For the first time since 2019, the commitment ceremony for a Springfield Dominican Associate class was held in-person at Sacred Heart Convent Chapel on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
During the homily of the Mass Father Michael DeTemple, OP, chaplain for the Dominican Sisters, thanked the associates for their commitment and noted that through the sacrament of baptism they are called to be light for world. He said to them
“Jesus gives the disciples and us a job description as Christians: Follow me. Stay close to Jesus but behind him; keep our eyes on Jesus—not on ourselves and not on others. Do whatever Jesus does, go where he goes, stop when he stops. If we do that, he will bless us and our work. That’s how we can ‘Be light for the world.’”
The new associates prepared for commitment by participation in nine monthly sessions of prayer and study about the history of the Order of Preachers and the Springfield Dominican congregation, about the theology of mission and ministry, Catholic Social Teaching, and liturgy and prayer. Each candidate was accompanied by a sponsor—a sister or an associate—who answered their questions and offered encouragement during their period of discernment before commitment.
Dominican associates embrace the Dominican traditions of prayer, study, community, and ministry. They respond to God's call to share the Gospel by preaching it through the witness of their lives.
Each associate was called forward by the associate program director, Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP. They stated publicly their commitment to “preach the Word and witness Gospel values,” and received an associate pin from Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, prioress general of the congregation.
The twelve new associates, from the greater Springfield area and Columbia, Mo., are:
Lisa Barnett, parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, who is employed by the Illinois’ State Treasurer’s Office. Lisa’s commitments include volunteering for the homeless and at Jubilee Farm. Sponsor: Sister Agnes Ann Pisel. Prayer sponsor: Sister Francis Mary Philipp.
Keith Buescher, parishioner at St. Joseph Church, Springfield, and a clinical psychologist at Psychological Services of Central Illinois. Keith’s commitments include, study of the Bible and using his voice to speak against injustice. Keith and his wife Lucinda are the parents of three children. Sponsor: Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel. Prayer sponsor: Sister M. Michaela Collins.
Lucinda Buescher, parishioner at St. Joseph Church, Springfield, and a dermatologist at SIU School of Medicine, whose commitments include sharing her faith with her family and helping at Jubilee Farm. Lucinda and her husband Keith are the parents of three children. Sponsor: Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel. Prayer sponsor: Sister Mia Díaz Solano.
Debi Edmund-Ellersten, member of Peace Lutheran Church, Springfield, and retired human services worker and writer, whose commitments include participation in her church’s community service committee and joining the sisters in their efforts for a more sustainable planet. Sponsor: Sister Bernice Juip. Prayer sponsor: Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel.
Peter Ellersten, member of Peace Lutheran Church, Springfield, and a retired journalist and journalism teacher, whose commitments include Bible study, writing a blog for an ecumenical audience, and joining the sisters’ efforts for a more sustainable planet. Sponsor: Sister Bernice Juip. Prayer sponsor: Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel.
Jan Montgomery, parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, whose commitments include serving in RCIA ministry at Cathedral, fighting racial injustice and human trafficking, and working for the right to life for all. Sponsor: Jantzen Eddington. Prayer sponsor: Sister Mary Gael Daley.
Ann Moroff, parishioner at Christ the King, Springfield, and LPN at Springfield Clinic, whose commitments include being a compassionate presence in her work, supporting members of the Cor Unum community with her prayer, and engaging in study and spiritual reading. Ann and her husband Guy are the parents of a daughter. Sponsor: Sister Patricia Stark. Prayer sponsors: Sister Maira Barry, Sister M. Zachary Sergeena.
Molly Murphy, a parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, and freshman theology teacher at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, whose commitments include continuing study of the Gospel and of Catholic teaching, and witnessing to her students through acts of service and discipleship. Molly and her husband Courtney live in Farmersville with their two daughters. Sponsor: Sister Martha Carmody. Prayer sponsor: Sister M. Samuella Volk.
Stella Shaw, member of Progressive Church of God, Springfield, and prep cook at Sacred Heart Convent, whose commitments include companioning the elderly and those in hospice and assisting with the gardens at Sacred Heart Convent. Stella is the mother of two daughters and a son. Sponsor: Sister Teresa Marron. Prayer sponsors: Sister Corde Lenn, Sister Adele Human.
Charlene Vollmer, member of the Church of the Little Flower, Springfield, resident of Chatham, Ill., and a retired registered nurse, whose commitments include serving as a volunteer and Eucharistic minister at Springfield hospitals and volunteering at St. Martin De Porres Center. Charlene and her husband John are the parents of two daughters. Sponsor: Sister Georgiana Stubner. Prayer sponsor: Sister M. Francella Vyverman.
Margaret Greco, parishioner at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Chatham, and retired registered nurse, whose commitments include co-chairing the Right to Life ministry at her parish and studying her faith. Margie lives in Glenarm. Margie and her husband Dominic are the parents of eight adult children. Sponsor: Sister Judith Pfile. Prayer sponsor: Sister Marie Michelle Hackett.
Cyndi Goehl, parishioner at St. Thomas More Newman Center, Columbia, Mo., and a realtor with Weichert Realtors First Tier, whose commitments include bringing hope and healing to others and serving her parish as lector and Eucharistic minister. Cyndi and her husband Steve are the parents of two daughters and two sons. Sponsor: Delia Lising. Prayer sponsors: Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, Sister Paul Mary Janssens.
The first Springfield Dominican associates made commitment in 1991. Since then hundreds of women and men, baptized Christians in the United States and Peru, have become associates.
Dominican associates undertake individual volunteer ministries in their own parishes and communities. They may also join the sisters on committees and boards, work side-by-side with the sisters in their ministries, or provide logistical support for the congregation’s public events. To learn more about becoming a Springfield Dominican Associate click here or call Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP, at 217-787-0481.
The Dominican Sisters of Springfield are part of a worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For more than 800 years, Dominicans have preached the Gospel in word and deed. The Springfield Dominicans were established in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1873 and relocated to Springfield in 1893. Today, thousands of Dominican sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world. To learn more about the Dominican Sisters of Springfield visit springfieldop.org.
Photo: The Springfield Dominican Associate Class of 2022
Row 1 (l tor) Molly Murphy, Sister Martha Carmody, Sister Agnes Ann Pisel, Lisa Barnett, Jan Montgomery. Row2 (l to r, seated) Stella Shaw, Sister Teresa Marron, Cyndi Goeahl, Margaret Greco, Jantzen Eddington. Row 3 (l to r) Sister M. Joan Sorge, Sister Georgiana Stubner, Charlotte Vollmer, Ann Moroff, Sister Patricia Stark, Delia Lising, Sister Bernice Juip, Peter Ellersten, Debbie Ellersten. Row 4 (l to r) Lucinda Buescher, Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, Keith Buescher, Sister Judith Pfile.