The OP after our names stands for “Order of Preachers,” the formal name of the religious order founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. As Dominicans, we preach with our lives—in both word and deed—guided by a search for truth (veritas) and a commitment to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation (contemplate et aliis tradere). 

Our Dominican lives are shaped by the interconnecting movements of study, prayer, communal life, and ministry. 

Dominic so firmly believed in the importance of study to the preaching mission that he provided a rule of “dispensation” from other responsibilities in the event they interfered with study. We are women committed to study. Through prayer and contemplation we interiorize our learnings and enter into communion with the Source of all truth. Our communal life orients us to the common good of the whole Earth community. And in ministry, our preaching takes effect.

As women of the Gospel, our preaching is also expressed in word. Read reflections on the Word of God posted by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates on the Praedicare Blog below.


Palm Sunday 2023
Preaching by Sister Bibiana "Bless" Colasito, OP

Palm Sunday - April 2, 2023
Matthew 26:14 - 27:66

Sister Bless Colasito, OP

Good morning, everyone! Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, is the beginning of Holy Week. Jesus, as a devoted Jew, went up to Jerusalem for the Passover, greeted by the Jews waving palm branches, spreading their cloaks, and shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Ps. 118:26). Palm branches in Jewish tradition signify a celebration of triumph or victory. Obviously, on that entry into Jerusalem, they were expecting Jesus to be a political leader, with power and dominion over the Romans, Israelites’ foreign adversaries.

For Christians however, the palm branch is a symbol of martyrdom, just as Jesus had foretold his pending death, when he and his disciples were going up to Jerusalem for the Passover “The hour is coming when the Son of man will be handed over to his enemies” (Mark 11:8-10).

The gospel today from St. Matthew (26:14-27:66) has a parallel Gospel narrative, from St. John (18:1-19:42), that we will hear on Good Friday. It is the narrative of the Passion and Death of Jesus which mystery will come to fulfillment on Easter Sunday.

This gospel narrative captures the reality of suffering. In today’s time, suffering seems a “fit all” dictum that may affect the most innocent one.

When faced with challenges in life, we tend to question God on why do we or others need to suffer?

Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ, a Filipino theologian offered an answer to these questions as he said, “God’s response to the deepest question of the human on the meaning and value of human suffering is the silence of the cross.” However, it is not easy to understand why so many people suffer today. Fr. Arevalo continued by saying that “While it is true that Jesus talks about the cross, about his suffering, he does not offer us a systematic theology of the cross, of human suffering, in the gospels. However, we find something new, something beautiful, in the gospels: Jesus’ attitude towards the cross, towards his own suffering, which teaches us about the meaning of the cross as love, thereby giving new meaning and significance to our daily crosses and sufferings in life.”

Yes, Jesus teaches us the meaning of human suffering, and its redemptive dimension. He just did not stretch out his arms on the cross on that first Good Friday as a show of courage but an expression of his deep love for us. We may not fully understand the depth of that love, but that is the way it is.

Paul Claudel (1868–1955) a French poet, dramatist, essayist, convert to Roman Catholicism and a six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, said as quoted by Fr. Arevalo: “God came in Jesus not to take away our pain. God came in Jesus not even to explain it. God came in Jesus simply to feel our pain, and to feel it with his presence.”

In 2011 when typhoon Haiyan, also locally called Yolanda, hit the central part of the Philippines leaving the affected areas to ground zero and causing the death of thousands of people, Pope Francis visited the affected areas. One of his appearances was at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila where the youth gathered to meet the pope. A girl of 12 years old, an orphan, asked the Pope, why is there suffering and why her family had to suffer? The pope said, to quote, “I do not know the answer.” But he hugged the girl tightly as a response to her question. It was the same question asked to the Pope when he visited Leyte on the aftermath of the typhoon. The Pope did not answer in words, but his head turned to the cross that gave his answer to thousands and thousands of people present during the Eucharistic celebration.

Is there a way to go beyond suffering? Yes! All of us have the capacity to translate our difficulties into a positive experience of life and see the meaning of the redemptive value of our own difficulties, and the suffering of our people at the peripheries. Suffering is real! It is not an imaginary concept that we see with magical eyes so that we can sugar coat our unpleasant experiences in life. Viktor E. Frankl, the theorist of Logotherapy, experienced the most horrible conditions in life when in 1942 to 1945 while at a Nazi death camp, he witnessed the death of his parents, a brother, and his pregnant wife. Frankl argues that “we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.”

In the gospel, Jesus experienced abandonment by his own disciples. Though sinless, he endured the most painful way of dying, crucifixion on the cross. Extraordinarily, while dying on the cross, he expressed a profound expression of his love to the criminal hanging beside him, telling him “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). And again, when he implored his father: “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34). What a love to remember! Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest, and a psychotherapist reminded us that, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, 1990)

This is our calling too, to forgive and love people beyond human borders. Hence, the palm branches that the Jewish people raised and waved, the cloaks that they spread on the street to welcome Jesus with the conscious expectation of Him as a political leader. During that sensational triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus challenged us to make these symbols our oneness with the sufferings of those who are at the peripheries of human societies, across cultures, race and traditions, socio-political conditions, gender, and economic status. Amen.


Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Preaching by Sister Pat Walter, OP (Read by Sister Joan Delaplane, OP)

Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8, 2022
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

Sister Pat Walter, OP

Unlike Mary Catherine Nolan, I did not have great devotion to Mary for my first 50 years. Yes, we had a May altar at home, prayed the rosary every night in May and October, and had the Pilgrim Virgin in our house for every home visit – who needed to bring a companion?

After entrance, I prayed the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recited the rosary – even with outstretched arms – and sang the Salve nightly. But it always seemed to me that, if Jesus were God, why not go straight to the top with my concerns?

This gradually began to shift when I was Prioress. I found an old copy of the prayer we used to say to Our Lady of This House and prayed it, not every night, but often. After finishing my term, I went on the Fanjeaux retreat and then spent a week in Paris, also visiting Chartres. I was struck there by the image of Mary as a queen sitting on a throne, with her son seated on her lap facing forward. She is Mary, Seat of Wisdom. Her strength and personality made a far deeper impression on me than all the sweet Madonnas with swirling clothes and the rather stiff figures in icons.

During that sabbatical, I stayed with Dominicans in Rome, intending to read and to visit museums. By chance, I extended my time there to teach a course on Mary at the Angelicum, subbing in for Mary O’Driscoll. Rome on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was a revelatory experience.

December 8 is a national and religious holiday. Despite the Roman Ordo and all liturgical theology, it is the REAL beginning of preparation for Christmas. Homes, towns, and cities are decorated, trees and bonfires lit, families gather for a festive meal with special foods, all businesses and offices are closed, except for stores and Christmas markets, so shopping for gifts begins in earnest.

The highlight of the day comes at 4 p.m., when the pope, mayor of Rome, and assorted civil and religious dignitaries assemble at the 40-foot-tall Column of the Immaculate Conception near the Spanish steps. The head of the fire department climbs a ladder on a fire engine and places a wreath on Mary’s arm. The pope places flowers at the base, along with tributes from city and nation. He then prays for the needs of the world.

As I watched all this on television, I suddenly came to a new appreciation of Marian dogma in general and the Immaculate Conception in particular. In traditional Italian culture, the family is the most important of all relationships. Within the family, traditionally the bond between mother and son has been extremely strong. It makes sense, then, that in Italy the conception of Jesus’ mother begins the celebration of Christmas. The abstract typology of Eve and Mary, the long story of salvation history – all of this takes a distant second place to the concrete, primal relationship of this mother and this son. This relationship is key; this is the reason for celebration.

Mary is Jesus’ mother. So, of course, the Italian church celebrates her own conception in St. Ann’s womb as the concrete, real prelude to Jesus’ own birth, and chooses as the Gospel the story of Jesus’ own conception.

Jesus had only one mother. Mary’s vocation was unique. Yet Karl Rahner often emphasized that Mary is the Mother of the Church and, at the same time, her destiny as the first believer, the first to place her hope in Christ, reveals our own call and destiny as members of the Body of Christ. The Marian doctrines, he said, are just as much about our faith and hope in the Word of God, about our origin and future.

Although Paul’s letter does not mention Mary, Paul seems to make the same point. He makes no mention of "original sin." Listen to what Paul tells us:
We, too, are blessed – in Christ – with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
We, too, are thus “full of grace.”
We, too, are chosen in Christ – to be holy and spotless.
We, too, are loved into being by Love, to be God’s sons and daughters, God’s own family, through our relationship with Jesus the Christ.
We, too, have the favor of God’s will, we, too, live in God’s grace – which is simply God’s gift of Godself to us. We, too, have been chosen by God and, like Mary, place our hope in Christ and live for the praise of God’s glory.
So we, too sing Magnificat with Mary.

Perhaps today we might take time to sit with the annunciation and with this passage from Ephesians, to hear the Word of God spoken to Mary by the angel and by Paul to us:
to let that Word take hold of us and quicken in us,
to know ourselves profoundly as loved into being and highly favored – full of grace.
And then we might, with Mary, burst into that song of joy, the Magnificat.
We, too, can begin celebrating Jesus’ birth by celebrating his mother.
For as the Italian saying goes, “A good mother is worth a hundred teachers.” 


Second Sunday of Advent 2022
Preaching by Sister Joan Delaplane, OP

Second Sunday of Advent - December 4, 2022
Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-9
Matthew 3:1-12

Sister Joan Delaplane, OP

Janet Schaeffler, in her book Let This Be the Time, quotes Maya Angelou: “If you must look to the past, do so forgivingly. If you must look to the future, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing that you can do is to be present to the present gratefully.” 

So, last Tuesday, as a Community we looked to this past COVID year with its sometimes darkness within and without, and received God’s forgiveness for where we have missed the mark. As to the future, Isaiah and the psalmist present a poetic and remarkable picture of peace and harmony, where justice shall flourish for the lands afflicted, and the afflicted land. “There shall be no harm or ruin, for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord.” Seem too good to be true? When one knows Jesus and his Word, however, we have to admit, it is too good not to be true. And in Christ, through Christ, and for Christ, it is a truth, we believe, that will come to fruition at the end time. 

“The wisest thing that you can do is to be present to the present gratefully.” When we put the picture of the vision of the future next to the reality of the present, we recognize our call as Christ’s Body to be open to the challenge of being part of bringing about the change being called for. Perhaps now we can understand Paul’s words at another level: “Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”   

Yes. We dealt for two years of our Awakening Sessions with the what and how and why of our part in this risky transformation. We realize that we are in the early Acts of this Divine/Human Drama, but we each have an important and unique role to play. Although we are in it for a short time of the long haul, it will call for endurance in the struggle to birth a new creation, rather than assurance of quick fixes. All of this is possible by deep faith in Christ’s promise in the Scriptures: “I will be with you.” We remember, we celebrate, we believe!

We were loved into being at this Anticipatory Age of Evolution, as John Haught would name it, to know the joy of playing a part in bringing about God’s vision of peace and love and community. Haught emphasized that in our human experience, it is in the anticipation of something wonderful, exciting, and meaningful that can actually be as joyful, if not more joyful, than even the fulfillment of the longed for event: Anticipation of Santa for little ones these days; or for adults, looking forward to family reunions. weddings, jubilees, trips, etc. True for you?

Alice Camille, in her Advent reflection, tells of the man in the grocery store pushing a cart with a rambunctious toddler in the seat. As they went down the aisle, the child reached out and grabbed items off the shelf, throwing them to the ground. Each time, the man stooped down and gently put the item back. Each time he said, "It’s OK, Jimmy, we’re almost done. Only a few more minutes and we’ll be going home."

When they arrived at the checkout line, a shopper who had seen this whole episode told the man how impressed she was by his kind patience with the willful Jimmy. The man looked confused for a moment, and then told her: "I’m Jimmy. That little monster in the cart is George."

As the author points out, controlling a two-year-old may be tough, but controlling our grown-up selves is the real challenge. Instead of blaming the "monsters" for our sad state of affairs nationally, internationally, or even in our Community or Church, we need to focus on what needs to be changed in one’s personal behavior, one’s personal response to others. Dorothy Day said: "The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us."

John the Baptist cried: "Repent!" Most commentators today, however, agree that the Greek word metanoia is better translated as change of mind and heart and attitude. That understanding is a little more challenging that just saying “I’m sorry,” especially when that change involves moving from I to We in all we say and do.

After much discussion and discernment, our Enactments name how we are committed for the next six years to bring the Isaiah vision closer to reality. This will, of course, cost a lot of letting go, probably more change than we realize, but we’re in this together. Endurance is possible with encouragement of the Scriptures. 

Thomas Merton said, "Advent is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not of Christ." Perhaps we can take a few minutes of silence today and search the depths of our deepest longings. What within me is not of Christ? What do I want from God this 2022 Christmas? What does God want from me? God is not the One who has everything. There is something God does not have unless I choose to give it. What might that be? 

Celebration of Leadership 2022
Preaching by Sister Elise D. García, OP

Saturday, October 8, 2022
Wisdom 7:21-23, 27-28, 8-1
1 Corinthians 12:4-12
John 15: 12-17

Sister Elise D. García, OP

It is my joy to add my warm welcome to Pat Siemen’s to each and every one of you gathered here or tuning in from your rooms on campus or from your homes around the United States, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Norway, Canada – or wherever else you might be.

Lorraine, Corinne, Janice, Bless and I are honored to have you join us in this celebration of transferring leadership – an intrepid step we have taken as a community of vowed Dominicans every six years for nearly the entire 99 years we have been an independent congregation. I say "nearly" because for a short while, we did this every four years – as Carol Johannes, especially, will recount. And I say "intrepid" because we dare to risk electing and installing a new leadership team after we’ve had what, by all measures, could be said to be an outstanding one.

Thank you, Pat, Mary Margaret, Fran, and Patty for the incredible love you have poured out in service to our Congregation and to the whole Earth community during these past six and a half years. Bless, Janice, Corinne, Lorraine and I are deeply indebted to you as we step into the offices you have blessed with your presence and assume the awesome responsibilities you have so faithfully carried on your shoulders through one of the most difficult times in our history.

As I reflect on the beautiful reading from Wisdom, I see that her spirit, "intelligent, holy, unique…never harmful, loving the good…firm, secure, tranquil" has passed into your holy souls and those of so many of our predecessors, producing "friends of God and prophets." Among them are our Mothers Camilla, Augustine, Gerald, Genevieve and Laurence Edward who became Sister Rosemary; and Sisters Carol, Nadine, Pat, Janet, Donna, Attracta, and Pat. We are so grateful for your faithful leadership as Prioress. And thank you to each and every one of the nearly five dozen women who have so generously served as General Councilors, Secretaries and Treasurers from 1923 to the present day, and the many more Sisters who have served as Provincials and Chapter and Mission Prioresses.

You have helped shape us into who we are today, in communion with the more than 3,900 women who at one time or another during these past 99 years have given their lives and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit in service to the world as Dominicans of Adrian – and a number of you, prior to merger, as Dominicans of Edmonds and Our Lady of Remedies. Our community has been extraordinarily blessed by all these women and by the hundreds of companions in Dominican life we call Associates, Co-Workers, Partners in Mission in our sponsored institutions, and bold seekers on the spiritual journey. Each of these, parts of our body, offering different kinds of spiritual gifts – with Wisdom, the artisan of all, renewing everything.

We make this transition in leadership at a hinge moment in the life of our Congregation – and of our Earth community. As most of us know, religious life in the United States and most parts of the world, is undergoing an epochal change. The kind of change religious life has undergone every 400 or 500 years.

It is a painful gift to be living through it now, as we are witnessing the end of one life form – even as we give birth to a new one. We witness the end in losses that are hard to bear: We buried 240 of our Sisters these past six years, each one an "ordinary woman gifted with extraordinary courage and radiant faith," as our Sister Noreen McKeough put it so eloquently. And many of us here present in this chapel, or viewing from afar, have suffered profound personal losses in recent days, months, or years that weigh heavily on our hearts.

We cannot embrace the new life that we know is emerging without acknowledging, holding, and honoring the grief we have so deeply felt. Without acknowledging and accepting all the ways our lives have changed these past two and half years through an historic global pandemic; through physical or mental challenges and diminishment; through the social and political divisions that have riven our nation and world; and through the record fires, floods, droughts and other devastating disasters of climate chaos.

But we come to this table as people of faith – in God or in each other. In the goodness of life and its miraculous unfolding over billions of years to this very moment. In the power of finding purpose and meaning during our brief sojourn on our common Earth home.

Our beloved Sister Rosemary Ferguson, reflecting on the extraordinary time of renewal that she courageously led us through in the late 1960s and ‘70s, wrote: "A new life was being breathed forth for us to bring into being." And so it is for us now, as a Congregation and as a human species in our evolutionary unfolding: A new life is being breathed forth for us to bring into being. And that call to new life is the ever-ancient, ever-new call we heard in today’s Gospel: love one another.

It could not be simpler – nor more challenging and profound.

We see it in the call of our 2022 General Chapter Enactments where we challenge ourselves to address the evils of racism and white supremacy and systems that oppress and fracture the beloved community. Where we challenge the injustice of patriarchy that maintains the subordinate status of women and girls in Church and society around the world. Where we call ourselves to respond to the cry of Earth and those who are poor in the few years we have remaining to veer off the catastrophic path our world is on that will imperil life for generations to come.

Each of those commitments, supported by our 2004 Vision to live in right relationship with the whole Earth community, is nothing less than a call to undergo a profound transformation of consciousness, personally and communally. It is a spiritual call into the depths of the Gospel call to love one another.

It is a call we can live into whether ministering with the indigenous Aeta people in the mountains of the Philippines; the students in our sponsored institutions and Escuela Fe y Alegría in the Dominican Republic; the immigrants we accompany here, in Chicago, and in the Arctic Circle of Norway; or with the global corporations we engage as shareholders and the community organizations we invest in.

We can live into it serving patients in our legacy hospitals, people in need of spiritual direction and pastoral care, and in our response to urgent calls for justice with wonderful partners like the National Black Sisters’ Conference, AHLMA (Asociación de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en América), the LGBTQ community, indigenous allies, and through our global sisterhood with our IHM neighbors down the River Raisin and our Dominican Sisters in Iraq and around the world.

It is a call we can live into with powerful effect from our rooms in Maria, Regina, Weber, Assumption and our new convent in Mining – through our enduring practice of contemplative prayer and daily acts of loving kindness.

Our Carmelite Sister Constance Fitzgerald, OCD, describes the evolutionary movement we are called to enter a "deeper movement into the within-ness of the universe." That "within-ness" is the heart of the universe – the vast and deep space where the Spirit of Wisdom and Divine Love abide, always and everywhere accessible to us.

A new life is being breathed forth for us to bring into being.

Let us tap into the depths of our contemplative Dominican roots to broaden the path of radical relationality that the Jewish Nazarene we follow first carved into evolution with his call to "love one another as I have loved you." It is an evolutionary path that the great mystics further deepened, providing us guidance that we are now summoned to follow in these urgent times to bring into being the new life that is being breathed forth.

It is about nothing less than turning the world in a new direction – from and towards the depths of the Love that gave it birth and sustains us. It is the gift of being alive at this transformative time when how we are and what we do can make all the difference.

Let us go forth into our new chapter. ¡Adelante!

Feast of the Holy Rosary

Preaching by Sister Joan Delaplane, OP

Friday, October 7, 2022

Acts 1:12-14

Luke 1:39-49

Sister Joan Delaplane, OPHappy Feast Day! What a week, right? A Jubilee celebration of the joyful mystery of God’s faithfulness for 30 of our Sisters, and their faith-full response for so many years. Then the sorrowful mystery yesterday of the funeral of our dear Betty; yet trust in the glorious mystery of her entrance into eternal life. And tomorrow, the opening of a new chapter in the life story of the Adrian Dominican Sisters with the installation of new Leadership. 

Our Dominican brother, Edward Schillebeeckx, said, “For the most part, people live by stories… Without stories we should lose our memories, fail to find our own place in the present, and remain without hope or expectation for the future.” From its beginning, the Order of Preachers has shown special honor and devotion to Mary. Reflecting on the sacred story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, with the holy mantra of “Hail Mary, Hail Mary,” has been one of the ways of expressing that devotion. With profound faith and deep love, Mary pondered these mysteries in her heart; and, as Elizabeth proclaimed, she is blessed because she believed and trusted in God.

A short time ago, a friend and I were talking about good stories. We spoke of the excitement and anticipation as we drew close to the last chapter of a good novel, wondering how all the pieces were going to come together. We also acknowledged how often we were almost sad to see it end. The characters had become like dear friends.

We’ve been using the identification of co-creators for a few years now, but I think it is also true to claim co-authors of our unique story of our gift of life. I imagine God, when we were able to begin making choices, saying to each of us: “OK, dear heart, these are your givens: here are your parents, family, genes, strengths/limitations, country, times – all of which you had nothing to say. Now, however, with my hand upon yours, let’s write a beautiful and unique story that will give me glory, and you, happiness.” And even as many of us realize that we may have only one or two chapters left to write, I perceive that the autumn of one’s life can also be as rich, colorful, and awesome as the nature arounds us today exhibits. As believers, we trust that our life story has a glorious epilogue.

I must admit that for years I have wondered why our creed moved from birth of Jesus to death and resurrection, saying nothing of his showing the way, telling the truth, and living the fullness of life every day. Recently, however, the institutional Church finally inserted the reflection on the Luminous Mysteries to our praying the Rosary. The prayer that is ordinarily said at the conclusion of the five decades is also crucially significant: “May we imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise!” How Dominican: from contemplation to action. 

Today is a pivotal moment as we transition tomorrow to the beginning of a new chapter as the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary. Our servant leadership of the last six and a half years will now turn the page of their personal story and begin a new chapter in their lives. Our new servant leadership, and each of us in the Congregation, will also begin the writing of a new chapter for our Congregation as we strive to take the words of our Enactments off the page and put them into action.

We pray in thanksgiving for Pat, Fran, Mary Margaret, Patty, and Elise; and ask God’s continued blessings on your graced, gifted and generous selves. We pray in solidarity and prayerful, loving support for Elise, Lorraine, Corinne, Janice, and Bless. And for our Congregation we pray: Grant we beseech thee, O God, that meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, “we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 6
Preaching by Sister Carol Johannes, OP

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Sister Carol Johannes, OP

As I begin today, I can’t decide whether I feel more like a relic, a guest on "Survivor," or an object on "Antiques Road Show."

But when Xiomara called and asked me to preach today, she said, "Just tell us what’s in your heart." And my heart is so full of gratitude and pride in us at this moment that finding just the right words is a challenge. But I’ll do my best.

Years ago, we were described as "A group of ordinary women with extraordinary courage." The "extraordinary courage" is not in doubt, as the past six years and the past week have both demonstrated. We’ve been led through one of the most difficult periods in our history by a General Council with consummate intelligence, skill and vision, and with warmth and tenderness that made us all feel loved and cherished, and which preserved our hope despite an uncertain future. And this week, as we prayed and discerned with the Spirit's guidance, we elected another group of women of promise, and, with faith and generous hearts, we charted a course for the next six years of our life together.

As I think about our history of courage and how we've tended to transcend obstacles and challenges, I recall a little anecdote from my time in the West, years and years ago. Our Sisters staffed St. Raphael’s School in Los Angeles. And late one night, there was quite a severe earthquake in the area. The statues in chapel were teetering on their pedestals, dishes in the dining room were flying off the shelves. Outside on the corner, the traffic lights were blowing wildly and sending out sparks. And as all of this was taking place, one of the sisters ran into the superior's room and asked, with terror in her voice, "Sister! Sister! What's happening? What's happening?" And the superior, Sister Marie Donald, answered, "O go back to bed. It's only an earthquake." Now, while it may not seem so wise to normalize an earthquake, this tale suggests that we aren't easily daunted by challenges.

But I would gently contest that we are "ordinary women." It's true that most of us did not come from great wealth. We never spent our winters in Hawaii or our summers on Martha's Vineyard or in the Hamptons. We don't hold degrees from Harvard or Yale. But to one another, we are anything but ordinary, bonded as we are by deep, deep affection and mutual care, as we share faith and life together.

If COVID taught us anything, it is the great sense of deprivation we feel when we cannot be together to share, to pray, to confide, to support, to hug, to laugh, to mourn.

And assuredly, we are not "ordinary" to God, who, according to Isaiah, called us by name, called us together, and will do anything for us, because we are precious in God's eyes, and beloved (Isaiah 43:3-4). This, of course, is true of the whole human family. But there is a line in the short history of the Congregation of our old Rule and Constitutions that we used to read in the refectory on Fridays that applies just to us. It says:

The history of the foundation and growth of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the most HOLY ROSARY at Adrian, is the story of a work singularly blessed by Divine Providence.

Then it goes on to describe the phenomenal growth of the Congregation, serving in something like forty archdioceses with a membership of well over two thousand sisters, all the while being held in the palm of God's hand. And now, older, and with our numbers greatly diminished, still trusting that we are held in the palm of God's hand, we await what God has in store for us, confident that our future will be graced as was our past.

And it's to the cocreation of that graced future that we've brought our prayers, our discernment of the signs of the times, our imaginations, our energy, our hopes this past week. The number and depth of the issues that need addressing today are very, very great indeed. Our age and energy have altered our reality, but we've concentrated on our strengths, not our limitations, as we've asked God to reveal our call at this precise moment.

Mentored by Donna and Mark, we began to discern this during our pre-Chapter days as we called for a much stronger statement on diversity, sensitive to the human misery that racism generates among God's people. So the Committee took it back and reworked it and presented it again for reworking until the delegation felt it said what our communal passion for justice expressed.

And the same was true of our other Enactments, on sustainability, on women, on our dreams for the future of Dominican life and most especially on spirituality, which tested our capacity to find a way to come together from different perspectives. Again and again, over and over, patiently and sometimes a bit impatiently, we revisited and reworked our expression of the Enactments we set for the future, accepting them in faith as God's call, confident that the Holy Spirit has been our guide throughout this sacred time. And finally, we elected five generous and gifted women, whom we trust to lead us to the fulfillment of our call, and whom we resolve to support in their loving ministry to all of us.

Perhaps best of all, our work was accompanied each day by common prayer and ritual that was at once solemn and festive, which lifted our spirits and touched our hearts.

Soon we will leave here, resolute about carrying out faithfully all the goals we have set for ourselves. And over the next six years we will sincerely strive to carry them out. Because we're human, however, we may be really, really faithful to some things, but perhaps found wanting in others. However, as our Sister Catherine reminds us, "God does not ask a perfect work, but a supreme desire." God is not a fair-weather friend who gives up on us if we fail. God stays with us and tries again, just as Jesus did with the disciples. They didn't win any prizes for fidelity or even intelligence, for that matter. Jesus had to instruct, and repeat, and remind them again and again of the cost of following him. But he was faithful to them, and in the end, they were faithful to him. Might we dare to say, "They were eventually, awakened to love?"

Sometimes God brings about this awakening dramatically and immediately, as was the case with Paul. But often it's a slow and gradual process. We pray fervently that the Holy Spirit has worked her magic this week, and that our awakening to love has been deep and will be enduring. But even if we simply find ourselves in the process, that will be a wonderful transforming gift, and we will never be the same again.

So, either way, let us leave here in peace, trusting that the God eternally awakened to love for us, has accepted the supreme desire we manifested throughout this week, to be transformed and awakened to love for God, for all creation, and especially for one another, as together we co-create God's reign.

As we depart, awakened to love, we might like to make the words of the singer of the Song of Songs our own:

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
for love is strong as death.


Its flashes are flashes of fire
a very flame of (God).

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

If one would give all the wealth
of one’s house (to buy love),
one would be utterly scorned.

- Song of Songs: 8: 6-7

Love is not for sale. God gives it freely. Let us freely receive it, and generously share it, ever and always.


Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 5
Preaching by Sister Cheryl Liske, OP

Friday, July 1, 2022 - St. Junipero Serra
Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
Psalm 119: 2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
Matthew 9:9-13

Sister Cheryl Liske, OP

Good Moring, I am Cheryl Liske and I usually describe myself as a community organizer – but honestly the community organizer in this place is Xiomara Méndez-Hernández. Think about it, how many of you here were recruited into something this week by Xiomara? See, there you have it, Xiomara is the organizer. Organizers recruit people into things they have no business doing and then introduce a little tension into the job just to make it more interesting.

So just before Chapter started, I got a text or an email or something from Xiomara, asking if I would do that part in the Opening – you know the acknowledgement of the land and the native peoples the part that was personal – the part where my own great, great, grand-parents homesteaded on land stolen via broken treaties from the Odawa tribe. Remember that?

And of course, she had already asked me to do this homily – to which I rather glibly said yes, then ignored the task until the very last minute. Then I opened my missalette and – boom, it hits me – on Sunday I would confess my family’s complicity in the theft of the land from the native peoples and then – on Friday I get the honor of preaching on the feast day of St. Junipero Serra – a person who couldn’t be more controversial in regards to his treatment of the indigenousness people. Really Xiomara? Sara Fairbanks gets Saints Peter and Paul and I get St. Junipero Serra? Talk about tension.

I spent the last six months of my life on a team writing an enactment expressing outrage at the evil of racism and white supremacy which is the very underpinning of colonialism – and I get St. Junipero Serra?

I would rather have had Amos of our first reading as the "holy hero" of the day. Now there’s a guy I can relate to. As he is being thrown out of the kingdom, he turns back, fist raised and proclaims – "Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!"

Ha ha – listen up you colonialists!

Amos is railing against the "extraction society" of the Northern Kingdom who seem to have conveniently forgotten God’s word that protects the widow and the orphan and calls for just relationships with one another and Earth community. The laws of God are ignored and in this "extraction society" the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – by design. Not only is the sabbath violated by endless commerce but the scales are fixed and there are rocks in the measuring containers. Even the waste on the threshing floor is sold to the poor for a profit.

Amos has got some good old outrage going – and why not – he’s got the big guy on this side as his avenging angel. Our first reading goes on:

On that day, says the Lord GOD,
I will make the sun set at midday
and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentations.

Ok – now I am feeling better – here is someone that matches my rage with all the "extraction societies" of the world – and he isn’t done yet – there are consequence in the offing:

Then shall they wander from sea to sea
and rove from the north to the east
In search of the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it..

But they shall not find it.

Seekers not finding. Is there anything more tragic than seekers not finding?

What would Jesus do?

Eneida and Carol Gross reminded us in Tuesday’s homily that the 8th Chapter of Matthew has many surprises.

And darn it, just as I was working up to a good outrage with some good consequences, along comes Jesus and one of the many surprises. And here it is right in the beginning of our Gospel reading:

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."

Matthew sounds so innocent, doesn’t he – "sitting at the customs post." Like he’s just sitting there taking in the afternoon sun watching the world go by. Not a chance. Matthew is an important cog in the "extraction society" of Jesus' own day. Matthew is a tax collector and whether he has weighted scales or fraudulent books his job is to assure the rich get richer and the poor keep paying through the nose – until death.

Does Rabbi Jesus call him out? Does Rabbi Jesus express some righteous indignation, like my holy hero Amos might like to do? Like the Pharisees want him to do? Like I would have him do, like maybe many of us might want him to do?

No. Surprise, surprise. Rabbi Jesus, our teacher, addresses Matthew directly and invites Matthew to follow him.

Our Keynote speaker, Valerie Kaur in her book See No Stranger and in her message to us, gave us that compass for revolutionary love that moves through various stages of seeing no stranger in ourselves, in the other, and in our opponents. (She refuses to use the term "enemy" but I’m not there yet.) The stages of development in the "opponent" wedge of the graph begins with rage, moves through listening and reimagining and finally to "tend the wound." Tend the wound.

And what does Jesus say when the Pharisees follow him to Matthew’s house and are over-heard grumbling about the company Jesus is keeping?

Matthew, our Gospel writer, relates that Rabbi Jesus, our master of surprises, tells them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do." In other words – tend the wound.

Tend the wound.

It turns out there might be something more tragic than "seekers not finding?" it just might be when preachers and holy heroes are so in love with outrage, they forget that the goal is revolutionary love, of inviting everyone into the Word of God which is love.

Tend the wound.

What am I to do with Junipero Serra now? Deny the controversy? I think not. Serra was wounded and caused many wounds that reverberate to this day.

In community organizing and Catholic thought there are three stages to tending to the wound.

  1. Confession – look squarely at the real world, name the evil and the good.
  2. Repent – apologize, face to face – as our Prioress Pat Siemen did with Ojibwa Elder Jody Roy at the beginning of our time together.
  3. Make reparations – this implies a cost. A cost perhaps in loss of venerated statues or elevated status.

From the example of Rabbi Jesus, I think we need to add a fourth step:  Never cease to invite people, all people, to follow Rabbi Jesus; never cease to invite people, all people, into the Word of life; never cease to invite people, all people, into revolutionary love.

Tend the wound.


Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 4
Preaching by Sister M. Ruby Lumanlan, OP

Thursday, June 30, 2022
Matthew 9:1-8

Sister M. Ruby Lumanlan, OP

Every day we hope to announce the Good News, the good news of grace and faith that works in us because of Jehovah Rapha – the Lord who heals.

Just to make a “throwback,” two years ago COVID-19 had been declared as global pandemic and up until now had taken control our lives and hopes. The crisis was urgent and we felt worried and powerless.

As a Congregation we were not spared. We became vulnerable but open to the promptings of the Spirit. Our prayers, relationships, and the technology within our midst were the first point of actions – our refuge.

To the entire General Chapter Planning Committee, congratulations for your leadership, which brings us to this critical time in the Congregation’s Chapters of Affairs and Elections. With their planning and preparation, we are called to take the transformative change that will lead us into the future.

We know that the General Chapter was postponed but not totally hindered, because we turn our obstacles into opportunities and our problems into possibilities. We assemble in gratitude, we the 125 delegates. Everything happened for a reason: we wait on God and trust in Him in setting our Congregational direction and leadership.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gradually reveals His authority over everything. He is a merciful God who has the power to forgive and a great healer who is willing to make us well again in all our situations.

We see the glory of Christ’s forgiving grace clearly when we understand what is it that sin does to us, and what it is to have it taken away and be forgiven. The paralyzed man and his friends are hopeful, they anticipate, they expect, they look forward to something; Jesus has plans for them and even gave them goals to fulfill, to have a sense of confidence and assurance.

We are like the Christ candle: When the spiral is burned out and the center wick is lighted, we get to the core that will take us into the future – we are transformed. The paralytic represents the universal need for God’s forgiveness. We need to allow divine forgiveness to flow through us.

In the Awakening Circles, we centered our hearts and made contemplative conversation. We learned to become good stewards to take care of Earth, our common home. We learned to be more sensitive, to deepen our relationships to all creation and to be risk takers when challenges abound.

When Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take heart, stand up, go home!” He allowed forgiveness to heal us, to allow contact with Him, to restore our sanity, and to know that everywhere on the Earth is our home because He is an omnipotent God. He frees us from what binds us, He gives us wholeness and puts us back into a right relationship with Him and with humanity.

During sessions, I was glad whenever Facilitator Donna Fyffe asked us to confirm our vote by raising our right hand and using one of the three cue cards: green (yes), red (no), and yellow (abstain) whenever we made changes, reviewed and affirmed our Constitution and Statutes, and approved our Election Plan and Enactments. After critical and impassioned deliberations, we came up with a successful result. As a majority voted, we interpreted that it passed the quality test. When we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God of deliverance is able to save and rescue us.

Jesus rewards every single effort that we make to come to His presence. Remember, He is inclusive and just.

The Gospel gives great coverage to the characters: The Paralytic, who was the sick person carried by his friends from the housetop down to Jesus, just to be healed. The Friends of the Paralytic who became the point of contact for the Paralytic to be healed. The Spiritual Leaders who do not believe in Him, who even said that He is blaspheming when He declared forgiveness to the Paralytic. They are those who do not have faith in Him, who always preferred reasoning rather than believing. The Crowd who glorified Him when they witnessed His healing power.

At this time, do you consider your faith as evidence that you believe? As you imagine being in the crowd, are you a believer or are you there to test Jesus? Do you believe? Do you really believe in Him?

In this Gospel there are no throw-away miracles, nor throw-away cultures. If we believe in His work He always has a key teaching for us to learn and be renewed.

Jesus’ authority is full of mercy and compassion. His judgments are true. Indeed, His messages and words are loaded with awakening, healing, and openness to finding ways to right direction.

As we elect our Congregational leaders, we encounter the question, "Do the type of leaders we will choose carry the leadership of Christ?"

Jesus is the most effective leader of all time because He led His team to become servant leaders. He unifies, He envisions, He inspires, He empowers, He thinks creatively, and He strives for perfection.

As we continue to thread the path of our Dominican Life into the future, we continue to shift our awareness and consciousness by experiencing all that is holy, and by experiencing all as one.

On this awakening journey, it doesn’t matter how many times we fall down to reach our dreams. What matters is how many times we get up for the greater glory of God, always choosing to be faithful to our calling.

Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 3
Preaching by Sara Fairbanks, OP

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP

Helen Keller once said, “The bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.” As we have been deliberating over our enactments, we are well aware of the many challenges facing our Church and world. In recent years, many Church leaders have pushed back against Vatican II and the spirit of reform that held out hope for the ordination of women and married men in a discipleship of equals. Clerical abuse of power has runs rampant, Church membership is in steep decline, and the future of vowed Dominican life is uncertain. Likewise, our world seems to be careening down a road toward a calamitous end, accelerated by greed and economic inequality, racial, ethnic, and sexist injustices at every turn, attacks on democracy, gun violence, war, and ecological disaster leading to mass suffering and extinction. Is this a bend in the road or the end of the road? How will we ever make the turn in the road that leads to new life where the love of God and the love of neighbor as self is our deepest identity and our purpose in mission?

On this feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul, we as Church celebrate two saintly figures, who themselves lived in a perilous world under the military dictatorship of Imperial Rome, whose ruthless exploitation squelched their nation’s livelihood. Working to keeping hope alive in the Risen Christ, Peter and Paul exemplify a faith response guided by the Holy Spirit that, although long past, touches our present and gives direction and meaning to our future as we attempt to navigate successfully the turn in the road toward a Church and world made new by the radical love of the living God.

While Peter and Paul have different stories to tell, both proclaimed the Risen Christ and his way of life. They spoke boldly of his imminent return when he would restore and renew Israel for the inbreaking of God’s reign of love, justice and peace. In the company of many missionary co-workers, both women and men, Peter and Paul encountered an unexpected and treacherous bend in the road, when the majority of Israel refused to believe their preaching, but instead met them with violent persecution, floggings, imprisonment, and even death.

Through prayer, perseverance, and community they embraced the dark night of their struggle, and in those depths discovered that the Living Christ was doing something new. The Holy Spirit, was enkindling a new fire of faith among the Gentiles, turning their hearts to Christ and his message of God’s unconditional love for all people. The Spirit of Christ was giving birth to the Church. Peter and Paul simply let go and let God! They obediently followed the Spirit’s guide to expand the circle of who belongs as valued members of the body of Christ.

Likewise, Paul refuses to set up a road block to the Gentiles by forcing them to conform to Jewish laws and traditions in order to follow Christ. He reminds the Galatians that the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. He goes on to explain that in Christ Jesus we "see no stranger." Paul writes, "As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or free, no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3: 27-28).

Peter and Paul well exemplify the all-inclusive, revolutionary love that we heard Sikh American activist Valerie Kaur describe. She says, "Revolutionary love is demanding labor, but it is also creative, transformative and joyful labor—immeasurably complex and messy, tumultuous and revelatory, marked by wonder, and worth it. Revolutionary love is how we last." Through our enactments we set our agenda to do the work of revolutionary love that seeks collaboration with an ever-expanding circle of partners in mission (including the worms!) that excludes no one from our circle of care. The bend in the road is not the end of the road, if together hand in hand, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we recommit ourselves to "seek truth; make peace; reverence life."

Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 2
Homily Written by Carol Gross, OP,
Preached by Eneida Santiago, OP

Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Matthew 8:23-27

Sister Carol Gross, OP Sister Maria Eneida Santiago, OP
Sister Carol Gross, OP Sister Eneida Santiago, OP

Did you notice that the Gospel today just happens to center on “awakening”? We have been praying for this very thing for more than a year as we prepared for chapter. The disciples frightened by the storm cried out to Jesus to awaken. When He did, the first thing Jesus attended to was their fear of death. “Why are you terrified, o you of little faith?” Then He tended to the storm.

What did the disciples think Jesus was going to do to save them? Did they want Him to help them bail water or reset their course? Jesus was in danger too so did they want Him to save Himself or just share their fear? Obviously, they did not expect something so dramatic as the immediate calming of the wind and sea. This example of climate change was a little too much for them. They were incredulous. Chapter 8 of Matthew’s Gospel is full of surprises as Jesus reveals himself.

Who is this Jesus? The historical Jesus of the Scriptures manifests how God works in our lives. We don´t know how God will act when we pray as we face change or death. Probably not the way we expected. When we want to go around, we are called to go through. When we want God to stop the pain, we are given the strength to persevere. When we want peace and tranquility, we are given acceptance of the storm and shown how to be at peace in the midst of it. So we pray with faith and are often amazed at what God does, as together and awake, we face the winds and seas of our lives.

As a spiritual director I often am a little bit amused – and a little bit concerned – when faithful, holy people come to an eight-day retreat and tell me that they want to grow in confidence in God. Most often they struggle through at least five days with aridity, difficulty praying and unexpected temptations. What they thought was going to be a peaceful, blessed time basking in God´s presence has turned into a struggle to be faithful. On the last or second to last day, they come to the realization that they have grown in confidence in God through their struggles. They are sure God was there sustaining them through it all. How else can a human being know what God knows except through being awakened through testing.

We are here in General Chapter amid so many storms that seem to swamp the boat of our congregation, our church, and our world, not to mention our personal struggles. We try to shake God awake with our prayers, study and sharing. And when we do awake God´s magnificent power, what will God do? Or what will we discover that God has already done? Let us be prepared to be amazed at how our prayers are answered.

We continue to celebrate in this Mass the all-loving and all-powerful God who rules the wind and seas, the sun and the rain, and best of all who can transform human hearts. We pray together now as we have through our months of preparation for chapter, “awaken us to love.”



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