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October 2, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, family members and friends, gathered September 27, 2019 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Sister Marie Bride Walsh, OP. This year also marks Sister Marie Bride’s 80-year Jubilee.
The celebration began with Mass in St. Catherine Chapel. Sister Joanne Peters, OP, Co-Chapter Prioress of Holy Rosary Mission Chapter at the Motherhouse, welcomed Sisters, three generations of Sister Marie Bride’s family, friends, and former colleagues from St. Joseph Academy in Adrian and Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Illinois.
“We’ve come to celebrate life – Marie Bride’s life for all these years, walking for all these years with many of us,” said Father James Hug, SJ, Motherhouse Chaplain. “We celebrate the gift of our lives and of her life with ours.”
During her homily, Sister Maria Goretti Browne, OP, noted that Jesus taught with authority, through example and not just words, and of the way that he lifted the burdens from people’s shoulders. Like Jesus, she said, “Sister Marie Bride taught by her example. Many of her former students still come to visit her. They don’t come because she was a good math teacher. They come because she listened to them. … Like Jesus, she lifted them up. She was a kind, approachable, forgiving listener. How much more like Jesus could she be?”
The afternoon reception gave participants the opportunity to pay tribute to Sister Marie Bride formally. Sister Patricia Dulka, OP, Co-Chapter Prioress of Holy Rosary Chapter, served as mistress of ceremonies. Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, assured Sister Marie Bride of the gratitude and prayers of the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister Rosemary Asaro, OP, Assistant for Holy Rosary Chapter, offered an opening prayer. “May the blessings of this day be the memories of a long life, the blessings and support of your family and community…and the love we all have for you, Sister Marie Bride.”
The formal program focused on the reading of proclamations by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, State Senator Dale Zorn, State Representative Bronna Kahle, and U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and an Apostolic Blessing by Pope Francis.
The proclamations noted Sister Marie Bride’s accomplishments and the wisdom that she gained through a long life complete with many changes. Senator Gary Peters noted the impact that Sister Marie Bride had. “As a teacher for 67 years, you touched the lives of thousands of children as you enhanced their math and science skills,” he wrote.
Born September 27, 1919 in Chicago, Sister Marie Bride was the youngest of five children born to John and Bridget (Lyons) Walsh: Jean, who changed her name to Janet; Mary Elizabeth; Catherine, known fondly as Toss; and Joseph, two years older than Sister Marie Bride. She was baptized Therese Rita Walsh, and took her religious name – Marie Bride – in honor of her mother.
Sister Marie Bride was a little over a year old when her mother died. “One of my uncles, Father John Lyons, contacted his sisters in the east and three of us went to my Aunt Kate’s in Troy, New York,” Sister Marie Bride said. “My brother and oldest sister went to relatives in Rensselaer, New York, where my mother’s sister and her husband ran a farm.”
After their father remarried a widow, May Kendrick, the children resided with him at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Chicago until they moved to Maywood, Illinois when Sister Marie Bride was about four years old. The three youngest daughters were sent to St. Joseph Academy in Adrian. The next year, as a junior, Mary Elizabeth entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation, taking the religious name Sister Mary Jean.
By the time Sister Marie Bride was in seventh grade, her sisters at St. Joseph Academy had graduated. She returned to Troy, New York, with her aunt, attending eighth grade there and graduating from Catholic Central in Troy in 1937. She attended Siena Heights College (University) for a year and followed her sister into the Adrian Dominican Congregation on January 6, 1939.
Sister Marie Bride holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Siena Heights College, 1943, and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan, 1948.
Sister Marie Bride spent her ministerial years as a teacher, first at the elementary school level at St. Joseph in Port Huron, Michigan, from 1940 to 1941 and then at St. Paul in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, from 1941 to 1943.
In 1943, she began teaching at the high school level in Michigan, Illinois, Florida, and California. Her assignments included two schools sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters: St. Joseph Academy, then a boarding school, 1962 to 1968, and Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, where she spent her last years of teaching, from 1976 to 2007. She stayed at the Regina Dominican convent until 2010, when she came to the Dominican Life Center in Adrian.
“I enjoyed teaching,” Sister Marie Bride said. “We all had teaching in our blood.” Among her many fond memories were her years of teaching science at St. Joseph Academy. She recalls Sister Miriam Michael Stimson demonstrating experiments in physics at Siena Heights to her every Thursday night. “I would take them back to St. Joseph’s and do them with the students during the week and then I would go back the next Thursday for the next set.”
Sister Marie Bride also took advantages of several opportunities to travel. She visited England, Ireland, and France on one trip with her sisters, Janet and Sister Mary Jean and, with Sister Francina Reuther, OP, enjoyed a six-week tour of Europe. She also spent three weeks in Rome visiting Sister Mary Jean, who at the time was serving at the headquarters of the Dominican Order in Santa Sabina, Rome.
Sister Marie Bride is grateful for the many blessings in her life, including her loving family, her superiors and the many Sisters who mentored her, and the opportunity to teach children for all her years of ministry.
From left: Long-time friends Sisters Marie Bride Walsh, OP, and Marion O’Connor, OP. Sister Rosemary Asaro, OP, displays the Apostolic Blessing bestowed by Pope Francis on Sister Marie Bride Walsh, OP. Sister Carol Fleming, OP, ministered with Sister Marie Bride Walsh, OP, at Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Illinois.
March 28, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The presence, Mission, and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters are lived out not only at the Motherhouse in Adrian, but wherever Sisters and Associates minister, and particularly in the universities, schools, hospitals, and literacy centers sponsored by the Congregation.
The widespread presence and Mission of the Congregation was celebrated March 22-24, 2018, during the Sponsorship Conference “Dominican Spirit: A Great Hope in Common” at Weber Retreat & Conference Center in Adrian. Attending were Sisters and Co-workers from Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida; Siena Heights University, Adrian; Regina Dominican High School, Wilmette, Illinois; Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach, Florida; Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, California; and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Also attending were Sisters and Co-workers from the Congregation’s seven sponsored literacy centers, under the umbrella of Dominican Rea Literacy Centers: All Saints Literacy Center, Detroit; Adrian Rea Literacy Center, Adrian; Aquinas Literacy Center, Chicago; DePorres P.L.A.C.E., West Palm Beach, Florida; Dominican Literacy Center, Detroit; St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center, Flint, Michigan; and Siena Literacy Center, Detroit.
The conference gave participants the opportunity to get to know one another, learn about the Mission and history of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, experience times of contemplative sitting, share their experiences of living out the Congregation’s Mission in their institution, and learn new ways that they and their institution can live out the Mission.
“Today we gather in the spirit of St. Dominic – vibrant in our world for over 800 years,” said Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, General Councilor, in her welcome to the conference participants on March 23. Sister Mary Margaret is the General Council liaison to the Sponsorship Commission, which plans and organizes the sponsorship conference.
Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, gave an overview of the history of the Dominican Order and the Adrian Dominican Sisters and of the four pillars of Dominican life – study, prayer, community, and preaching. In addition, she introduced participants to the four Enactments from the Congregation’s 2016 General Chapter: Spiritual Longings, Sustainability, Resilient Communities, and Diversity-Relationships. Members of the General Council explained the Enactments in greater detail on the morning of March 24.
“My heart is abundantly grateful to each of you for your commitment to participate with us and even more so for your faithful commitment to your ministry or institution,” Sister Pat said. “As the number of our Sisters and Associates serving in our institutions decline, we give to you our Dominican history and heritage. We stand ready to assist and give moral and spiritual support.”
Co-workers from each of the institutions shared their own reflections and experiences of living out the Adrian Dominican Mission, both individually and in their respective institutions.
Ministering at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals has been “transformational and relational,” said Teressa Conley, President of the St. Rose de Lima Hospital. “We are changed by working side by side with our Sisters. They show us the ‘why’ of health care and the difference between a healing experience and a simple clinical experience.”
She recalled the tragic day, October 1, 2017, when 58 people in Las Vegas were killed in a mass shooting. “Our hospitals played a major part [in healing those who were wounded], and our Sisters were front and center in healing, ministering, and grieving – not only with patients and families but with the staff. … If you were to ask staff what is the most important part of being a faith-based community, I know what they would say.”
Jill Farrell, Dean of the Adrian Dominican School of Education at Barry University, said she always felt included and accepted in the Barry community – and challenged to grow. “I think I’m a reflection of what happens to all of us” at Barry, she said. “We are able to dig deep within ourselves. We get to know ourselves so well that we grow into the person we’re supposed to be.” She said she was then able to help develop leaders for the local community and the global community, bring Barry programs to the Bahamas, and “grow a vibrant presence there.”
Nanette Mickiewicz, MD, President of Dominican Hospital, said she sees the Adrian Dominican mission in action every day at the hospital: through traditional health care ministries such as the mobile van and the work of doctors and nurses – but also through other employees of Dominican. “I see the food and nutrition workers, the social workers, and the engineers,” she said “Even though their job isn’t specific patient care, we couldn’t do our job without them. They remind us that this isn’t our job – it’s our mission.”
In small groups, participants from different institutions discussed what their own institution was doing to “develop, live, nurture and sustain the Dominican identity and spirit” and how they could improve on what they were doing. The next morning, after hearing more detailed descriptions of the four General Chapter Enactments, participants discussed them in small groups.
During the final afternoon, Sisters and Co-workers from the same institution gathered to discuss how they would move forward the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Mission, Vision, and Enactments. Drawing on the 2016 General Chapter theme, “A Great Hope in Common,” the conference culminated with the final formal session, in which representatives of each institution shared their “action plan” for continuing to nurture the Adrian Dominican spirit and Mission. Representatives of each institution wrote their action plan on the back of a puzzle piece that contained their institution’s name, so that the institutions – and the Adrian Dominican Sisters – together shared “A Great Hope in Common.”
Sister Mary Margaret sent the group out with a new responsibility: “to take this message to your board, your employees, your patients, your students.”
Sister Pat closed the last formal session by expressing her gratitude to the conference participants – and to their colleagues back home at their institutions. “You are the ones with feet on the ground who are literally living the Gospel, who are literally bringing our Dominican charism to life,” she said. “We support you and we entrust you to the future.”
Members of the Sponsorship Commission are: Roxanne Davies, Barry University; Sister Sharon Weber, OP, Siena Heights University; Sister Mary Jean Williams, OP, Regina Dominican High School; Linda Trethewey, Rosarian Academy; Sister Rita Eileen Dean, OP, Dominican Hospital; Sister Kathleen McGrail, OP, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals; and Sister Carleen Maly, OP, Dominican Rea Literacy Centers.