and social justice,” Diane said.
The ritual concluded with the signing by the new Associates of the Agreement of Association, which signifies their formal commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates.
If you feel called to be an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed life as an Adrian Dominican Sister, contact one of the Co-Directors of Vocations: Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or email@example.com.
August 1, 2020, West Palm Beach, Florida – Suzanne Sink was formally welcomed as an Adrian Dominican Associate on July 25, 2020, in the garden of Casa, the residence of Adrian Dominican Sisters in West Palm Beach. Gathered around her to celebrate were not only family members, Associates and Sisters from the local area but – through Zoom – Associates and Sisters from around the United States.
Suzanne’s Ritual of Acceptance was the first virtual acceptance as Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, took part in the ceremony from Michigan.
Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age – married, single, widowed, or divorced – who make a non-vowed commitment to partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and live out the Dominican charism, or spirit, in their daily lives.
Associate Nancy Medina offered words of welcome to Suzanne and those gathered for the ceremony. “Suzanne has a sweet personality,” she said. “This past year we have seen her grow in her faith. She has demonstrated a desire to help others without self-interest.”
Sister Margarita Ruíz, OP, Suzanne’s mentor, spoke of her own joy in formally introducing her. “She is a committed follower of Jesus and is ready to do all that she can to share in the Dominican charism.” Among Suzanne’s joys, Sister Margarita said, is sharing her gifts with her students at Florida Atlantic University, where she is an instructor in the English Department.
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Suzanne moved to North Carolina for her college education, studying English and education. After graduation, she met her husband, Daniel, and began a family that includes John, 13, and Francesca Marie, 6. Suzanne taught at local universities while earning her Ph.D. “I was proud to present my dissertation, which focused on how immigrant women from the Azores – my maternal heritage – help preserve and share culture, history, and anchor spirituality.”
Suzanne described the faith that had been passed on from her grandmother, aunt, and mother. “I see today as being directly connected to those women, and I have begun to grow in my connection to God,” she said.
Suzanne also spoke of how she grew spiritually from her connection to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. “I have grown in my faith and spiritual understanding, and I have drawn comfort and inspiration from my Adrian brother and sisters,” she said. “The friendships and mentoring have sustained me through challenges, and I look forward to carrying these gifts forward and outward to others.”
The Ritual of Acceptance included the presentation of the Adrian Dominican Associate logo to Suzanne and the signing of the Agreement of Association, which signifies Suzanne’s formal commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates.
The ritual concluded with words of gratitude to Sister Margarita – who will be moving to the Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan – for her involvement in mentoring Associates in both the Dominican Republic and Florida. “I can’t thank you enough on behalf of all Associates for all you have done,” Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, told Sister Margarita.
If you feel called to be an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Mary Lach at 517-266-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed life as an Adrian Dominican Sister, contact Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, at 517-266-3532 or email@example.com.
Feature photo (top): Associate Nancy Medina pins the Associate Life logo on new Associate Suzanne Sink.