Feast days bring celebrations of reception, professions
Amidst joyful hymns and prayers to our Holy Father Dominic, the Adrian Dominican Sisters added to the joy of the Feast of St. Dominic on Aug. 8 by witnessing the Rites of Reception into the Novitiate of Sister Joachina Pacheco-Villar and the First Profession of Vows of Sister Xiomara Mendéz-Hernández, OP. The Rites took place in the context of a special bilingual liturgy in St. Catherine Chapel, on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ motherhouse campus. Both women are natives of the Dominican Republic and former Adrian Dominican Associates.
Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, director of vocations, welcomed the family members and friends of Sisters Xiomara and Joaquina, as well as Adrian Dominican sisters, associates and co-workers, to the special event. The liturgy was also recorded and streamed live.
Speaking in both Spanish and in English, Sister Rosa Monique Peña, OP, reflected on the Scriptural image found in Isaiah 52:7-10: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who preach good news.” She spoke of the beauty of the feet of St. Dominic, who walked throughout Europe to preach the Gospel. Dominicans today are also sent out to preach the Good News throughout the world. “Our feet are obedient to the wishes of the heart, the demands of life and the beckoning of the Spirit,” Sister Rosa Monique said.
Both Rites began with the formal examination of the women as to their readiness to take the next step in their formation as Dominican preachers of Adrian. Sister Patricia Leonard, OP, director of formation, also testified as to their readiness. Her words were translated into Spanish by Sister Ana Feliz, OP, and Sister Margarita Ruiz, OP.
“It is my intent to commit myself to be faithful to my loving relationship with God, to love better my sisters and brothers and all God’s creation, to continue listening and responding to God’s call in my life,” Sister Xiomara stated. “It is also my intention to keep my eyes, my ears and my heart open in order to be attentive to the cries of the needy. I want to preach the Word of God as I seek truth, make peace and reverence life, wherever I go and whatever I do. And I want to do it with all of you, my dearest Dominican Sisters of Adrian.”
Sister Xiomara professed her vow of obedience to Almighty God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic and Sister Attracta, as well as those who will succeed her as prioress of the congregation. Sister Attracta blessed and presented the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ logo Sister Xiomara, identifying her as a vowed member of the congregation. The ritual continued with the signing of the formal profession papers by Sisters Xiomara and Attracta; Father Robert Kelly, OP, the presider; and Sister Xiomara’s witnesses, Sister Arlene Kosmatka, OP, and Sister Nancy Murray, OP. After Sister Attracta affirmed the profession, the assembly burst into joyful applause as the choir sang the Dominican Magnificat.
A native of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, Sister Xiomara is the daughter of Eleuterio Hernández and the late Lucas Carmen Hernández. She earned her Licentiate in Industrial Arts at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in 2002 and a master’s degree in industrial sewing from INFOTEP Santo Domingo in 2006. Before entering, Sister Xiomara owned a fashion design business and taught fashion design. She had been an active associate for three years before entering the congregation in 2008.
The assembly also rejoiced at the reception of Sister Joaquina into the novitiate. After being called forward and examined as to her own readiness to move forward in the formation process, Sister Joaquina received a copy of the Adrian Dominican Constitution and Statutes. Her formation during her novitiate years will be under the direction of Sister Maribeth Howell, OP, the incoming director of formation.
Sister Joaquina earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of the Third Millennium, Dominican Republic, in 2006 and a master’s in human sexuality and therapy with couples from Universidad de la Tercera Edad, Dominican Republic. She taught at the University of the Third Age, specialized in treating victims of domestic violence, and was involved in group therapy and the psychology of geriatric patients. When she entered the congregation in October 2010, Sister Joaquina had already been involved with the Adrian Dominican Sisters as an associate for several years.
The celebration of the Feast of St. Dominic, which had begun with Morning Prayer in Holy Rosary Chapel, continued with a festive dinner, a reception for sisters, associates and co-workers, and evening prayer in St. Catherine Chapel.
Story and photos submitted by the Adrian Dominicans. Photos by Melinda P. Ziegler.