The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa are pleased to announce the perpetual profession of vows of Sister Nicole Reich, OP, and Sister Christin Tomy, OP, at 3 p.m. (CDT) Sunday, May 29, 2022. The liturgy will be livestreamed at www.sinsinawa.org/live.
Amid the excitement of making their vows, there is peace. “This is where God has called me to be. I’ve made the commitment in my heart, and now I am formalizing it,” said Sister Christin. Sister Nicole shared, “This is a positive affirmation of the discernment and the education of these last eight years. These are the people and this is the life and my God that I am committing to.”
Preparing to make perpetual vows has been a time of growth. “It has been an experience of deepening at every level. The goal is flourishing—to be fully the person God created you to be,” said Sister Christin.
Sister Nicole is grateful to be a member of the Sinsinawa congregation and the Dominican Order. She came to Sinsinawa Mound, the motherhouse for the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, as an employee for three years before entering the congregation. “This place called me.” Some of the sisters with whom she worked began inviting her to religious life. “Some of the sisters just knew. They knew before I did!” She remembers praying for a sign and asking God to make it obvious. Now she laughs that working for the congregation was her obvious sign. “I tried to find community for years. But it wasn’t like this.” Sister Nicole believes belonging to something—not just living with people—is a big draw for religious life.
“In this day and age, I can be a single woman. I can have a very robust spiritual life on my own. I can have good community around me. I can have ministry. I can be educated. I think community is what’s missing in people’s lives. And, that, you can’t really figure out until you actually try it.”
Sister Christin also had revelations amid her journey to religious life. She attended a vocation exploration retreat, Dubuque’s Got Sisters, and met Sister Jeri Cashman, OP, of Sinsinawa. Sister Christin said, “I always say that God has a good sense of humor, because if I had heard the Dominican charism [preaching and teaching] spoken before I had met the congregation, I think I probably would have said, ‘No, that’s not for me.’” Thankfully, she met the sisters and felt called to be a Sinsinawa Dominican. “I was meeting these women who embodied the Gospel with their lives. I wanted to be part of that. It was an experience of the holy preaching. That was what attracted me—being the holy preaching with our lives.”
The years of preparation for perpetual profession have offered gifts to the two sisters in myriad ways. Both have furthered their formal studies. Sister Nicole earned a master’s degree in pastoral studies with an emphasis on health care chaplaincy and is now board certified as a hospital chaplain. Sister Christin is currently studying for dual master’s degrees in divinity and theology. She is grateful the congregation intentionally nurtures study so sisters are prepared to walk with others in their ministries. Both sisters also noted community and daily common prayer as gift. Sister Christin said, “That has held and nurtured me in my own faith journey.” Beauty and the arts, a commitment to justice and connections with the worldwide Dominican family are other ways they received blessings.
Sister Nicole works at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wis., as both a chaplain and in palliative care. Her awareness of the legacy of the congregation’s presence in the Madison area grew as people shared stories of their education, connections with Sisters, and buying the “Mound bread.” She reflected, “People are happy when they know that I am a sister, and it brings me joy . . . and accountability. I see people from all walks of life, so I get a lot of questions, which are fun for me to answer.”
Sisters Christin and Nicole invite women to consider religious life as a viable and exciting way of life. They suggest reaching out and getting to know sisters. “You can’t really figure it out until you try it,” Sister Nicole said.
They are grateful to the people who supported them as they grew in their faith over their lifetimes. Sister Christin is the daughter of Richard and Jean (Skram) Tomy of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is an alumna of Xavier High School, Cedar Rapids. Sister Nicole is the daughter of Rick and Mary (Nettesheim) Reich of Sarasota, Fla., formerly of Dubuque, Iowa. She carries with her the foundation she received in Janesville, Wis., attending St. William Parish and School and from her involvement at St. Patrick and Cathedral of St. Raphael Parishes, both Dubuque.
If you would like to honor Sister Nicole and Sister Christin on their professions, donations may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or at www.sinsinawa.org/donate online.
The Sinsinawa Dominicans invite you to learn more about our worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For over 800 years, Dominicans have continued to preach the Gospel in word and deed. Today, thousands of sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world. Visit our website at www.sinsinawa.org.