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May 19, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – Several hundred people gathered in St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse May 18-19 to bid farewell to Sister Nadine Foley, OP. Sister Nadine was Prioress of the Congregation from 1986 to 1992 and was an influential figure in religious life.
Attending the Vigil Service and Funeral Liturgy were Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, nearly 40 family members, representatives of other religious orders, and Sister Nadine’s former students and colleagues.
The Vigil Service on May 18 gave the assembly the opportunity to welcome Sister Nadine’s body, reflect on Scripture passages, to share personal stories about Sister Nadine, and commend her to God.
“This is a poignant moment for us as a congregation,” Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, noted in her welcome to members of the assembly. Even with the sadness of the loss, she said, “we know she is indeed looking down upon us and bestowing on us her love, wisdom, and insights.”
After the Scriptures were proclaimed, Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, Chapter Prioress, led off a period of personal sharing with a summary of Sister Nadine’s life and influence. “It is no easy task to tell the story of this accomplished woman – author, preacher, teacher, vocalist, leader, advocate for women’s rights – the list goes on,” she said.
Sister Mary Jane shared Sister Nadine’s life story through the framework of two instructions by St. Catherine of Siena, great Dominican mystic and reformer: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire” and “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.” Sister Nadine found her voice through her years as educator, leader of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, leader in religious life throughout the nation, and advocate for women’s rights, Sister Mary Jane said.
“Nadine, you were all that God meant you to be and you did, indeed, set the world on fire,” Sister Mary Jane said.
Members of the 1986-1992 General Council who served with Sister Nadine spoke in turn on Sister Nadine’s influence on their lives and in their leadership.
Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, now President of Barry University, was a student of Sister Nadine’s. “I have often said that I am because of my parents love,” Sister Linda said. “But I am Adrian Dominican because of Nadine.”
Sisters Sharon Weber, OP, and Donna Markham, OP, described Sister Nadine’s as trusting the Holy Spirit and being an extraordinary mentor of leadership.
Other speakers recalled their own special memories of Sister Nadine, sharing them through touching and humorous stories. Tricia Foley and Michael Foley – among the youngest of Sister Nadine’s seven siblings – shared stories of experiencing her as an older sister who had already left home before they were born, and learning through the years to relate to her as a beloved sister.
The Funeral Liturgy on May 19 gave Sisters and guests another opportunity to celebrate the life of Sister Nadine and to rejoice in the eternal life that she gained through her death.
During her preaching, Sister Attracta Kelly described Mary Magdalen and St. Catherine of Siena as examples of women sent by Jesus on apostolic missions. Sister Nadine, influenced by both of those women, “believed we were summoned to express our charism of preaching,” Sister Attracta said. “She thought of us as called to be peacemakers and reconcilers, to share our charism with others … with the whole world.”
Noting that Sister Nadine “was never very elaborate in her praise,” Sister Attracta added, “We always knew that [Sister Nadine’s] constant challenge to us, as well as to the entire congregation, was the same challenge that Catherine left to us: ‘Be all that you can be and you will set the world on fire.’ ”
Just as music was a major component of Sister Nadine’s life, so it played a key role in the final celebration of her life. Her niece, Maura, sang a prelude. The Chapel Choir, made up of Sisters and Associates, added to the atmosphere of reverence, hope, and joy as they sang O Sacrum Convivium for their long-time member.
Finally, members of the assembly processed with Sister Nadine to her final resting place in the Congregation’s cemetery, a “circle of friendship and discipleship” for Adrian Dominican Sisters who joined the Communion of Saints in Heaven.
Read Come Wisdom: Remembering Sr. Nadine Foley, written by Sister Elise D. García, published by Global Sisters Report:
Read more about Sister Nadine’s life and contributions:
Read Sister Nadine’s obituary and watch her Vigil Service, Funeral, and an interview:
December 17, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – Sisters Patricia Dulka, OP, and Helen Sohn, OP, formally began their new ministries as Chapter Prioress and Vicaress respectively of the Holy Rosary Mission Chapter, a Chapter of Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates based in Adrian, Michigan. The blessing ritual took place December 14 in St. Catherine Chapel at the Motherhouse in Adrian.
Sisters Pat and Helen are assuming the leadership of the Holy Rosary Mission Chapter following the resignation of Sister Mary Ann Dardy, who stepped down for health considerations.
In their positions as Chapter Prioress and Vicaress, Sisters Pat and Helen share responsibility for serving as major superior of the Sisters in the Chapter, promoting the unity of the Chapter, inspiring the Sisters to fidelity, and protecting their rights. Both will serve as members of the Leadership Council of the Congregation.
Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, presided over the prayer service, during which Sisters Pat and Helen accepted their call to leadership and members of the Chapter affirmed their support and prayers for them. Members of the General Council – Sisters Tarianne DeYonker, Corinne Sanders, and Rosemary Abramovich – also prayed a special blessing over Sisters Pat and Helen.
Blessing Sisters Pat and Helen are members of the General Council, from left: Sisters Rosemary Abramovich, Tarianne DeYonker, Corinne Sanders, and Attracta Kelly.
“I humbly stand before you as a believer in the mystery of this call to service, as a believer in God’s unconditional love and grace that comes with this call, and as a believer that our time, our life together, is all about relationships, openness, and trust in order for us to be able to do the work of the Lord together,” Sister Pat told the Sisters and Associates of Holy Rosary.
Sister Pat noted that Holy Rosary – made up predominantly of Sisters who live on the Motherhouse campus and of nearby Associates – is a “very unique Chapter. …The things that are really important in life and in death are found here. I want to learn that.”
Sister Pat comes to Holy Rosary Chapter after a sabbatical, which followed her service from 2008 to 2014 as Chapter Prioress of the Dominican Midwest Chapter, based in Chicago. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Sister Pat taught for more than 20 years at elementary and high schools in Michigan and Illinois before earning her master’s degree in social work in 1982. She since served as a social worker at Regina Dominican High School, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Congregation and located in Wilmette, Illinois; Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago; and Catholic Charities of Lenawee in Adrian.
Sister Helen, for her part, thanked the members of Holy Rosary Chapter, as well as Sister Attracta and the General Council, for the support they had shown her over the past months, when she served as Interim Chapter Prioress. “I feel privileged to be called to be your Vicaress and I will do my best to serve you well,” she said, asking for their words of wisdom and their prayers. “May our time together bear fruit for our Congregation, our Church, and our world.”
A native of Lansing, Michigan, and originally a teacher, Sister Helen has served in Congregational leadership several times: as secretary-treasurer and later as Co-Provincial of the Detroit-based Immaculate Conception Province, a fore-runner to Chapters; as Secretary of the Congregation; and finally, as a member of the General Council from 1982 to 1986. She then served as pastoral minister at two Detroit-area parishes, St. Alfred Parish in Taylor, Michigan, and at St. Joseph Parish in Trenton, Michigan.
Sister Pat addresses the Sisters of Holy Rosary Chapter,
while Sister Helen listens.
Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, addresses Sisters Patricia Dulka and Helen Sohn.
Sister Marilee Ewing extends her blessings on the new Prioress and Vicaress of Holy Rosary.