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December 27, 2021, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – During the time of year that focuses on the birth of Jesus, Sister Carol Gross, OP, gave a live stream presentation on a central figure of the nativity: Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother.
Sister Carol’s talk, “Devotion to Mary in Latin America,” was presented on December 9, 2021, the day after the patronal feast of the United States, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and three days before the December 12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is especially revered in Mexico and by many Hispanic people in the United States.
The talk was part of a series of presentations organized by the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Spirituality Committee. Sister Carol spoke from her home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Sister Carol described in general the Marian piety of many of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean – a popular piety involving the heart. In times of need, she said, this devotion to Mary “soothes pain and strengthens hope – the loving, healing, consoling power of God or God’s mother, who is the stand-in for God at the center of Latin American culture.”
Throughout the centuries, Sister Carol said, Mary has appeared to suffering people in a variety of images – suited to the people of a particular culture to help them to understand God’s love for them. “Myths and legends attributed to an icon of Mary speak to the needs of the people,” she explained.
Sister Carol highlighted a number of images of Mary that are popular in various parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our Lady of Altagracia (“high grace”) is the cultural image of Mary in the Dominican Republic. She is known as the Protectress of the Dominican Republic, Sister Carol added. The image was originally brought home by a merchant to his daughter in the Dominican Republic. A basilica now houses the image, and about 8,000 people visit the basilica every year. On January 21, the Feast of Our Lady of Altagracia, people who cannot visit the basilica take part in Masses, novenas, and processions at their home parishes.
Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mary appeared as a pregnant Aztec woman in 1531 to St. Juan Diego, an Aztec who had converted to the Catholic faith, at Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. Because of her appearance, Sister Carol said, “The native people of Mexico began to recognize the Catholic faith. They say, ‘This virgin looks like us. She is ours and we are hers.’” The Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe “is our mother,” Sister Carol said. “As a mother she understands, relates, protects, listens, comforts.”
The Immaculate Conception: Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is the Patroness of the United States and of other countries, such as Nicaragua, who revere her as La Purisima, the most pure one, Sister Carol said. At sundown on December 7, the eve of the feast, people in Nicaragua “flood into the streets in groups, singing hymns to La Purisima,” Sister Carol said. The feast refers to Mary’s conception without original sin, not to the conception of Jesus.
Learn more about various Marian devotions in Latin America in the recording of Sister Carol’s presentation, found below.
June 25, 2021, Chicago – The Adrian Dominican Congregation received two awards from the Catholic Media Association for a video and for its 2020-2021 Annual Report.
The Catholic Media Association announced the awards on June 10, 2021, at the end of its virtual annual conference. Normally, during in-person conferences, the awards are announced at a closing awards banquet.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters received the following awards:
“Hope for Haina,” a video produced as part of a series of Christmas fundraising videos, took Honorable Mention in the category of Best Freestanding Presentation of an Online Video: Social Justice Issues. The video explores the work and the benefits of a medical clinic, supported by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, that has offered healthcare and hope to roughly 15,000 children and adults living in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. Recognized for this project were Ashley (LaVigne) Concord, Project Coordinator and Interviewer, and Scott Miller, Videographer and Editor.
“The Greatest of These Is Love,” the 2020-2021 Annual Report for the Adrian Dominican Congregation, took third place in the category of Best Annual Report for a Catholic Nonprofit Organization. “This report excels in its attention to specific, tangible outcomes from donor donations, as well as contextualizing profiles in terms of their financial need and reliance on donations,” the judges wrote. Among those recognized for the project were Angela Kessler, Editor; Amy Palmer, Director of Development; Barbara Kelley, OP, Writer; and Ashley Duke, Graphic Designer.
The video and annual report involved the team efforts of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Development and Communications Departments. Along with the staff members already mentioned, they include Sheila Wathen, Communications, and Laura Brosamer, Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP, Catherine Witt, and Jolene Witt, Development.
Feature photo: A video on Hope for Haina, a medical clinic that has served 15,000 adults and children in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic, received Honorable Mention from the Catholic Media Association.