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.

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