Sister Karen (Annuncia) Vollmer
What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
A deep, inner call which persisted as I tried to convince the Divine Caller that I did not fit the profile of a sister in community drew me to the Racine Dominicans after my sophomore year of college. My sister, Mary Lou, met Sister Mary Dominic Bauer at a Vocation Fair in Chicago. She was in our aspirancy for two years at which time I came to Racine and Roxbury for the monthly visits. The Joliet Franciscans were my grade and high school teachers. Their motherhouse in Illinois was across the street from our college social and dance hall. The 100-mile Wisconsin distance kept the inner call alive at this most crucial and vulnerable time.
What has kept you in the community all these years?
The gift of the persistent call and trust in the sacred path has sustained and nourished my life in community. I have treasured the guidance and companionship of sisters, family, friends, co-workers who have called forth the gifts entrusted to me. The opportunities for education, varied ministries, immersion in service and ompassionate living, spiritual enrichment and growth, body-mind-spirit consciousness and practices have been a source of personal transformation and significant sharing. I am amazed and ever-so-grateful for the blessings wrapped lovingly in the call to be a “sister” in a wider family.
What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
A sabbatical year, following years of classroom teaching, religious education facilitating, and pastoral ministry, was a gift of extraordinary worth. It provided time for concerted reflection and renewed vigor. Being a spiritual searcher with sisters and priests from many countries at the School of Applied Theology was enriching as shared “happy hours” of prayer, classes, meals, conversations and tours. We lived in St. Albert’s Dominican Priory in Oakland, CA. Their courtyard filled with flowers, pathways, benches, and statues became a meeting place and a setting for healthy Tai Chi movements guided by a sister-companion from China.
What is one thing people today should know about the Racine Dominicans?
We believe and live the gift of religious life with incredible vibrancy. Our response to the critical needs of the times and openness to change has marked us throughout our 150-year history. At this time we are navigating uncharted waters under the guidance of God’s Spirit with the same tenacity and trust of our predecessors. Faithfulness to prayer, community life, study, and ministry provides direction and balance. With great hope and confidence, we encourage others to listen and respond to God’s call to the gift of religious life.
What do you enjoy doing at this time of your life?
The original inner call has become more persistent and relentless. The call has led me to focused listening and intense study of holistic/healthy living techniques and practices. Learning to trust the Divine Caller in a new way is both exciting and challenging. And for fun with zest, a daily dose of Sudoku!