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August 25, 2022, St. Louis, Missouri – As Sister Elise García, OP, completed her three-year leadership commitment to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Executive Director Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, praised her for the extraordinary spirit she brought to the organization during the challenging times of COVID-19 and other global crises. She described Sister Elise as a “manifestation of global sisterhood” with “an incredible capacity to create integrative partnerships, and clearly the Gospel message in the public square is what your life is about.”
The words of praise came during the LCWR’s general assembly, held August 9-12, 2022, in St. Louis, Missouri. This was the first time since the pandemic that the annual assembly was held in person.
Sister Elise, a General Councilor for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, was elected President-elect of the LCWR during the 2019 general assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona. She served as President-Elect, 2019-2020; President, 2020-2021; and Past President, 2021-2022. Before her election, she served on the LCWR National Board.
The LCWR is comprised of the elected leadership of Catholic Sisters, representing about 80% of women religious in the United States.
Sister Elise was elected to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council during its General Chapter in 2016. During the 2022 General Chapter held in late June, she was elected to serve as Prioress, succeeding Sister Patricia Siemen, OP. Sister Elise and the newly elected General Council – Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor, and Sisters Janice Brown, OP, Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, and Corinne Sanders, OP – will take office on October 8, 2022.
Read the full article about the 2022 LCWR general assembly, written by Soli Salgado and published by the National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report.
July 7, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – In a historic General Chapter, the Adrian Dominican Sisters elected their next Prioress and General Council and set the direction for the next six years.
Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, formally opened the Congregation’s 19th General Chapter, held June 27 to July 2, 2022, in the Marriott Chicago O’Hare Hotel. The dates and place of General Chapter 2022 were an unprecedented departure from the Congregation’s practice of meeting in Chapter in February at the Motherhouse in Adrian. The changes were made to keep the Sisters who reside at the Motherhouse – as well as the Delegates – as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chapter’s 125 Delegates elected a Prioress and General Council to lead the Congregation through June 30, 2028. They will formally take office in October.
Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress-elect, served as Communications Director for the Adrian Dominican Sisters from 2011 until her election to the General Council in 2016. With Sister Carol Coston, OP, she co-founded and co-directed Santuario Sisterfarm, an ecology center in Texas dedicated to cultivating biodiversity and cultural diversity.
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress/General Councilor-elect, recently completed her ministry as Co-director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, where U.S.-based congregations of Dominican Sisters send their novices for formation in religious life. Sister Lorraine served as Pastoral Associate for Hispanic Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Anchorage, Alaska, and as Pastoral Associate at Ste. Anne de Detroit, a largely Hispanic parish.
Sister Janice Brown, OP, General Councilor-elect, served in the Detroit-metro region for more than 15 years as Executive Director of two of the Congregation’s literacy centers, Dominican Literacy Center and Siena Literacy Center. Before entering the Congregation in 2003, she was a single mother, raising her daughter and working in banking and finance. She was an Adrian Dominican Associate and, after her daughter lived on her own, felt called to religious life.
Sister Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Councilor-elect, was born in the Leyte Province of the Philippines and joined the Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of Remedies in Pampanga, the Philippines, in 2000. That congregation merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2011. Sister Bless has been involved in school administration and social action, currently serving as Head of the Commission on Family and Life for the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, General Councilor-elect, serves as Director of the Office of Sustainability for the Adrian Dominican Sisters and assists the Office of Immigration Services as a paralegal. Before her election to the General Council in 2010, she was principal of Rosarian Academy, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in West Palm Beach, Florida. She also served as Director of Mission and Ministry at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, and as Director of Formation for the Congregation.
The General Council-elect succeeds Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors.
The General Chapter Delegates also approved five Enactments to set the Congregation’s ministerial direction for the next six years. The Enactments were formulated from issues and concerns raised by Sisters and Associates during a virtual Congregational assembly in October 2021 and by groups of Sisters and Associates who submitted issues and action plans in November and December.
The Enactments are:
Diversity: “Challenged by the Gospel and outraged by systems that oppress, dehumanize and deny the image of God in each of us and Earth community, we commit to: acknowledge and repent of our complicity in the divisions prevalent in our church and our world; act to dismantle unjust systems; and build the beloved community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate.”
Dominican Vowed Life: “We are passionately committed to vowed Dominican life. Trusting in the Spirit and embracing the gift of our charism, we invite women to join us in our call to preach the Gospel.”
Spirituality: “Living in a time of global chaos and Paschal hope, and rooted in our Dominican tradition, we recognize our spiritual longings and those of the world. We commit to deepening our spirituality, attending to the evolutionary awakening of human consciousness and living into the transformation to which we are called both personally and communally.”
Sustainability/Laudato Si’: “Affirming the urgent need to live in right relationship with Earth community, we commit to address the cry of Earth and the cry of those who are poor by joining the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.” Based on a 2015 letter by Pope Francis on Earth, our Common Home, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a seven-year plan in which Catholic organizations such as parishes, dioceses, schools, and religious communities commit to working toward seven sustainability goals to heal Earth and work against global climate change.
Women: “Valuing human dignity, and aware of the injustice of patriarchy which maintains the subordinate status of women and girls throughout the world, we strive to attain gender equality and women’s full and equal participation and decision making in church and society.