San Rafael Dominicans
On March 8, International Women’s Day and the first day of National Catholic Sisters Week, in the Year of Consecrated Life, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael rejoiced as Sister Colleen McDermott made her final profession of vows.
Family and friends from near and far, including her parents, Joe and Mili McDermott of Vallejo, California, arrived at the Dominican Sisters Center for Mass and to witness the Rite of Profession.
Colleen first met the San Rafael Dominicans in the 1990s while she was associate director of campus ministry at the University of San Francisco. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Colleen was diocesan director of campus and young adult ministry, serving 25 colleges and creating regional and parish young adult ministries. Concurrently, Colleen spent three years as director of the Frank J. Lewis Institute for Campus Ministry Orientation.
Colleen’s bachelor’s degree is in mathematics. She earned her master’s degree of theology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia.
Visiting one of the sisters in California in 2005, Sister Colleen tells us, “Unbeknownst to me, I was just in time for a vocation retreat. I had a paper to finish [for school] and so I thought I would attend just part of the retreat. The opening prayer and sharing were so good that I attended the entire retreat. On the last day, one of the other women asked me, “So, are you going to join this community?” Out of the blue, I answered, “Yes!” I actually looked around to see who had spoken! This began my process of discerning if I was being called to enter the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael.”
In 2008, Colleen entered the community as a candidate. She spent her novitiate year at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri. Her ministry activities include servings as the congregation’s social justice educator and liaison with the Marin Interfaith Council. For two years, she worked at Homeward Bound of Marin as a research and grant specialist. Currently, she is the director of community service at St. Dominic Parish in San Francisco, which includes Lima Center, a drop-in center for homeless adults.
It was a beautiful day and a moving service, designed to reflect the spirit of the motto she chose to have engraved in her ring: “My peace I give.” In the liturgy booklet, Sister Collen wrote, “To my friends and family, those here today and those with us in spirit, your support and love is a sign of God’s hope in my life. I am so grateful that you are here to witness for and celebrate with me today. May God’s abiding peace be with you today and always.”