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October 31, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Siena Heights University undergraduate social work students and clinical mental health master’s degree students now have a dedicated space to practice their counseling skills and receive feedback. On October 14, 2023, during Homecoming weekend, the University dedicated the Sister Peg Albert Social Work Simulation and Practice Lab.
A classroom in the lower level of the science wing of Sacred Heart Hall was renovated to create the social work classroom and lab. The lab was named in honor of Sister Peg, who retired in July 2023 after serving 17 years as President of Siena Heights University. Before serving in administration, Sister Peg ministered as a social worker, particularly with college students.
“I’m humbled and honored to have the Social Work Simulation and Practice Lab named in my honor,” said Sister Peg, who could not attend the dedication. “Social work is a much-needed profession today with all the mental health issues people are experiencing, particularly since COVID. Siena Heights social workers will be well trained, given the opportunity to learn by using the lab and receiving feedback from others.”
Sister Peg said she “loved every minute” that she practiced social work, especially with college students. “I knew that my time with them was sacred because of their willingness to share their deepest thoughts and emotions with me … I used my social work skills throughout my whole life, whatever I was doing.”
Douglas Palmer, PhD, President of Siena Heights University, said the University was founded “to bring light in places that were cast in darkness – the light of education but also the light of service. I can think of no better dedication for Sister Peg, nor better outreach of our mission here at Siena Heights, than training the future generations of social workers to go out into the world and bring light into the darkness.”
Elizabeth Davis, Director of the Social Work program, noted that, of about 12 social work programs in Michigan, Siena Heights University is one of only five that offers students a simulation and practice lab – and one of only two bachelor’s degree programs to do so. “This has been a dream for seven years, and it has finally come to fruition,” she said. “Typically, students would have to wait to get to the MSW level to have such a space …. We are really on the cutting edge here.”
The lab includes a classroom with two smaller rooms in the back: one replicating a typical social worker’s office and the other a home situation. Students have the opportunity to practice their skills in these rooms. Cameras will allow classmates to watch the practice on an 86-inch screen and offer feedback. Another portion of the lab includes a circle of chairs, allowing students to practice leading groups.
Susan Shelangoskie, Vice President of Academic Affairs – who brought Elizabeth’s proposal to the President’s Cabinet for approval – noted the hard work that Elizabeth put into the project, from cleaning the floor to preparing the room to be painted. “She has put a lot of sweat equity into this, as well as a lot of her intellectual skill and expertise,” she said.
Sister Sharon Weber, OP, who served with Sister Peg as Vice President of Academic Affairs, led in the blessing of the lab. “We ask you to bless the individuals, the faculty, and students who will use this space to teach and learn the skills that will help them and the many lives they will touch in the future,” she prayed. “Most especially, we ask you to bless the relationships that the skills in social work and counseling will develop here and through many years into the future through the work of our future alums.”
Sister Sharon also prayed for blessings on Sister Peg, “for whom we dedicate this space and who brought her own social work education and skills to benefit so many in her lifetime, and especially in her time in leadership here at Siena Heights.”
After the blessing, the approximately 35 Social Work faculty members and students, administrators, alumnae, and friends stayed to enjoy refreshments and tour the new lab before participating in other Homecoming events.
March 27, 2023, Mining, Pampanga, Philippines – With profound joy and gratitude, the Adrian Dominican Sisters of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter dedicated their new Central House, which serves as a residence and office building. The celebration included Mass; a formal dedication and blessing of the building and its rooms; and a festive dinner.
Nearly 300 people attended the event, including more than two dozen clergy from dioceses where the Sisters minister. The Mass was concelebrated by four bishops, including Florentino Lavarias, DD, Archbishop of San Fernando; Paciano Aniceto, DD, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga; Bishop Roberto Calara Mallari of the Diocese of San Jose (Neuva Ecija); and the Bishop of the Diocese of Caloocan (near Manila), Pablo Virgilio David, who is President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. Also attending were members of the Pampanga Association of Women Religious and of the Dominican Sisters International from the Philippines; Adrian Dominican Sisters from the United States, including former Prioress Patricia Siemen, OP, current Prioress Elise D. García, OP, former General Councilor and Administrator Frances Nadolny, OP, and current General Councilor and Vicaress Lorraine Réaume, OP; local officials; lay Dominicans; and students, co-workers, and friends of the Our Lady of Remedies Sisters.
The Central House replaces the original Motherhouse of the Our Lady of Remedies Dominican Congregation, founded in the 1960s with support in the formation process from the Adrian Dominican Congregation. In 2011, the Our Lady of Remedies Congregation merged with the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Left: A happy crowd gathers for the ribbon cutting of the stairs leading to another floor of the Central House. Right: Sisters process through the corridors of the new Central House, named the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies.
In 2022, the Sisters in the Philippines were asked to vacate their Motherhouse – located on land owned by the Archdiocese of San Fernando – so the Archdiocese could use the space to expand its seminary.
The three-story Central House, named the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies, is on the campus of the Dominican School of Angeles City, a mission of the Sisters, in the barangay or neighborhood of Mining, Province of Pampanga, Philippines. The building includes nearly 40 bedrooms, offices for the Chapter Prioress and the Treasurer, a chapel, a conference room, archives, refectories (dining rooms) for Sisters and guests; a kitchen; a community room; and outdoor areas, such as a labyrinth, grotto in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a greenhouse. It also will include solar panels and improved Internet and Wi-Fi.
Left: Long view of the chapel. Right: The dining room.
In an earlier interview, Sister Maria Yolanda G. Manapsal, OP, Chapter Prioress of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, spoke of the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies as a place that can serve the people of Mining. “We are planning to extend our ministry to the street children of Mining,” she said. “It will be a great opportunity to work with people who are poor.”
In her address to the assembly toward the end of Mass, Sister Yolanda expressed deep gratitude for the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies. “Our hearts are filled with joy and gladness with this dream come true,” Sister Yolanda said. “After saying good-bye to our Motherhouse where we lived for almost 50 years, God has surprised us with this edifice.” She described the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies as a “beautiful home we can call our very own,” and credited the “grace; divine providence; and the outpouring love, mercy, and compassion of our God.”
Sister Yolanda thanked all who helped in the funding and construction of the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies: the 2016-2022 General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters; other benefactors, sponsors, friends, and family whose donations made the building’s construction possible; local government officials; the construction company and the landscaper; Sisters in the Mission Chapter who solicited donations and helped in the preparation of seedlings for the garden; members of the previous Mission Council, headed by former Chapter Prioress Sister Rosita Yaya, OP; members of the Construction Committee; and other Adrian Dominican Sisters.
“God will surely bestow upon you hundredfold blessings,” Sister Yolanda said. She concluded by asking God to “make us worthy of this place by being blessings to others, too, and give us the grace to become the best version of ourselves for others.”
Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, offered her own words of encouragement to the Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter and to all who were involved in the construction of the Adrian Dominican House of Remedies.
“The construction of this convent is a sign of hope in our world – not just here in Mining, not just here in Pampanga or the Philippines, but truly a sign of hope for our entire world that there is a presence of our beautiful Dominican community here – a witness to the love of God that is within us and that is manifested by each and every one of the Sisters who will call this Dominican house home from this day forward,” she said.