If you want to know what happens on a Dominican retreat, Sr. Sue Zemgulis is the woman to ask. As she celebrates 25 years of religious life, she also celebrates 25 years in retreat ministry. She has served at a number of Dominican retreats, including the Dominican Retreat Center in McLean, VA; Kendall, FL, and Niskayuna, NY. Today she serves as the Administrator of the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna, NY, where she helps to plan events and maintain a place of peace for anyone who desires to grow personally and spiritually.
Join us in celebrating our Dominican Sisters of Peace celebrating 50 years of religious life.
*View a full list of our Sisters celebrating other milestones in religious life.
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Marietta College, Sr. Cathy Arnold started her career as a Dominican Sister of Peace as a member of the faculty at Fisher Catholic High School in Lancaster, OH. She completed her novitiate at the Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, MO.
Upon returning to Ohio, Sr. Cathy was a member of the faculty of DeSales High School in Columbus, OH until 2005, when she left to earn her Masters in Theology from the University of Dayton.
Sr. Cathy has worked in Vocations and Formation for the Congregation since 2007, most recently in Akron, OH. Sr. Cathy will be moving to St. Louis later this year to serve on the staff of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate.
“It’s a wonderful life.”
That’s what Sister Barbara Rapp, OP, Columbus, OH, has to say about living her vocation as a Dominican Sister of Peace. Sister Barbara celebrates 50 years of religious life this year, having made her first profession as a Dominican Sister of St. Catharine, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, in 1968.
Growing up in Louisville, KY, Sister Barbara attended Sts. Simon and Jude School as well as Holy Rosary Academy, schools taught by the Dominican Sisters. She was inspired by their presence in her life, but it was a comment made by her mother that seemed to be almost prophetic for Sr. Barbara.
“They always seem to be so happy,” she said. And Sister Barbara says that she has found joy in every ministry since she entered religious life.
Teaching was Sister Barbara’s first ministry; working with children at the Congregation’s founded schools in Memphis, TN. She served in administration at St. John Berchmans School and St. Priscilla School in Chicago, and then returned to school herself at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.
Upon completion of her studies there, she initiated the Department of Institutional Advancement at the Aquinas Institute, first as assistant to the President and later as Director of Institutional Advancement. She returned to St. Catharine in 1996 to serve on the Leadership Team of the congregation until 2009.
As Director of Continuing and Community Education at St. Catharine College in St. Catharine, KY, Sr. Barbara created classes for non-traditional students in the St. Catharine area, from art classes for adults to ACT prep for college-bound high school students.
Since 2015, Sr. Barbara has ministered at the Congregational Offices in Columbus, OH. In her role as Donor Relations Coordinator, she has been able to use her experience in Advancement and fundraising to assist the Congregation in supporting its many ministries. She has also served on the Boards of Trustees at Ohio Dominican University and St. Catharine College, both founded ministries of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
“If you believe that God is calling you to religious life,” Sister Barbara says, “LISTEN! Follow your heart and let God lead you. You will not be disappointed.”
One of Sister Sue McMahon’s favorite travels was to the lands of Dominic. She particularly loved Siena, home of St. Catherine. This seems fitting, as Sister Sue followed St. Catherine’s advice to “Help one another by word and doctrine, and the example of good works” throughout her 50 years of consecrated life.
Sr. Sue received her Bachelor’s degree from Oakland University and her Master’s from Catholic University of America. She entered the Dominican Sisters of Oxford, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, in 1968 while serving as an elementary school teacher at St Sylvester School in Warren, MI. She continued to teach in Michigan throughout her novitiate, and then returned to study herself at Siena Heights University, preparing for a new role in healthcare administration.
Sr. Sue taught religious education at schools throughout Michigan for nearly nine years. She left education in 1981 to serve her Congregation as the Assistant Administrator at the then Lourdes Nursing Home, now Lourdes Senior Community, a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
In 1989 Sister Sue left Lourdes to pursue studies regarding Senior Housing. She wanted to learn all the procedures and federal regulations governing senior independent housing. She was employed by Fourmidable Management Company, which operated and managed over fifty facilities in the metropolitan area. In June of 1990 Sister became the first director of what is now Fox Manor on the Lake on the Lourdes Campus, the independent living arm of the Lourdes Nursing Home.
She spent the final years of her professional career at Lourdes Senior Community as the Vicaress of Mission Effectiveness, working to apply the Dominican identity and mission to the operations of the Center.
Sister Sue is also the mother of the beautiful Vivian’s Via Rosa retreat. She identified an unused residence on the campus of Lourdes and proposed that the house be renovated as a spirituality center. She obtained resources for renovation from a benefactor in memory of the donor’s wife. Vivian’s Via Rosa is a popular retreat space as well as a “home away from home” for family members of residents of Lourdes Senior Community.
Even after her retirement in 2008, Sr. Sue continued to be an example of good works, serving as a volunteer at the Congregation’s St. Mary Retreat House, at the Lourdes Nursing Home, and at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Oxford Motherhouse.
Sr. Sue McMahon continues her years of service to God ’s people in her ministry of prayer and presence. As she walks the halls of Lourdes each day she carries her rosary and prays for all of us.
At the beginning of his ministry in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus announced: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, [God] has anointed me… sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord” (Luke 4: 18-19).
Celebrating her Golden Jubilee as a Dominican Sister of Peace, Sister Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, recalls that Jesus’ preaching mission is at the heart of the Dominican vocation, a call shared by all of the baptized to bear witness to the joy of the Gospel. For Sr. Catherine that vocation has included ministries as teacher, preacher, and theologian.
A native of Akron, OH, Sr. Catherine attended St. Sebastian Grade School and St. Vincent High School before joining the Dominican Sisters of Akron, OH, now Dominican Sisters of Peace. After earning a B.A. degree from the University of Dayton, she taught Religious Studies and English and served as co-chair of the Religious Studies Department at St. Vincent (later St. Vincent-St. Mary) High School in Akron from 1971-1977.
After pursuing graduate studies in theology at the Catholic University of America (M.A., 1979; Ph.D. 1984), Sr. Catherine joined the faculty at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis as Assistant (and later Associate) Professor of Theology, teaching courses for students preparing for lay and ordained ministries. In 1995 she moved to the University of Notre Dame where she is currently Professor of Theology and teaches undergraduate as well as graduate students.
A former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Sr. Catherine has received three honorary doctorates (Providence College, Aquinas Institute of Theology, and Oblate School of Theology) and a number of awards for her scholarship and teaching including Washington Theological Union’s Sophia Award for Theological Excellence in service of ministry, Barry University’s Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence, and the Kaneb and Joyce Awards for undergraduate teaching at Notre Dame. In addition to numerous articles, Sr. Catherine is the author of two books, Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination, and Speaking with Authority: Catherine of Siena and the Voices of Women Today, and co-editor of The Praxis of the Reign of God: An Introduction to the Theology of Edward Schillebeeckx. Currently, she is working on a book titled Words of Spirit and Life: Theology, Preaching and Spirituality.
Sr. Catherine has been invited to preach as well as to lecture and give workshops in Catholic and ecumenical contexts in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa. In each of those different locations, she has discovered a common longing for meaning and hope and a desire to hear the Word of God spoken in a way that addresses people’s concrete lives and concerns. She is grateful that the Dominican Sisters of Peace and their Associates are part of the larger international Dominican family—women and men, lay, religious, and ordained —all sharing a common mission to preach a word of hope and to bear witness to God’s reign of justice, peace, and joy throughout the world.