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November 11, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – On Veterans Day, we honor and remember service men and women of the U.S. military for the sacrifice of many years of their lives – and, in some cases, for paying the ultimate sacrifice out of love for their country. Today we honor and remember five Adrian Dominican Sisters who served not only in our community but in the military as well.

Sister Marvel Glasford, OP (1923-2005) enlisted in the Navy WAVES after her high school graduation, serving during World War II. She was stationed in Washington, D.C., decoding messages from Germany and Japan. After the war, she returned to her native Detroit and felt a call to religious life.

Having been taught by the Adrian Dominican Sisters at St. Leo and St. Mary Schools in Detroit, Sister Marvel entered the Congregation on June 29, 1949, and, at her reception into the novitiate, took the religious name of Sister Donald Mary. She spent the first several years of religious life as a primary and junior high school teacher at schools in Michigan, New Mexico, and Ohio. 

Later, she earned her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) certificate and served as foster care manager for 12 mentally disabled patients at Ypsilanti State Mental Institute in Willis, Michigan. She served as chaplain at hospitals in Michigan; earned certificates in grief ministry and alcoholism ministry; and spent her last four years of formal ministry at Good Samaritan Hospital in Mount Vernon, Illinois. After retirement, she volunteered for five years at St. John Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, before moving to Adrian. 

Sister Virginia Gunther, OP (1897-1982) baptized Marie Elizabeth Gunther, enlisted in the Navy during World War I, and received the rank of Yeoman (F) First Class. She worked in the Recruiting Service in Chicago and in the Intelligence Office in Chicago and Great Lakes. Looking back, she thought of herself as a pacifist fulfilling her patriotic duty. She later joined the U.S. Navy Reserve Force.

After Armistice, Marie Elizabeth worked in the secretarial field until she realized her call to religious life. She entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation and, at her reception in August 1925, was given the religious name of Virginia. 

After teaching first grade at Detroit schools – while also teaching shorthand and typing to students at St. Joseph Academy in Adrian – Sister Virginia began her focus on teaching business courses at the high school level. This was interspersed with 14 years teaching at elementary schools in Detroit and Ypsilanti, Michigan. 

After studying library science, Sister Virginia served as Assistant Librarian at Dominican High School, Detroit, while teaching business English and typing; Assistant Librarian and business English instructor at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California; and as Librarian at Aquinas High School in Chicago. She retired at age 76 and moved to Adrian.

Sister Mary Franz Lang, OP (1921-1985) enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, earning the rank of Staff Sergeant and serving in the Philippines and New Guinea. After World War II, she joined the Women’s Air Force Reserve and received a pilot’s license. As a civilian, while managing the parts department at an automobile dealership, she realized her call to religious life.

Sister Mary Franz entered the Congregation on February 21, 1951, teaching at St. Joseph in Port Huron, Michigan, and Bishop Quarter Military Academy in Oak Park, Illinois. During summer school, she earned her degree in library science at the University of Michigan. She served as Assistant Librarian at Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian and St. Dominic College, St. Charles, Illinois.   

Sister Mary Franz spent the last 15 years of her life – the final five with leukemia – as Director of the library at Barry College (University) in Miami Shores, Florida. She also served as President of the Catholic Library Association.

Sister Catherine Therese Sibal, OP (1916-1996) worked after high school as assistant to the cashier at the State Department of Agriculture. While longing to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation with her two older sisters, Sisters Vincent Joseph Sibal and Marie Michael Sibal, she put off her desires, opting instead to help her family financially. Catherine Therese joined the Marines and served for six years. She remained state-side, serving as stock clerk, bookkeeper, and supply clerk, obtaining the rank of Sergeant.

Sister Catherine Therese entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in January 1951 and, at her reception, received permission to retain her baptismal name. She earned a degree in English, with minors in sociology and history, from Siena Heights College (University).

The remainder of her ministerial life focused on education: as teacher at schools and parishes in Michigan. She then served as learning laboratory coordinator at St. Thomas Aquinas School in East Lansing, Michigan. She retired at the age of 70 and returned to Adrian. 

Sister Lucy Terwelp, OP (1921-2003), baptized Jeanette Helen, was born in Quincy, Illinois. A few years after graduating high school, she enlisted in the Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as Chief Executive Secretary Yeoman to the Chief Medical Officer. During her term, her base experienced a disaster when an oil tanker collided with a Coast Guard cutter. She was called in to help attend to the victims and sat with a man who was badly burned. She learned later that he had died before reaching the hospital. She and the division received medals for heroic service. Jeanette Helen also joined the Hormel Girls, a musical group of service women. She sang in the chorus and played the bugle in the Drum and Bugle Corps. 

Upon her discharge, she worked as medical secretary for two years, helping to set up a Veterans Administration office in Long Beach, California. She entered the Everett (later Edmonds) Dominican Sisters in September 1953. At her reception, she gained the religious name she had predicted as a child – Sister Lucy.

With a degree in finance from Seattle University, Sister Lucy served as assistant treasurer of the Motherhouse and as assistant bursar, controller, and treasurer at hospitals in Washington State. After receiving a CPE certificate from Yale Divinity School, Sister Lucy served as chaplain for 14 years at St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Oregon, and as pastoral minister at Cathedral Parish in Portland.

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By Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, JD

On November 6, in an editorial on asylum published in the Adrian Daily Telegram (see below), I stated that United States law and International law allow people to seek asylum in the United States “without regard to where they enter the country, at an airport, another official port of entry, or through the desert.” I also noted at that time that President Donald Trump had announced he was going to make it much more difficult for people to claim asylum and that he would enact a series of executive orders to ensure that this happened. 

On November 9, President Trump, through the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, issued a proclamation that will deny the ability to apply for asylum to anyone who crosses the southern border of the United States at any place other than a port of entry. This change will be in effect for 90 days, with a possibility of extension after the 90 days are up.

The proclamation stipulates that only those who present themselves at ports of entry at the southern border will be eligible to apply for asylum through the “credible fear” interview process. Credible fear is the first step toward asylum and indicates a “significant possibility” that a person meets the asylum standard of proof.

According to President Trump’s recent order, those who enter the southern border anyplace other than a port of entry, they will not – no matter how credible their claim – be able to apply for asylum. Instead, they may be allowed to apply to stay in the U.S. through Withholding of Removal or the Convention Against Torture. In both of these cases, one must meet a higher “reasonable fear” standard of proof than those applying for asylum. Even if successful through either the Withholding of Removal or the Convention Against Torture, people are not granted permanent forms of protection – they are not allowed to apply for residence in the United States, not allowed to travel outside the United States, and cannot apply for family members to join them in the U.S. In contrast, if a person is granted asylum, they will later be granted legal permanent residence and eventually citizenship. 

Asylum has always been a safeguard for those people whose lives are in danger and have fled their homeland, because they faced lives of persecution and torture. How far have we as a country strayed from “send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?” Where is our compassion?

Asylum is Law of the Land
Published in the November 6, 2018, issue of the Adrian Daily Telegram
By Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, JD

Are you as mystified as I am as to why our administration is sending 5,200 members of our military (more than double the number serving in Syria) to our southern border? 

Despite public rhetoric around the migrants traveling through Mexico, there is no crisis at our southern border. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), an organization that conducts extensive research in all areas of immigration, reports that over the years, similar groups of migrants have been organized and have been processed without the least bit of fanfare. This was demonstrated by the most recent example in April that began with 1,200 people, of which only 200 reached the U.S. border.

Many of those currently traveling through Mexico will not ever reach the border, and the majority of those who do will ask for asylum at points of entry, as prescribed by law.

The asylum system in the United States was established in 1968 when it signed the protocol to the 1951 United Nations Convention Related to the Status of Refugees, and when Congress passed the 1980 Refugee Act, which was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. 

The law says a person may apply for asylum at a port of entry or from within the United States. In order to seek asylum at a port of entry, asylum seekers must declare that they fear being returned to their home country and are seeking asylum. According to the law, the person is to be promptly interviewed by an asylum officer, who makes an initial determination on whether the asylum-seeker’s fear is credible. If deemed credible, the case will be heard by a judge, who will make a final decision. If the claim is considered not credible, the asylum-seeker may be allowed to stay in the U.S. in order to file an appeal in Immigration Court. If it is denied, the asylum-seeker will be deported. 

Military personnel are not trained as asylum officers, so what could they be doing at the border?

Asylum laws were established by Congress in accordance with our obligation as a country and under international accords we signed with our allies to protect refugees worldwide. Therefore, any of the migrants traveling through Mexico who reach our border should be processed through the asylum system, just as all migrants arriving at our borders have been for many years.  Yet on November 1, President Trump indicated that he would make it much more difficult to claim asylum and would enact a series of executive orders to shut down access to asylum for people who seek safety in the United States unless they go to legal ports of entry. Let us remember that our laws explicitly allow people to seek asylum here without regard to where they enter the country, at an airport, another official port of entry, or through the desert. Asylum is the law of the land and the administration must follow it as enacted by Congress. 

Many of those in the caravan now traveling to the U.S. are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – three countries known for having high murder rates, and where people’s lives are threatened by gangs, drug traffickers, and organized crime on so many levels. These people are forced to flee because their governments will not or cannot provide protection for their own citizens. They are fleeing to find a safe place to live and to raise their families. 

It is good to remind ourselves that as people of faith from many traditions, we are called to protect all of God’s children, especially those who are vulnerable. We believe in human dignity and the value of all people, regardless of where they’re from or what they look like, or what language they speak or how much money they have in their pockets. In our Christian tradition we are reminded in the Gospel of Mark 12:31, “The second commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”  

Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, JD, is an immigration lawyer and Director of the Adrian Dominican Sisters Immigration Assistance Office. She may be reached at 517-266-3448 or immigrationassistance@adriandominicans.org.



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