What began as a single meeting two years ago blossomed into a committee that gathers to keep the spirit of National Catholic Sisters Week alive throughout the year.
Sister Lorraine Reaume, OP, who serves as director of formation for the Adrian Dominicans, recalls the email that started it all. Back in January 2016, she emailed a group of Adrian Dominicans and co-workers inviting them to come to a meeting the next day to discuss a possible event for National Catholic Sisters Week that March.
“To my delight,” Sister Lorraine said, “we had a large group show up and that began our committee!”
She recognized a deep, abiding interest in the mission of NCSW – one that yearned to be expressed all year long. The committee is comprised of co-workers and sisters, including directors of formation, vocations, development, sustainability, campus administration and the literacy center, along with a member of the retreat center staff and the communications office.
There are about 10 members of the NCSW committee, which meets regularly – more often as big events near. Meetings last an hour, so they are feasible amid many work obligations. “But we seem to accomplish a lot amidst a great deal of laughter,” Sister Lorraine said.
The committee’s first event was a resounding success: an open house at the motherhouse called “An Evening with the Adrian Dominican Sisters.” It featured displays, tours, refreshments, a talk by the prioress and a declaration by the mayor. About 200 people attended.
A local radio station did a remote broadcast from the event, interviewing 12 sisters live.
The committee built on its success for a NCSW 2017 event called “Speed Date a Sister,” which was again broadcast on social media, via a widely circulated press release and through an advance radio interview. Sisters were stationed at different tables and attendees made their way through them all, moving on to the next one when a bell rang and perusing bios of the women religious that were printed off along with questions cards at each table. It was a wonderful event filled with boisterous laughter and learning.
“It was after the second big event that we decided there was more to be done in the spirit of NCSW, and the committee decide to take on a couple of other big events,” Sister Lorraine said.
One event held outside of March was the Lenawee County Fair held in July. The committee decided to set up a booth, which required a daunting 10-day committee. Sisters, associates and coworkers all shared in the staffing, and the considerable time commitment paid off richly. Countless people – locals and tourists – came by to ask about the Adrian Dominicans and share stories of women religious they had known. A major attraction was the photo op with the life-size cut-out of Pope Francis.
Note whether the committee plans to have a booth this summer
It’s hard to predict what good work will flow next from this dynamic, life-giving committee. The Holy Spirit is at work – just as it is when Sister Lorraine works with women discerning religious life. “God works with each of us as we are, and it is wonderful to see the hand of God in each woman’s life.”
May we recommend
Sister Lorraine and Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, director of vocations, do a video series on discernment called "DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the Questions of Life!" Check it out here!