Dominican Sisters

The Radical Faith and Communal Life of Seven Dominican Sisters

The Radical Faith and Communal Life of Seven Dominican Sisters

New book tells the story;
Open house, book signing scheduled February 10

Springfield, Ill.—Seven Springfield Dominican Sisters whose stories are told in a new book will sign copies for guests during an event at Sacred Heart Convent February 10.

A Sisters’ Love: The Story of the Dominican Sisters at St. Dominic’s follows the lives of Sisters Trinita Eddington and Dorothea Sondgeroth from their rural Illinois childhoods to their call to leadership at St. Dominic Health Services, Jackson, Miss., a sponsored ministry of the Springfield Dominicans.

Award-winning journalist and author Joe Maxwell was commissioned by the St. Dominic’s Foundation to write A Sister’s Love to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of St. Dominic’s Hospital. He tells the story of the sisters’ passion for God and how that led them to decades of fruitful service at St. Dominic’s, the only Catholic hospital in the State of Mississippi. Drawing on Sister Dorothea’s personal journals, the congregation’s archives, and dozens of interviews, Maxwell shows how personal sacrifice, prayer, and the commitment of a community contribute to the quality of life in Mississippi, from the early days of the Civil Rights Era to today.

Seated, (L to R): Sisters Kristin Rever, Celestine Rondelli, Susan Karina Dickey. Standing (L to R) Sisters Margaret Grueter, Thecla Khunline, Trinita Eddington, Dorothea Sondgeroth.

Seated, (L to R): Sisters Kristin Rever, Celestine Rondelli, Susan Karina Dickey. Standing (L to R) Sisters Margaret Grueter, Thecla Kuhnline, Trinita Eddington, Dorothea Sondgeroth.

Also featured in A Sister’s Love are the stories of Springfield Dominican Sisters Celestine Rondelli, Thecla Kuhnline, Kristin Rever, Margaret Grueter, and Susan Karina Dickey. Sisters Trinita and Celestine are Springfield natives. Sister Dorothea is from Peterstown, near Mendota, Ill; Sisters Margaret and Thecla are from Carrollton, Ill.; Sister Kristin is from Assumption, Ill., and Sister Susan Karina is from Richmond, Ind.

Sister Trinita’s sole assignment in 63 years of religious profession has been St. Dominic’s, where she received her nurses’ training and where she has, with the exception of a few years away for study, lived her entire religious life. In 1996 she established St. Dominic Community Health Clinic. She still works at the clinic four days a week providing free medical services to the poor in Jackson, Miss. One day each week she consults with the nursing staff at St. Catherine’s Village, a subsidiary of St. Dominic’s. “Serving the poor is serving Jesus,” she frequently says. “Running the clinic has been one of the most rewarding ministries in all of my years at St. Dominic’s.”

Sister Dorothea, who was president of St. Dominic Health Services, 1995-2012, has served most of the last 53 years at St. Dominic’s, interrupted by ten years on the leadership team of the Dominicans Sisters and at various other times for study. She is currently associate executive director of St. Dominic’s Foundation.

In the book’s foreword, Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant calls Sister Dorothea a superhero. “She’s famous and beloved in our state and beyond for her faith, business savvy, and community and spiritual leadership,” she writes. “In a day and age when we need heroes, she is a superhero.” Bryant worked at St. Dominic’s for 39 years before her husband Phil was elected governor in 2012.

The sisters will receive guests, offer the book for sale, and sign copies 5:00-6:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 at the convent, 1237 W. Monroe St.

Copies of A Sisters’ Love may be purchased for $30.00 during the book signing or online at St. Dominic’s website. All proceeds support the Dominican Sisters healing ministry at St. Dominic’s.

Sister To All

In honor of the Sister To All Campaign to tell the stories of Sisters across the United States, we would like to share with you four of our featured sisters in ministry.

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A Friend to Prisoners and a Sister to All

Sister Regina Marie Bernet, OP

 

For decades the Dominican Sisters of Springfield have engaged in ministry to women and men in prison in the United States and in Peru. Sister Regina Marie Bernet, OP (Order of Preachers, the official name of the Dominicans) continues that tradition. While many of her classmates from Sacred Heart Academy graduating class of [1954?] retired long ago, Sister Regina Marie continues her ministry, bringing the gifts of self-knowledge, forgiveness, and reconciliation to women and men who are incarcerated. She travels weekly to prisons in Decatur and Lincoln, Ill., providing art therapy and teaching contemplative prayer practice. Twice a year she also leads weekend retreats at the Jacksonville Correctional Facility. One of her favorite encounters was with a young man named Fernando who asked for time with her one-on-one to share his story. Fernando shared many stories about the offenses he committed, many much worse than the one that sent him to prison. “Fernando told me he didn’t have a grandmother growing up,” Sister Regina Marie said. “He asked me ‘Would you be my grandma?’ I told him I’d be happy to be his foster grandmother. I don’t see him any more but I remember to pray for him every day.”


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Hermana Doris Terrel Jiménez, OP

In the midst of last spring’s celebration of fifty years of presence in Peru, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield rejoiced in the rite of perpetual profession of vows of Hermana Doris Terrel Jimenez, OP. (Hermana is the Spanish word for sister.) “God shows us his love by taking us to sacred places to be with Him,” Hermana Doris says. She recalls her discernment of this journey with God, saying that by “letting God be God in my life” she was able to say yes to God’s call Hermana Doris is a student at the Padre Tezza School of Nursing in Lima preparing for a new ministry of healing among the poor and marginalized in Lima’s pueblos jovenes. She says it was the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, preaching, and common life that drew her to the Order of Preachers (the official name of the Dominicans) and why she remains.


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A Helping Hand for the Weary and a Sister to All

Sister Barbara Ann Bogenschutz, OP

 

“The greatest blessing and challenges in this ministry are the same,” says Springfield Dominican Sister Barbara Ann Bogenschutz, OP (Order of Preachers, the official name for the Dominicans). “I never known what the day will hold, and I am never lacking in ‘that-was-a-first’ experiences.” Sister Barbara Ann has spent most of the last 15 years of her ministry in Native American communities. Since 2012 she has walked the holy ground of the Oglala Sioux at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. She ministers to all the people on the reservation regardless of their religious affiliation, often accompanying families at the death of loved ones, resolving home heating problems, distributing food, or sharing Holy Communion. “Eucharist continues in many ways all week long,” she says, “And when I arrive where I am going, I always find God is already there.”


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A Peaceful Presence and a Sister to All

Sister Samuella Volk, OP

 

Hospitality is a virtue that the heart recognizes in an instant, especially if that heart has encountered Springfield Dominican Sister Samuella Volk, OP (Order of Preachers, the official name for the Dominicans). Whether the guests are her own Dominican sisters and associates, or executives from one of the sisters’ sponsored institutions, Sister Samuella helps them feel at home instantly with her warm attention to their needs at Siena Hall on the campus of Dominican Sisters of Springfield Sacred Heart Convent. In her previous life Sister Samuella taught primary school students in Illinois and Minnesota. She left an indelible mark of the Spirit on the hearts of many of them, if her former student Billy Menor is to be believed. “Ever since I had Sister Samuella in first grade I’ve had a warm spot in my heart for women religious,” the Jesuit novice said. “I really think that the witness of Sister Samuella’s life, the way she lived the joy, was an influence on my own religious vocation.”


 

Twenty-nine New Associates Make Committment

 

The Dominican Associate Class of 2016

The Dominican Associate Class of 2016

Springfield, Ill.—The Dominican Sisters of Springfield welcomed 29 new associates from Illinois and Missouri during Mass at Sacred Heart Convent Chapel on May 15.

One of the largest associate classes in recent years, the group included residents from seven Illinois communities and, for the first time ever, ten new associates that hail from Columbia, Missouri. They made their commitment after completing a 9-month course in the history, spirituality, and mission of the Dominicans.

Welcome to all our new associates!

Associate Teri Casson reads her commitment as Sister Regina Marie Bernet looks on.

Associate Teri Casson reads her commitment as Sister Regina Marie Bernet looks on.

From Bloomington, Ill. Pat McLean, St. Mary Parish (Sponsor: Sister Philip Neri Crawford, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Marianne Nolan)

From Carrollton, Ill. Phyllis Didier, St. John Parish (Sponsor: Sister Henrianne Schmidt, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Ancilla Caulfield)

From Chatham, Ill. Teri Casson, Christ the King Parish (Sponsor: Sister Regina Marie Bernet, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Francene Harbauer)

From Chicago Heights, Ill. Joan Anderson (Sponsor: Sister Agnes Ann Pisel, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Edwina Finnegan), Marcela Bermudez (Sponsor: Theresa Sovereign, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Clarice Kniery)

From Concord, Ill. Sharon Beniach, Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville (Sponsor: Patty Fitzpatrick, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Stephanie Kapusta)

From Jacksonville, Ill. (all Our Saviour Parish) LaVonne DePauw (Sponsor: Sue Brosmith, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Helen Wolf) Becky DeVore (Sponsor: Sister Margaret Ann Cox, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Bernice Juip) Barbara Dunseth (Sponsor: Sister Margaret Ann Cox, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Myra Flahive) Sandra Keesee (Sponsor: Jan Fellhauer, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Melanie Roetker) Rosella Spreen (Sponsor: Sue Brosmith Prayer Sponsor: Sister Aniceta Skube)

From Monee, Ill. Diane E. Brandstetter, St. Boniface Parish (Sponsor: Sister Agnes Ann Pisel, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Alan Russell)

From Mt. Sterling, Ill. Jane Veith, St. Mary Parish (Sponsor: Sister Jean Patrick Ehrhardt, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Doris Taylor)

The Dominican Family at prayer

The Dominican Family at prayer

From Springfield, Ill. Glenda K. Becker, Christ the King Parish (Sponsor: Patty Fitzpatrick, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Stephanie Kapusta) John Freml, St. Joseph Parish (Sponsor: Sister Linda Mary DeLonais, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Gael Daley) Betty Goldasich, Little Flower Parish (Sponsor: Sister Mary Linda Tonellato, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Norma Somers) Michael Goldasich, Little Flower Parish (Sponsor: Sister Mary Linda Tonellato, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Noel Plummer) Beth LaFata, St. Joseph the Worker, Chatham (Sponsor: Sister Joan Sorge, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Rose Schleeper) Christina Saunderson, Blessed Sacrament Parish (Sponsor: Sister Katherine O’Connor, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Pauletta Overbeck)

From Columbia, MO (Sacred Heart Parish) Rosa Caubet (Sponsor: Sister M. Clare Fichtner, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Samuella Volk) Deacon William Caubet (Sponsor: Sister M. Clare Fichtner, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Gabriella Luebbers) Joanna Guzman (Sponsor: Sister M. Clare Fichtner, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Blaise Galloway) Barbara Head (Sponsor: Sister M. Clare Fichtner, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Marion Sitkiewitz) Vanessa Velez-Rivera (Sponsor: Sister M. Clare Fichtner, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Dominic Joerger)

Sister Linda Tonellato supports new associate Mike Goldasich as he declares his commitment.

Sister Linda Tonellato supports new associate Mike Goldasich as he declares his commitment.

From Columbia, MO (St. Thomas More Newman Center) Nancy Howard (Sponsor: Sister Karen Freund, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Carole Dittrich) Martha Lerch (Sponsor: Sister Karen Freund, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Carole Dittrich) Michele Sisson-White (Sponsor: Sister Karen Freund, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Xavier Kelly) Phyllis Stoecklein (Sponsor: Sister Karen Freund, Prayer Sponsor: Sister Margaret McCormick) Mary Waters (Sponsor: Sister Karen Freund, Prayer Sponsor: Sister M. Anton Uthe)

Baptized Christians from any tradition may be candidates for the Dominican Associate Program. Women seeking vowed membership as sisters are required to be single and Catholic. For more information about becoming a Dominican sister or a Dominican associate call 217-787-0481 or email. DominicanSisters@spdom.org.

Vince Krydynski: First Lay President of Marian Catholic High School

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Springfield, Ill.—The Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois are pleased to announce that Mr. Vince Krydynski will become the first lay president of Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights, Ill.

Since 2013 Mr. Krydynski has been the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Marian Catholic. He is a 1981 graduate of the school and a former member of the Board of Directors. He worked for much of his career as an attorney.

“The sum of my life’s work—every success, failure, and experience I have been blessed with—was preparing me for the opportunity to return to Marian Catholic,” he said. “I am home.”

Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters said “The Springfield Dominican leadership team, which serves as the Marian Catholic Member Board, is confident that Mr. Krydynski is well prepared to carry on God’s mission at Marian Catholic High School. He has integrated the Dominican charism and the Catholic tradition in his years serving on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of Institutional Advancement. Mr. Krydynski will continue to lead the faculty, staff, and students in their pursuit of truth, excellence in education, and fidelity to Christian service which has been the hallmark of a Marian Catholic experience since 1958.”

The President Search Committee of the Marian Catholic Board of Directors began their work last summer when Sister Judine Hilbing, OP, announced that she would complete her term of office as president on June 30, 2016, after serving as its president since 2008.

Dr. Michelle Feldner Lancaster (’77), the search committee chair, said “From the time we received his application, through the deliberations by the committee, Mr. Vince Krydynski was a standout candidate among many strong applicants. He will uphold our Dominican Catholic identity. In addition to his years as Vice President of Institutional Advancement, his service on the Board of Directors and the Executive Council of the school has given him a solid background in preparation for his new role.”

With her firm commitment to both Marian Catholic and the Dominican Sisters, Sister Judine has pledged her full support and assistance to Mr. Krydynski to ensure a smooth and effective transition of leadership.

“Having enjoyed the opportunity of working with Mr. Vince Krydynski for three years as a colleague and before that while he was a director of the board, I have full confidence that he brings to the office of president, vibrant energy, his keen intellect, and a profound commitment to the Dominican mission of education,” Sister Judine said. “Vince has partnered with me on a variety of projects and consistently demonstrates focus, direction, and a collegial style of administration.”

At Marian Catholic the president is the chief executive officer and is responsible for ensuring the school’s Catholic and Dominican identity, maintaining operational and fiscal viability, and implementing the school’s strategic plan. Mr. Krydynski will be the school’s first lay president and only the third to hold that office since the school adopted the president-principal leadership model in 1997. Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, OP, served in that role 1997 to 2008.

James Clarke, Chair of the Marian Catholic Board of Directors and a search committee member, said: “Mr. Vince Krydynski has served as a director during the years of transition from an advisory board to a governing board. His proven collaborative skills and leadership ability uniquely qualify him to serve as Marian Catholic’s first lay president. It is evident Mr. Krydynski is steeped in the values of the Dominican tradition. I look forward to working closely with him in the spirit of collaboration with the Springfield Dominican Sisters to advance the mission of Marian Catholic High School.”

Mr. Krydynski has a bachelor of science degree from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a doctor of jurisprudence from The John Marshall Law School. He anticipates completing a master’s degree in educational leadership at St. Mary’s in June this year. He and his wife Loretta have an adult daughter who graduated from Marian Catholic in 2010.

Established in 1958 and sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, Marian Catholic High School is a Catholic, coeducational, college preparatory high school within the Dominican tradition of study, prayer, community, and preaching. Marian Catholic students seek truth, exhibit personal responsibility, cultivate their individual talents, and demonstrate ethical leadership and Christian service. The school serves 1,100 students from Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. There are eight Dominican Sisters on the staff.

Dominicans host Anti-Racism Training

Dominican Sisters Anti-Racism Team members singing during their 2015 tenth anniversary celebration

Dominican Sisters Anti-Racism Team members singing during their 2015 tenth anniversary celebration

March 3-5 Event Open to Public

Do you want to understand the historical roots of racism in the U.S? Have you ever wondered how racism affects people of color and white people, or what is the difference between personal prejudice and structural racism?

You can learn all of this and more by participating in “Analyzing and Understanding Systemic Racism,” a workshop hosted by the Springfield Dominicans at Sacred Heart Convent Thursday, March 3-Saturday, March 5, 2016.

The workshop is sponsored by the Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism (SCoDR) and presented by the Chicago-based Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training. Early bird registration is open through February 17. The $250 fee includes all workshop materials, snacks and two noon meals. After February 17 registration is $275.

Further information is available in this flyer or by contacting John Record at jrecord29@gmail.com or 217-414-1772.

“We are pleased to partner with the Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism in this effort to raise awareness and sharpen the skills of anyone who is committed to more deeply understanding racism and transforming the world in which we live,” said Sister Marcelline Koch, OP. She is a member of the SCoDR Leadership Team and the justice promoter for the Dominicans, who have been leaders in the work of dismantling racism in their own institutions since 2004.


Anti-Racism Workshop In Springfield Works To Spur Positive Conversation