Celebrating Cornerstones Lecture, Award

by Tricia Buxton

Sisters, Associates, and special guests attended the May 14 Cornerstones Lecture, Vespers, and Award Ceremony at Sinsinawa Mound to recognize the Congregation’s Four Cornerstones who decided in 1849 to remain together after three Sisters chose to leave due to hardships experienced in those early years. The event was organized by Priscilla Wood, OP.

From left: Associate Elly Pick, Edie Rice-Sauer, Sr. Toni Harris, Sr. Priscilla Wood, Associate Princess Wilson, and Donna Carroll
From left: Associate Elly Pick, Edie Rice-Sauer, Sr. Toni Harris, Sr. Priscilla Wood, Associate Princess Wilson, and Donna Carroll

Donna Carroll, president emeritus of Dominican University (DU), River Forest, IL, gave the Cornerstones Lecture on leadership qualities and leadership resilience. “Resilience is about disposition, fit, and commitment as much as it is about professional skills,” she said. Donna mentioned all leaders should have what she calls the trifecta of leadership resilience—a sense of purpose, a sense of optimism/positive outlook, and a sense of control with the permission—or the freedom—to be creative. Being president at DU was purpose filled, deeply meaningful work for her. “I tend to see opportunity where others might see frustrations and obstacles,” said Donna. “Vocation imbued leadership—that paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will tempered with relational energy and anchored by faith—is at the heart of the Dominican story.” She outlined shared qualities and commitments she has witnessed among Sisters that build a moral character which, when called forward, reveals a leadership position that is “so proudly Sinsinawa Dominican—deep conviction, a high level of personal freedom, radical response to injustice, a hopeful worldview, and an ethic of care that is unwavering.”

At the vespers service and award ceremony, Toni Harris, OP, read from Matthew’s Gospel, “And you, beloved, are the light of the world.” She said, “We are gathered on this hilltop to honor women whose lives have illuminated the world. The lives we honor today provide illumination through these qualities that we attribute to our Four Cornerstones—an abundance of hope, courage in the face of adversity, commitment to a shared mission, and deep faith in the providence of God.” Toni thanked honorees Edie Rice-Sauer and Associate Princess Wilson for so wonderfully witnessing in their lives the legacy of our Sinsinawa cornerstones.

Cornerstones Awardee Edie Rice-Sauer was unable to attend the 2021 event due to COVID precautions. In 2022, she was present at Sinsinawa to receive her award. Edie is the executive director of Transitions in Spokane, and the nonprofit organization’s mission is to end poverty and homelessness for women and children in the area. Toni said, “Edie has been committed to working with those who are vulnerable in situations of domestic violence, poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and/or addiction. We are grateful for your wonderful tending and expansion of our Transitions ministry. In 2021, 975 women and children were served by Transitions programs. Thank you, Edie, for turning a scrutinizing spotlight on the causes of poverty and homelessness for women and children.”

Associate Princess Wilson was present to receive her 2022 Cornerstones Award. Toni said, “Princess illuminates our world through her efforts to confront racism and address its effects. She integrated St. Joseph High School [near Atlanta] as a teenager in 1962. She is committed to Catholic social teaching, especially when confronted with ongoing racism. She challenges church leadership to speak up for economic equality, to recognize the wide tent of the right to life, to recognize that black lives matter, and to support persons victimized by the prison industrial complex. She is an advocate for persons without homes. She has been involved in action against developers whose plans will displace people in her neighborhood. She is an advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS. Princess is no stranger to David-and-Goliath type struggles. She is a caring and lifelong friend to others. Thank you, Princess, for turning a scrutinizing spotlight on racism and its effects.”

Click for Spectrum July 2022 Index

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