Springfield, Ill.—Sister Rose Marie Riley, the new director for Jubilee Farm, says she is looking forward to continuing the long Springfield Dominican tradition of holding the eco-spirituality center’s 164 acres as a “place to care for and reverence the land and all of the creatures who inhabit it.”
Sister Rose Marie, who begins her new role in August, was on the congregation’s leadership team when the land was purchased in 1999, oversaw its management during two terms as the Springfield Dominicans’ prioress general, and has had a heart for the land ever since. Her directorship will enable the current director, Sister Sharon Zayac, to continue her ministry as an internationally sought-after workshop and retreat director, while continuing to oversee land restoration at the farm and remain in residence and on the Jubilee Farm staff.
Sister Rose Marie will also support the ministries of the other sisters on staff. She is committed to fulfilling the mission of Jubilee Farm “to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the Earth community and to share the gift of the land.”
Sister Rose Marie will have fiduciary responsibility for the land, buildings, staff, and programming, and hopes to create an advisory council and expand outreach to the residents of Springfield and the region. “I will have a steep learning curve, so I’m looking forward to learning from the sisters and staff and working with them to continue to promote the values Pope Francis puts forward in his encyclical Laudato Sí. “Earth is our common home,” she said, referencing the subtitle of the pope’s document. “How do we care for it and reverence the land? We want Jubilee Farm to be a place for people to be in touch with God’s dream for Earth.”
“How do we care for it and reverence the land? We want Jubilee Farm to be a place for people to be in touch with God’s dream for Earth.”
Who lives and works at Jubilee Farm?
Jubilee Farm’s human residents are, at the moment, Sister Sharon Zayac and Sister Anita Cleary. They live in the white farm house and are caretakers of other two-legged and four-legged residents that include dozens of chickens, four llamas and alpacas and an assortment of barn cats. Sister Rose Marie will join them after she transitions out of her current ministry as sub-prioress of Sacred Heart Convent.
In 2009 Anita Cleary returned to the farm after an absence. She is currently the resident weaver and weaving teacher. She continues to offer spiritual direction and teaches Spanish.
Sister Suzanne Donner came to Jubilee Farm in 2004 to direct children’s education programming. She is now grounds director and manages the greenhouse and the gardens while living at Sacred Heart Convent.
In 2001 Sister Mary Fran Gorman began creating fanciful critters and practical items in a make-shift pottery studio in a ramshackle barn that was torn down last year after succumbing to age and termites. Her new studio is located in the Creative Arts Center, an eco-friendly construction that also houses meeting space with stunning views of the land, Sister Anita’s loom room, and a fully outfitted wood shop managed by Sister Margaret Therese Hebert.
The items the sisters craft at the farm, as well as a selection of home décor and greeting cards, are for sale in the gift shop at the Creative Arts Center. During the spring, herb and flower plants may be purchased from Sister Suzanne at the greenhouse.
Guests are welcome to visit from 9:00 a.m. to dusk on weekdays, Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and Sundays Noon to dusk. Call for more information: 217-787-6927.
Sister Rose Marie Riley, OP begins her new role as director of Jubilee Farm in August.
She will oversee programing and events at Jubilee Farm like the family-friendly bird-banding event that took place on May 12, 2018, near the Archer Creek bridge. These real birds were banded and released. The toy birds hanging on the bridge were use for children’s activities at the event.
Everyone is welcome at Jubilee Farm!
Visit their website for more information