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Sister Joan watches as Rev. Seán C. Martin, then President of Aquinas Institute, blesses the Delaplane Preaching Studio.

September 28, 2023, New York, New York – Adrian Dominican Sister Joan Delaplane, OP, was one of two homiletics teachers recognized by Father Manuel Williams as instrumental in his preaching training. A member of the Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and a preacher of revivals and missions, he praised the women for teaching him not to take his privilege of preaching for granted and not to “step into that preaching moment unprepared.”

Sister Joan, now a spiritual director and retreat leader in Adrian, taught homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology, a Dominican graduate school in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the first woman to serve as President of the American Academy of Homiletics.

Sister Joan was recognized along with Ven. Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA (1937-1990), an African American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who, as a consultant for intercultural awareness, offered lively presentations throughout the country. Her Cause for Canonization is ongoing.

Read more about Father Manuel and the influence of Sisters Joan Delaplane and Thea Bowman in an article and podcast published by America Magazine.

Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, teaches high school students how to preach from the pulpit during the annual Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference.

St. Louis, Missouri, September 28, 2023 – “What are you doing here?”

For Adrian Dominican Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, Professor of Homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, that is the “most vital spiritual question every human being must answer. What supreme reality can claim your whole heart and free you to live for one another at any cost?”

Sister Sara posed those questions during a recorded video homily for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, focusing on the story of the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a and on Jesus’ loving support for his apostles – and us – in Matthew 14:22-33. 

“What makes it possible for us to embrace hardships, to put aside self-indulgence and indifference to the sufferings of others and the Earth, ‘to lay down our lives’ for the people we love and the common good?” Sister Sara asked. She turned to the prophet Elijah for the answer, noting how Elijah fled for his life from the rulers of Israel, Ahab and Jezebel, and was finally crushed in spirit. God treated him with kindness and compassion, giving him rest and appearing as a gentle whisper until, ultimately, Elijah answered God’s questions with his life. “With spirit renewed, liberated from fear, he rededicates himself to participate in God’s saving plan for Israel,” Sister Sara said. Jesus offered the same loving support to his apostles when he appeared to them in their boat on the stormy sea.

Sister Sara’s homily was part of a unique initiative, Catholic Women Preach (CWP), in which Catholic women offer homilies on the readings for each Sunday, encouraging Catholics in their daily faith lives. CWP provides “a global platform for women’s voices and faith reflections so that the fullness of our Catholic giftedness can be accessed by all Catholics,” according to the website.

Read more about Sister Sara and watch a video of her preaching.



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