August 2020  

Director's Reflections

Mary Lach
We are in the midst of a heat wave with temperatures running well into the upper 90s and it is better to remain indoors. Often on days like these, a storm will arise with turbulent winds, thunder, lightning, and hail, leaving us to wait and hope that the power does not go out.

We are also amidst the turbulence of the COVID-19 virus, protests, and political rhetoric. On these days of discomfort and anxiety, I reflect on Mark 4:35-41, in which the disciples and Jesus are crossing the water and a violent squall arises. The boat is taking on water as Jesus sleeps peacefully ----  until he is awakened by his frightened friends. Jesus calms the seas and asks, "Why are you terrified? Do you not have faith?"

If God dwells within each of us, can we not calm the seas by turning our lives over to the care of this God? How do we calm ourselves during days of uncertainty and fear?

Years ago my sister told me the Story of the Two Wolves. I paraphrase it this way:

"A conflict is going on inside me," a grandfather tells his grandson. "It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil, filled with anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf who is inside me is good, full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person."

The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The grandfather replied, "The one you feed."

We Dominican charism carriers have more than 800 years of truth and inspiration to feed our souls with, to continue to learn about empathy and compassion and to respond to the needs of those living on the margins.

On Wednesday, August 5, the General Council, the Associate Life Advisory Board, and some Associates from each Chapter will gather via Zoom to discuss Associate Life and our response to the Dominican charism in the upcoming months and years. Some of your reflections on the charism are included in this issue of the newsletter. You are all encouraged to send in your own reflections, which will be included in upcoming issues. You will have several opportunities to share with one another in the next few months. Please plan on joining us.

During this time of the pandemic, we are so fortunate to be able to stay connected through various ways: prayer, Facebook, and weekly Zoom calls for faith sharing and book reflections.

The Associate Life Advisory Board met on June 25, 2020, through Zoom. Read the minutes here.

Welcoming New Associates
Five new Associates have been or will be welcomed to Associate Life this summer through Zoom.

On Saturday, July 25, 2020, we welcomed Suzanne Sink of West Palm Beach, Florida, outside in the garden at the Casa Maria, the Sisters' residence. Alison Altmeyer of Chicago, Illinois, and Anne Marie Kallenbach of Adrian, Michigan, were welcomed on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

We will welcome Diane Burgermeister of Blissfield, Michigan, and Noraleen Renauer of Saline, Michigan, at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 10, 2020, through Zoom.

Dominican News
The Dominican Charism Initiative offers an online platform to help members of the Dominican family to learn about the Dominican charism.

The organization recently announced the launching of a third module, Call to Action, to deepen Dominicans' understanding of social justice issues. The six sessions focus on the Dominican Call to Action; the Gospel Imperative; Integral Ecology; Global Heating and Movement of Peoples; Human Trafficking; and Dominican Justice-Making Today. Adrian Dominican Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, is featured in a session on the Dominican presence at the United Nations.

The first two modules are The Life, Mission, and Spirit of St. Dominic  and The Call to Preach .

For more information or for a link to the registration page, please email Sister Jeanne Wiest, OP, at

From Our Associates

What Does the Dominican Charism Mean to Me?
Please share your own thoughts on "What Does the Dominican Charism Mean to Me?" The deadline for reflections to be included in the September issue is Sunday, August 9, 2020.

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." 
- St. Catherine of Siena

At the most fundamental level, the Dominican charism is understood and actualized by my ability to be true to myself, to recognize and acknowledge the truth of God's presence within me, and then to respond to that presence in a way that allows others to see God through me.

The charism is nourished by my prayer, study, participation in community life, and the many promptings to preach the Good News in various settings. When a synchronicity occurs and my awareness is piqued, I can see glimpses of my life becoming the pulpit for God's preaching. Then, I am graciously reminded that I am a Dominican!

Associate Nancy Mason Bordley
Troy, Michigan

When I started to reflect on the meaning of Dominican charism in my life, the words " reverence life" came to me. I started to think about our universe and how all life shares in the divine DNA. When I think about the word " reverence," I think of holding close to and cherishing all of God's creation. It means to be in right relationship with all of humanity.  

Associate Sue Slankard 
Albuquerque, New Mexico

By dint of baptism into Jesus Christ, all Christians have a vocation to holiness and service, lived out in myriads of charisms and their expressions. One of those expressions, or charisms, is that of the Dominican family: the call to the preaching of the Word, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

The Dominican charism of preaching is lived out in prayer and contemplation, some form of community, ongoing study, and service in light of the signs of our times, all under the charism of preaching the Word. The Dominican vocation as such makes no distinctions within a call that encompasses male/female, cleric/laic, single/married, vowed/Associate/volunteer, and honors the uniqueness of each of them. We are called to Dominican life, without losing sight of the unique expressions that flourish within that call.

I know, clearly, that living the Dominican charism is the calling I have been given as my response to my baptismal calling. As an educator, as a pastoral minister, as a spiritual companion, as an artist, I know my life to be a preaching in the midst of those "signs of the times."

I do believe that Dominican Associate Life has a role to play in the continuance of the Dominican charism of preaching the Word as we move into an uncertain future. Vatican II summoned the Church to recognize and encourage the gifts of the laity in ministry. I believe that Associate Life is a flowering of that summons, in the uniquely Dominican context; and I believe it is a call to enter that future in faith and trust and joy lived in the Word.

Associate Judi Engel 
Columbus, Ohio

The Dominican Charism is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which energizes me. As a girl I was so curious about everything and wanted to keep learning and "figure everything out." This continued through graduate school and into the classroom as a teacher.  

When I began to work at a parish with Associate Audrey Wentz, she watched me in action for some time. When I spoke to her about my need to try different resources and to pull apart a perfectly well-received program and start anew, she told me, "Well, it looks like you are a Dominican."  

The charism is the never-ending search for the truth, remaining engaged in the world and in those issues that marginalize people. Being with Audrey and meeting so many other Associates and Sisters helped me to recognize that charism in myself as well as in others. It unites, not divides. It loves, not rejects.  

I have been fortunate to travel and meet other Associates and Sisters. It is very exciting to witness this Dominican charism that we all share and that we all commit ourselves to.

Associate Mary Lach 
Clinton Township, Michigan

Book and Movie Recommendations

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
I've been reading White Fragility with a couple of my friendship groups. The book was written by a white woman who, along with a Black colleague, leads diversity training in corporations. A lot of books focus on race nowadays, but this one directly addresses how difficult it is for white people to recognize their own response to race, or even the fact that white is a race, not the norm.

Central for me is the motto attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: "Preach always, and when necessary, use words."

Associate Tricia Layden 
Seatac, Washington

Heartstorming: Creating a Space God Can Call Home by Robert Wicks
This book is a great read for someone that wants to strengthen their heart while investigating past, present, and future emotions. The author takes the reader through an array of scenarios that investigate why you are who you are and how you ended up this way. Then, a strengthening reach into a better present and positive future lifts the reader. The author helps us let go and let God!

Associate Michael Provitera
Miami, Florida

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt: A Memoir by Duchess Goldblatt (pseudonym)
Well, this takes some explaining. Duchess Goldblatt is the fictitious name of a woman who invented a Twitter account to help her deal with some life changing-events ----  namely, the loss of her job and the end of her marriage. Duchess Goldblatt is an 81-year-old witty, uplifting persona who is both funny and poignant.  
This book is putting it all together and filled with some of her more memorable tweets. Duchess Goldblatt has written other books that are very funny, including my personal favorite, Not If I Kill You First, her meditation on mothers and daughters.  

The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper
Beautiful and at times heart-breaking reflections of an African-American emergency room physician who is attempting to heal her own wounded memories by caring for others. The book is well written and full of inspiration.

Associate Mary Lach 
Clinton Township, Michigan

Schedule for Mary Lach,
Director of Associate Life

Working from home, each day, Monday through Thursday. 
Call me on my cell phone, 586-255-0536, or email me at .

Upcoming Events

The Futuring of Associate Life
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, August 5, 2020  
Discussion and prayer through Zoom on the future of Associate Life, with the General Council, the Associate Life Advisory Board, and invited Associates representing each Mission Chapter.

Feast of St. Dominic
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Deadline for articles of the September 2020 issue of the newsletter
Sunday, August 9, 2020  

Ritual of Acceptance through Zoom
Celebrating Diane Burgermeister and Noraleen Renauer
8:00 p.m. EDT Monday, August 10, 2020

Zoom meeting for all Dominican Associates
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CDT Friday, September 18, 2020
The link to this Zoom meeting will be sent out in August.

Racism and Diversity Session of the Enfolding Chapter Assembly
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Instructions and time to be announced.

Saturday, November 14, 2020
Zoom gathering for Associates to discuss various issues and to pray together.
Time and details to be announced.

Mission Statement for Associate Life

The Mission of Associate Life is to respond to a call to live the Dominican charism.
Associate Life provides and fosters opportunities for women and men to share life in Mission with the Adrian Dominican Sisters within a relationship of mutual support for ministry, and to develop and strengthen their commitment to the mission of Jesus.
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: 

Carol Johnson:  

Fabiola Reyes:
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