Religious life has taught me that God has a sense of humor. Raised in a strong German Catholic family in Dayton Ohio, I always wanted to be a teacher and considered religious life off and on through my school years. In my senior year when I met our Sisters who did retreat work I decided I wanted to be a Dominican more than I wanted to teach so I entered our congregation (former Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de'Ricci) in January 1962. I wrongly assumed that Dominicans did not teach. Had I known of the former Columbus Dominicans, I probably would have migrated there.
Who else could so easily show the parallels in the concepts of the study of Canon Law and in the concepts of the study of Dietetics, in both of which she is competent? And who else could be the president of a college closing as she put to use the skill and discipline of the art of quilting, which she described in her report to the Southern Association for Colleges and Universities? No other is she than Dominican Sister of Peace Waldia Warden, OP, an intuitive, delightful conversationalist, a creative woman of "crystalline moments" who has lauded in poetry, prayer, and in each of her ministries, her God and His Mother, Mary.
A "Jill" of all trades and "mistress" of all of them could be the paraphrase of the maxim for Sr. Patricia Marie Sigler, OP, who has interests and abilities in so many fields and ministries. First drawn to the Dominican Sisters of Akron (now Dominican Sisters of Peace) by their warmth and hospitality, she herself has been and is a gift to her Sisters as she continues now in retirement as a Dominican Sister of Peace. She has been an inspiring leader in the Care of Creation movement and also, with another Sister, in the founding and staffing of the Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath, Ohio.
A classic child performer she was, the first-born joy of her family, a tiny tot of three years old, enjoying herself singing and dancing on a bar table. "Imagine what my future might have been?" she coyly asks. Interesting query from Sr. Philomena Cook, influenced later to join the Dominican Sisters of Akron (now the Dominican Sisters of Peace) by her grade school teachers, and by her religious family upbringing. Her touching summary of her life, thus far different from the then little "star," shows her still dancing and singing to a different drummer, as we hear the words now of a healer, a creative craft artist, a pioneer in her nursing and healing care: "Guiding my hand as my sculpture evolves, God helps me to shape and carve his face into humanity by responding to the needs of others."
From where did a call to a religious life vocation come? Sr. Joan Rader believes it was the providence of God in so many ways and especially in the faith nurtured by her deeply Catholic mother and the hard work of her father, both of them filled with goodness. Experiences form who we are. Encouraged to faithful attendance at catechism classes, weekly Mass, Lenten devotions, and parish missions, she listened well and learned of the love and good news of Jesus Christ. Attending public schools, her interest and involvement included sports and music - band, orchestra, and choir. Joan's experiences of Akron area Dominicans began in her junior high with Sr. Edith Meiler as her catechism teacher. Later, through a friend, she met Sr. Loretta Petit while attending summer school at Kent State University. The Newman Chaplain at Kent encouraged Joan to act upon her thought of becoming a sister.
"Just a bundle of love, she is!" These are words one hears oft repeated about Sr. Beatrice due to her longtime kindness and service shown in her teaching ministry of 33 years in primary grades, and in her spiritual care ministry since 1987 for the residents of the Village of St. Edward, the Nursing Home, Fairlawn, Ohio, of those at Akron General Medical Center, and for her own Sisters in the Wellness Center at Regina Health Care. What a praiseworthy tribute given to anyone whose life has been one of serving others' needs!
I'm very happy in religious life and have remained faithful to my calling for 65 years. I come from a family of 11 children, and I attended grade school in Windber, Pennsylvania, where the Dominican Sisters taught. After completing high school and working for a while, at age 20, I entered the novitiate of the Dominican Sisters in Oxford, Michigan (now Dominican Sisters of Peace).
My religious life consisted of many ministries that show my love for people. I taught in grade schools and high schools for many years and then served at Lourdes Nursing Home. During many years there, I was also pastoral minister and supervisor of field service for seminarians. I worked with patients in the Alzheimer unit praying the rosary with them and being their Eucharistic minister.
I have an aunt who is a Mercy Sister and Sisters have always been familiar to me. After visiting the Dominican Sisters when I was in the eighth-grade, I entered their aspirancy program at age 14. It was a great high school during which we shared community and spirituality.
High school was followed by two years of college and night school for the other two years. I taught second-grade and then first-grade for 12 years. I was principal for a short time and was elected to the congregation's Leadership Team. Later I was elected Prioress. During those years we developed a religious education program for preschoolers on Sundays, second and third Wednesdays. I wrote the entire program; I had a lot of energy!
The following tribute was written by Corrine McCann, a dear friend of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, on June 15, 2012, the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Who is that collecting plastic containers and other recyclables in the Sansbury Dining Room? Quiet and smiling, dressed in the white Dominican habit, patiently going from table to table after meals -- who is this environmentally conscious Sister? Carefully she places each item in her collection basket on wheels, seldom getting a soiled spot on her clothes. The "who" is our oldest resident, 101 years and thriving, Sr. Vincent de Paul Hutton.
Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Martin, Pennsylvania born, of Slovakian heritage, is now the only living member of her immediate family. When she was three years old, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where her father worked for Chrysler. Over the years, her father and uncle built for family members four brick houses; she also speaks fondly of a sister who died and proudly of a brother, George, a NASA space controller and about his affiliation with the first space shuttle. Of a religious family, the family attended Catholic schools, and she was educated at St. Cyril School by the Dominicans of Oxford, Michigan (now the Dominican Sisters of Peace). Sr. Mary entered the Community in Oxford at a young age and received her high school education as well as her training for the Sisterhood. Why did she think of being a Sister, even from sixth-grade on?