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Cleveland Associate Elders Make the “Data” Come Alive

[caption id="attachment_1404" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA[/caption] Recently I have been involved in formal research which is studying the growth, development, leadership and sustainability of the associate-religious relationship in North America. Important data has been collected by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Thus I have been spending time with numbers, percentages, and analysis of Associates and Sisters. But it was a Sunday dinner and prayer service at the Akron Motherhouse this weekend that put the compelling story of people, faith, and commitment as another essential way to study the associate-religious relationship! It was a joy to participate in the 28th anniversary ceremony honoring a faithful group of Hispanic women who studied and became Dominican Associates in Akron OH in 1988. Although many of the original Associates are deceased, their spiritual "cloud of witnesses" was evident in the conversations, original video and prayer service attended by current associates and sisters. All present were reminded that each of us stands on the shoulders of the previous generation who believed in the importance of their shared spirituality, study, ministry and community. The celebration symbolized the fact that lay women and men join in living the mission of the religious congregation and broaden the impact of the sisters by preaching with their lives through work, family life and community engagement. Sr. Alicia Alvarado, OP, an early supporter and current Associate Mentor Team member, reflected on the message of the Great Commission by Jesus to the Church which the small band of Hispanic women acted upon in 1988:

Honoring our Cleveland Associates, the ELDERS

[caption id="attachment_3220" align="alignleft" width="200"]Alicia Alvarado, OP Blog by Sr. Alicia Alvarado, OP[/caption]

This passage called the GREAT COMMISSION is the final instructive word from Jesus to His church. The disciples' commission was very difficult and so it was for the 11 original Cleveland Associates and continues for the three left from that group. Their journey began at San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) church back in the 1980s when Dona Rosa (my mom) gathered a few women in her home to start the Cleveland Dominican Associates. They chose the name of Santa Rosa de Lima.

The women would gather at different homes to study the lives of the founders of the Dominican Order, to pray over the scriptures, to share a meal together (community). The women would bring the rice and beans, salads and desserts. That got to be the best part of the meetings!

"The disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated." The mountain is often used in the Bible to designate a meeting with God. They went where Jesus commanded them to go. If you want to maintain communion with Christ, you must go to where He has appointed you to go. And so did the women we remember and honor today. They lived and continue to live the beatitudes.

"To make disciples of all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" is the Trinitarian passage. This is very symbolic for it was the Trinitarian Fathers and Sisters with whom the Hispanic Catholic community wanted to serve.  When the Cleveland Hispanic Associates got started it was at San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist), a little Protestant Church building bought by the Hispanic Catholics. There was no Catholic Church in the Cleveland Diocese ministering to the Hispanic Community at that time. They through hardship and pain raised the funds needed for the ministry.

From a small group of faithful women, the St. Rose of Lima Associate group came to be. Cleveland Associates were led by those who have gone before us and the three who remain today: Luz, Nisia and Nory. For their dedication and faithfulness, we honor them this afternoon. For their strong belief is in a loving, compassionate and merciful God who has brought them forward over the years, in hard and difficult times and in good times. All are blessed as they loved the Dominican charism, lived it and passed it on to a new generation of Dominican Associates of Peace.

(See photos here.)

Fifty-five thousand Associates live in the US and Canada today and each group has a story to tell about their beginnings with faces and personalities, difficulties and accomplishments, and their current commitment to the associate-religious relationship. Contact the Office of Associates ( if you want to hear more about the Dominican Associates of Peace in mission with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. It's the stories that give additional meaning to the statistical data.

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