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Sister Vicki Dalesandro, OP, with Peer Counselors

May 20, 2021, Henderson, Nevada – Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, recently received the monthly Act of Humankindness Award from Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for her dedicated service to two outreach programs at the hospitals’ Siena Campus.

“Sister Vicki has done an exceptional job of growing and maintaining the Senior Peer Counseling program throughout the past 12 months despite COVID-19,” wrote Holly Lyman, Director of Community Health for St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, in her nomination. “She kept all her counselors engaged through Zoom and they continued to [counsel] their clients over the phone during a time when loneliness, fear, and isolation were a huge concern for the seniors in our community.”

Sister Vicki’s work with the Senior Peer Counseling program involves training and coordinating the work of Senior Peer Counselors – volunteers, at least 50 years of age, who receive 51 hours of intensive training to prepare them to offer informal counseling to seniors suffering from a variety of challenges. “I really enjoyed counseling seniors and especially forming wonderful relationships with the Senior Peer Counselors,” she said. 

Holly, an Adrian Dominican Associate, also nominated Sister Vicki for her help with the hospital’s Responsible Early Detection (RED) Rose Program, which provides detection, diagnosis, treatment, and, at times, financial assistance to uninsured, underinsured, and undocumented women facing breast cancer. When the RED Rose coordinator left on maternity leave, Sister Vicki offered support to Victoria , who was new in her work for the program. “She also helped call clients and coordinate services to make sure our RED Rose clients didn’t fall through the cracks,” Holly added.
Sister Vicki, who is retiring from St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, spoke with gratitude during her retirement party for her many opportunities to minister to people in need. She taught in elementary schools in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, including in her native city, Los Angeles. She has also counseled first-generation Mexican Americans, worked with immigrants in the Social Action Office in Los Angeles, and coordinated the Christian Service Program for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Sister Vicki began ministry at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in 1992 as the Mission Services Director and has remained in hospital ministry since. During that time, she worked with Sister Robert Joseph Bailey in the hospital’s community education programs. Highlights of that time, she said, included the installation of the TV Care Channel in patients’ rooms and her relationship with Co-workers who wanted to become Adrian Dominican Associates.

She left St. Rose Dominican Hospitals at the end of 2000 to serve as counselor at a Catholic hospital in Apple Valley, California, but returned 10 years later as the Director of Caring and Healing at St. Rose Dominican’s San Martin Campus. She also served as the Interim Director of the RED Rose program from 2018 until April 2021. 

Sister Vicki noted with gratitude that the celebration of her retirement, April 29, 2021, marked the 65th anniversary of the day that she decided to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Vicki Dalesandro, OP, with two Senior Peer Counselors from Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals

Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, seated, and Senior Peer Counselors Brenda Kassan, left, and Joan Harper, middle, attend a celebration of Sister Victoria’s retirement from Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals. The event also honored the hospital’s Senior Peer Counselors.

May 11, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Elise D. García, OP, General Councilor of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and Angie Kessler, Director of Communications, were part of a six-member panel of leaders and communicators of congregations of U.S. Sisters who spoke on successful collaboration between practitioners of the two disciplines. Angie succeeded Sister Elise, who was Director of Communications before she was elected to the General Council in 2016.

From left: Sister Elise D. García, OP, and Angie Kessler

The webinar, Successful Collaboration between Communicators and Leadership, was offered May 3, 2021, and sponsored by Communicators of Women Religious (CWR) and the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).  

Other panelists were Sister Eileen McKenzie, FSPA, President, and Jane Comeau, Communications Director of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Sisters Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, Prioress General, and Beth Murphy, OP, Communications Director of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois.

The webinar focused on best practices, success stories, and challenges in collaboration. Sister Elise noted one success story for the Adrian Dominican Sisters is the ability of the General Council to issue statements on a broad range of issues. Once the General Council has agreed on a statement, she said, it relies on the Communications team to prepare it for release and to get it out to media outlets and on social media. 

Occasionally, Sister Elise added, Angie suggests a topic or issue on which the General Council might want to issue a statement. “That’s a huge help because it means we’re all attuned and have our ears to the ground to issues of importance to our world and to our congregation,” Sister Elise said.

Angie noted that one component to successful collaboration is respect, specifically the General Council’s treatment of the Communications team as partners. “I know many times communication can be seen as a tool, but we are really seen as a partner in the mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters,” Angie said. “That means being at the table, being part of the planning process, which gives us a broad understanding of the issue that we’re trying to create a message for.”

In discussing the challenges they face, Sister Elise noted the “incredible pace at which we’re working across the board.” Both she and Angie spoke of the importance of taking the time to study new forms of communication and to plan the best way to reach each audience with the various means of communication, from bulletin boards to electronic media and new forms of social media. The best practice to face that challenge, Angie said, is to “think through everything very carefully … making sure we’re doing the communicating as we need to, in a timely way, but also making sure that everything is communicated well.”

The panelists also discussed the role of trust and confidentiality in their successful collaboration and shared stories on challenging efforts, such as sharing a difficult message about the Congregation’s past in a way that was transparent and honest.

Watch the recording of Successful Collaboration between Communicators and Leadership.



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