Hear directly from some of our donors. Simply click a box below to expand and read their stories or learn more about the different ways to give.
Back when she was still Nancy Means, Nancy Kaz daydreamed about being a Dominican Sister. She even had her religious name picked out.
“I remember those days,” she mused. “That did not materialize; I had another path. But you always come full circle.” That “other path” turned out to be Nancy’s 2010 commitment as a Springfield Dominican Associate.
It all began at St. Christina Parish on Chicago’s South Side. Nancy recalls her grandmother admonishing her mother Rita to “never refuse those sisters” in the days when sisters relied on the kindness of parishioners for their transportation needs.
When Nancy was eleven her grandmother had a stroke. Sister Cletus, the school principal and community prioress—ignoring a custom that prevented sisters from entering private homes—sent two sisters to help the family. “Sister Dionysius and Sister Bernadette walked up the alley at night,” Nancy recalls, her voice trailing off. “They bathed my grandmother’s body and lifted her into a hospital bed. I remember that experience, that loving care of my grandmother.”
Nancy’s dad Bert also traversed that ally. The sisters called him “Nicodemus” she said, because, just like the Pharisee who visited Jesus under cover of darkness, he went to the convent after a full day’s work to make needed repairs.
A circle of welcome
When it was time to choose a high school for her children, Nancy didn’t hesitate to put them at Marian Catholic, Chicago Heights. There, she says, Alex, Kian, and Arthur received a first-class, values-based education. “I didn’t think of any place else to send my kids…there was no other thought of where to send them. The day I walked in the door with my first one—Alex—Sister M. DePaul was standing at the door waiting for me. “It was a beautiful welcome, “she says, because she and Sister DePaul had been friends for decades.
A circle of energy
Nancy shares her treasure, her time, and her generous heart. Her life is still grounded in her parish, her lifelong relationships with the Dominican Sisters, and the school that nurtured her children into adulthood.
“To whom much is given much is expected,” Nancy says, paraphrasing the Gospel of Luke 12:48. Living the Gospel, she believes, means sharing her blessings. “I think of money as energy. It has to circulate, it has to go out there. Whatever you put out comes back to you. The more you give the more you receive. It is how life functions, how the universe functions, and I have to live that.”
Learn more about becoming a Springfield Dominican Associate. (link)
Frank Ramirez converted what could have been a one-time Giving Tuesday donation into monthly gift. “It’s a time in my life when I can start to give back,” he explained.
Frank, a retired employee of Public Works for the city of Springfield, Ill., has an inside track on all things Springfield Dominican. His sister, Sister Elyse Marie Ramirez, has been a member of the congregation for more than 30 years. They were taught by Springfield Dominicans at St. Francis Cabrini parish in Springfield.
For Frank and many others who choose the monthly donor program Bearers of the Flame, it’s a convenient and satisfying way to give. “It helps me follow through on my commitment to to the values and ministry of the sisters,” he says. “And it gives me joy to be able to help care for the sisters who gave me so much during my growing-up years.”
The monthly giving program is a win-win for the sisters and for him, Frank says, because it helps both with financial planning. “There’s also a bonus,” Frank says. “I’m welcomed to Sacred Heart Convent annually for Mass and brunch with the sisters.”
Two Ways to Become a “Bearer of the Flame”
- Click on the Donate Now button on the website and use your credit card to set up a re-occurring donation.
- Using on-line banking, set up a monthly check to be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.
Estate planning is one important way to help shape future generations and continue the legacy of your personal values. As Nancy Armstrong, an associate of the Dominican Sisters, anticipates getting older and reaching her final goal of eternal life, she thinks about the legacy she wants to leave her children. “I want to leave my children not just money and THINGS, but an example of how to share one’s blessings.”
“As I look back on my life, I’m grateful for the many blessings God has bestowed on me: my children, grandchildren, siblings, extended family,” Nancy says. While she plans to leave most of her estate to family and dear friends, she will also include the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. “The sisters have journeyed with me in life—sometimes leading the way and sometimes holding my hand as they walk beside me. I want to help continue their good works as they ‘compassionately preach the Gospel of Jesus’. In doing so, I also hope to leave my children with a legacy of gratitude so they may grow in generosity.”
It is important to plan for one’s self in later years and for the generations to follow. Experts advise that those plans be reviewed every five years because life happens and situations change.
As a member of the Dominican Legacy Society, Nancy’s name will be etched in a plaque near the chapel windows. As light streams through, she, her family and friends will be prayed for daily for generations to come!
Imagine the challenge for a thirteen-year-old: Connie Hannagan arrived at Sacred Heart Academy decades ago, floundering under a burden of family difficulties that sent her to boarding school. Sister Maria Eck provided the firm foundation she needed to thrive.
Fifty years later, Connie Hannagan-Lind arrived in Springfield for a class reunion looking for the teacher who was her rock. Their emotional reunion prompted Connie to tell Sister Maria “I was only good because I wanted you to be proud of me.”
Connie recalls it was Sister Maria’s “beautiful brown eyes” that helped alleviate her anxiety. “In those lonely weeks, Sister Maria checked on me often,” she recalled. “I grew to know that she would care for me. Her gentle, compassionate spirit had a huge impact on me in those developing years.”
Was one of our sisters, your rock?
Was she a teacher? A parish visitor who comforted you at a time of loss? A guide who set your feet on a forward path? Our sisters’ lives make a difference for many others, but most often they never know.
Today you can fix that, whether you encountered our sisters as a student or adult; whether they helped you or someone you love. A donation today is a great way to say thank you! It will enhance the lives of all our sisters who’ve alleviated burdens, calmed fears, and encouraged growth in the lives of many like Connie.
What’s your story?
We’d love to hear your story. Please use the form below to tell us how our sisters made a difference in your life.
Here’s how the Springfield Dominicans were my rock:
Form to Sister Kathleen Ann Tait email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark and Sue Quinn value the witness of the sisters who’ve blessed their lives.
For Mark, a teacher of business and finance in the Chicago suburbs, that includes his teachers at St. Walter Parish on Chicago’s south side: Sister Aloysius (Sister Mary Ann Droste) and Sister Monica Finnegan—and Sister Aniceta Skube, whom he met in adulthood at Ss. Peter & Paul in Naperville. His gratitude to the Springfield Dominicans is perpetual. “They taught me to read, to use numbers—they helped me learn how to think, and most of all enriched my love for our Savior and served as an example of living out that love.”
“I remember Sister Aloysius taking me out in the hallway in fourth grade and telling me, ‘Mr. Quinn, I know you are sitting here chock full of brains. If you would just apply yourself you would do very well.’ That’s when everything turned around for me academically,” Mark recalls from his living room in Naperville, Ill.
His relationship with Sister Aniceta developed decades later and centered around their mutual love and concern for the church. “We’d see each other at every morning at 6:45 Mass,” he says. “She was very warm. We’d go to Springfield and visit her, sit in the cafeteria, eat the ice cream bars, and talk about the church. We were both very concerned about the future of the church. We both liked to pray a lot and pray for each other.”
Sue has an equal appreciation for the presence and ministry of Catholic sisters. She supervises nursing students at a facility run by sisters and is a daily witness to their devotion to their ministry. “The sisters are real,” she says. “Day in and day out they are consistent; they are always there for you.”
The Quinns’ relationship with the Dominican Sisters fuels their desire to support our mission with an annual gift. “The good work of the church was mostly done by the women of the church,” Mark says. “I own my faith today to the sisters who provided me with that early faith formation.”