Dear Sisters, Contacts and Friends,
Happy Autumn to all of you from the Dayton sisters of the Annunciation and Adele communities! We hope you all had fantastic summers and that the new school year is off to a good start for those of you in schools. For us here in Dayton, the summer was filled with less travel than in the past few years, but was full of all kinds of joy - both big and small! Read on to learn more.
Highlights from June: June 15-18 was “Look, Listen and Lounge,” a Marianist discernment event where young people both in formation with Marianists and FMI/SM contacts get together for a weekend of prayer, fellowship, and fun at the brothers’ property at Governor’s Island at Indian Lake in Ohio. This year, from the Marianist religious community, Laura, Emily, Rose, and Natalie attended, along with the three SM novices (now 2nd year novices) - Chicago, Memo, and Joseph, SM pre-novice (now a 1st year novice), Pepe, and temporary-professed brother, Leno. We were also joined by two new SM contacts, Josh Romo and Joseph Zhao. The weekend was filled with deep discussion, many rides on the pontoon boat, and a lot of laughter. The event only happens every two years so it was nice to catch up with everyone and have time to both discern and relax.
June 19-23 was the Mary’s Lead Workshop, a four-day workshop for leaders in all Marianist high schools, from LA to Puerto Rico. This year, it was held at the Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning at Mount St. John here in Dayton. Laura and Nicole both attended as vowed religious Marianists accompanying the participants. They both said it was a great experience and took joy in being able to show off our very own Chaminade-Julienne High School here in Dayton during a visit the group took to tour the school and talk to staff there.
June 24 was the Marianist Environmental Education Center’s (MEEC) annual Native Plant Sale, which Leanne helps to organize and run. Natalie and Rose helped with the event, managing the check-out tent. It was a hot day, and a great turn-out. It was a nice way to get to know more people in the wider Dayton community and get people to work towards a more sustainable future, one in which native plants that attract diverse pollinators and other wildlife are the norm. From June 29 - July 2, Leanne traveled to St. Louis (joined by Gretchen from San Antonio) to represent the Marianist Sisters at the US Province Brothers’ Assembly, which is held every 3-5 years.
June was also a time of travel for several of us, including family visits and ministry trips. Sabina led a University of Dayton breakout trip to Guatemala, and Emily attended the Catholic Campus Ministry Association conference in Indianapolis. Emily also began her last classes that continued in July to complete her Masters in Religious Studies this summer. Congratulations Emily!
Highlights from July: On July 6, Laura, Natalie, and Rose began a week-long pre-vows retreat, which took place at the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky. The three rented an apartment-style space and had a directed retreat for the week, which included lots of nature walks, a trip to Gethsemani Trappist Monastery, and a special 4th of July trip to Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest, a great place to both pray in silence and admire Kentucky’s greenery.
July 27 was Laura’s last day of chemo!!! We celebrated the next day at the Annunciation community with pizza and some chocolate goodies. We also rang the bell, a popular tradition for breast cancer survivors. It was a joyful celebration and a long time coming for Laura, who underwent and finally finished 6 months of chemotherapy. Yay Laura!
July 20-23 was the Marianist Lay Community of North America’s (MLC-NA) Continental Assembly in St. Louis, MO. The weekend-long event only happens every three years. Laura, Leanne, Natalie, and Rose were able to attend this year. The weekend was a huge success. Fr. Bryan Massingale (a theologian and professor at Fordham University) and Dr. Tony Alonso (a Latin Grammy-nominated composer of sacred music) were the two keynote speakers. Fr. Massingale gave a two-day talk about racism in the Church and challenged all of us to acknowledge and atone for our racial sins in the same way we would approach and go through the sacrament of confession. Meanwhile, Tony Alonso gave a speech that was interspersed with some of his music that invited audience participation.
Major themes of the three breakout workshop sessions included LGBTQ rights and inclusion in the Church, and climate change/sustainability - two very relevant and pressing issues in the Church and the world today. Over the course of the weekend, Leanne gave a presentation with the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative (MSJC) Integral Ecology Team and MEEC about the challenges of climate change. She also coordinated a session with the Marianist Family Encounters Project that featured members from diverse geographical, cultural and ministry settings sharing stories of how they were encountering environmental degradation that are engaging in change. Laura spoke on a panel featuring Marianists from all three branches expressing their hopes. At the end of the weekend, there was a ceremony where Jose Matos was blessed and spoke as the incoming President of the MLC-NA, and Margaret Lisjak was thanked for her three years of service. Overall, it was a great weekend!
On July 30 we celebrated Natalie’s birthday early by going on a hike at John Bryan State Park, after which we went to see the Barbie movie. We even got a whole group of Marianist brothers and lay Marianists to dress in pink and come with us! The Marianists took over the theater!
Also in July, Nicole traveled to Chicago as a featured speaker to the Religious Formation Conference Life Commitment Program and she also attended the National Black Catholic Congress in D.C.
We all rejoiced to learn that the Catholic Climate Covenant declared Leanne to be among the first named US-wide “Laudato si Champions”. She received an honorable mention for her leadership in sharing Pope Francis’ vision of Integral Ecology that extends from MEEC, the University of Dayton and Archdiocese of Cincinnati to the national Marianist Family Encounters Project that engages all US Marianist branches and institutions https://Marianistencounters.org and our FMI International Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation team. Leanne credits the award to the supportive community of our Sisters and the entire Marianist Family network that empowers doing the challenging work of justice and ‘ecological conversion’.
Highlights from August: On August 12, Rose made her profession of 1st vows and Emily renewed her vows for the third time. The day started off with brunch at the Annunciation community for Rose’s out-of-town guests. The Mass was later that afternoon at the University of Dayton Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Fr. Tim Eden presided and Sr. Gretchen Trautman, the FMI Provincial of the U.S., was present to receive the vows of both Rose and Emily.
It was a joyous moment for us sisters to welcome Rose into the congregation and to do so with her friends and family, which we were not able to do for Emily’s profession of 1st vows back in 2020. The rest of the day included a reception after the Mass at Kennedy Union Torch Lounge on UD’s campus, and later a dinner at the Annunciation community for Rose’s family and select guests. The weekend was filled with a blending of families, friends, good conversation, and lots of laughter.
The next day, however, was bittersweet as we said goodbye to Nicole, who left for a 10-week workshop in Nairobi, Kenya for Marianist religious (FMI & SM) who are new to formation work or who are about to take on new roles in formation work. The program is part of Nicole’s year-long sabbatical, which she is taking after ending a 12-year service in campus ministry at Chaminade-Julienne High School. She is very missed here in Dayton by the sisters, her Roots lay group, and her friends, but she does like to keep us updated on her terrific blog, found here.
Another exciting update of the month is that Emily and Rose both started new full-time ministries. On August 7, Emily began her new job as Coordinator of Communications at Immaculate Conception Church for their family of five parishes. Rose began her job as a teacher’s aide and ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School on August 16. Both are enjoying their jobs, along with all the joys and challenges that come with such transitions in life.
The summer also brought us more relaxing moments to visit outdoors with our elder sisters Marie (in nursing care) and Marcia (Assisted Living) at St. Leonard. Marcia also joins us each week for faith sharing at Eucharist or Communion Service and dinner. We are thrilled that her spring knee replacement surgery has successfully ended her pain, so she was able to enjoy a week visiting her twin sister and family in Pittsburgh.
With the autumn season drawing near, please know of our prayers for you all as you this fall semester. Our next newsletter will come out at the end of November. Until then…
Peace and Blessings,
The Marianist Sisters of the Annunciation and Adele Communities
March/April/May 2023 Newsletter
Dear Sisters, Contacts and Friends,
Happy summer to you all from the Dayton sisters of the Annunciation and Adele communities! We hope the end of the school year and the start of summer has been great for everyone. For us here in Dayton, a lot has happened since we last wrote to you. We’ve been keeping busy and already a number of us are gone on summer travels. Read on to learn how we spent the rest of the Easter season!
Highlights from March: March started off with our annual visitation from Gretchen. She stayed at the Adele Community with Leanne, but met with all of us individually to catch up. And on March 7 she joined us for dinner, along with two members of the SM’s General Administration, Br. Max and Fr. Pablo Rambleau.
March 9-12 was Marianist Formation Weekend. It was here in Dayton at the Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning at Mount St. John. The topic this time was an update on all the Marianist gatherings in the summer of 2022. Last summer, every Marianist branch held some kind of official gathering – the Sisters had our General Chapter in Rome (which Leanne and Gretchen attended), the Society of Mary had their General Leadership Assembly, and the International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities had their Lay Assembly in Madrid, Spain. We heard from members of all three meetings, with Leanne presenting for the sisters, Bro. Mike McAward presenting for the brothers, and Matt Dunn presenting for the lay branch. All the presenters were amazing and did a great job of informing and including those in early formation in the governing processes of each branch. Later that weekend, those in discernment broke up into teams and spent the day driving all over Dayton and visiting different Marianist locations as part of a scavenger hunt that Br. Mark Motz put together. The weekend was a lot of fun and really gave us a chance to be great hosts and show those from New York and San Antonio what Dayton has to offer.
Highlights from April: Holy Week began in early April, which always keeps us sisters busy. The musically-gifted of our sisters, including Leanne, Nicole, Laura, and Rose, sang or played their instrument for the various Masses throughout the week. April 7 was the Good Friday Walk for Justice which is a community event that walks participants through the Stations of the Cross while visiting various social justice-minded sites around downtown Dayton. April 8, Holy Saturday, was the Easter Vigil. This year’s vigil was especially memorable as it was our first official Easter out of the COVID pandemic.
After the Vigil, we hosted our annual Dessert Social at the Annunciation Community. Each of us made cookies or desserts for the event. The evening was a hit and the younger sisters stayed up until nearly 3am, catching up with the brothers and lay Marianists. Easter Sunday, we slept in (rightfully so!) and then began to prep an early-evening meal, which included both the Annunciation and Adele Communities and two UD music ministry students, Anna and Elizabeth, who were on campus for the holiday weekend and were in need of a good meal and company.
April 17 was our Laudato Si Planning Committee, which Leanne led and took place at the Annunciation Community. The evening was a way for us to revisit our Laudato Si goals and promises from last year and recommit to the areas we still need to grow in, while celebrating the progress we’ve made over the past year. Two days later was the Magnificat & Social Justice Panel, a virtual event in a series that NACMS has been presenting since the start of the year that invites people from the three different Marianist branches to present on what Mary’s Magnificat means to them. This event was the series’ last, with Sr. Nicole, Br. Mitch Schweickart, and lay Marianists, Sarah Gray and Brian Halderman as presenters. Each of them presented individually on what the Magnificat means to them, and later the virtual audience had the chance to ask them questions during a Q & A session.
The month ended in celebration, with the Marianist PULSE house (a postgraduate servant leadership and social justice initiative sponsored by the Marianists) inviting the sisters and brothers over for a fiesta celebrating the end of their volunteer year. PULSE member, Ángela Zavala, cooked chicken on a stick, tostadas (a traditional Mexican hard shell taco dish), and elotes (a traditional Mexican corn dish). We sat around talking and eating and had a great evening. Then another farewell celebration came on April 29, as the younger sisters celebrated with SM contact, Andrew Villareal, as he prepared to leave his job at Chaminade-Julienne High School and the city of Dayton. Andrew will go to work at Marianist summer camp, TECABOCA for the summer, and then enter aspirancy with the brothers in San Antonio in August. The farewell party took place at El Rancho Grande restaurant and included vowed and lay Marianists, along with co-workers of Andrew from CJ. It was a great evening of celebrations and we’re all so happy to welcome Andrew to officially discern with the Marianists.
Highlights from May: May 1 was Sr. Marie’s birthday! We celebrated by booking the recreation room at her care facility, St. Leonard, and ordering Mexican food – her favorite. Everyone from the Annunciation and Adele Communities was there, along with Marcia. Marie was so thankful that we got to celebrate with her and so enjoyed talking and laughing with us.
As the end of the school year wound down, Emily presented findings from her practicum on May 4. For her practicum, Emily brought a small group of students to Food for the Journey Project to take part in weekly volunteering and faith-sharing. Food for the Journey Project is a mobile food pantry and visits various under-resourced areas of Dayton to provide free meals. The site at Corpus Christi Church offers a free lunch and a faith-sharing group that includes Marianists and people from the community who come for a meal. Emily presented on things her group observed and the ways they grew over the course of the semester. Now that her practicum is over, she has one more summer semester of classes before she graduates with her Master’s in pastoral ministry!
And speaking of graduation…Nicole graduated with her Ed.D. from Gonzaga on May 13! She and Emily flew to Spokane, Washington for the weekend of graduation and the rest of us were able to watch the ceremony live at the brothers’ residence at St. Leonard, during their (very postponed due to COVID and various complications) “house-warming” party. We were all so proud to see Nicole graduate after two long years of hard work and very important research on the inclusion of students of color in extracurriculars in Catholic schools. May 27, the Annunciation Community had a graduation party for Nicole. We kept the guest list to just brothers, close lay Marianists, and a few of Nicole’s closest co-workers. It was a great afternoon of appetizers, laughter, and graduation-themed cookies hand-made by one of Nicole’s CJ friends.
Sadly, though, her graduation also marks an important transition, as Nicole is leaving CJ after 12 years as a campus minister there. Her last day at CJ was May 26. After this summer, Nicole will begin a (well deserved) year-long sabbatical, and after that…who knows. We can’t wait to see what she will do next!
Another exciting development of the month is that both Emily and Rose have accepted new ministry jobs starting in August! Emily will be the communications director for a family of parishes in the Dayton area, while Rose has accepted a position as a teacher’s aid and EL tutor for kindergarten and first grade at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School. Both sisters are very excited to start their new jobs!
As the summer begins, already a number of us have left on summer travels. On May 19 Leanne left to see her family in Canada, while Sabina left on May 24 to lead a UD study abroad trip to Guatemala for seven weeks. As for the rest of us, Laura, Natalie, and Rose will be in Dayton most of the summer, with Emily and Nicole “ducking in and out” over the next few months. Laura is looking forward to finishing her chemo treatments before the end of June and soon after that “the novitiate three” will leave for retreat at the Sisters of Charity retreat house in Nazareth KY. Please join us in prayer and we will remember you!
With the summer well under way, please know of our prayers for you all as you travel, visit with family and friends, and enjoy the weather. Our next newsletter will come out at the end of summer in August.
Peace and Blessings,
The Marianist Sisters of the Annunciation and Adele Communities