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January 24, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The artwork of two Adrian Dominican Sisters – Rita Schiltz, OP, and Sarajane Seaver, OP – is being showcased through Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at Lenawee Council for the Visual Arts Gallery at the Adrian Center for the Arts

Sister Maria Goretti Browne, OP, left, and Sister Christa Marsik, OP, examine some rings created by Sister Rita Schiltz, OP.

The exhibit gives the public the opportunity to view the work of the two Sisters, both life-long artists. Several Adrian Dominican Sisters and members of the general public attended a reception January 21.

Pieces on display include Sister Rita’s jewelry and metal-working arts and Sister Sarajane’s weavings.

Sister Rita hopes that people who view her work “are interested in seeing something that didn’t exist, something that was created out of various materials and did not exist before.” She said metalworking is a “good avenue for experimenting in the material. Most of the work that I’ve done is casting. It’s a case of creating the design in wax and then casting it by centrifugal force into the intended object.”

Sister Rita has been engaged in the arts her whole life. “Even as a small child, I was designing and making things,” she said. Her formal arts education was at at Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian; Universidad Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and California State College, Los Angeles. In turn, she taught art at the high school and college levels.

When she and the late Sister Barbara Chenicek, OP, a painter, opened their studio, INAI, 43 years ago, Sister Rita temporarily put her own metalworking and jewelry-making aside. The two artists were known throughout the world for their design of places of worship for parishes, schools, hospitals, and congregations of women religious.

Sister Sarajane Seaver, OP, seated, and Sister Nadine Sheehan, OP, explore one of Sister Sarajane’s weavings.

Like Sister Rita, Sister Sarajane began her art at an early age, embroidering and embellishing small quilt squares decorated with nursery rhymes. After she had completed more than 100 squares, Sister Sarajane said, she and her mother found fabric to frame the squares. She gave the two twin bed quilts to her nieces.  

Sister Sarajane studied art at the Center for Creative Studies and at Wayne County Community College, both in the Detroit area. While serving at the Center, she also worked with others on a handwoven piece commissioned by the Ford Motor Company. She has led many art experiences at Weber Retreat and Conference Center, and has woven prayer shawls, basing her design on musical notes in such hymns as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

“Being a weaver is not something I do,” she said. “It’s something I am. Taking that away from me is like taking away a part of me.”

When people look at her artwork, Sister Sarajane said, “I hope they see the gifts of God and the beauty of God.”

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May 5, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Eleven Adrian Dominican Sisters may very well have a greater sense of empathy for their former elementary school students after participating in their own spelling bee April 26 at the Dominican Life Center. 

The event was a joint effort of Sister Mary Margaret “Maggie” Mannard, OP; Nilda Rau, Director of Resident Services, and the Resident Services staff; and Sister Carleen Maly, OP, who conducted the bee.

“The purpose was to sponsor an event that was intellectually stimulating and a friendly competition – and fun for all involved,” Sister Maggie explained. “We were successful in all three areas.” She was inspired to suggest the event after visiting a man at a senior center and learning that they were participating in a spelling bee.

Winners of the spelling bee were Sister Ann Patrice Remkus, OP, first place; Sister Betty Jenkins, OP, second place; and Sister Jean Annette Rudolph, OP, third place. Also participating were Sisters Susan Kresse, OP, Anne Liam Lees, OP, Miriam Joseph Lekan, OP, Theresa McCall, OP, Mary Ellen Plummer, OP, Lisa Rieman, OP, Sarajane Seaver, OP, and Anne Bernadette Stein, OP.

“We used ordinary, everyday words, but with tricks to them,” explained Sister Maggie, who chose the words. Some words included nuclear, azalea, ecstasy, minestrone, abdomen, and jackal. 

Sister Ann Patrice, the spelling champion, noted that the first reading for the Mass that day was particularly appropriate: “Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another” (1 Peter 5:5b). 

“The contestants lived this out,” Sister Maggie noted. “It’s difficult to miss a word in front of your peers, mostly all teachers.”

Sister Ann Patrice connected her success in the spelling bee with her experience as a teacher. “It was worth [all those years of] checking and grading English papers,” she said. In tests, she habitually gave her students two grades: one for content and one for spelling and grammar.

Sister Carleen was impressed by the quality and attitude of all of the participants, who took the spelling bee to seven rounds. “I had to hand it to the women,” she said. “They saw this as an intellectual exercise and they took it very seriously.”

But the event also included elements of fun and enthusiasm – including an encouraging and enthusiastic audience and a special treat from Resident Services: homemade cupcakes featuring edible letters.

Feature photo: Sister Ann Patrice Remkus, OP, left, was the spelling bee champion, and Sister Betty Jenkins, OP, came in second.



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