January 2017  
Director's Reflection


You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not never come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray
It doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy
It's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway.....

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
In a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah, sing it anyway
I sing
I dream
I love

Words and music by Martina McBride, Brad Warren, Brett Warren

As we celebrate the sacredness of Christmas and begin a new calendar year, I reflect back on 2016 and see a year full of transitions, unease, and contention. We live in a country whose citizens are sharply divided on politics, morality, and visions for the future. It is very easy to feel discouragement, concern, and at times despair about the environment, diversity, and those who are living on the margins of society.

This beautiful song encourages me to go forward and do what I can, even if it looks like it won't turn out the way I want. Our Enactments give us much guidance and hope for the future. We stand united, Partners in Mission, Sisters and Associates who will continue to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.

It takes prayer, community, study, and service ----  the four foundations, or pillars, of our shared Dominican charism ----  to stay focused and not lose hope. We are called to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation. We open ourselves to possibilities and gather to listen to one another and discern how God is moving in our lives.

The song "Anyway" reminds me to dream, love, build, and believe, even though there are obstacles and a good result may be in doubt.

When I strip away all the consumerism and reflect quietly on this time of the year, I remember all the many, many times I have been the recipient of a grace that I wasn't expecting. I remember times when someone said something encouraging and when an unexpected gift arrived; the amazing honor of twice being a mother after I was told that there was no way I could carry a child to term; and the lovely man I was so fortunate to marry.

That is the meaning of Christmas. The answers to what we seek come in unlikely ways and places. In this case, in a lowly stable manger, in a country divided sharply by the haves and the have nots, a country where there were few choices, strict rules, and little freedom.

Jesus was born into a world with little regard for the marginalized, where life was extremely difficult ----  a world in which life expectancy was 30 to 35 years, and where Roman rule was oppressive, to say the least. Jesus was born to Mary and given a stepfather who must have had more questions than answers. Yet, Jesus was born, the Word made flesh. Reflecting on the Incarnation gives me hope and reminds me to look for the sacred in unexpected places and people, and not to be afraid to share our faith with others.

Recently, my son Andrew, who works for Apple, was interviewed for a promotion, for a job he has been working toward and hoping for. Apparently, Andrew has had a lot of success assisting elderly clients who cannot figure out how to use technology and are out of their comfort zones. (I might be one of those.) The district manager wanted Andrew to tell him the secret of his success with these clients. Andrew thought about the politically correct answer, but instead answered the question with his truth. He said, "I see God in all our clients, particularly the older ones. Once you recognize God in people, you can only treat them with respect." After a startled moment, Andrew was offered the job. 

Unexpected, grace-filled moments ----  I wish all of you that and more in the upcoming year and to pray, believe, sing and hope ... hope anyway.

November visit to Florida

My husband, Thierry, and I were so privileged to go to Florida in mid-November. We started in Fort Lauderdale, where we met with Pat O'Neill, Associate. Associate Life joyfully welcomed four new Associates at Barry University in Miami. (See below for a more detailed description of this key event.) Other Barry co-workers and friends who are also interested in Associate Life gathered for a luncheon and a presentation on Associate Life.

Dr. Roxanne Davies of Barry University has made all of this possible. Mary Fran Fleischaker, OP, has organized the formation sessions and worked on mentoring our new Associates, along with Mary Tindel, OP and Evelyn Piche, OP. Lloyd Van Bylevelt, Associate, attended both the Founders Day Mass and the luncheon.

From Miami, we traveled to Boca Raton, to the home of Neisy Nunez, Associate. Neisy and the other Boca Raton Associates, Bonnie Aymat and Diana Castro, welcomed nine women and one man from their parish, St. Joan of Arc, who are interested in Associate Life. Fran Madigan, OP, and Carmen Álvarez, OP, are mentoring all of them. It was a wonderful luncheon and I enjoyed meeting everyone.

Later that day, we traveled to West Palm Beach to stay at the Casa with our Adrian Dominican Sisters. There, we met with the West Palm Beach Associates: Nelson and Sandra Pino, Nancy Medina, and Peggy Rowe-Linn, as well as Sylvia Raftery, a prospective Associate. Our Sisters Margo Ruiz, OP, and Mary Jean Clemenger, OP, are mentoring them, along with Margaret Exworthy, OP.

On Friday evening, several women who are interested in Associate Life came to a meeting. It was such a pleasant evening. I also had the opportunity to visit Christa Rusch, an Associate who serves in the lower school after-care program at Rosarian Academy. Christa is going to introduce Associate Life to her co-workers. I also had a great conversation with Mary Ann Caulfield, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Florida Mission Chapter. We will have a gathering of all Florida Associates and prospective Associates at Rosarian Academy on Saturday, May 20, to get to know one another and to discuss how Sojourner groups ----  mission groups made up primarily of Associates ----  will work in Florida.

My husband and I were the recipients of fine Dominican hospitality and are very grateful.

Adrian Dominican Associate Life welcomes Four Associates

On November 14, 2016, Associate Life welcomed Michael Provitera and Carmen McCrink during Founders Day Mass at Barry University. 

Carmen McCrink and Michael Provitera, new Adrian Dominican Associates from Barry University, listen as Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, leads the November 14 Rite of Acceptance. Photo by Thierry Lach

Dr. Carmen McCrink ----  a native of Havana, Cuba, who moved with her parents to the United States in 1962 ---- is an Associate Professor and Department Chair at Barry University. She teaches students who are pursuing the PhD in leadership and education/higher education administration. She enjoys teaching the History of Education course, in which she describes the contributions of St. Thomas Aquinas to the founding of medieval universities. She wishes to continue to share the Dominican charism with her students and co-workers.

"The Adrian Dominican Sisters' commitment to touch the lives of others, through their charism, is exemplary," Carmen wrote. "By becoming an Associate, I hope to continue learning from the Sisters' leadership and mission and identify ways in which I may continue their legacy through my role at Barry University and service to the community. If you were to ask what I bring to this relationship of association, I would say that it is an open heart and mind."

Carmen has three adult children.

As a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Barry University, Dr. Michael Provitera encourages his students to help veterans and the poor. He is the author of Mastering Self-Motivation: Preparing Yourself for Personal Excellence. He founded the Coalition of Children's Book Authors, which has sent new books to Tanzania. Michael brings an enthusiasm to all he does and is ready to share the Dominican charism with his students, co-workers, and family, including his wife Esin and his daughters Janet and Lauren.

Noting his appreciation for the mentoring process for prospective Associates at Barry, Michael wrote of his anticipation of 2017 and the opportunity that the four new Barry Associates will have to "serve the cause of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and model the Associate life." He wrote of his resolve to continue his ministry of outreach to the orphans of Tanzania ----  many of whom would be deprived of books without the help of his coalition and the generosity of many students and others who have contributed books. Those who are interested in this ministry and in donating books are invited to contact him at mprovitera@barry.edu.

Christopher (Kit) Starratt and Gerene (Gerry) Starratt were welcomed as Adrian Dominican Associates on November 16 at Barry University. Photo by Thierry Lach

Two other Associates, Dr. Christopher (Kit) and Dr. Gerene (Gerry) Starrat, were welcomed on November 16. Kit, Vice President for Mission and Institutional Effectiveness, has served at Barry since 1993. His ministry is to increase the level of our Dominican heritage by establishing programs to facilitate this process. A clinical neuropsychologist, he believes that "education is a powerful tool to alleviate human suffering and to combat social injustice." This belief led to his service in higher education.

"I have been in direct connection with Adrian Dominican Sisters for 35 of my almost 62 years," he said. "The Congregation is part of the fabric of my life. My Catholic formation was grounded in the teaching and training I received by Adrian Dominican Sisters, in my youth as an elementary and high school student, and as a member of the Barry community for over 23 years."

Gerry, Associate Professor of Education at Barry, teaches methodology and statistics and is a dissertation advisor. "Our family values ----  and my personal values ----  are aligned with the Mission and Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters," she wrote. "Because the Gospel message assures us that Christ is present in some special way when 'two or more' engage together in His work, I wish to join the work that God has assigned to me with the prayer and good works of the [Adrian Dominican] Community."

Gerry and Kit have been married for 42 years and have three adult children. They are both active in their parish, St. Jerome, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Kudos to John Myles, husband of Peggy Treece Myles, Associate, of Wauseon, Ohio. Through John's hard work as President of the Board of the State Library of Ohio, a new children's library was dedicated on December 14 in Columbus, Ohio. John served on the Board from January 2011 through December 2015, the last year as President.

Jacob Boor
Kudos to Jacob Boor, Associate, of Clinton Township, Michigan, whose professional choir, The Cantata Academy Chorale, recently sang in two Christmas concerts, featuring the John Rutter Gloria. The entire concert focused on Glorias. The choir also sang in downtown Detroit during the 44th Annual Noel Night.

A big thank you to the many Associates who donated money to surprise me with a gorgeous picture of Jesus for my office. I was gifted with this picture during our monthly meeting of Associates in Roseville, Michigan. It was a wonderful surprise and I am very, very grateful.

Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, of Clinton Township, Michigan

Kudos to those who help others. I had a flat tire on Thanksgiving and called road services. The man at customer service was kind and helpful, and the repair man was super fast. He got the paperwork done first so I wouldn't miss any family time. It occurred to me that both of these people were missing their own family time. They were very helpful to me that day and made a difficult situation better.

Lisbeth Johnson, Associate, of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Associate Life Advisory Board

Please feel free to contact members of the Associate Life Advisory Board with your questions, ideas, or concerns.

Connie Brady, chairperson: blancelyn@comcast.net
Jacci Brown: jaccib@comcast.net
Carol Johnson: johnsoncarol564@gmail.com
Trudy McSorley: tmcsorley@gmail.com

Current Projects of Associate Life Advisory Board:
  • Evaluation of formation materials, adding one chapter on discernment and a chapter on Dominican saints
  • Connecting with Associates who are unable to attend Mission Groups or Sojourner Groups
  • Writing a guide for Sojourner groups
  • Looking at the Representative of Associate Life (RAL) ministry and exploring ways to get more Associates involved
  • Planning the Partners V gathering
  • Planning the September gathering in California
From our Associates

Father William Hart McNichols, SJ, a gifted icon painter living in Albuquerque, painted a beautiful tribute to St. Catherine of Siena, titled "Catharina." The painting, which depicts Catherine looking at the tiara of the pope, was blessed on November 28 at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at Church of the Risen Savior in Albuquerque. Father Tom Noessen, OP, spoke about the times in which Catherine lived and applied the Gospel to her response to those times. He spoke of how she was able to reconcile problems with the papacy. 

I am so very blessed that the Dominicans introduced me to St. Catherine. She is my heroine.

Sue Slankard, Associate, of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Early last September, we went to the Marine Corps camp base on Parris Island, South Carolina, to watch my oldest great-grandson, Brendan Wysacey, graduate from the Marine boot camp. About 18 of us from his close family ----  representing four generations ----  attended the event and toured the camp and its surroundings. It was an exciting time for all of us, especially for me, the great grandma! 

Lois Morris, Associate, of Adrian

Reflections on the Enactment

Enactment 1
Rooted in the Gospel, we recognize our own spiritual longings and those of the world. We commit to deepen our spirituality and to engage with others in prayer and presence in order to witness to the mystery of God in our midst.

The first enactment really inspires me. One of the ways in which I have lived it out is to lead my now 9-year-old great niece, who resides with me, into the Catholic faith and to explain to her the richness of our faith, especially the beauty of Eucharistic adoration. On the first of each month, she attends adoration with me. Her father has been led back to the Catholic faith by my insistence that he take his daughter to Mass on the weekends he has visitation. I am hopeful that this experience with his daughter will re-awaken him to his own spirituality and will allow me to continue to engage with him in prayer and to witness the presence of God in his midst.

I also try to witness on a near-daily basis to my clientele who consult me regarding family law matters. I assure them that I am listening attentively, as is God, who is supremely less expensive than I. This usually brings out a chuckle in my clients and allows me to ask them if they were raised in any faith, whether they want me to pray for them and so on. I have never had a negative experience from this type of conversation, perhaps because I pray before the client first comes in to see me. In 32 years of practice, no client has ever refused prayer. Interestingly, each year, more people have been appreciative of offered prayer.

So, I will re-commit to deepen my own spirituality so that I will be able to continue to engage with others in prayer and presence.

Peggy Rowe-Linn, Associate, of West Palm Beach, Florida

"Rooted in the Gospel, we recognize our own spiritual longings and those in the world." This first Enactment reminds me of our theme from Partners IV, "Seed, Scattered and Sown." Through spiritual enrichment, communal dialogue, and theological studies, a seed is sown to help others. That is what will bring my own harvest, for God to answer. Through spiritual direction, God sends a need, and in that need is the seed that holds the answer.

I never knew what spiritual direction was until a year and six months ago. I have been renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated through dialogue. Every month, I look forward to my meeting with my spiritual director. The people that God puts into your life hold the seed to prayer, to dialogue and study. I want to reach those in need and promote the Dominican charism to others, giving of time, energy, and prayer.

Denise A. Dudley, Associate, of Winter Park, Florida

We will now turn our attention to the Second Enactment: "Recognizing the violence against the Earth Community that places our common home in dire jeopardy and intensifies the suffering of people on the margins, future generations and all creation, we will sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation." Please respond to this Enactment for the February newsletter by Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Reviews and Recommendations

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Current bestseller
This engrossing novel explores the consequences of making an impetuous choice during the family celebration of a baptism. For decades, the fate of many family members is impacted by the events of that day. This is a good book for anyone who is interested in blended families or who comes from one.

Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, of Clinton Township, Michigan

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
This is an interesting read concerning a girl in Ireland in the 1860s, who claims to have gone without food for four months. People are flocking to see her or be near her because this may be a miracle. An English nurse, trained by Florence Nightingale, is sent to investigate. Is it a miracle or a hoax?

Mary Lach, Director of Associate Life, Clinton Township, Michigan

I recommend the NBC television show This is Us. This drama series deals with race, weight, and the importance of family in a way I do not normally see on TV.

Lisbeth Johnson, Associate, of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Schedule for Mary Lach, 
Director of Associate Life

Days Off
Sunday, January 1, 2017 - New Year's Day
Monday, January 16, 2017 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Working from Home Office
In Clinton Township, Michigan
Monday to Thursday, January 2-5, 2017
Tuesday to Thursday, January 17-19, 2017
Monday to Thursday, January 23-26, 2017

Working in Adrian
Monday to Thursday, January 9-12, 2017
Monday to Wednesday, January 30-February 1, 2017

Prayer Requests

Eternal rest for:
  • Helen Michels, Associate, of Sanford, Florida, who died on December 28.
  • James Edward Heffron, beloved brother of Jean Heffron, Associate, of Holt, Michigan. James died on November 27.
John Coleman, Associate, of Adrian; Elvera Paul, Associate, of Waterford, Michigan; and Patty Seckel, Associate, of Clinton Township, Michigan: request continued prayers for themselves.

Joyce Fruge, Associate, of Redford, Michigan: serious health issues.

Rita Dougherty, Associate, of Chicago: recovering from a fall.

Terry Ann Viegas, Associate, of Detroit: recovering from serious health issues and grieving for her best friend and housemate, Sister Rosemarie Kieffer, OP, who died recently.

Mary Lach, Associate, of Clinton Township, Michigan, and Lisbeth Johnson, Associate, of Grand Rapids, Michigan: For Evans Karia, nephew-in-law. 

Mary Bommarito, Associate, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan: for her brother Barney and his wife Barbara, who are both being treated for cancer.

Joyce Reigelsberger, Associate, of Tempe, Arizona: for her dearest daughters, Julie and Mary.

Mary Lach, Associate, of Clinton Township, Michigan: for John Lach, her father-in-law, recovering from a stroke.

Kathleen Unti, Associate, of Coventry, Rhode Island: for Walter and Michael, her husband and son.

Carol Johnson, Associate, of Decatur, Illinois: awaiting serious back surgery. Carol is on our Advisory Board.

Upcoming Events

Web-Ex with Advisory Board 
1:00 p.m. Monday, January 9, 2017

Roseville Associates Group
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday, January 23, 2017
St. Basil's Church, Roseville, Michigan

Madden Hall Book Club
11:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Adrian Group Formation, Session 3
1:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gathering for Prospective Associates in Florida
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach

Partners V
Friday to Sunday, August 4-6, 2017
Adrian, Michigan

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