Skip Navigation

2014 Jubilarians


Celebrating 70 Years | Sister Marie (Bartholomew) Burnaby

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
I grew up with Racine Dominican teachers. They were always my lifeline!

What kept you in the community all these years?
I believe that God has called me to always remain a Dominican Sister.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
As a teacher, I felt I was following my call and using the gifts I had been
given in a ministry in which I was very comfortable.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
I want people to know that the Racine Dominicans have a special calling,
a dedication to everyone whose lives we touch.

 


Celebrating 70 Years | Sister Grace Marie (Marie) Kraft

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
First of all, I wanted to give my life to God. This wish received encouragement from the fine Racine Dominicans who were my teachers at Nativity School in Detroit.

What kept you in the community all these years?
Through the years, my wonderful family has been a great support. I like being a Racine Dominican and am a member of a great class.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
While working at Boysville School in Michigan, I recall one special student who didn’t want to go to remedial reading class, but with my persuasion, did attend and achieved success.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
Racine Dominicans are a group of religious sisters who work to help the poor.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
Spending time in chapel and praying the rosary are an important part of my week. Bowling is an enjoyable activity I like to engage in, plus my special treat is eating at least one Rice Krispy bar each day.

 


Celebrating 70 Years | Sister Rita (Louis Mary) Martin

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
I entered the community when I was 19. I always had a feeling within me to be a teacher, but caring for my parents seemed to come first. So I struggled with this until finally I consulted two other communities. But then I thought it best to join the same community where my sister, Geraldine, was.

What kept you in the community all these years?
I think my teaching career and the mission which we strive to live out, namely committed to Truth, compelled to Justice.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
As I look back, I think it would be seeing the expressions on children’s faces when they learned to read.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
We are women who look into the future to see where the needs are, so we can focus our strengths and abilities to help those most in need.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
As I move into my 94th year, I must thank God for my good health. I refresh my spirit in a number of ways: daily walks, reading, praying, playing the piano, volunteering in the Siena Retreat Center, Senior Companion Program, and helping sisters when I see the need.

 


Celebrating 70 Years | Sister Valerie Zielinski

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
Growing up in Detroit and attending Nativity grade school are happy memories for me. I was especially fond of my fourth grade teacher, Sister Geraldine. She was my teacher from grade four until I graduated from eighth grade. Four glorious years! I eagerly anticipated going to school just to hear her greet me by name, with an endearing phrase that followed: “Good morning, Clare, the beautiful bird greets this day.” I was inspired to become a sister.

What kept you in the community all these years?
Religious life has had a lot of wonderful experiences and opportunities. The greatest blessings are those God planted in my heart. He’s blessed me with a wonderful vocation, wonderful gifts of love and caring. I’m truly grateful to the Racine Dominican Sisters who enhanced these gifts.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
There are many memories through the years, but one that stands out in my mind was a situation at a grade school. It was the first day of school. Children were playing on the playground. The bell rang. All the children lined up and walked into the school, except one litle girl, who was clutching the fence. In my concern, I ran over and snatched her up. She looked forlorn. I reassured her that everything would be all right. To this day, she still keeps in contact with me.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominican Sisters are compassionate, loving people who take their cue from their founder, St. Dominic. St. Dominic had a zeal that set the world on fire with God’s love.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
My spirit is refreshed in silence, enjoying God’s nature, listening to meditative music, and creating children’s books.

 


Celebrating 60 Years | Sister Alberta Bekkers

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
There wasn’t really one single thing, but my seventh grade teacher taught us how to meditate. On March 19,
the feast of St. Joseph, when we were meditating in class, I decided I wanted to be a sister and never changed my mind. Later I met three Racine Dominicans when they came home to visit their mother. Our family pew was across from theirs in church, and they waited to talk with me after Mass.

What kept you in the community all these years?
Prayer and the liturgy have always been very important to me and still are today. When the weather permits, I try to get out to Mass every day.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
I have enjoyed all my different ministries, especially when it included variety (cooking, housekeeping, laundry, baking, etc.). At St. Pius in Chicago, I learned to love doing “odd jobs”– basically anything that was needed. When I served at St. Therese Parish in Appleton, I worked with “keen-agers” – seniors who lived in the converted convent. They were elderly, but had keen minds, and we worked hard to involve them in ways they chose to help and could continue to know they were being useful.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominican Sisters are compassionate, loving people who take their cue from their founder, St. Dominic. St. Dominic had a zeal that set the world on fire with God’s love.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
Praying, working puzzles, and I still enjoy doing “odd jobs!”

 


Celebrating 60 Years | Sister Margaret Rose Bohn

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
We were constantly at the school and parish of St. Joseph as youngsters, helping when and where we could. But more than that, my parents were a real example to me. When I’d go to Pewaukee with my dad, Sister Imeldine would share many things with me as she laid sick in bed while my dad visited with Sister Maxima. Her big blue eyes were so innocent and pure, I felt I was seeing her soul. She died when I was a novice. She had a deep influence on me in those years. I can still feel her presence.
 

What kept you in the community all these years?
As I laid prostrate before the altar at my vows, I said to God: “not until death but for all eternity,” and I meant it. I’ve always treasured that decision and intend to keep it.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
My years in helping to build San Martin Parish in Albuquerque was especially a cherished time, because I truly experienced what Church as the People of God means. Each 30-pound adobe represented a person contributing to the whole community as a viable, living reflection of God’s magnificent creation, and together an edifice of beauty and joy. These are memories woven into our hearts – a living church in action.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
It is important for people to know that none of us can do God’s work alone. Where one of us is, Racine Dominicans are with a multitude of gifts permeating action and impelling us to reach out and respond in whatever way the Spirit leads us ... always listening to the call within to move beyond the present moment into the call to respond locally and in our global world.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
I enjoy building and working in the raised gardens and bird sanctuary I’ve been creating in the backyard ... watching people’s joy at watching plants and vegetables grow from a tiny seed or plant into flowers and fruit of the earth. Also, I enjoy just sitting and enjoying God’s beautiful creation all around us, especially the many birds as they come to drink at the bird baths or feed on the seeds provided for them.

 


Celebrating 60 Years | Sister Christine Marie Goodman

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
The Racine Dominicans were the teachers in our grade school, and also for ninth and tenth grades. Another important factor was our parish pastor who, after each Mass, prayed for everyone to discover their own vocation according to God’s will for them in their individual life.

What kept you in the community all these years?
What has kept me in the community all these years is probably the desire to do the best I can in living out a commitment once it was made, and not experiencing any other prodding from God to do anything different.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
One particularly cherished memory of my years in ministry is how youngsters would soon respond once they caught on to the fact that you cared about them.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominicans keep right on going in trying to help, especially with causes that need to have a powerful influence promote them and to address immediate needs.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
There are more than enough opportunities available to refresh one’s spirit. The “now” idea is a top priority for doing what is needed to refresh my spirit. The “now” for me sometimes means I can find refreshment for my spirit in the accomplishment of some project. Also, spending time with friends.

 


Celebrating 60 Years | Sister Marlene (Imelda Rose) Hetzel

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
I knew Racine Dominicans because I was taught by them at St. Luke’s Grade School in Plain, WI, and often helped in the classroom after school. Also, our family lived only a block away from the sisters’ house.

What kept you in the community all these years?
I greatly appreciate the joy of praying together and serving others as a community member.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
Working in the kitchen and bakery at Siena Center since 1965 has been a gift for me because of the many friends I have met through the years.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominicans are involved in a variety of ministries that reach out to so many people, especially the less fortunate. What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
I enjoy walking outdoors, playing cards with sisters and other friends, watching Packer games, and seeing the beautiful parks in our country on trips with my family.

 


Celebrating 60 Years | Sister Rose (Mary DePorres) Stashek

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
In the elementary grades of our public school I knew I would be a religious. Where was the problem, since I had two Benedictine aunts, and the Franciscans taught me in high school? Even after being offered a scholarship to Dominican College and with my sister in the Racine community, it was only when the novice mistress, S. Eunice, accompanied S. Marie (my sister) to Fr. George’s ordination and left literature about St. Dominic and his ideals that I finalized my decision to become a Dominican. I cherish St. Dominic.

What kept you in the community all these years?
If one receives a vocation, it is a personal, total giving to Christ and a life commitment. “God is Master, not I” kept me constant. My most favorite quote is John 15:16: “You have not chosen me; I have chosen you to go and bear fruit that will last.”

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
It is the success and gratitude of students of all ages, as I was able to teach at all levels, even
developing two six-week summer sessions for high school English teachers from Brazil. My interest and work continued in Catholic grade schools, even as I taught research classes at the seminary in Waterford and taught adults from many different countries in my 16 years at MATC. In retirement, I worked with two Franciscan Sisters from Gutamala and Peru who needed to learn English before studying at Alverno College. I helped them through their studies, and both graduated with honors.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The community has let me be free to choose where best to serve as a reading specialist. Within the community, one can still continue to be very effective in teaching and meeting the needs of people, not only in the U.S. but also in other countries. We are committed to Christ’s mission in helping those in need.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
Many things! Keeping our convent living pleasant by doing extra things, such as cooking and managing the kitchen, reading books and materials on health, studying politics and adding alternative radio perspectives to get to the truth. I enjoy having time for more prayer and service, being free to do creative, artistic projects and having time for more reading and music.
 

 


Celebrating 60 Years | Sister Mary (Louis Marie) Vaughn

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
The first two teachers I had when I became a Catholic were Ss. James Ann (Helen Arts) and Lima (Helen Brower). They were excellent teachers, and I wanted to be like them.

What kept you in the community all these years?
I cherish my commitment to community. It is the Dominican Order that has molded me, and I am eternally grateful. I live by the words “committed to Truth, compelled to Justice.”

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
My cherished memory has been being blessed to teach for 44 years. When I retired from teaching, one student said, “Who is going to explain it to us?” I did a lot of explaining in my teaching days.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
That they are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
I like to build things out of wood. It is my contemplation time. I also read a lot.

 


Celebrating 50 Years | Sister Janet (Mary Benet) Ackerman

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
Two great influences that drew me to this community were that the Racine Dominicans taught at St. Bernard’s grade school, my home parish in Madison, WI, and I witnessed their simple lifestyle and friendliness. My sister, Joyce, was in our community for a while. Hearing her positive remarks made me think that maybe God was inviting me.

What kept you in the community all these years?
The grace and love of God has kept me in this community. There were 17 professed in my class and I alone remained. For me, my vocation is still a call and with God’s grace I continue to respond. This community has encouraged a deepening of prayer life, the common good, a justice thrust that helps me integrate life and grow.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
During my early teaching years it was thrilling to draw out the creativity from my students who always
amazed me with their potential. Then four of us sisters
moved into ministry with Hispanics, and my most memorable times were the nine years with first generation Mexicans on the Nevada/Utah border at Mission San Felipe. I am grateful for the enrichment of being able to live in two worlds at the same time. Through my last years in hospice ministry, I also am most humbled and privileged to be able to walk with and support those who are dying. Each of these ministries has stories that need to continue to be told

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominicans have a spiritual and mental stamina for the quest for justice that sustains us through the years. It is who we have become and is born out of our contemplative prayer life, our sharing in community, and our study on various issues.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
Music and dance fill my spirit, along with reading and sharing with friends.

I enjoy a lightness of spirit and being in nature with a camera readily available for a “God moment.”

 


Celebrating 50 Years | Sister Susan Klein

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
My call to religious life came to me right after I had graduated from West High School in Madison, WI. I had the Sinsinawa Dominicans at Queen of Peace grade school, my aunt (on my mother’s side) was a Sister of St. Casimir in Chicago, IL, and my father had gone to St. Catherine’s High School in Racine, WI. So I had three options.
I asked my father to take me to Racine to meet the sisters. We were in the old motherhouse where I met some of the sisters, but, since I didn’t know anyone personally, I then asked my parents to take me to Chicago to see my aunt and meet the sisters there. I decided that I would enter there. So on September 8, 1961, I left home and joined the Sisters of St. Casimir. After being in that community for 21 years I felt a need to change communities. That’s when I thought of Racine again. In 1983, I came to Racine and met Ss. Yvonne and Jane at Villa St., and S. Rosaire, who was the president of the community at that time. I remember being amazed at the energy and enthusiasm of the sisters that would gather at Siena Center, and saw the variety of clothing they wore and heard about the many ministries they were doing. I made my final commitment here in 1987.

What kept you in the community all these years?
I have been a Racine Dominican now for 32 years, and was able to continue in my Hispanic ministry as DRE, translator, librarian, Hispanic consultant, and Spanish instructor. The transfer process is a hard one because the spirit of each community is very different. As I grew to know the Racine Dominicans I also kept in contact with my friends in the other community, which helped me “ease into” the change. My faith and shared prayer with others, being near my family, and continually knowing and loving the sisters here, have all helped me grow into being a Racine Dominican Sister.

What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
For eight summers I was able to study with the Hispanic Summer Program, which is an
ecumenical setting for studying theology together. Each year the program was held at a different seminary – sometimes a Catholic one, and sometimes a Protestant one. I attended the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey twice, Bright Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX, Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, IL, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX. Besides the credits I received for my courses,
I thoroughly enjoyed studying theology and culture and praying with Hispanic men and women of different Christian denominations. We wished we could all be one.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominicans are a welcoming group of women who use their many gifts and talents for the good of the people of the Church, the world and the whole earth. With our roots in the Gospel we try to share what we have with others and preach the Good News to everyone.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
I enjoy gardening, watching nature’s changes, traveling, being with the sisters and my family, singing, decorating, art, and laughing when I’m in funny situations. I enjoy studying theology, culture, and languages very much.

 


Celebrating 15 Years | Sister Lisa Kane

What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
I  credit Sister Lisa Lucht fully with my initial contact with the Racine Dominicans. She was my first experience of Dominicans – It was when I joined my new home parish Holy Trinity in Pine Grove, Wisconsin, that I met S. Lisa in her role assisting the pastor. In an attempt to really get to know this new parish, I volunteered in many capacities – from liturgy to religious education to taking a couple adult faith education classes that S. Lisa taught. I was intrigued by her deep spirituality, her love of the Catholic faith, her down-to-earth presence, and her efforts to share that love with all she met.

It was S. Lisa that introduced me to Racine and Siena Center when I came to the Choices of the Heart weekend in October 1994, two years after my mother had died. Perhaps it was the intensityof my life at that time, but during that weekend with the sisters in Racine, I felt a strong reverberation with my mother’s spirit of determination, faithfulness and trust in God – because of, and in spite of the challenges of life. The Sisters I met and the conversations we had left me wanting for more – and so I came back to visit, again and again, until I was received into the community and made this my home.

What kept you in the community all these years?
My relationships in community – and those I’ve garnered through community – keep me steady and grounded as well as motivated – my local community, my extended community, my cluster group, discussion groups, prayer groups, the entire Racine Dominican community, as well as the greater Dominican order and religious life in total.

My sisters and friends call me to “become all I can be” today, just as they have since my arrival in ’94. And I am confident they will continue to call forth the best from me as our future together evolves and changes. I am always aware of these changing times, and my community keeps me focused on the needs of today with confidence in God while developing my own understanding of those needs and developing some competence in responding. Of course, in community I don’t have to do it all – I offer my support in any way possible to those who are responding to the many other needs of our world and church today.
 

What is one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
As I reflect on where I have been and what I have done in my ministries over these years in community, I realize I would not likely have become such an advocate for the disenfranchised. I would not have crossed the threshold of a prison to meet the men and women hidden away behind the walls and barbed wire fences. I would not have accompanied individuals on their painful trek from addiction through detox and recovery to new life. I would not have wandered darkened streets and parks, searching on benches and under trees for signs of that person who needs this medicine I managed to get for him. I would not have confronted employers
and others to “give a felon a chance” – to work with them, to live beside them, and perhaps even to befriend them. I would not have conducted prayer services for the family of a stillborn child or the memorial for an unchurched man of great faith. I cannot claim any one particularly cherished memory… each was precious and priceless.

What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
I firmly believe that religious life, in general, and Racine Dominicans, in particular, have something unique and special to offer the world in this 21st century. In this day and age of “instant” communications – instagram, text messaging, video messaging, and whatever is this month’s latest craze – in religious life there is this steady, constant “reaching out” to God and trusting that God is reaching back, touching our lives. There is nothing ‘“nstant’”about a true relationship, and our relationship with God is the same – slow and steady win the race of our lives and the lives of those we love as we live into that one indefinable, irreplaceable, soul-searching and sometimes gut-wrenching relationship with our God. I believe that our commitment to the pursuit of God – something greater than ourselves – is what gives me/us true satisfaction as well as an indescribable peace through the ups and downs of life. It is this peace we hold in the midst of the turmoil and bombardment of our fast-paced, “instant” daily life that is needed desperately in the world today.

What do you enjoy doing to refresh your spirit?
I love listening to good music and socializing with friends, community and family. I enjoy dreaming of what could be, brainstorming, thinking aloud with others in intense, yet unpressured conversation, as well as sitting idly while contemplating God’s creation. I love sunrises and sunsets, babies and children, water and mountains, rainy days and good books. I enjoy making new friends and tapping into the wisdom of those who are ahead of me on this journey we call life. I enjoy gardening and mowing and shoveling. I love long drives and naps – not at the same time, of course. I enjoy my ministry and I enjoy learning. I enjoy Sudoku puzzles and playing games.