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Pink balloons spelling out JUBILEE with streamers in the background.

July 1, 2024, Adrian, Michigan – Joy, gratitude, happy memories, and a sense of homecoming permeated the Motherhouse Campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters as the 2024 Jubilarians – Sisters marking milestone years of religious life – and their guests gathered for the June 20-22, 2024, celebration.

The 41 Jubilarians include one Sister celebrating 80 years, three 75-year Jubilarians, 22 Double-Diamond (70-year) Jubilarians, 14 Diamond (60-year) Jubilarians, and one Silver (25-year) Jubilarian. Together, the 2024 Jubilarians represent 2,710 years of dedication to the Adrian Dominican Sisters and to the people of God.

While the Adrian Dominican Sisters honor the Jubilarians throughout the year, the formal celebration began on June 20, 2024, with a meeting with the General Council, followed by dinner.

The Jubilarians remembered deceased Sisters who would have celebrated their Jubilees during a special Liturgy for Deceased Jubilarians. The liturgy marked the faithful lives of 44 75-year Jubilarians, 30 Double-Diamond Jubilarians, and six Diamond Jubilarians. 

In her reflection, Sister Joan Delaplane, OP, a 75-year Jubilarian, compared the deceased Jubilarians to the valiant women described in the Book of Proverbs, exhibiting spirit, courage, bravery, faithfulness, dedication, and risk-taking. She focused on the “faithfulness of our Creator to each deceased Jubilarian who was lovingly willed into life, cherished and cared for every sacred moment of life.”

Sister Joan noted that the bond of love between the Jubilarians and their deceased Sisters “is not severed by the thin veil that separates our physical selves,” and that the deceased Jubilarians will continue their own intercessions for the Adrian Dominican community, our nation, and our world.

“Our deceased Sisters utilized their diverse and wondrous gifts in so many beautiful ways,” while also remaining faithful throughout the difficult times and circumstances that they faced, Sister Joan said. She concluded by thanking God “for the gift of each of our deceased Sisters who shared faith and life with us on our journey.”   

The Jubilee events on Friday continued with lunch for Jubilarians and their guests; a happy hour for Jubilarians and Sisters who reside at the Dominican Life Center; dinner; and a piano concert offered by Sister Magdalena Ezoe, OP, composer, pianist, and Professor of Music Emerita at Siena Heights University.

The Saturday, June 22, 2024, celebration began with morning liturgy. “This is the day the Lord had made. Let us rejoice and be glad.” Sister Mary Louise Putrow, OP, 75-year Jubilarian, evoked that feeling as she quoted Psalm 118 in her welcome to the Jubilee Liturgy. “I rejoice that these 41 Dominican women – 80, 75, 70, 60, and 25 years ago – said yes,” Sister Mary Louise said. “They said yes to the whispering of the Spirit, and all of us were totally unaware of what that would mean. We began a journey that has brought us to this very moment.”

Sister Mary Louise noted the surprising changes brought about in the lives of the Sisters by the call of the Second Vatican Council, inviting the faithful in the Church to change and to continue in conversion. “God’s presence and spirit have remained with us,” she said. “We celebrate the many unspoken ways that we have been called to share our lives and enter into the mission of Jesus.”

In her reflection, Prioress Elise D. García, OP, expressed her gratitude for the Jubilarians and the “many shoulders we stand on, all who came before us and loved and guided us.” She recalled the gifts that the Jubilarians received from family members and friends, teachers and guides, Sister friends, and others who saw the Jubilarians through difficult times. “They are all part of the incredible journey that the One who began a good work in you continues to shape and mold in you to this day,” she said.

Sister Elise compared the companionship of the Jubilarians with that of Mary and Elizabeth, whose story was told in the day’s Gospel. “Two pregnant women, relatives, encounter each other at the opposite ends of child-bearing age – an unmarried teenager and an elder who thought herself well past child-bearing years,” she said. “But in their encounter with one another, they at once recognize the One who had begun a good work in each of them – and through them.”

Sister Elise noted that the companionship of Elizabeth and Mary is “mirrored by your companionship, as Dominican Sisters, as you worked together with so many others to advance the Mission in such an astonishing diversity of ways with extraordinary fruitfulness – through times of great joy and also, no doubt, of suffering.”

Sister Elise offered a litany of the many ministries that the Jubilarians were engaged in, from a variety of traditional educational ministries to those who “tended the hearts, minds, and spirits of so many in need of care” as chaplains, social workers, counselors, psychotherapists, spiritual directors, and directors of retreat centers. The Jubilarians served in various ways in parishes and dioceses, as mentors and social justice advocates, and in the Congregation as elected leaders and in congregational offices.

“You are a gift to us and to the world,” Sister Elise told the Jubilarians. “Your good works are still alive in the hearts of all those you served.” Yet, she said, those good works have not ended. She quoted canonist Kelly Connors, PM: “The first apostolate of all religious is the witness of their consecrated life. We carry out that witness until we breathe our last breath.”

The Jubilarians proved their continued commitment to the Mission of Jesus and the Adrian Dominican Sisters as they together renewed their vows. “To the honor of Almighty God, I, … make profession and promise obedience to almighty God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to our holy father St. Dominic, and to you, Sister Elise García, Prioress of the Congregation, and to your lawful successors, according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Most Holy Rosary until death.”

A festive dinner for Jubilarians and their guests rounded out the formal celebration, but many of the Jubilarians continued to take the time to celebrate with family members, friends, and Sister friends. Their sense of Jubilee continues throughout the year.  

Collage of photos from 2023 news stories

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.  

2.    Ministry

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.

3.    Formation/Vocations:

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. 

6.    Sustainability:

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. 

8.    Women:

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.





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