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April 27, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – History fans in Michigan are now familiar with Sister Ann Joachim Joachim, OP (1901-1981), a particularly colorful and prominent Adrian Dominican Sister, thanks to an article written by an Adrian Dominican Associate. 

Arlene Bachanov’s article, “‘Sister Cannonball’: The Nun Who Shook Up Adrian,” was published in the May/June issue of Michigan History. The article details the amazing life of Sister Ann Joachim before and after she entered the Congregation and her influence on society.

“She led such a colorful life,” Arlene said of Sister Ann Joachim in an interview. She was a pilot; a boxer; a lawyer who waged a two-year court battle to keep the Wabash Cannon Ball train running (which earned her the moniker “Sister Cannonball”); the first woman attorney to be admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court; and a one-term Commissioner for the City of Adrian. Because of her involvement, Sister Ann Joachim was “very important to the history of southeastern Michigan,” Arlene said.

Researcher and writer for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ History Department since September 2010, Arlene said she was impressed with Sister Ann Joachim’s decision to enter the Congregation. “She struggled greatly about the idea of joining the Congregation,” Arlene said. “It came down to making a bargain with God. If she won a certain difficult case, she would join up. I really respected the fact that she was willing to give up everything she had. She gave up the treasures of the world. It was not enough for her.” 

Sister Ann Joachim had been a socialite before she entered the Adrian Dominicans, Arlene noted. She knew a number of prominent people, including Michigan Governors Frank Murphy (1937-1939), one of her law professors, and G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams (1949-1951), as well as Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh (1962-1970). 

Arlene first encountered Sister Ann Joachim while writing archival profiles of a number of Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Nadine Foley, OP, Congregation Historian, had suggested that she write about Sister Ann Joachim. 

Arlene had wanted to write about Sister Ann Joachim for a long time after first encountering her. She submitted a proposal to the Historical Society of Michigan in August 2016 and later that month received a request for a manuscript for the Society’s approval. She submitted the manuscript on October 25 and received the approval the next day. 

Arlene conducted her research in the Congregation’s archives, the Siena Heights University archives, and at the Lenawee County Historical Society, the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the State Library of Michigan, and state archives. In addition, she received help from the reference librarian at Michigan State University. 

Arlene relishes the work of historians. “I’ve always liked history,” she said. “I like to hear stories about people and events and to put them in the context of our times. History lets me be a puzzle-solver, putting together the bits and pieces that I uncover.” 

She hopes that readers of her article will take away is the idea that “Sister Ann Joachim was an amazing person. She exploded the stereotypes of women religious. … She was a go-getter and deeply committed, never doing anything half-heartedly.”

The current issue of Michigan History can be found at Meijer and Barnes & Noble stores in addition to a variety of Michigan bookstores. To order online, click here.

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August 19, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – The nearly 70 Adrian Dominican Associates and Sisters who gathered at Weber Center August 12-14, 2016, for Partners IV, found a quieter, more contemplative focus in the annual gathering of Associates. Centered on the theme of seeds, the gathering provided input, moving prayer services, and the opportunity to reflect on the Enactments of the 2016 General Chapter.  

Adrian Dominican Associates are women and men, at least 18 years of age, who make a non-vowed commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and their mission and vision. While maintaining their own lifestyle and remaining financially independent, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters, and attend Congregational events. 

Roberta Clemak, Associate, co-chair of the planning committee, elaborated on the weekend’s theme in her welcoming talk, “Who’s to say you haven’t already planted a seed, nurtured a seed, and helped a seed to take root?” 

The group was also welcomed by Jacci Brown, Associate, co-chair, and by Mary Lach, Associate, Director of Associate Life. Associates from the Florida Mission chapter planned and led the prayer services.

Associate Life Advisory Board members, from left: Jacci Brown, Carol Johnson, and Deb Carter.

Members of the newly formed Associate Life Advisory Board took the opportunity to introduce themselves. Associates who serve on the Board are Chairperson Connie Brady, Jacci Brown, Carol Johnson, Deb Carter, and Trudy McSorley. 

The program on Saturday offered ample opportunities for nurturing the seeds of the Dominican charism. Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, long-time professor of theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, presented the background and principles of Catholic social teaching. The teaching is traced to Rerum Novarum (On the Conditions of Labor), an 1891 document by Pope Leo XIII and further developed through papal encyclicals and documents written by bishops. Catholic social teaching focuses on principles such as dignity of the human person, preferential option for the poor, and solidarity. 

Amy Palmer, Development Director, led participants on a virtual tour, through videos, of the Dominican Life Center Reflective Garden. Set to be dedicated at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, the garden was especially designed to give retired Sisters a safe place to enjoy the outdoors. 

Arlene Bachanov, Associate and Co-worker in the History Department, gave a presentation on To Fields Near and Far, the latest history volume of the Congregation, which she co-authored with Sister Nadine Foley. The book focuses on 1933-1961, the years that Mother Gerald Barry led the Congregation. During her talk, Arlene focused on the growth in the Congregation during those years and on the Sisters’ willingness to go wherever they were sent, knowing the faith that Mother Gerald had in them.

Associates from the Florida Mission Chapter engage in liturgical dance during Sunday morning prayer.

Associates were given time to contemplate the 2016 General Chapter Enactments and to discern their call to continue as Adrian Dominican Associates. 

Participants gathered in St. Catherine Chapel for the Ritual of Acceptance into Associate Life for Mary Veen. Mary, of Cheboygan, Michigan, entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1957 but left to marry and raise a family. She is active in the Cheboygan Catholic Community through ministry at funerals and as a Eucharistic minister, lector, sacristan, faith-sharing group leader, and leader of Sunday Communion services in the absence of a priest. 

“It is my desire to reconnect with the Adrian Dominican spirit, which continues to pervade my daily life,” Mary said. She was mentored by Associate Joyce Frugé. 

Sister Patricia “Patty” Harvat, OP

Mary Lach then led the Associates in a brief ritual of recommitment. 

During the closing session on Sunday, the Associates heard from their new General Council Liaison, Sister Patty Harvat, OP, who introduced herself and gave a brief reflection on the illuminated life of Dominicans. She shared her working definition of preachers: “He or she deals out to his or her people his or her life, a life passed through the fire of thought. Our Enactments provide that fire of thought.”



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