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January 24, 2024, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sister Beth Butler, OP, cherishes two particular vocations: as a Dominican Sister and as a member of the law enforcement family. Noting that being a Sister “comes first,” Sister Beth told Global Sisters Report – a program of The National Catholic Reporter – of the many ways she also lived out her dream to serve in law enforcement after the example of her father, a Detroit police officer.
Sister Beth Bulter, OP, shown with Siena Heights University President Dr. Douglas Palmer, displays the Honorable Alumni Award she received during the University’s homecoming weekend.
Photo by Laura Harvey, Courtesy of Siena Heights University.
Sister Beth’s experiences included heading the Criminal Justice Department at Siena Heights College (University), where she made such an impact that, in 2023, her former students – now representing all aspects of the criminal justice system – nominated her to become an Honorary Alumni of Siena Heights. She also made an impact on the inmates whom she taught at Southern Michigan State Penitentiary. She went on to serve as Chaplain of the Miami Police Department, often accompanying the police in their squad cars.
Read more about Sister Beth and her ministry in law enforcement in the Global Sisters Report article by Rose Panieri.
Feature photo at top: Sister Beth Butler, OP, wears the uniform of a Chaplain for the Miami Police Department, one of her many roles in law enforcement. Photo from the
Adrian Dominican Sisters Archive.
January 10, 2024, Adrian, Michigan – This past year brought the world many crises and challenges, from the ongoing wars Ukraine and the Holy Land to numerous natural disasters around the world and preparations for and unease about the coming presidential election. This article, however, focuses on the top stories in the lives of Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and the Dominican family – often as they responded to world crises.
1. The Congregation:
The Adrian Dominican Sisters hosted a Founder’s Day celebration in June marking the 100th anniversary of being declared an independent Congregation. Across the ocean, the Sisters of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter in the Philippines dedicated their new Central House, replacing the Motherhouse that had served their needs for about 50 years. Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, was called forth to serve on the General Council after Sister Janice Brown, OP, resigned for health reasons. Finally, the Congregation received an award from ProMedica for its Resilient Community collaboration in Adrian.
Sister Donna Markham, OP, retired as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, the first woman in the organization’s more than 100 years to hold that position. She was also honored by the Detroit Catholic Charities agency. Sister Judy Byron, OP, was recognized for her 32 years of service with Mercy Housing Northwest.
Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, professed her final vows in the Philippines. Jamie Caporizo was accepted into Formation as a Candidate. Six new Associates were accepted during a special ritual.
4. Justice and Peace:
Adrian Dominican Sisters and friends began 2023 by joining the delegation of activists during Immigration Advocacy Day at the Michigan State Capitol, asking for passage of a bill allowing immigrants to have driver’s licenses no matter their residency status. Karla Rivas, an activist from Honduras, visited Adrian as part of a delegation of Honduran activists to visit various areas of the United States to explain the challenges facing their country. As President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, Sister Donna Markham, OP, she visited Ukraine to learn about the conditions in that war-torn nation. Sisters Judy Byron, OP, and Patricia McDonald, OP, shared their experiences as participants in an anti-human trafficking conference. Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, explained the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the need for people of all nations – especially the wealthy, developed countries – to support and work on the efforts to meet those goals. Sisters at the Motherhouse prayed a Rosary for Peace shortly after the Hamas attack on Israel.
5. Sponsored/Legacy Institutions:
Sister Beth Butler, OP, was named an Honorary Alum of Siena Heights University for her influence on criminal justice students she taught. Also during Homecoming weekend, Siena Heights University dedicated the Sister Peg Albert Social Work Simulation and Practice Lab after Sister Peg retired in June 2023 after 17 years as President of the university. Barry University received grants to establish an Agriculture and Food Training Scholarship Program and to train nursing students, encouraging them to enter a demanding and much-needed field. Also in the healthcare field, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada, broke ground for its fifth neighborhood hospital and paid tribute to the Sisters who founded the hospital. Aquinas Literacy Center in Chicago received a sizable grant from the State of Illinois to enhance its work in adult literacy. Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Illinois, held the transfer of sponsorship ceremonies from the Adrian Dominican Sisters to the collaborative Dominican Veritas Ministries, a new pontifical juridic person (PJP) for the canonical sponsorship of elementary and high schools previously sponsored by five Dominican congregations. Regina Dominican High School completed the first phase of its Building Her Tomorrow renovation, and Rosarian Academy expanded its facilities to accommodate a growing number of students.
Students from Barry University and Siena Heights University participated in the Environmental Leadership Experience (ELE) on the Motherhouse Campus; Sisters and Associates took part in two forums addressing air pollution in Detroit; and the solar array on the Motherhouse campus was blessed and dedicated. As part of a series of presentations sponsored by the Congregation’s Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion, Brad Frank, Director of Sustainability, gave a presentation, “Be a Better Earth Ally.”
7. Equity and Inclusion:
To help Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers to better understand people of diverse backgrounds, the Congregation’s Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion offered presentations by special guests, including topics Understanding Gender; Growing Up Me (Native American); and The World as We See It, by a panel of Black Siena Heights University students. Sister Susan Gardner, OP, participated in the Healing and Reconciliation Project for Native Americans in the United States. The Congregation hosted an Indigenous Peoples Day Teach-in. Sister Jamie Phelps, OP, gave the commencement address for Xavier University’s Black Catholic Studies Program graduates in New Orleans.
Dominican Sisters worldwide attended side events at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, led a UN webinar on empowering rural women. Both events took in March, the month dedicated to women.
9. Human Interest:
Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, walked the El Camino Trail; Sister Geraldine Brownell celebrated her Jubilee in Heaven the day after celebrating her 75-year Jubilee at the Motherhouse; Sister Miriam Joseph Lekan was honored for her 100th birthday; and Co-workers at Motherhouse were recognized for milestone years of service.
10. Religious Life:
Donna Markham, OP, received the Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for her years of service and leadership. The elected leadership of Catholic women’s congregations of Sisters wrote a letter of support to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and State Rep. Samantha Steckloff in response to an antisemitic threat to the two elected leaders.