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Closing of our Akron Motherhouse 

Our theme today, Remembering the Past, Cherishing the Present, and Embracing the Future, completely captures our patrimony as Sisters of Saint Dominic of Akron. This dynamic of remembering, cherishing, and embracing, has been the spirit's gift to us now for 95 years, and it is the gift we have freely brought to, and happily shared with, our new congregation, Dominican Sisters of Peace. 

From our beginnings, we have always remembered our roots, and we have done our very best to be fully present in the now, always keeping one eye glancing towards the future so as not to miss any opportunities God may put in our path. That's just who we are. 

While tonight we celebrate the vigil of the 10th Sunday in ordinary time, we cannot help but notice, that this Saturday in June memorializes the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Virgin Mary to whom we were dedicated as a brand-new congregation in 1929. 

The lectionary for June 8th quotes 2 Timothy where we hear, “Beloved: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus… proclaim the Word; be persistent, whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Put up with hardships; perform the work of an evangelist.” And so we have, and still we do. Long have we embraced our call to hear, remember, and embrace the Word. 

Think back for a moment now on some of the greats who spent their lives in service of the preaching, and through whose leadership helped to make it possible for us to be who we are today--Mother Beda Schmid, Mother Clarissa Attenberger, Mother Claire McCowan. And more recently, Sister Rosemarie Robinson; Sister Libby Schaefer; Sister Bernie Baltrinic, and so many more sisters, in and out of leadership who have gone before us, and who once called “Elm Court” home. They are here with us today in solidarity—that Great Cloud of Witnesses upon whom we still rely. 

Quoting our history, written by Sr. Diana Culbertson and edited by Sr. Maria Ciriello, we learn that, “The story of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is full of hidden sanctity, personal conflicts, Episcopal decisions, economic pressures, and a relentless conviction that community, study, preaching, and teaching—"bearing the Word to the world”--is an imperative from God and Saint Dominic that requires our fidelity.” (A Moment of Grace) This describes who we have been, and who we are still.” 

Cherishing the Present 

Today is bittersweet. For 95 years our sisters have resided here at 1230 W Market St. Here we have laughed and cried, created memories and deepened friendships. Think of all of our Associates who have joined us here on many occasions, and our friends and our family members. Think of our dedicated coworkers. These are the relationships in the present moment that we cherish and will miss. 

Though today marks an ending, as scripture says we are not discouraged--though the outer wastes away the inner self is renewed day by day. 

For we know that this momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 

Though we will leave our earthly dwelling, it is a mere shadow of our true home, God's dwelling, not made with human hands. 

Embracing the Future 

These moments of leave-taking clearly call us to embrace the future. Let's just take a quick walk through some of the changes that once called to us from the future, and that we have had the courage to embrace: 

  • The seismic shift that was Vatican II 
  • Our joining the Cleveland mission to El Salvador 
  • Think about our continuing commitment to education and academic excellence, and the extraordinary credentialing of our Sisters so they could bring the best preparation possible to their students and to those to whom and with whom they ministered 
  • Think about our growth in embracing social justice and the care of creation 

Always there has been and is movement in our developing readiness to embrace the future, because we see that the Risen Lord goes before us, and calls to us, beckoning us forward both personally and congregationally.  

Today we mark an ending. We do not deny or sugarcoat the sadness taking this leave causes us, but we also know that something new awaits us-- new opportunities to be faithful to our preaching mission. May we have eyes to see the blessings that God has in store for us and the blessing each of us will be to those we will encounter in the days ahead. 

Our sisters have led the way in the past, and they do so now. As Sisters of Saint Dominic of Akron, we were leaders in forming the Structured Alliance, in fostering closer union, in creating Dominican Praise now used by all the DSC congregations for prayer. We would not be the Dominican Sisters of Peace if it were not for the Sisters of St. Dominic of Akron who had the vision, held the vision, and persisted in that vision.  

These initiatives prepared us for the steps we take now to make physical moves to new locations. And quoting Diana again, as she recalls our founding event in Saint Louis in 2009 when we birthed Dominican Sisters of Peace--she says, “This event bonded 7 congregations hundreds of miles from the dock in New York City and 156 years from the day four very young women arrived from Ratisbon, but in the long history of the Church, the adventure they began continues to testify to the eternal vitality of the Holy Spirit.” (A Moment of Grace) 

Now, spirit led we press ahead, in the footsteps gone before. We remember, we cherish, we embrace. (Called and Sent by Lisa Zuccarelli, OP) 

Dominican Blessing 

All of you here present have blessed us in so many ways over the years and by your presence here today, and we would like to bless you now. I would ask all of the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace to stand as you are able and raise your arms in blessing as we sing the Dominican Blessing over our guests. 

One thought on “Closing of our Akron Motherhouse 

  1. Dear Sr. Pat,
    Thank you for your inspiring presentation with the theme “Remembering the past, Cherishing the present and Embracing the Future.” Your presentation of all the sisters of Akron have accomplished over the years is very grace filled and inspiring. It is making us who we are today….Dominican Sisters of Peace. God is blessing you, Sr. Pat with such a gift of Servant Leadership. We are so grateful for you and all our sisters today.
    Loving your sister in Dominic and Catherine,
    Brigid, OP

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