Sunday, 09 June 2019 11:54

Sixteen Illinoisans, 11 from diocese, commit as Dominican associates

Associate Class of 2019 Springfield clusterSixteen Illinois residents, including 11 from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, made their formal commitment as associates of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield during a ceremony at Sacred Heart Convent on May 5.

They recently completed a nine-month program of formation in Dominican life, history, spirituality and mission provided by the Dominican Sisters for Christian women and men since 1990.

Referencing John’s Gospel resurrection story about the risen Christ appearing to the Apostles after a failed night of fishing, Sister Kathleen Gallagher, OP, a member of the sisters’ leadership team, invited the new associates to think about what it means to heed Jesus’ request to cast nets on the other side of the boat. “When Jesus calls the Disciples to cast their net over the right side of the boat, he tells them, ‘You will find something,’” she said. What the associates find, like the 153 fish mentioned in the Gospel, may be “new inspirations, new friends, new graces to go on if troubles haunt you, new paths drawing you closer to your God.”

“This class of associates is alive with the Spirit and eager to walk with our Dominican Sisters in preaching the Gospel with their lives,” said Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP, director of the associate program. “Their gifts shared reflect God’s loving and risen presence in our world.”

Dominican associates are increasingly active in collaboration with the Springfield Dominican Sisters. Three members of this year’s class work in ministries sponsored by the sisters. Three are related to one of the sisters; others have been taught by them or are active in parishes where the sisters minister. Associates need not be Catholic, but it is important that they be baptized in some Christian tradition and already actively living their faith.

After the nine-month period of formation, associates meet regularly for study, prayer and socializing with associates in their geographic region who’ve made commitment in the past.

Each associate fulfills the promises they’ve made on commitment day and are encouraged in that by frequent communication with the sisters and each other. The sisters provide regular opportunities for spiritual enrichment for the associates. Frequently throughout the year there are days for prayer and study, and opportunities for service and actions of social justice supported by the sisters.

Every five years, after the completion of one of the Dominican Sisters General Chapters, all associates are invited to discern their continued commitment and renew their promises during Mass at Sacred Heart Convent. Because this was a chapter year, the next recommitment celebration is scheduled Aug. 24.

Applications are currently being accepted for the next associate class, which meets monthly from August to May each year. Learn how you can become a Springfield Dominican associate at or call (217) 787-0481 to speak with associate program director, Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP.

The Springfield Dominican associates from the Springfield diocese are:

Dave Sanders, parishioner at St. Joseph the Worker, Chatham, retired Illinois State Trooper. He and his wife Mary have two daughters and a son. His commitment includes serving as eucharistic minister at St. Joseph the Worker Church and as a visitor to those who are elderly or in residential care facilities or hospitals and living his faith by leading by example for his family and friends.

Kathy Turner, parishioner at Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville, retired payroll clerk. Kathy and her late husband John D. Turner have two daughters. Her commitment includes being one with God in her actions and deeds, ministering and listening to those in need, and continuing her duties as a eucharistic minister and lectoring at Mass.

Jennifer Bettis, parishioner, Christ the King, Springfield, director of advancement, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. Her commitment includes her work at SHG and sharing her time, talent and resources with those in need and the community at large. She and her husband Chad have one son.

Blanca Farris, parishioner, Blessed Sacrament and Christ the King, Springfield; technical manager for IDOT. Her commitment includes volunteering at functions and activities and living the four pillars of Dominican Life. She and her husband Stephen have three daughters and a son.

Jen Graves, parishioner, St. Agnes, Springfield; educator and homemaker. Her commitment includes volunteering at St. Agnes School and the Elizabeth Ann Seaton project and modeling the four pillars of the Dominican life for her children. She and her husband Chris have three daughters.

Marian Jenkins, parishioner, Blessed Sacrament, Springfield; retired teacher and retail manager. Her commitment includes Scripture study and to use more of her gift of hospitality, greeting and giving hope and strength to the sick and suffering. She and her late husband Harry have five daughters.

Joann Lenn, parishioner, Cathedral, Springfield; retired from AT&T. Her commitment includes serving the sick at St. John’s Hospital, helping in Cathedral Parish as eucharistic minister and coordinating and serving funeral lunches.

Rose M. Lenn, parishioner, Cathedral, Springfield; retired secretary. Her commitment includes serving the sick at St. John’s Hospital, helping in Cathedral Parish as eucharistic minister and coordinating and serving funeral lunches.

Pam McGhiey, parishioner, St. Francis Cabrini, Springfield; speech pathologist at Sherman Elementary. Her commitment includes listening in prayer to what God is calling her to do, studying Catholic teaching and Scriptures and serving her parish as lector, usher and catechist.

Kara Rapacz, parishioner, Christ the King, Springfield; principal, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. Her commitment includes raising her children in a home built on Catholic, Dominican values and by leading SHG focused on the Dominican charism. She and her husband Chris have a daughter and two sons.

Kathy Roe, parishioner, Cathedral, Springfield; self-employed. Her commitment includes welcoming the stranger, serving as lector, responding to needs and surrendering her life to the Lord’s service. She and her husband Dan have a daughter and a son.