”God works through Dominic and Dominic works through his sons and daughters on the ground!”
That’s what Sister Valerie Shaul of Akron, OH, has to say about the personal connection she experienced with Dominican Sisters in her college years – a connection that moved her to explore Dominican life for herself.
This year Sister Valerie celebrates 50 years of religious life, having made her first profession as a Dominican Sister of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, in 1968.
Sister Valerie attended a high school staffed by the Dominican Sisters and went on to attend college at St. Mary of the Springs, a ministry of Dominican Sisters. As a first-year student, Sister Valerie lived in the student floor of the Motherhouse, where she was able to know the Sisters, whom she described as friendly, joyful and firm, but loving.
Sr. Valerie went on to follow in the footsteps of her mentors as an educator. She first served as a teacher at St. Philip GS in Columbus, OH, and then at St. Thomas GS in Zanesville, OH. She then served as principal at schools in Ohio, Illinois and New York until 2009.
In 2009, God gave Sr. Valerie the opportunity to serve as Mission Group Coordinator for the Congregation’s free-formed group. She enjoyed traveling around the country, meeting many sisters from each of the founding congregations. “I found joy in each visit, even among the challenging times”, says Sister Valerie.
In 2015, Sister Valerie moved to Akron, where she is now the Mission Group Coordinator of the Akron Motherhouse. “It has been a gift to be able to spend quality time with Sisters in their later years of life.’ she says. “Working and living with them has shown me how to age gracefully.”
She also continues to follow her calling to education, serving on the Boards of Our Lady of the Elms in Akron, OH, and Dominican Academy in New York, NY.
With each move Sister Valerie has been met with a different culture, but whether she served in a small town farming community or a large city, one thing has always stayed true. Dominican itineracy has always been an important part of Sister Valerie’s life, as she continues to be one of Dominic’s “daughters on the ground.”