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S. Adele Karwacki


What drew 18-year-old Carol (later S. Adele) Karwacki to join the Racine Dominicans was her close relationship to her cousin, S. Melanie, (plus liking the veil better than that of her Adrian Dominican teachers!), but what keeps her in the community is something much deeper. “There is a spirit,” she emphasized, “real, tangible, spiritual and mysterious within and among the women I call sisters.”

Members are diverse, seeing the world and their ministry from very different perspectives, “yet I feel ‘at home’ with my sisters and sense that each sees community as ‘family.’ And in our fractured world today, it’s good to have a ‘home’ and a ‘family’,” she reflected.

For 44 years S. Adele taught in elementary and high schools in Wisconsin and Michigan. She also served as principal. “Each first day of school was special,” she noted. “After planning lessons, decorating the classroom, listing the names of students and gathering teaching materials, the time came to get to know in person the students I would be working with. That was a meaningful time for me, and as the year unfolded, it was enriching to get to know each student as an individual and become acquainted with his or her family.”

S. Adele’s 50+ years as a Racine Dominican have been both exciting and difficult. “We struggled through the ‘60s and painfully experienced the loss of many sisters who chose a different path,” she said. And even though “our theology evolved from separation from the world to being ‘salt’ and ‘leaven’ for society,” she found the core Dominican message has never changed: love God and love your neighbor.

S. Adele would like people to realize the incredible impact religious women have had on society: “See the schools, the colleges, the hospitals, the homes for needy children, the residences for the aging and all the institutions that are a result of women with a vision joining together and living the message of Christ.”