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August 8, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, family members, friends, and colleagues of Sister Janet Capone, OP, gathered August 5-6, 2018, for two days of formal and informal services to honor the former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The special days included an August 5 wake and Vigil Service, during which participants shared their personal memories of Sister Janet, and the Funeral Mass and Rite of Committal on August 6. Participants also had the opportunity to share their memories after the formal Vigil Service on August 5, during the lunch that followed the Committal, and at various other informal gatherings.
Highlights of Sister Janet’s term as Prioress, from 1998 to 2004, included the merger of the Adrian Dominican Sisters with the Edmonds Dominican Sisters. In addition, she and the General Council oversaw the renovation of Holy Rosary Chapel, the construction of St. Catherine Chapel to replace the smaller Maria Chapel at the Dominican Life Center, and the renovation of Weber Retreat and Conference Center.
During the Vigil Service on the evening of August 5, Sister Mary Ann Caulfield, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Florida Mission Chapter, gave a eulogy, focusing on the life of Sister Janet. Read some of the details of her life here.
As a professed Adrian Dominican Sister, “Janet continued to grow as a woman of prayer, wisdom, and grace,” Sister Mary Ann said. Sister Janet’s mantra were the words she spoke to the Congregation at General Chapter 2004 toward the end of her term as Prioress of the Congregation. Drawing on the words of Lee Ann Womack in her song, “I Hope You Dance,” Sister Janet had told the Adrian Dominican Sisters, “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
Sister Mary Ann used that theme throughout her eulogy in describing Sister Janet’s various ministries and the spirit with which she lived. In September 2017, Sister Janet began to experience health issues “but continued the dance of life as a valiant and courageous woman until her death,” Sister Mary Ann said. “So, Janet, you have graced us with your presence. You have blessed us in so many ways. Now you rejoice with your Beloved. Your spirit dances with the divine presence. You are clothed in majesty.”
Sister Maureen Comer, OP, who had served on the General Council when Sister Janet was Prioress, maintained a friendship with Sister Janet after their terms in office. Sister Maureen drew on Sister Janet’s favorite quote from Rumi: “Beyond the place of right judgment and wrong judgment, there is a field. I will meet you there.”
“One of the outstanding gifts of Janet was that she would invite people to meet in that field, where one is known and accepted, right or wrong, and here we are – blessed persons, each one of us, and especially blessed because Janet Ann Capone came into our lives,” Sister Maureen said.
She further described Sister Janet as “the consummate educator,” who successfully taught first-grade students to read. “She was a great teacher for those of us a lot older than first grade,” Sister Maureen said. “She helped many to know who we are, to accept who we are, to celebrate who we are.”
Carole Goguen, Sister Janet’s grand-niece, spoke for the family. “We call Boston home, and while Sister Janet was not always present physically, her presence was always with us – a faraway friend who always answered the phone when we needed her. She was always watching over us. She was observant. She was thoughtful. She was helpful. She was concise – and she was ours,” Carolyn said. “Today, as we honor our sister, our friend, our friend, our leader, we should take comfort in knowing that our everyday angel on Earth now has a better view, and we’ll continue to honor her memory.”
During the funeral on August 6, Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, offered a brief reflection on Sister Janet and the courage she showed throughout her life – particularly during their visit in January 2018, when Sister Janet had begun to realize that she would likely not recover from cancer. “She said to me, ‘Pat, I have placed myself within the heart of God. I know that it’s safe there.’ And that is one of Janet’s last gifts to us: her placing herself into God’s heart. It gives us permission to do the same.”
Sister Eunice Drazba, OP, who had ministered with Sister Janet at Emmaus Community in St. Louis, delivered a reflection, focusing in turn on each of the readings. The first reading, from Wisdom, described a valiant, faithful woman. “What gives this woman wisdom and makes her faithful?” Sister Eunice asked. “Being able to dance for joy and in sorrow, knowing her labors are worthwhile and pursuing them daily, and a step at a time.”
Psalm 111, the responsorial psalm, “leads us to giving thanks to God and celebrating the goodness present to us daily,” Sister Eunice said. “Janet lived these praises daily, starting each day putting two feet on the floor and showing up. This was one of her mottos: just show up. In showing up, we trust God to be with and lead us to our next move, decision, choice, plan.”
Describing the Beatitudes as “the blueprints of walking with Jesus,” Sister Eunice noted that Sister Janet “created and followed her blueprint that Jesus modeled.” She invited the assembly, in memory of Sister Janet, to reflect on their own lives as inspired by the readings and to “tweak or affirm our own blueprint for the life worth living.”
The formal farewell to Sister Janet concluded at the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ cemetery, where Sister Janet was laid to rest in the circle of discipleship and friendship among other Adrian Dominican Sisters who have joined the Communion of Saints in Heaven.
Feature photo (top): Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, places into the hands of Sister Janet Capone, OP, vows she made as a Sister.
Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor, blesses Sister Janet during the Rite of Committal in the Congregation Cemetery.
May 19, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Several hundred people gathered in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse May 18-19 to bid farewell to Sister Nadine Foley, OP. Sister Nadine was Prioress of the Congregation from 1986 to 1992 and was an influential figure in religious life.
Attending the Vigil Service and Funeral Liturgy were Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, nearly 40 family members, representatives of other religious orders, and Sister Nadine’s former students and colleagues.
The Vigil Service on May 18 gave the assembly the opportunity to welcome Sister Nadine’s body, reflect on Scripture passages, to share personal stories about Sister Nadine, and commend her to God.
“This is a poignant moment for us as a congregation,” Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, noted in her welcome to members of the assembly. Even with the sadness of the loss, she said, “we know she is indeed looking down upon us and bestowing on us her love, wisdom, and insights.”
After the Scriptures were proclaimed, Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, Chapter Prioress, led off a period of personal sharing with a summary of Sister Nadine’s life and influence. “It is no easy task to tell the story of this accomplished woman – author, preacher, teacher, vocalist, leader, advocate for women’s rights – the list goes on,” she said.
Sister Mary Jane shared Sister Nadine’s life story through the framework of two instructions by St. Catherine of Siena, great Dominican mystic and reformer: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire” and “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.” Sister Nadine found her voice through her years as educator, leader of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, leader in religious life throughout the nation, and advocate for women’s rights, Sister Mary Jane said.
“Nadine, you were all that God meant you to be and you did, indeed, set the world on fire,” Sister Mary Jane said.
Members of the 1986-1992 General Council who served with Sister Nadine spoke in turn on Sister Nadine’s influence on their lives and in their leadership.
Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, now President of Barry University, was a student of Sister Nadine’s. “I have often said that I am because of my parents love,” Sister Linda said. “But I am Adrian Dominican because of Nadine.”
Sisters Sharon Weber, OP, and Donna Markham, OP, described Sister Nadine’s as trusting the Holy Spirit and being an extraordinary mentor of leadership.
Other speakers recalled their own special memories of Sister Nadine, sharing them through touching and humorous stories. Tricia Foley and Michael Foley – among the youngest of Sister Nadine’s seven siblings – shared stories of experiencing her as an older sister who had already left home before they were born, and learning through the years to relate to her as a beloved sister.
The Funeral Liturgy on May 19 gave Sisters and guests another opportunity to celebrate the life of Sister Nadine and to rejoice in the eternal life that she gained through her death.
During her preaching, Sister Attracta Kelly described Mary Magdalen and St. Catherine of Siena as examples of women sent by Jesus on apostolic missions. Sister Nadine, influenced by both of those women, “believed we were summoned to express our charism of preaching,” Sister Attracta said. “She thought of us as called to be peacemakers and reconcilers, to share our charism with others … with the whole world.”
Noting that Sister Nadine “was never very elaborate in her praise,” Sister Attracta added, “We always knew that [Sister Nadine’s] constant challenge to us, as well as to the entire congregation, was the same challenge that Catherine left to us: ‘Be all that you can be and you will set the world on fire.’ ”
Just as music was a major component of Sister Nadine’s life, so it played a key role in the final celebration of her life. Her niece, Maura, sang a prelude. The Chapel Choir, made up of Sisters and Associates, added to the atmosphere of reverence, hope, and joy as they sang O Sacrum Convivium for their long-time member.
Finally, members of the assembly processed with Sister Nadine to her final resting place in the Congregation’s cemetery, a “circle of friendship and discipleship” for Adrian Dominican Sisters who joined the Communion of Saints in Heaven.
Read Come Wisdom: Remembering Sr. Nadine Foley, written by Sister Elise D. García, published by Global Sisters Report:
Read more about Sister Nadine’s life and contributions:
Read Sister Nadine’s obituary and watch her Vigil Service, Funeral, and an interview: