Our sister benefit every day from the gifts our donors make. Here, you see Sister Mary Emmeric and Sister M. Francene being measured for new lift chairs, made possible by gifts from donors like you. The chairs give our sisters safety, comfort and independence.
To learn more, read these great stories about why our donors value their relationships with the sisters and how that impacts their giving. Simply click a box below to expand and read their stories or learn more about the different ways to give.
“I pray every day that I can be the person God calls me to be—and this morning I realized I am!”
While it was that morning’s insight, Shirley Juip knows God isn’t finished creating her! Her morning prayer with the daily scriptures has her searching for God’s call each day, following Jesus, and reaching out to those who are disadvantaged and disengaged.
Long before the Dominicans invited others to support their ministries through Partners in Mission, Shirley recognized our sisters’ ability to readily respond to needs and started donating to the community.
She especially appreciates the sisters’ response to the people of Peru, students in schools—especially in poor areas—immigrants, and those impacted by racial injustice. “I think they’re doing my work for me because I’m not out there doing it,” she mused.
Shirley first learned that ethic of care growing up in Romeo, Mich. Her parents, Leo and Mildred Juip, were involved at St. Clement Parish and elementary school. The small town seemed more like an extended family that cared for one another. Shirley’s parents gave example, assisting wherever they could while raising seven children.
When Shirley married Bob Soule, he paved the way for her future giving. Bob and Shirley met while teaching. He oversaw the school district’s credit union where he gained insight into the needs of families and learned how “a little help” made a huge impact on their lives. The couple had compassion for those who suffered from the systemic nature of poverty and did what they could to change that. They also recognized the “causes” they supported—like their parish—needed operating funds to keep lights on and programs going.
Shirley first met the Dominican Sisters of Springfield when she attended St. Augustine’s High School in Richmond, Mich. She remembers Sister Annette as one who won her heart in homeroom and Sister Louis Bertrand as the “champion” of the school. Her sister, Bernice, entered the Dominicans. Shirley followed, realizing later that God was asking something else of her.
Her devotion to daily scriptures and prayer embedded in her a desire to do justice. “Society historically has thought that peace comes through winning,” she said. “But real peace comes through JUSTICE. I like that your community is really committed to justice—for all!”
Thank you, Shirley and all of YOU who, like Shirley, support our Gospel works and help us care for our elder sisters who have given their lives to others.
“I really believe in the sisters,” Pete Ruhl said about his long-term relationship with the Springfield Dominicans. He became acquainted in 1983 when his oldest, Sarah, asked to attend Marian Catholic High School, a Springfield Dominican-sponsored college prep school in Chicago Heights, Ill.
Sarah was sure she’d receive a great education at Marian Catholic, though she was concerned about the burden of cost on her family. She was the first of Pete and Darlene Ruhl’s five kids and her father, a loan officer, was already moonlighting as a bartender on weekends to make ends meet.
“If you want to go there I’m sure we can find a way,” is how Pete recalled responding to his daughter. “Through moonlighting and paying on the installment plan it worked out fine,” he explained, as if it was the most natural thing in the world for a parent to make that kind of sacrifice for his children. Eventually all five kids attended Marian Catholic and Pete became director of development for the school.
“The really amazing thing was that not only did my three daughters like Marian, so did my two sons,” Pete said, adding, “In one form or another all of them have told me that they never met anyone in college who was as well-prepared as they were.”
Is it any surprise, then, that when Pete made a recent decision to give to the Dominican Sisters Retirement Fund, he opted for the “super easy” monthly giving plan?
When prodded about why he wanted to support Marian Catholic and the Dominican Sisters, Pete was as nonchalant as he was about paying his daughter’s tuition. “The thing I most enjoyed at Marian was my relationship with the sisters,” he said, reminiscing about his friends who have since died, Sister M. Gloria Hanley and Sister Joan Flanigan. “One of my fondest memories is of the relationships the sisters had with one another. They were sisters in how they treated one another and lived together,” he recalled.
“I can’t give what I would like to give, but doing it on a monthly basis makes it possible. The sisters took care of so many of our families that I wanted to do a little bit to assist them.”
Like Pete’s gift, yours goes a long way toward building up a community of sisters who reach out to others in compassion and friendship. Thank you!
Spirituality and Money? These two concepts don’t often rub shoulders. For spouses Fletcher Farrar and Mary Jessup, however, it’s a connection continually made.
Fletcher learned from his parents who were integrally tied to church and community in Mt. Vernon, Ill., where Fletcher Farrar Sr. worked as an oil producer. Frequently the product was a dry hole; at other times a stream of income for the family.
The senior Farrar was grateful when resources were available and treated his money as a tool for Christian stewardship. The Farrars were always willing to help others, knowing the “good life” did not require a lot of resources.
“Without the high hope of adventure, religion degenerates into a mere appendage of a comfortable life” Fletcher says, quoting philosopher Alfred North Whitehead.
Instilled with these values, Fletcher Jr.’s interest was piqued by an organization called Ministry of Money. Now called Wisdom and Money, it promotes a spiritual freedom that comes from giving of yourself and your resources.
“Without the high hope of adventure, religion degenerates into a mere appendage of a comfortable life” Fletcher says, quoting philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Fletcher’s “high adventure” is linked to old houses. He loves everything about them: their stories, their architecture, and especially, their revitalization. This passion has filled his life with “high adventure” like providing affordable housing for low income families, encouraging and sustaining the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association’s efforts to promote economic and cultural diversity, and supporting the Dominican Sisters’ ministry with housing.
The friendship between Fletcher, Mary, and the Dominican Sisters began in 1999 when the sisters asked Fletcher’s help finding rental housing in Enos Park, a place we hoped to contribute to the stabilization of the neighborhood. The providential result was the renovation of an historic home built by a member of the prominent Enos family—across the street from the Farrar’s home.
At first the sisters rented the property, enjoying the home, the friendship with the Farrars it afforded, and contributing to the life of the neighborhood. Influenced by the sisters’ emphasis on prayer and social justice, Fletcher and Mary gave them the house 10 years later. Now another transformative gift from the Farrars is making possible another Enos Park home, and a new ministry for young adult women, Cor Unum.
This connection between faith and stewardship of resources has helped the Dominican Sisters transform the Enos Park neighborhood and neighborhoods wherever we are. Thanks is due to Partners in Mission like Fletcher and Mary, and each of you! Without your support the desired impact would not be possible!
Learn more about the organization that supports Fletcher’s philosophy of living and giving, Wisdom and Money.
Blanca Farris partners with the Springfield Dominicans as a “Bearer of the Flame!” because she values memories of the Dominican Sisters who’ve influenced her family life through the years, prompting her to “give back” through a monthly donation.
“Sister Lenore and Sister Marie Andre mentored my strong-willed, protective, and outspoken daughter during her junior high and high school years,” Blanca remembers. “The sisters positively influenced Elizabeth who is now 26 years old, married, and teaching at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School.
“Sister Clara Malinowski never disappointed with funny stories of her childhood and the things she did that got her in trouble. She shared her love of horses with my daughter Victoria who, now a nurse, still loves horses,” Blanca continued.
Sister Philip Neri Crawford has also been a wonderful, loving, presence in the lives of the Farris children, Blanca says, filling the rolls of teacher, confidante, role model, and surrogate grandmother. “She taught all four of my children and they have become successful adults in professions of service to others,” she says with pleasure.
Along with Sister Philip Neri, Sister Mary Alice Mannix was one of the most influential persons in Isabella Farris’s life. Blanca believes it is because of their 8-year friendship, their many rosary-making sessions, their conversations and laughter, that Isabella has grown to be a loving, caring, and giving young lady.
“I am forever grateful to these wonderful women of faith who have so lovingly cared for my children and thus helped me to become a better mother,” Blanca says. “As a result, I want to give back—in thanksgiving—to the retired sisters’ fund and the Peruvian sisters’ fund.
“It helps that there is an easy-to-set-up monthly giving plan which releases me from having to remember to write a monthly check,” she says. “I can also easily monitor my monthly gift and have access to the record of my contributions. What I like most about the monthly giving plan is that I don’t even have to think about it!"
This year, as we sisters prepare for General Chapter, a sacred time of listening and discernment about God’s call for our congregation, we count on our Partners in Mission—like you—to carry forth our mission and ministry to embody God’s love for all. Please consider a monthly gift to the Dominican Sisters and become a “Bearer of the Flame.”
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, ignored a custom that prevented sisters from entering private homes and 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.”
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.
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.”