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Statement from Racine Dominican leadership regarding recent violence in the United States

The Racine Dominican Executive committee is deeply saddened by the recent violence in the United States. This includes the anti-Semitic shooting that claimed the lives of 11 of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and injured six others at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for the victims, their grieving families and friends, and the Squirrel Hill community as they mourn and seek healing. We are equally alarmed by the attempted assassinations of opposition leaders to the president—all of whom he has repeatedly maligned.   

It is disturbing that political discourse in general has become so polarizing. It is disturbing that our president, and many of his followers, are using rhetoric with insinuations and untruths in order to diminish Jewish, Muslim, black, brown, LGBTQ people and immigrants. This un-Christian talk sows divisiveness and may incite violence. Words can be very powerful especially from the president of the United States.

We are all God’s children, and as such, everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. We join with all people of faith and goodwill who refuse to let hatred and fear find a place in our hearts, kindling instead, our capacity to love.

S. Marie Imelda Baumgartner

  S. Mary Vaughn, OP, entered eternal life
  October 2, 2018.

   S. Mary's life was celebrated on
   Tuesday, October 9, 2018 with a
    Remembering Service and
    Mass of Christian Burial.

     Read S. Mary's obituary.


Lighting the World with Truth

 Tapping Into Health  |  October 2018

S. Lois Aceto interviews Mare Wheeler
Physician Assistant and Jennifer Rose
Practitioner of Chinese Medicine




Racine Domincians new leadership team installed

Left to Right: Ss. Lisa Kane, Kathy Slesar, and Maryann McMahon

A new leadership team for the Racine Dominicans (Sisters of St. Dominic of Catherine of Siena) will assume office July 1, 2018. Ss. Maryann McMahon, Kathy Slesar and Lisa Kane will be the executive committee, leading the community of 112 sisters and 60 associates for the next four years.

S. Maryann McMahon will continue as president. S. Kathy Slesar becomes first vice president, and S. Lisa Kane will join the executive team as second vice president. S. Agnes Johnson, outgoing first vice president, has concluded 12 years in community leadership.

The sisters were elected to their leadership positions in February during the community’s Chapter of Elections, an all-community meeting in which the sisters also determine their focus for the next four years.

The executive committee installation will happen during a special ceremony at Siena Center June 23, concluding the community’s Chapter of Affairs.

S. Maryann McMahon served as vice president of the community for four years before working as executive director at HOPES Center. Prior to that, she served as director of new membership and had directed health services for the community for 10 years. S. Maryann, a Racine native, and Racine Dominican for 39 years, has ministered in health care capacities in Wisconsin and Mississippi.

S. Kathy Slesar, a Racine native, was the pastoral associate at St. Eugene’s, Fox Point, for seven years before being elected vice president in 2010. Prior to that, she directed vocation efforts for the community. She served as director of religious education for Racine’s St. Edward Parish for two years before taking her first vows as a sister, and after her vows, served at St. Joseph Parish, Grafton. She has been a Racine Dominican for 27 years.

After completing her Masters at Loyola University in 2005, S. Lisa Kane ministered as manager of a residential dual-diagnosis treatment program, an employment counselor, and mental health/substance abuse counselor and group facilitator in Waukegan, Illinois, Milwaukee and Racine, most recently working at Racine Neighborhood Watch. Born and raised in Northeast Wisconsin, she has been a Racine Dominican for 19 years.


Read LCWR statements.

Racine Dominican news, news features, notable events

"Ascension Living transfers Lakeshore Manor residents to Lakeshore at Siena" (Racine County Eye  |  July 20, 2018)  Lakeshore at Siena and Shorelight at Siena, located at 5643 Erie St. in Racine, is now part of Ascension Living.

"Ceremony honors 169,000 Wisconsin Vietnam War Vets" (WISN US  |  3-29-18) S. Linda McClenahan was included in news feature about a gathering at the Milwaukee Verterans Affairs Regional Office to mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day and dedicate a hallway to their service. Also, in 1973 on this day, the last troups left South Vietnam.

"Alternative energy sources overdue" (Journal Times  |  3-14-18) S. Janet Weyker, founder and former executive director of Eco-Justice Center, writes, " To breathe or not to breathe? That is the question faced by residents who live near We Energies' Oak Creek and Elm Road Power Plants..."

"LGBT people: Sisters are on our side!" (Global Sisters Report  |  1-2-18) Article describes the history of LGBT ministries among Catholic sisters includes the following excerpt: "Since the late 1990s, sisters have ministered among transgender people, healing spirits and saving lives. Members of several congregations   the Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic, Racine Dominicans..." 

"Ascension Living to buy Shorelight Memory Care"(Journal Times  |  12-20-17) Ascension Living, one of the largest nonprofit and faith-based providers of senior services in the nation, has signed a letter of intent to purchase Shorelight Memory Care...

10thirtysix | Exclusive | Sister Michelle Olley |  12-20-17  — Sister Michelle Olley, a Racine Dominican nun, recently turned 90 years old. She talks about growing up in Racine and on a farm in Franksville. She also talks about dating and how her mother reacted when she told her she was becoming a nun. Watch Michelle Olley video.

"Ascension Living to purchase Shorelight Memory Care in Racine"
(Milwaukee Business News  |  12-20-17)

Plans to relocate Lakeshore Manor operations to Siena on the Lake campus

161 Leaders in the U.S. Catholic Community Deliver a Climate Change Letter to President Trump and Congress

"Policeman's Ball honors community"
(Journal Times  |  11-6-17)

S. Rose Marie Anthony receives recognition at the fourth annual Policeman's Ball for work to end human trafficking

"Racine Dominicans continue to fight human trafficking"
(Journal Times – 8-6-17)

Ss. Rose Marie Anthony, Ruth Schaaf and Jean Verber are interviewed.

Press Release: Siena Catholic Schools of Racine Names Brenda White as System’s First President; Also see, "Archdiocese announces president of Racine Siena schools" (Journal Times– 7-7-17)

"RPD tackles human trafficking with task force" (Journal Times – 7-3-17)
Article mentions, "...Dominican Sisters, who have provided strong community leadership against human trafficking in the past..."

"Archbishop explains big changes to area Catholic schools"
(Journal Times – 5-25-17)

"Collaboration is the Key to Success" (Catholic Herald, Milw. – 5-5-17)

"Get Lost in Quiet Stillness" (Catholic Herald – 2-16-17)

"Locals protest pipeline" (Journal Times – 12-2-16)

"Sister Oda Marie Degroot celebrated her 100th birthday..."
(Journal Times – 10-30-16)

"New Eco-Justice Center director settling into her new role"
(Journal Times – 8-14-16)

"Birthday: Bash, 100th" (Journal Times – 8-7-16)

"The transformative power of Tootsie Pops by Associate Mare Wheeler (published August 1, 2016, in Gobal Sisters Report 

"Bethany Apartments marks 25 years of providing sanctuary and strength" (Journal Times - 6-27-16) 

"635 years of service" (Journal Times – 6-25-16) 

"Handrow to lead Bethany Apartments" in Journal Times

"Racine Dominicans care for Earth through Eco-Justice Center" (Global Sisters Report, 4-18-16)

Read the Fall 2015 Dialogue Featuring the Accomplishments of S. Brenda Walsh, OP

"S. Janet Weyker at the Lakeside neighborhood parade" (Journal Times – 6-29-15) 

A Thanksgiving message from Associate Jan Jedlicka

Press Release: Wisconsin Sisters Confront Human Trafficking

Editorial from the Racine Dominican Leadership Team:
Racine Journal Times' article: Dominican sisters: Stop failed military interventions in Iraq

"Dominicans' Eco-Justice Center Reflects Pope's Concern for Earth" (Catholic Herald, 6-25-15)

"Blackboard Sessions: ajanet Weyker, Eco-Justice Center director" (Journal Times, 2-17-12)

S. Lois Aceto, OP, Receives Award

On April 30, 2017, S. Lois was presented with an Outstanding Educator Award from the Kenosha-Racine Counties Chapter 1123 of Phi Delta Kappa in the Student Union at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus.

S. Lois was among three agencies and thirteen individuals to receive the Outstanding Educator Awards.

Two young women aspiring to become educators were also awarded scholarships at the banquet.

Congratulations S. Lois!

Dominicans Celebrate Women of the Year

“Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”

In light of this 2017 national theme for Women’s History Month (March), the Racine Dominicans celebrated two local trailblazers. This year’s theme promotes people who have successfully challenged the role women traditionally held in both business and the paid labor force.

On Sunday, March 19, Racine Vocational Ministry (RVM) program director, Lori Life, and Voces de la Frontera executive director, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, were honored as “Women of the Year” in a special prayer service and presentation at Siena Center, home of the Racine Dominicans.

Read entire media release with additional photos

Statement of Racine Dominicans on Concerns about Executive Orders

February 1, 2017, Racine, Wisconsin – In response to executive action signed by President Trump on immigration and refugee resettlement and action to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil Pipelines, the Racine Dominican Executive Committee has issued the following statement:

Racine Dominicans deplore actions taken most recently by President Trump on immigration and refugee resettlement which threaten border communities, force our immigrant community members further into the shadows and endanger those fleeing violence. These orders do nothing to make anyone more secure and may well have the opposite effect.

We are appalled by President Trump’s order which also bans residents of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, suspends refugee resettlement entirely for four months, and bars resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. This is unconscionable in the face of the unprecedented global refugee crisis. Racine Dominicans will continue to stand in solidarity with families, regardless of immigration status, who labor daily to provide safety and security for their children.

Furthermore, we also deplore the steps taken by President Trump to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. These actions send a dangerous signal about our nation’s commitment to the COP21 Climate Agreement and pose a threat to drinking water and sacred sites of our Native brothers and sisters. We call on President Trump to reverse these actions and take steps to lead our country toward a new carbon-free economy and a more humane society of the 21st century.


Racine Dominicans, a Congregation of 120 vowed women religious and over 50 associates, traces its roots back to St. Dominic in the 13th century. 



Racine Dominicans work with the Racine Police on anti-human trafficking efforts.

Congratulations, S. Evelyn Lins!

S. Evelyn Lins, OP, received the Kay Gregor Advocate for Literacy Award from the Racine Literacy Council this year. S. Evelyn has provided nearly 2,400 hours of volunteer tutoring to adult learners.



Racine Dominicans work with the Racine Police on anti-human trafficking efforts.

Noteworthy Acknowledgement

The following was included in the    Racine Police Department 2015 Annual Report in a write-up titled, "Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking":

In 2012, the Racine Dominicans launched an aggressive campaign designed to bring attention to the issue of human trafficking locally and beyond. The Racine Police Department was quick to partner with the Dominican Sisters in this important matter of public safety...

Go to the rest of the write-up in the Racine Police Department 2015 Annual Report which talks about the Racine Dominican role in the progress to stop human trafficking in Racine and beyond. 




Congratulations S. Suzanne Noffke!

On Sunday May 8, S. Suzanne Noffke was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate degree – Doctor of Humane Letters from Dominican University in Chicago. S. Suzanne was  lauded both for her writings and teachings nationally and internationally on Catherine of Siena and the wealth of information in those writings now available to many people because of her diligent work. She also delivered the commencement address for the undergraduates choosing the school theme of "inspired minds and amazing possibilities." 



Congratulations to S. Mary Fisher

S. Mary's lyrics were chosen from numerous entries for a hymn to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Dominican Order. Her new translation of Dominic’s “O Lumen” was published by Alliance Publications Inc., Sinsinawa.



Jean Verber Award

The 2015 Sister Jean Verber Award  was presented to Kerri Hemmig, founder and first President of the Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking. This top honor from the Women's Resource Center recognizes Kerri's extraordinary efforts which have created a groundswell of interest from which dozens of service providers, organizations, volunteers, along with law enforcement, have come together to fight trafficking and reach out to vulnerable victems of trafficking. Not surprisingly, Jean Verber, OP is a board member of Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking serving with Kerri Hemmig. Learn more about the Sister Jean Verber Award.


Congratulations to S. Carla Mae Streeter, OP

S. Carla Mae Streeter, OP, Professor Emerita of Systematic Theology, received the Congregation Temple Israel's Malachi Award for Interfaith Relations and Understanding. She was unanimously selected by leaders and representatives from a broad spectrum of faith communities. S. Carla Mae lives and works in St. Louis, MO.


Congratulations to S. Joyce Quintana, OP

S. Joyce Quintana received the Lucille Nielsen Outstanding Tutor Award at the Racine Literacy Council Volunteer Recognition Event on Saturday, October 11. Ss. Dorothy Greiber and Evelyn Lins received certificates to honor their milestone achievements of 2000 and 1500 volunteer hours. S. Bernadine Pohl also received a certificate for 800 volunteer hours. Other awards were given to administrative volunteers, National Adult Education Honor Society, and Winners of "Summer Read."



Congratulations to S. Jolene Van Handel, OP

S.Jolene Van Handel, OP was one of five recipients of the Rey of Hope award given by the Detroit Cristo Rey Garden Party because of her "special impact" on on the Detroit Cristo Rey High School. All recipients represented the many people involved with the founding of the school.

S. Jolene said, "I think the award belongs to the community for the great support Cristo Rey has received from the Racine Dominicans."


Congratulations to S. Suzanne Noffke

S. Suzanne Noffke, OP has been made an Honorary Associate by the Board of Directors of the International Center for Catherinian Studies. This recognition was bestowed for "great past and present work in the area of 'studies of Catherine of Siena and the spread of Catherine's teaching.'" It is in honor of S. Suzanne's "tour de force," the translation into English of the complete works of Catherine of Siena (The Dialogue, The Prayers, and approximately 385 letters published in a four volume series). This allowed, for the first time, the English-speaking world to experience Catherine of Siena in all of her own writings.

Dr. Suzanne Noffke is a Racine Dominican and an internationally recognized scholar on Catherine of Siena. Besides numerous articles, she has authored:

  • The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena
    (Classics of Western Spirituality Series)
  • The Prayers of Catherine of Siena
  • The Letters of Catherine of Siena
  • Catherine of Siena: Vision Through a Distant Eye and
  • Embrace the Swelling Wave (Vol. 1 on the history of the Racine Dominicans).



Reflection from the Liturgy to Celebrate the Dominican College All-Class/Faculty Reunion

by Father Steve Avella   
September 15, 2018 

Excerpt: ...We are here because people who cared and did something.   We thank the Racine Dominicans whose legendary kindness and generosity extend from Mother Benedicta Bauer to the present leadership.  We thank you faculty who are here – you were truly great teachers – I like, so many others, still remember the lessons you taught in your classrooms and the warmth and depth you brought to the college..."

Read the entire reflection

Associate Francisco Blas






Associate Francisco Blas entered eternal life Sunday, July 22, 2018.

Read Francisco's obituary.


S. Brenda Walsh
S. Brenda Walsh, OP, entered eternal life Sunday, June 10, 2018.

S. Brenda's life was celebrated Wednesday, June 13, at Siena Chapel with a Remembering Service, and Mass of Christian Burial.

Read S. Brenda's obituary.


S. Ruth Schaaf is featured in the latest issue of Dialogue.


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Dominican Roots

Dominican Roots

Read Dominican Roots published through the Racine Dominican sponsorship office. Dominican Roots features stories, news, progress and insights of the Racine Dominican sponsored ministries.