Good Friday Way of the Cross for Peace and Justice 2017

The annual Way of the Cross for Peace and Justice will take place Good Friday, April 14, 2017 at noon.

The first station of the cross will take place at the Supreme Court Building (Second & Capitol) in Springfield, Illinois.

Two-hour prayerful ecumenical walk recalling Jesus’ passion and its connection with the injustices experienced by God’s people in our world today:

Death penalty • Racism • Economic Justice
Violence • Poverty • Health Care
Women and Children • Prisons • Environment • War
Immigration • Life • Discipleship

For information, call/text 217 652-3567 or


Sister M. Dorothea Sondgeroth Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Sister M. Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP

One of Two Springfield-based Sisters Recognized by Catholic Health Association

Springfield Dominican Sister M. Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP, has been named a 2017 recipient of the Catholic Health Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her ministry at St. Dominic Health Services, Jackson, Miss. The award is given to a leader in health ministry who has inspired and mentored many others and whose leadership extends past the Catholic health ministry to influence and impact the local community and beyond.

 “Sister Dorothea has served the people of Mississippi with wisdom and compassion for nearly four decades; I’m happy for her, for the employees of St. Dominic Health Services, and for the countless people they serve through the healing mission of Jesus,” said Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.

St. Dominic’s is a sponsored ministry of the Springfield Dominicans and the only Catholic health care system in Mississippi.

Claude W. Harbarger, President of St. Dominic Health Services, said “Sister Dorothea has dedicated her life to service and we, in Jackson, have benefited from our association with her. “Sister Dorothea is the embodiment of kindness and compassion and a wonderful selection for this honor.” Harbarger succeeded Sister M. Dorothea as president of St. Dominic in 2011.

After 36 years of overall service and 17 years serving as president of St. Dominic Health Services, Sister M. Dorothea retired from her position in 2011 and has since worked as the associate executive director of the St. Dominic Health Services Foundation. At the start of Sister M. Dorothea’s tenure in 1995, the system held two subsidiaries: the hospital and an organization for community-based services. When she retired from that position 17 years later, the role had grown to include oversight of seven subsidiary organizations comprising a 571-bed hospital with more than 500 affiliated physicians, a large continuing care retirement community (St. Catherine’s Village), and oversight of over 3,000 employees.

In the Jackson community, she has been recognized with roles in numerous community organizations, including the United Way of the Capital Area, Safe City Initiative, the Rotary Club of Jackson, and Fondren Renaissance, a project to preserve and revitalize the neighborhood around St. Dominic’s. She is a laureate of the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame and in 1997 was named the top businesswoman in the state in Mississippi Business Journal’s Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women awards. In addition, in 2005 Sister M. Dorothea was selected for a Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service. This national award honors “unsung heroes who encounter problems in their communities, believe they can help, and create innovative solutions.”

In April of 2012, Bishop Joseph Latino awarded Sister M. Dorothea the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross, the highest medal Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on non-clergy. The Pope confers this recognition to those who have given distinguished service to the Catholic Church and their communities.

Sister Jomary Trstensky, OSF, A Hospital Sister of St. Francis and Chairperson of Hospital Sisters Ministries, Springfield, is also honored with the award. The two Springfield-based Catholic Sisters will receive the award during the CHA annual assembly in June.

 About St. Dominic’s

St. Dominic’s is more than just a hospital. It is a family of services focused on fulfilling a mission of Christian healing to those in need. St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. is the parent company for a large group of subsidiary organizations and programs dedicated to the same mission. These include St. Dominic Hospital, the Community Health Services Clinic, St. Dominic Medical Associates (physician network), New Directions for Over 55, MEA Clinics, The Club at St. Dominic’s, the School Nurse Program, St. Dominic’s Foundation, St. Catherine’s Village and Care-A-Van.

St. Dominic Hospital is a 571-bed tertiary care hospital located in Jackson, Mississippi serving central Mississippi and employing approximately 3,000 employees inclusive of nurses, physicians, and skilled caregivers. The medical staff, nearly 500 leading physicians and specialists, makes St. Dominic’s one of the most comprehensive hospitals in Mississippi. Through nearly seven decades, St. Dominic’s has remained true to its vision: A Christian healing community called to provide quality, compassionate care and an Exceptional Encounter Every time.

Sister Mary Laurentia Fenlon, OP


Born 1931
Profession of Vows 1952
Entered Life Eternal 2017


Springfield, Ill.—Springfield Dominican Sister M. Laurentia Fenlon died March 21, 2017 at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield, IL. She was born in Chicago, Ill. in 1931 to Lawrence J. and Mary Bartley Fenlon and baptized Joan Marie. She made her profession of vows in 1952 at Sacred Heart Convent.

Sister Laurentia ministered most of her religious life in elementary education. She taught or was principal in parish schools throughout central and northern Illinois and in Duluth, Minn. In 1992, she began her ministry as parish pastoral associate, serving at St. Gertrude, Franklin Park, Ill. and at Corpus Christi Parish, Carol Stream, Ill. In 2002, she became unit secretary in the Dominican Sisters’ nursing facility at Sacred Heart Convent and cared lovingly for the needs of the sisters until she was no longer able.

Sister Laurentia was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Richard, Lawrence, and William; and her sisters, Mary Lou Charleston, Lois Fenlon, Margaret Kuh, Jacqueline Fenlon, and Katherine Fenlon. She is survived by her sisters, Rita Schmidt, Crystal Falls, Mich. and Dorothy Ann Agner, Des Plaines, Ill.; her sisters-in-law, Joan (William) Fenlon, Niles, Ill. and Betty (Richard) Fenlon, Hilton Head, SC; and by many nieces and nephews.

Visitation: 4:00-6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at Aquinas Center, Sacred Heart Convent, 1237 W. Monroe St. Visitation will begin with a prayer service.

Cremation will be accorded by Butler Cremation Tribute Center following the visitation.

Morning Prayer and Funeral Mass: 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 27, 2017, followed by Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. at the convent chapel with Father Peter Witchousky, OP; celebrant. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dominican Sisters Retirement Fund, 1237 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62704.

Hermana Margarita Valentin Contreras, OP

Hermana Margarita Valentin Contreras, OP 1958 – 2017

Friends, with sadness we share the news of the death of our Hermana Margarita Valentin Contreras, OP, in Lima, Peru the evening of March 16, 2017.  Affectionately known as “Hermana Marga,” she was the first Peruvian to join our congregation, making profession in 1990.

Her funeral Mass will be in Lima on Saturday, March 18, 2017. At another date we will commemorate her life with a service at the motherhouse in Springfield. Please remember her, her four sisters, many nieces and nephews, and the other Peruvian Springfield Dominican Sisters in your prayer.
Springfield Dominican Sister Margarita Valentín Contreras, died March 16, 2017 at the Dominican Sisters Center House in Lima, Peru. She was born in La Oroya, Peru to Glicerio Valentín Cordova and Victoria Contreras Huaman. She made her profession of vows in 1990 at Immaculate Conception Church, La Oroya.

Sister Margarita gave her entire religious life in the pastoral service of the people of Peru, completing theological training at the John XXIII Graduate School for Theological Study, Lima. She was at various times the Springfield Dominican Associate Coordinator for Peru, pastoral minister at Immaculate Conception Parish, La Oroya, in Canto Grande at the St. Juan Pablo II Fe y Alegría School, and pastoral minister in the mountain region of Jarpa, following the reign of terror imposed by the rebel group Sendero Luminoso. In La Oroya, she often accompanied workers at the metallurgical smelter as they struggled for just working conditions and wages.

Sister Margarita was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Rolando. She is survived by her sisters, Reyda, Irma, Juana, and Betty and many loving nieces and nephews.

Funeral services for Sister Margarita are scheduled for Saturday, March 18, 2017 in Lima. A memorial service will be held at Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, on a date to be determined.

Donations to honor the life and service of Sister Margarita in support of the Dominicans Sisters ministry in Peru may be made to: Dominican Sisters of Springfield, 1237 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62704.

Please visit to offer your condolences.

Sister Sharon Speaks in New Zealand

Pray for Sister Sharon in New Zealand today as she shares her knowledge about the climate challenge to Dominican Sisters, college professors and people interested in learning how to care of our common home.

New_Zealand _graphic_map_700x900

Sister Sharon Zayac, OP presents Seeds of Hope: Renewing Ourselves in a World of Chaos on Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18, 2017.  Oamaru is in the South Island of New Zealand.

Sister Sharon Zayac (Dominican Sisters of St. Dominic of Springfield, IL) and Sister Margaret Galiardi (Dominican Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, NY) were invited by Dominican Sisters in New Zealand to impart their knowledge through climate change workshops.  They are pictured here in San Francisco as they prepare to depart for New Zealand.