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July 15, 2019, San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines – Adrian Dominican Sisters from the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in the Pampanga region of the Philippines, expressed great joy at the July 13, 2019, election of Father Gerard Francisco Timoner, OP, as the next Master of the Dominican Order. He was elected during the Dominican Friars’ July 7-August 4, 2019, General Chapter, held in Biên Hoà, Vietnam.
“It’s a wonderful surprise that the Brothers elected an Asian and a Filipino at the same time,” said Sister Liberty “Libay” Mendoza, OP. “I think his election brings along the challenges of how Asian, Filipino Dominicans can share further, more substantially in the work of evangelization. … I guess it is the same call for the rest of us Filipino Dominicans, to be gifts to the world by making use of the gifts of who we are and what we can do for Jesus’ mission.”
Chapters are the meetings in which Catholic religious congregations set the agenda for the coming years and elect leadership to carry out that agenda.
Father Gerard, 51, will serve a nine-year term as Master of the Dominican Order, leading about 6,000 Dominican Friars in 80 countries. In addition, he will serve as head of the entire worldwide Dominican family, which encompasses cloistered nuns; active, apostolic Sisters; Dominican Laity associated formally with the Friars; lay Associates of the Congregations of Dominican Sisters; and Dominican movements such as Dominican Young Adults. He succeeds Father Bruno Cadoré, OP, of France.
“He has always been like a big brother to us,” Sister Libay said. She recalled the annual retreat that Father Gerard directed for the Sisters years ago as “one of the most relaxing retreats we ever had. He is quite down to Earth. He has a very good sense of humor, and during sessions he just loved telling stories.”
Sister Libay also recalled Father Gerard’s generosity in treating the Sisters to ice cream and his humility during the retreat he led. “One time he tried joining the Sisters doing the dishes,” she said. “One would not feel intimidated when he was around.”
Father Gerard – known affectionately by the Sisters of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter as “Father Gert” – was in religious formation with Sister May Cano, OP. The two were novices together, engaging in common studies of Dominican life and spirituality, and they served together in the formation of other Dominicans. “He was very simple, kind, brilliant, with deep reflections – a down to earth, intelligent, joyful Friar like St. Dominic,” Sister May recalled. In addition, he is “well versed in the Bible and full of wisdom.”
Born on January 26, 1968, in Daet, of the Camarines Norte province of the Philippines, Father Gerard studied philosophy at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies in Santo Domingo Church, Quezon City, in 1991 and earned his theology degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1994. Father Gerard later served the University as Vice Rector for Religious Affairs and as Rector of the central seminary.
Ordained in 1995, he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands in 2004.
Through the years, Father Gerard has served both the Dominican family and the Catholic Church: as Provincial in the Philippines; as Father Bruno’s assistant for Asia and the Pacific; and as a member of the Church’s International Theological Commission, appointed by Pope Francis in 2014.
After his election, Father Gerard issued a challenge to the Dominican family, quoted in an article in Good News Pilipanas.com: “We Dominicans must serve the Church with what we are: a communion of brothers,” he said. “We must not look continually at ourselves, but at the Church, which we must help to save and build.”
Father Gerard with the Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter after their annual retreat in 2012. Father Gerard led the retreat.
February 15, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Composting, recycling, and worms – those are some of the elements of the sustainability efforts at the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse Campus and the focus of the sustainability update presented by Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of Sustainability.
Living more sustainability is the focus of one of four Enactments approved by delegates at the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s 2016 General Chapter. The Sustainability Enactment calls on the Sisters as a Congregation and as individuals to “sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation.”
Sister Corinne spoke in particular of efforts by the Sisters to recycle when possible, and to compost organic material. Through the services of Key Green Solutions, the Congregation is able to track how much of its waste goes to the landfill or is recycled or composted, she said. This tracking system revealed that during the 2018 calendar year, some 85 percent of the waste from the Motherhouse campus went to the landfill. This benchmark could motivate Sisters and Co-workers on campus to focus more on recycling and composting to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill, Sister Corinne said.
Weber Retreat and Conference Center is systematically increasing the practice of composting on the Motherhouse Campus by providing plates, cups, and napkins made of compostable material. Sister Corinne added that the best way to cut down on waste, however, is to use the ceramic mugs available at Weber Center’s coffee station.
During much of the presentation, questions about specific practices in recycling and composting were raised as people on campus strive to live more sustainably. Living sustainably “takes a lot of creativity, a lot of thinking, and a lot of changed behavior,” Sister Corinne acknowledged.
On a lighter note, Sister Corinne noted the success of the Congregation’s efforts to compost through the vermiculture process, in which worms help to break down compostable material. The Motherhouse campus now hosts 150,000 worms in its composting bin, an intergenerational community.