CDN Novices Visit Stair Crest

Pictured above from left: Srs. Angelo Collins, Alice Ann Byrne, Ruella Bouchonville, Terri Schell, Sarah Anne Kaminski, Julie Rambin, Angela Tran, Christa Cunningham, Teresa Montes Lara, Mary McNulty, Paula Danforth, Elyse Marie Ramirez, Janet Welsh, Mary Ellen O’Grady, and Shingai Chigwedere

by Janet Welsh, OP, and Mary McNulty, OP

Sisters from the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) representing five congregations traveled to Stair Crest, Muskego, WI, home for 95 Dominicans of Sinsinawa. Stair Crest Prioress Mary Ellen O’Grady, OP, greeted Director of the CDN Elyse Marie Ramirez, OP (Springfield), and CDN Mentor Maria Teresa Montes Lara, OP (Tacoma). She also welcomed novice Sisters Paula Danforth, Shingai Chigwedere, and Terri Schell (Peace); Julie Rambin (Sinsinawa); and Angela Tran (Mission San Jose). After enjoying zucchini bread from Sinsinawa Bakery, Janet Welsh, OP, began a morning session of study with Edward Schillebeeckx’s quotation, “Stories of the Dominican Order keep us together as Dominicans.” Janet told a few stories about St. Dominic’s life journey as he created a revolutionary evolution in the Church of the 13th century. The novices shared how the stories of Dominic resonated with their journey of living Dominican life today.

The afternoon session, a panel titled “Pondering the Charism,” proved to be the highlight of the day, inspiring the CDN novices as well as many Stair Crest residents. The panelists wove together fruits of their contemplation: Called to mission, which is rooted in study; supported in community, both traditional and new forms; powered by communal and contemplative prayer; and expressed in people of the Holy Preaching.

From the novices: It was powerful and inspiring to see and hear all of you, our Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, amid such transition. You are all going about mission. Mission is not only for people under 50 or 70 or even 90, and I think all the novices experienced a broadening of our understanding of what a life of ministry might mean, particularly in a Sister’s later years.

From one of the panelists: It was a joy to have the novices from the CDN in Hyde Park, IL, come visit us here at Stair Crest. The presence of so many talented young women pursuing a Dominican vocation gave us hope for the future of Dominican religious life.