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