2023 Jubilee Mass Preaching by Sister Elise García, OP Saturday, June 24, 2023 Isaiah 61:1-3, 10a Ephesians 1:3-6 John 15: 5, 14-17 Happy Jubilee, dear Sisters! What a joy it is to be celebrating all our Jubilarians together this year – that’s a first – in person and without masks! For 25, 50, 60, 70, and 75 years you have lived that Gospel message – “to go and bear fruit that will remain ” for years to come, long past your time on this Earth home. It is my honor to extend the deep gratitude that all of your Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, friends and family hold in our hearts for the extraordinary years of service you have given throughout your 2,545 collective years of vowed life. Decades ago, each of you received a call. “It was not you who chose me but I who chose you.” I invite you to take a moment to close your eyes and reflect on when it was that you first heard the call to enter religious life. Where were you? How old were you? How surprised were you? How long did it take for you to say “yes”? Most of you heard that call somewhere in the United States and were drawn to enter the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary here in Adrian, Michigan. Some of you were already Dominicans, born and raised in the Dominican Republic, when you heard the call to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation. Another among you came from Canada. Yet another heard the call to religious life in the Philippines, traveling 8,000 miles across the globe for formation here in Adrian, and then entering through a portal that became the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies in the Philippines. Some of you Jubilarians were called to enter the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Cross in Edmonds, Washington. And another one among you was called to enter the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci in Pennsylvania. All of you are together in this Congregation now, reflecting the rich diversity of our Dominican life and the awesome power of the call, which has a way of taking us to places we never imagined. And that’s true for all of you. Each of you possesses an incredible openness and a fidelity to follow God’s call, no matter when, where or how often you heard it. Most of you knew when you entered that you might be called to teaching – even if you knew nothing about teaching at that time. And what extraordinary educators you became and have been to students around the globe, in kindergarten through high school, in colleges and universities, and to adults in literacy centers, seeking GEDs or English proficiency. Some of you were also called to be school superintendents, principals, guidance counselors, librarians, secretaries, and campus ministers. How many of you thought you would be called to serve as therapists, counselors, or spiritual directors? Or to serve in multiple roles in parishes and dioceses, offering expertise in canon law, liturgical ministry, religious education, as vicars, musicians, and in adult and youth ministries and pastoral care? And after finally making it through Formation, relieved that you never were sent home despite the multiple threats, who among you thought you would ever serve in Formation? And what about those of you who, perhaps like others might have had a few challenges with leadership, and then ended up being called to serve as Congregation Prioresses, General Councilors, Vicaresses, Provincials and Chapter Prioresses? Who among you thought your vocation would find expression through your giftedness as an artist? Or as a communicator in public relations? Or through healing ministries in nursing, pharmacy and healthcare, or as a convent administrator? Did any of you imagine that your passion for justice, peace, and making our world a better place might be given voice in corporate boardrooms, prison ministry, liberation theology, justice and ecology centers, community organizing or retreat and conference centers? These are among the many beautiful and surprising pathways you 25, 50, 60, 70 and 75-year Jubilarians have taken in your faithful years of religious life. Each of today’s readings speaks of how God has chosen us or how we were chosen by Jesus. The prophet Isaiah says “God has anointed me, and sent me into the world to bring good news.” Saint Paul tells the Ephesians that God chose us “before the foundation of the world.” And in John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” We have been chosen – all of us, beloved by our God. That insight is a gift of our Christian faith. It is another – and rarer – gift of our faith tradition to be called, as you were, to give your entire lives in radical service to the Mission of Jesus. It is a call that only takes effect if given a response. The call could not bear fruit without your “yes.” As I look around this chapel, bringing into our circle the Jubilarians who were not able to be here in person, I see the light of the Gospel shining in each of you, a sign of the rich fruit you have brought to bear through your “yes.” Each of you heard the call, responded, and were then, in the Mission of Jesus, “sent into our world to be with others bearers and recipients of his love, co-creators of his justice and peace.” Thank you for your astonishing “yes” so many years ago. And for all the other “yesses” you have given over the years when you were called to let go of one ministry for another, one place and way of living for another, one congregation for another, one way of being in service for another, and so many other letting go’s up to this very moment – each time opening a new doorway revealing God’s abundant love. We – your Sisters, family, friends and Associates – love you, admire you, honor and respect you. We are so grateful for the radical witness you have given to God’s immeasurable love with the beauty of your lives and your joyful Dominican spirit. Thank you. Gracias. Salamat po.