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September 22, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Six people formalized their connection to the Adrian Dominican Congregation on September 14, 2023, during the virtual Ritual of Reception for new Adrian Dominican Associates. The Associates and their mentors participated in the ritual through Zoom.
Adrian Dominican 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 are invited to participate in various spiritual, social, and ministerial experiences with the Sisters and other Associates and attend congregational events.
“Our six Associate candidates and their mentors have spent a great deal of time and energy preparing for this day,” said Associate Nancy Mason Bordley, Director of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Office of Dominican Charism. “Each candidate has acknowledged their desire to take this next step and have discerned many ways to live and proclaim the Dominican Charism as members of the Dominican family.
Following are the new Adrian Dominican Associates.
• Tom Brady was taught by Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Denis School in Chicago. “They exemplified the whole idea of reading the signs of the times,” Tom said. “There was always a food drive.” His mentor, Sister Norine Burns, OP, spoke of how Tom followed the Sisters’ example. “Tom is a dedicated teacher in the Chicago Public Schools,” working for 30 years with children from the inner city, she said. He shows his loving presence to his wife, Catherine, and their twins, Mary Kate and Patrick, 15, and the adults he tutors at Aquinas Literacy Center.
• Mark Domingo met the Adrian Dominican Sisters through his work in the Community Health Department of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada. He oversees three wellness centers in the Las Vegas Valley. Mark said that the foundation of his Catholic faith through his upbringing in the Philippines prepared him to embark on his Dominican journey. “Mark has a great passion for serving those in need in our community,” said Sister Kathleen McGrail, OP, his mentor who also works at St. Rose. “He speaks of seeing life now through the lens of an Adrian Dominican Associate.”
• Barbara Smith Henning was taught by the Adrian Dominican Sisters at Aquinas High School in Chicago and was a member of the Congregation from 1965 through 1989. Four years later, she met Leo Henning and married him in 1995. Barbara worked for more than 20 years as the Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice House of Mid-Michigan. Associate Trudy McSorley, her mentor and former Sister, noted Barbara’s hunger for the Dominican Charism. “This past year, I have found my way back home to discern how to live my life in a community that values prayer and service,” Barbara said.
• Sharese Mathis was inspired to become an Adrian Dominican Associate while serving as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Siena Heights University from July 2015 to May 2021. “I realized my personal values aligned with being a Dominican,” Sharese said. She was involved in the University’s Torch Bearers program – run by her mentor, Sister Mary Jones, OP – which teaches the Siena Heights community about the Adrian Dominican Charism. “It didn’t take me long to realize that Sharese has a Dominican heart,” Sister Mary said. “She has brought her love of the Dominican Charism to Albion College,” where she serves as Assistant Dean for Campus Life.
• Jean Schlicklin-Tyler, of Ontario, is “a grateful, justice-based, forthright, enthusiastic woman” who felt called in 1978 to be an Adrian Dominican Sister and, in 1991, to leave the Congregation for her call back to the land and service to the poor, said her mentor, Sister Arlene Kosmatka, OP. Married to Godfrey, a farmer, she is the mother of two young adults and mentor to young farmers. “Having been with the Adrian Dominican Sisters earlier, I continue to share the Charism with prayer, study, mission, and community,” Jean said. “This gives me a feeling of being home.”
• Jayne Marie Yenko, who lives in a remote area of Wyoming with her husband, Steve, learned about the Adrian Dominican Associates through her youngest sister, Associate Melinda Mullin. Jayne teaches online and coordinates a court-appointed, multi-disciplinary team for juvenile cases. Associates Connie Brady and Gerry Starrat mentored Jayne. Connie noted that Jayne finds community in ways such as book clubs, including one organized by Associates. “I was amazed by the people in the book clubs,” Jayne said. “I knew it was something I was missing in life.” Being an Associate will help her connect with others in a more sustained way, she said.
The Ritual for the Reception of the new Associates included music, readings, and preaching on the Beatitudes by Associate James Mallare. After the new Associates were introduced by their mentors and formally requested to be received as Adrian Dominican Associates, they signed formal documents of commitment to the Congregation and the Dominican Charism.
Associates share the Dominican Charism with the Sisters, as well as Co-workers at the Motherhouse and in sponsored institutions, alums of Adrian Dominican schools, benefactors, and those searching for community and spirituality in their lives.
For information on becoming an Adrian Dominican Associate, contact Nancy Mason Bordley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-266-3534. If you are a single Catholic woman interested in vowed life with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, contact email@example.com or 517-266-3532.
September 6, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Congregation formally welcomed four new Associates August 28, 2022, during a Ritual of Acceptance held via Zoom.
Associates are women and men at least 18 years of age who feel called to the Dominican Charism (spirit) and who make a non-vowed commitment to associate themselves with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and with other Associates. While maintaining their independent lifestyle, they are invited to share in the Sisters’ mission, ministries, and spiritual and social activities.
Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, welcomed about 78 participants: the new Associates, their mentors, Associates, Sisters, family members, and friends.
During her reflection, Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Council Liaison to Associate Life, noted that the ritual takes place during a time of transition. The 2016-2022 General Council is preparing for the formal transfer of leadership on October 8, 2022, to the General Council elected in June at the 2022 General Chapter. The Ritual of Acceptance also takes place as Associate Life is being enfolded into the new Office of Dominican Charism, which will also encourage the charism among Co-workers at the Motherhouse and sponsored institutions, benefactors, and other Partners in Mission.
“We’re all setting out on a new journey with an extended view of our Dominican Charism,” Sister Patricia said. “It’s an important time to be part of our being together.”
Mary led the Ritual of Acceptance, calling on the mentors to introduce the prospective Associates and asking the Associates of their reason for answering the call to become an Associate.
Jane Bertsch, a native of Missouri, moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where she was taught by the Adrian Dominican Sisters at Cardinal Newman High School. She was an Adrian Dominican Sister for 11 years, but never lost a connection to the Congregation. She has served in religious education, as Director of Training and Organizational Development for the Detroit Public Transportation Department, and as Executive Director of Guest Relations for the Detroit Medical Center. Since her retirement, she has served in literacy training and hospice care.
“Although I left the community 12 years ago, my contact has remained strong,” she said. “I have always considered this group to be a source of inspiration and support.” Through Cross Threads, a group of former Adrian Dominican Sisters, Jane learned about Associate Life.
Jane “embodies the Dominican foundational elements or threads woven together,” said Sister Suzanne Schreiber, OP, one of Jane’s two mentors. “As a seeker with an inquiring mind, study is her natural way into prayer and contemplation. Always open to new insights, Jane seeks to go deeper.”
Associate Judith Engel, Jane’s other mentor, affirmed Jane’s inquisitive mind, noting her own delight in reconnecting with Jane. “Jane always was and always will be a Dominican called to give a sense of truth in her life,” she said.
Patricia “Patty” Driscoll-Shaw, of Huntley, Illinois, is also a former Adrian Dominican Sister. Sister Esther Kennedy, OP, her mentor, described Patty’s 32 years of ministry as an Adrian Dominican Sister, serving as nurse and as a healthcare advocate for the people in need in Peru, Guatemala, Panama, and Honduras. In her love for mission work, Patty discerned becoming a Maryknoll associate and, while ministering in Guatemala, met another Maryknoll missionary, Dan Driscoll, whom she married.
Noting Patty and Dan’s continued solidarity “with all the people suffering in the world,” Sister Esther spoke of the couple’s work in marriage preparation and in other areas with African American people in Chicago. Sister Esther noted that Patty, now suffering from health problems, is “actually living now a really wonderful ministry of presence, responding to the call with greater awareness and responsiveness to your circumstances.”
Patty said she was impressed by the Adrian Dominican Sisters from the time she was about 6 years old and walked seven blocks to school every day. “I loved walking behind the Sisters and carrying their books and hearing them laugh,” she said. She noted the Sisters’ “lightness and yet a depth for issues and people and things that need depth. … All that laughter unites us to our mission – the depth to bring us to various ministries in the mission but always with the presence of God.”
Danoushka Capponi, now residing in Miami, Florida, met the Adrian Dominicans through her involvement at Barry University. Born in Cannes, France, she moved to Belgium at the age of 7. She met her husband – who died 24 years ago – while attending the College of New Rochelle in New York. Her son Michael founded Global Empowerment Mission (GEM), a nonprofit organization that brings aid to any area suffering from natural disasters or conflict. He serves as President and Director of Global Operations for the USA, Caribbean, and South America and the European regions. Danoushka serves as Director of Educational Programs.
Danoushka spoke of her spiritual life as a young girl and her desire to be foolish in the eyes of the world and wise in God’s eyes. “The whole Holy Trinity got to work on me,” she said. “God the Father whose loving presence has been warming my heart; the Son who spoke to me in Galilee and gave me a specific roadmap to mission; and the Holy Spirit who guided me to Barry.” Danoushka thanked Mary Lach for her influence as well. “I will proudly proclaim the Dominican Charism of truth,” she said.
Sister Mary Frances Fleischaker, OP, her mentor, came to know Danoushka through her involvement at Barry University. “One of the things that impresses me most about Danoushka is her deep involvement in international connections with social justice and charity,” Sister Mary Frances said.
James Mallare, a licensed public health practitioner, is a doctoral candidate at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he met the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, a member of James’s dissertation committee, invited him to Adrian to help her with a study on retired Adrian Dominican Sisters. While in Adrian, he became acquainted with the Dominican Charism.
Sister Carol Jean Kesterke, OP, his mentor, noted that he was born in Windsor, Ontario, and in 2013 moved to Detroit to become a U.S. citizen. His connection to the Adrian Dominican Sisters grew as the Sisters prayed for him when he faced health problems, she said.
“In his third year, James experienced a tugging of the Spirit to explore a new form of spiritual life,” Sister Carol Jean said. “I have found James to be thoughtful. With [his] previous Franciscan formation and his recent embrace of our Dominican charism, there’s this dynamic going on in him as he attempts to integrate them.”
James noted that his call to Associate Life was “not a straight path. Nothing in our life is. When I first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters, it was then that I knew how Elizabeth must have felt during her visitation with Mary – each Adrian Dominican carrying Christ within herself, and me, excited but scared.”
The Ritual of Acceptance continued with each new Associate lighting a candle that had been given to them as a symbol of the light of Christ. Mary asked the new Associates and their mentors to sign a document formally recognizing their commitment to the Adrian Dominican Congregation and invited the Associates to put on their Associate logo.
Candidates for Associate Life undergo a period of formation, during which they study Dominican history and spirituality and come to know the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. For information about joining Associate Life, contact Mary Lach, Director, 517-266-3531, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Associate Nancy Mason Bordley, Director of the Office of Dominican Charism, 517-266-3534 or email@example.com.