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March 23, 2021, Chicago – Kathy Almaney, a former Adrian Dominican Sister who has continued her connection to the Congregation, formally became an Adrian Dominican Associate March 14, 2021, during a virtual Ritual of Acceptance attended by more than 80 Associates, Sisters, family members, and friends.
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, they participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and live out the Dominican charism, or spirit, in their daily lives.
“As a teacher, catechist, music minister, Human Resources expert; in her work with homelessness and in finance, chairing the [Adrian Dominican Sisters’] Camilla Madden Trust and co-chairing the Dominican Midwest Chapter’s Resilient Communities Committee, Kathy has already lived out the Dominican charism for years,” said Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life. “This afternoon Kathy makes a formal commitment to this charism, which she has enthusiastically embraced for most of her life.”
Sister Ellen Burkhardt, OP, who entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation with Kathy and mentored her in her formation as an Associate, spoke of the many ways that Kathy brought her “crowd” – those who entered the Congregation at the same time – together over the years.
“She offered us the idea that Adrian was where we first tasted the bread that we couldn’t forget, that it touched us in a way that we kept coming back,” Sister Ellen said. “As Kathy has so often called us together, we gather to witness and give thanks, to celebrate and affirm Kathy’s ongoing Dominican identity.”
In reflecting on her decision to become an Associate, Kathy spoke of her recent experience of serving on the Resilient Communities Committee for the Dominican Midwest Chapter, based in Chicago. In response to the Congregation’s 2016 Enactment to “facilitate and participate in creating resilient communities with people who are relegated to the margins,” each geographic Chapter formed a committee to work with local organizations to build a resilient community, one in which the people work together to make sure their needs are met and are able to recover quickly from adverse situations.
“It was a wonderful experience to work with that committee,” Kathy said. “I think that sense of community really turned the page for me.”
Kathy also spoke of the community experience she felt as an Adrian Dominican Sister. “My six years left an indelible impression on me and stayed with me all my life – in my family and my work,” she said. “A community supports you and cares for you, but also challenges you to do your best.”
The ritual concluded with Kathy signing the Agreement of Association, which signifies her formal commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. In response, members of the virtual gathering bestowed the Dominican Blessing on Kathy, asking for the blessings of the Holy Trinity on her.
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, Co-Director of Vocations, at 517-266-3532 or email@example.com.
Feature photo: Participants in Kathy Almaney’s Ritual of Acceptance into Associate Life extend their hands for the Dominican Blessing.
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.