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September 28, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, former Administrator and General Councilor of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, was named a member of the General Council on September 14, 2023, and will serve in that role through 2028. The General Council unanimously elected her to fill a vacancy left by General Councilor Janice Brown, OP, who resigned in August due to health issues.
The Adrian Dominican Sister General Council is “the governmental unit that provides for and directs the life in mission of the Congregation,” according to the Congregation’s Constitution and Statutes. Members of the General Council are generally elected by Sisters serving as Delegates at a General Chapter convened every six years. However, the Constitution further calls for the General Council to elect a successor to fill a vacancy left by a member before her term is completed.
Sister Frances took office on September 18, 2023. She was formally called forth into leadership by Prioress Elise D. García, OP, during a brief ritual at the beginning of Mass on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Sister Elise asked Sister Frances about her willingness to accept the responsibility of General Councilor to minister in collaboration with the rest of the General Council “by providing for and directing the life in mission of the Congregation and carrying forward the decisions and directions of General Chapter 2022.” Sister Frances accepted “willingly and happily.”
“We see in Fran a host of gifts and experience to bring to the table of leadership,” Sister Elise wrote in a September 14, 2023, letter to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, announcing the election. “She is someone who can hit the ground running and assume most any responsibility in our collective portfolio with great skill, dedication, and insight.”
Fran said that her previous service as a General Councilor was a privilege. “I’m very honored that the Congregation would put its trust in me once again to be of service in this ministry,” she added.
Sister Frances comes to the General Council with broad experience in Congregational leadership. From 2008 to 2014, she served as Chapter Prioress (Provincial) of the Sisters in the Congregation’s Great Lakes Dominican Mission Chapter based in Detroit. For the next two years, she directed the Congregation’s Ministry Trust Office, which provides grants to organizations in which Sisters are involved. Sister Frances was elected Administrator and General Councilor during General Chapter 2016 to serve on the 2016-2022 General Council.
The Archdiocese of Detroit also benefited from Sister Frances’ leadership and dedication. She served as Associate Superintendent and then Superintendent of
Schools for a total of 11 years. She also ministered for five years as the archdiocese’s Director of the Department of Education, overseeing several offices, including Schools, Catechetics, Family Life, Youth, and Young Adults. Sister Frances was principal twice: four years at St. Mary School in Royal Oak, Michigan, and five years at St. Thaddeus School in Chicago.
Serving on the 2022-2028 General Council with Sister Frances are Sister Elise; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Sisters Bibiana Colasito, OP, and Corinne Sanders, OP, General Councilors. They will serve in leadership through June 30, 2028.
September 26, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters was among a number of immigration and faith-based organizations to sign on to a formal letter to President Joseph Biden, calling on him to end the implementation of Title 42 that aims to keep migrants out of the United States. The plan was to deliver the letter in the days leading up to September 26, 2021, declared by the Vatican as the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.
Enacted under the Public Health Service Act of 1944, Title 42 gives the executive branch the authority to close U.S. borders to migrants when the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems that the United States faces a “serious danger to the introduction of [a communicable] disease” into the nation.
Title 42 was implemented by then-President Donald Trump in March 2020 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the presidential campaign, candidate Joseph Biden promised to create a more humane immigration policy.
The letter to President Biden – co-written by Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice – outlined four reasons that Title 42 should be rescinded.
“Title 42 is anti-science and perpetuates anti-immigrant tropes,” the letter states. “This policy continues even though epidemiologists and public health experts have indicated that Title 42 lacks health justification and actually threatens public health. This policy is a gross violation of human dignity of the migrants and refugees and this policy perpetuates a false, dehumanizing and hateful narrative that connects immigrants with disease.”
“Title 42 violates international human rights law and undermines U.S. credibility on the world stage,” the letter states. “Since the Trump Administration implemented the policy, no asylum seekers have been admitted resulting in a denial of their opportunity to begin the process of applying for asylum by being able to make a credible claim of threat in their home countries.”
Title 42 makes it impossible for President Biden to fulfill his campaign promise to “restore the soul of the nation” by returning to morality “in furtherance of just and humane law and policy.” The letter notes that Title 42 “fails to respect the dignity of refugees and migrants as well as not honoring the belief that every person images God.”
Title 42 is a violation of Jesus’ call to love one another. The letter calls on President Biden to heed the call of Pope Francis in his message for the 2021 World Day for Migrants and Refugees, to “make no distinction between natives and foreigners, between residents and guests, since it is a matter of a treasure we hold in common, from whose care and benefits no one should be excluded.”
Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Director of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Office of Immigration Assistance, pointed to Title 42 as one example of the nation’s broken immigration system. When people come to the border seeking asylum, they have already traveled far in “horrendous conditions” and are ready to tell an Immigration official about their need for asylum, Sister Attracta said. “The humane response was always that if people could say why they wanted asylum, they were allowed to come in, given a court date, and allowed to find an attorney to work with them.”
Sister Attracta noted that most people would not leave their homeland unless they felt compelled by a sense of desperation. “More often than not, people who leave home are doing so because they are in fear for their lives, in fear for the lives of their families and they’re trying to find a safe place to live,” she said.
Typically, asylum seekers come to the U.S. border with no resources, having sold their possessions to travel to the United States, Sister Attracta said. If they are deported, they return to their native country with nothing. “Many times they’re running from people who have threatened their lives and there’s no doubt that if they go back, for many of them it means that they will be killed,” she said.
“The problem is our immigration laws desperately need to be changed and nobody wants to take it on because politics has divided us totally,” Sister Attracta said. She spoke of her experience with clients who, as U.S. citizens, had tried to sponsor family members to come to the United States. Her clients and others like them are facing a years-long backlog. Currently, she said, immigration agents are working on cases from Argentina that were filed in 2003. Visas for family members from Mexico that were filed in 1999 are just now being processed, she added.
Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, Director of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, spoke of the plight of people who sought asylum during the years of the President Trump administration. Asylum seekers from throughout Latin America were made to stay in Mexico until their court date.
“This creates a whole different danger,” Sister Kathleen said. “They are subjected to violence. They’re robbed. The women are raped. They have nothing. It’s totally, totally unjust and it creates greater danger for the asylum seeker.”
Sister Kathleen noted that the current immigration system is “criminalizing migration into this country.” Migrants are put into detention centers and jails. “Why are we criminalizing people when all they are looking for is to be safe, to have a safe and secure life?”
While the situations of migrants are tragic, Sister Kathleen also pointed to the larger tragedy. “The real crisis is that there are so many people who are having to leave their homes because of famine, because of the climate, because of wars and oppression,” she said. She pointed to the thousands of Haitians who are encamped at the border town of Del Rio, Texas – many of whom have been deported back to Haiti – and of the thousands of Afghan refugees who fled their country.
Sister Kathleen said the letter to President Biden is an important step, adding that the World Day for Migrants and Refugees would be an appropriate day for him to rescind Title 42.