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Jamie Caporizo, left, declares her desire to live in community and discern her call to vowed Dominican life as Prioress Elise D. García, OP, listens.

September 11, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – “I desire to live with you in community as I actively discern my call to vowed Dominican life.”

Those were the words of Jamie Caporizo as she declared her intention to enter the Adrian Dominican Sisters as a Candidate – the first formal step in the formation process that could ultimately lead to perpetual profession of vows with the Congregation.

Jamie was welcomed into the formation process – and into St. Catherine Chapel – on September 8, 2023, for the formal Rite of Entrance into Candidacy. The Rite was celebrated in the context of Vespers, the evening prayer of psalms observed by priests, religious, and cloistered monks and nuns. 

Sister Tarianne DeYonker,
OP, of the Vocations Team,
formally admits Jamie Caporizo
into St. Catherine Chapel for
the Rite of Entrance into
Candidacy with the Adrian
Dominican Sisters.

As a symbol of her entrance, Jamie knocked on the door of St. Catherine Chapel and was admitted by Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP, of the Vocations Team, to join the assembly of Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and members of her family and circle of friends.

Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Council Liaison to Vocations and Formation, reflected on a passage from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy (1:3-14). “Jamie, like Timothy, you have come with a sincere faith from a family and life experiences that made you who you are,” she said. “You now generously bring yourself, in response to God’s call, to say, ‘Yes, I will take this step.’”

Sister Lorraine encouraged Jamie to tune into Holy Spirit FM – to the “spirit of power and love” – rather than to Ego FM. “You are joining us in that spirit of love in a very special way this day,” she said.

The brief ritual included the affirmation of Jamie’s readiness to begin Candidacy with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, provided by Sister Tarianne and Katherine Frazier, OP, members of the Vocations team who walked with Jamie during her discernment to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation. Sister Patricia Walter, OP, Formation Director, presented Jamie with the Mission Statement of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

“I can’t believe this day has arrived,” Jamie said. “After working for several years to plan the professions of Sisters of the Holy Cross, I can’t believe it is now time for me to focus my efforts and desires toward my own journey in religious life. I am very excited and grateful to the community and my family and friends for their support. Please pray for me.”

General Councilors Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, left, and Corinne Sanders, OP, join the rest of the assembly in praying the Dominican Blessing over Jamie Caporizo.

As a candidate, Jamie will minister in the food pantry and the Dire Needs Office at the St. Mary campus of Holy Family Parish in Adrian. In addition, she will work with Sister Mary E. Jones, OP, in coordinating programs at Siena Heights University, a sponsored institution of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Jamie’s studies this year will include Spanish, Hebrew Scripture, and the history of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

A native of Stamford, Connecticut, and the middle of the three children of James and Sheila Caporizo, she felt an early interest in both music and religious life. Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and choral conducting from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a master’s degree in sacred music from the University of Notre Dame. 

Jamie’s first job took her back to Stamford, where she taught music for five years at her alma mater, Rippowam School. While earning her master’s degree, she worked as a liturgy intern with the Sisters of the Holy Cross and, after graduation, worked for the Sisters for five years as Director of Music and Liturgy. While discerning her call to enter the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Jamie began serving as Director of Campus Ministry and then as Senior Director of Mission and Ministry at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, founded by the Bernadine Franciscan Sisters. She continued to feel her call to religious life with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and applied for entrance in December 2022.

“I’m always a musician because that’s how I most identify, but I’ve always kept this thread of education: teaching at a Bernadine Franciscan University, serving as a musician, still involved in planning campus ministry and training cantors,” Jamie said. She looks forward to her year as a Candidate with the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

View the recording of the Rite of Entrance below or in our video library.

Celebrating the Commencement are, from left, graduates Derek Rankins Jr., and Aisha C. Young; Dr. C. Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University of Louisiana; Joan Rutherford, aunt of graduate Aubry Osborn, who was absent due to illness; and graduates Princess McEvilley and Connie McCalla.

August 10, 2023, New Orleans, Louisiana – “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!”

That was the greeting that Sister Jamie Phelps, OP, gave to graduates, faculty members, and administrators at Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) in her commencement address for the IBCS Master of Theology Program. The three-week summer module focused on the theme, “Here I Am – Send Me.”

Sister Jamie Phelps, OP, former Director of the IBCS,
gives the commencement address.
Photo by Irving Johnson III, 2023 IBCS Commencement

Sister Jamie congratulated the graduates – Connie McCalla, Princess McEvilley, Aubry Osborn, Derek Rankins, and Aisha Young – for completing the module, part of the IBCS mission to prepare people for ministry with communities of Black Catholics. 

Sister Jamie also encouraged the assembly to rejoice that the graduates responded to God’s call. “They have committed themselves to theological study, to enhance and root their response to their call to engage in the Church’s ministry in the world. … Let us join our graduates in their promises to continue the mission of Jesus.” 

At a reception later in the day, the Adrian Dominican Sisters were recognized for endowing a $500,000 in Sister Jamie’s name. “Echoing our words of intention, IBCS Director Kathleen Dorsey Bellow said that we made it as an act of reparation for our complicity in the sin of racism and as an investment in the future that IBCS is creating,” said Prioress Elise D. García, OP, who accompanied Sister Jamie to the celebration. “They gifted us with a beautiful statue of a Sankofa bird, which symbolizes looking back at the past to make positive progress in the future.” 

For Sister Jamie, the brief visit to the IBCS was a return to the past, to an institute she was instrumental in founding. In October 1978, she participated in the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, which convened for the first time. Symposium participants proposed the IBCS as a way to sustain the efforts of Black Catholic theologians. Sister Jamie and Father Thaddeus Posey, OFM Cap., then met with the President of Xavier University to start the IBCS. “We had a great meeting with the president, and he agreed to it,” she recalled. 

From left, Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation; Sister Sylvia Thibodeaux, SSF; and Father Roy A. Lee, PhD, IBCS Associate Director
Photo by Irving Johnson III, 2023 IBCS Commencement

Sister Jamie joined the faculty of IBCS after receiving her doctorate in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America. She went on to serve on the faculty of the IBCS and directed the Institute for eight years.

“The purpose was to provide education for Blacks and non-Blacks to do effective ministry in the Black Catholic community,” Sister Jamie explained. “To do effective ministry in a community, you need to know the history and culture of that community and the social and cultural circumstances. You can only do that by being in the community.” 

Sister Jamie believes that the Institute has had an impact over the years, helping parishes nationwide. “We have Black Catholic parishes that have enculturated our liturgy,” helping them to create music, liturgy, and a style that reflects the Black community, she said. 

“The people in the pew get a deeper understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ by following the mission of Jesus in their particular context,” Sister Jamie said. “The fact that the Institute is still living suggests to me that this is something that God wanted to happen for us to guarantee an improved ministry in the Black Catholic community.”

Read more about the commencement ceremony in an article by Nate Tinner-Williams in Black Catholic Messenger. 



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