News from Congregate Communities

Villa Bustling with Activities

St. Dominic Villa

Sr. Antonetta Martinka and other Sisters at St. Dominic Villa enjoy a visit from Sisters living at Prairie View Manor.

by Deb Bomyea, OP, and Coni LaBarbera, Associate

Warm greetings from St. Dominic Villa at Sinsinawa. We continue to minister through presence at the many events our activities director prepares—Bingo; music from Tom, Lou, Janet, and the Country Deputies; and a Western Day with a special barbeque meal and potluck for staff. Before the warm weather ended, Vesperman Farms’ ice cream truck came and had a nice selection of flavors!

In September, we welcomed Father Ron Kruel, OP, as we bid farewell to Father Dan Davis, OP, with a root beer float social. On Sept. 10, Marjorie Buttner, OP; Duchesne Maxwell, OP; and Mark O’Loughlin, OP, celebrated their 70-year jubilee with Mass and dinner. On Oct. 7, we celebrated the 50th jubilee of Debra Mika, OP; and Pat Davis, OP, with Mass and dinner. Later, we toasted Deb Bomyea, OP, with a Wendy’s pumpkin frosty for her 40th jubilee. We continue to read and share thoughts about the memoirs of Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP. We enjoyed a beautiful memory walk out and about the Villa area.

After viewing the Frontline episode of “Being Mortal,” we shared conversations. We celebrated a mandamus ritual and an All Saints Day remembering service that included lay residents as well as our beloved Sisters. November found us participating in the Congregation’s virtual assembly with our wonderful Antonetta “Tink” Martinka, OP, offering her reflection as a member of the panel. On Nov. 20, we celebrated Debra’s entrance into eternal life. A wonderful Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the kitchen staff helped us all to give thanks for the blessings of this community and this life.

Graced by Visits

Sr. Lauretana Gorman listens to a presentation by Barb Daniels.

Sr. Lauretana Gorman listens to a presentation by Barb Daniels.

by Evie Storto, OP

Life at Prairie View Manor, formerly known as St. Elizabeth Manor, has been recently blessed by visits from our Sisters and a local farmer. On Nov. 29, Judy Schaefer, OP, updated us on the work of Dominican Veritas Ministries (DVM). Focusing on the recent transfer of sponsorship ceremonies which have occurred, Judy reminded us of the long and fruitful legacy of the Sinsinawa Dominicans. This sparked wonderful memories and sharing of Sisters’ teaching ministries while poignantly reminding us of the new moment in which we live. Particularly touching were the letters of gratitude composed by Trinity High School students. One student wrote, “Because of all the work you do, the sacrifices you make, and the ways you support my school, you’ve changed so many lives! . . . Trinity has changed me so much. It helped me overcome my depression and understand my worth. I have hope for my future. That’s because of you!”

On Dec. 1, Priscilla Wood, OP, delighted us with her presence and wonderful stories about Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, and our early Sisters. She shared the early history of Edgewood and reminded us of Fr. Samuel’s advocating for the Sisters to become property owners at Sinsinawa Mound, the first women to own property in Wisconsin. Priscilla’s love and appreciation for Fr. Samuel was evidenced in her sharing and her incredible wealth of knowledge. She left us “wanting for more.”

Miriam Brown, OP, and Clare Wagner, OP, enriched our Advent days by offering us some time to reflect on the meaning of this season through a series of three presentations. On Dec. 6, Miriam focused on the themes of the Annunciation and Visitation. She invited us to reflect on Mary and Elizabeth as women of grace called by God to be God’s loving presence in the world. From this lens, Sisters were invited to reflect on themselves as women of grace who continue to be called to see themselves and one another as images of God. Clare focused on prayer.

Barb Daniels, a local farmer, visited Dec. 7 to talk about restorative agriculture. Using photos of the Daniels’ farm, which she runs with her husband, Jerry, Barb shared her enthusiasm for farming while educating us on ways they have learned to work with the land and nurture the soil. She noted their ability to experiment and “to play and create” and expressed deep gratitude for the presence of God she finds daily in the process.

What a gift it has been to have these gatherings. We continue to welcome all who come to share their light with us!

Stair Crest Name Origin

Lois Stair

Lois Stair

by Mary Ann Miller, OP

The Stair Crest facility and community is named after Lois Stair. She was born April 13, 1929, and became the first woman general assembly moderator of a United States Presbyterian denomination. The year was 1971, the place was Rochester, NY. Her first words after her election were, “Well, here I am, filled with amazement and gratitude, and standing in need of prayer.”

Women first became eligible to serve as moderators in 1930, but it took four decades for a woman to be elected. During those decades, Lois and other women elders developed their leadership skills at all levels of the church. Before becoming the moderator, she was ordained a ruling elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Waukesha, WI, in 1957, and after her election, she went on to serve as a moderator of Milwaukee Presbytery and the Synod of Wisconsin.

Her qualifications were impressive, but it was her gender that drew the most attention. As moderator, she wanted to help congregations move away from their comfort zone and embrace diversity. She called for emphasizing equality and protection of minorities. She spoke on women’s liberation, race and justice, and other tumultuous issues of the early 1970s.

Lois Stair was a wife, mother, and grandmother. She was married to James F. Gross for 60 years. They had five children and six grandchildren. She loved being with family. Lois died Dec. 27, 2017. She is missed and remembered for her kind, loving, caring, loyal, and compassionate nature. You can learn more about this amazing woman online.