November 1, 2016
By Sister Marci Hermesdorf, OP
Party animals! A term for people who love to go to parties and participate in them to the fullest. Now, Dominican Sisters aren’t party animals, but they are “community animals”—women who enthusiastically participate in their communities.
Here at Dominican, the sisters participate in all sorts of community activities–both academic and co-curricular. In their professional capacities they teach, advise, administer, and participate in committee meetings of all sorts as well as in convocations and commencements. In addition they attend campus community events. For example, sisters can be found at lectures sponsored by various academic departments. They support faculty colleagues by attending faculty seminars. They take part in University Ministry events, sometimes serving as preachers, lectors, or Eucharistic ministers. They participate in programs and activities during Hispanic Heritage month, Black History Month, and Women’s History month. You can see and sometimes hear sisters speak at the Caritas Veritas Symposium. They attend student-centered events like art exhibits, athletic events, URSCI, the yearly Fashion Show, and student productions of the Performing Arts Department, in addition to other DUPAC offerings. They can be found at Siena Center programs. And they attend staff events, like the staff recognition dinners and fund raisers for the Staff Benevolence Society. At almost any community event on campus, you can find one or more of the sisters.
But sisters are also “community animals” when it comes to the alumnae / i. Sisters attend alumnae / i reunions in June. They attend and often participate in the twice-yearly Memorial Masses at which deceased alums, benefactors, and family members of alums, students, staff, and faculty are remembered. They also attend the wakes and sometimes the funerals of deceased former faculty members, and of the deceased loved ones of students, faculty, staff, and alums. On a happier note, they sometimes attend the weddings of alums.
Of course, sisters are also community animals when it comes to the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation. They live in various types of communities near campus–praying, eating, and supporting one another in all the joys and struggles of daily life. We also meet in study groups, sometimes called chapters or regionals, every month, usually on a weekend, to consider Congregation business and initiatives .Like all organizations, the larger community, the Congregation, has many committees in which sisters participate. We meet at community gatherings at the Mound—joyful ones like Jubilee celebrations, as well as sorrowful ones, like wakes and funerals of our deceased sisters. Every summer the whole Congregation is invited to participate in “Community Days” at the Mound during which we consider and deliberate about decisions important for our Sinsinawa Dominican Life and Mission.
Is it any wonder, I all the Dominican sisters “community animals”?