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