Adrian Dominicans Introduce Leadership Team
Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress
Sister Elise D. García, OP, was elected Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters during the Congregation’s 2022 General Chapter, held June 27-July 2, 2022, in Chicago.
Elected to serve with Sister Elise during their 2022-2028 term are: Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor, and Sisters Janice Brown, OP, Corinne Sanders, OP, and Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP. They take office on October 8, 2022.
Sister Elise is completing her term as a member of the General Council of 2016-2022 serving with Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor.
In 2019, Sister Elise was elected President-Elect of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). She centered her presidential address at the 2021 LCWR Assembly on the sin of racism, calling women religious to “Creating Space for the Future: Cutting Deeper Grooves for Transforming Love into Evolution.” She completes her term as LCWR Past-President at the 2022 Assembly this August.
“I sense congregational leadership as a call from God expressed through the call of our Sisters – and through the allure and inspiriting fire enkindled in my heart by the direction we are proposing to set for the future,” Sister Elise said.
Since childhood, Sister Elise has been well prepared to serve an intercultural Congregation that includes Sisters from the Dominican Republic and the Philippines, as well as diverse races and cultures within the United States. She spent her childhood years from the ages of 4 to 12 in Mexico and Uruguay and from the ages of 15 to 17 in Egypt. “I bring an abiding love and respect for diverse cultures, languages, and ways of being on our Earth home,” she said. “Differentiation is at the heart of evolution.”
In the 1980s and 1990s, Sister Elise served as Vice President for Membership and Media Communications for Common Cause in Washington, D.C.; as a consultant to national and regional nonprofit organizations; and as Director of Communications and Development for St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.
In 2002, Sister Elise and Sister Carol Coston, OP, founded Santuario Sisterfarm with Latinas from the Texas Borderlands. An eco-spirituality center based in the Texas Hill Country, Santuario Sisterfarm was dedicated to cultivating biodiversity and cultural diversity. One of the organization’s initiatives, Sor Juana Press, was established to publish the works of women religious and women of color on topics related to Earth and spirituality, including the Dominican Women on the Earth series, Ohtli Encuentro: Women of Color Share Pathways to Leadership, and Drawn by Love: A History of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena of Mosul, Iraq.
Sister Elise entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2005 and in 2011 moved to Adrian to serve as Director of Communications and Technology for the Congregation. She oversaw many of the Congregation’s technology upgrades. After three years, Communications and Technology were separated into two departments and Sister Elise focused on Communications. She was elected to the General Council in 2016.
Sister Janice Brown, OP
Sister Janice Brown, OP, Executive Director of the Siena Literacy Center in Detroit, was elected to serve on the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council during the Congregation’s 2022 General Chapter, held June 27-July 2, 2022, in Chicago.
Also elected to serve with Sister Janice on during their 2022-2028 term are: Sister Elise García, OP, Prioress; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Corinne Sanders, OP, and Sisters Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Councilors.
They succeed the members of the 2016-2022 General Council: Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Sisters Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors.
“My call includes an inner desire to grow, to give, and to help create new forms of collaboration,” Sister Janice said. “I can wholeheartedly say I have the love and desire to be involved with moving our congregation into the future.”
Sister Janice has served the Detroit-metro region as Executive Director of two of the Congregation’s adult literacy programs – Dominican Literacy Center and Siena Literacy Center – for more than 15 years. She has been involved in adult education at the city and state level.
Sister Janice joined the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2003 after raising her daughter and working in finance and banking. She sits on six boards that support workforce development and adult literacy, as well as the Congregation’s Financial Advisory Committee.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Siena Heights College (University), a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on finance from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
Detroit, and a Doctorate in Ministry (DMin) from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
The 2022-2028 Prioress and General Council take office on October 8, 2022.
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, who recently completed her term as Co-Director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in Chicago, was elected to serve on the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters as Vicaress and General Councilor. The election took place during the Congregation’s 2022 General Chapter, held June 27-July 2, 2022, in Chicago.
Also elected to serve with Sister Lorraine during their 2022-2028 term are: Sister Elise García, OP, Prioress, and Sisters Janice Brown, OP, Corinne Sanders, OP, and Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Councilors.
They succeed Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Patricia Harvat and Elise García, OP, General Councilors.
“Saying yes to leadership at this time for me means to serve God and our world by serving my Sisters and helping us as a congregation live out who we are called to be,” Sister Lorraine said. “It means being deeply engaged in the work we need to do to enable us to live as vibrant Dominican women religious now and into the future, including deepening our connections and relationships with our many partners in the charism, with those on the margins, and with Earth community.”
Born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Sister Lorraine grew up in Toronto, the oldest of three girls. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Waterloo, 1986; a bachelor’s degree in education from Lakehead University, 1987; and a Master of Divinity Degree and a master’s degree in theology, with a concentration in Scripture, both from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, 2006.
Even before entering the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1997, Sister Lorraine was involved in ministry and mission. She taught third grade for two years in Toronto and then spent seven years as a Lay Missioner with Scarboro Missions as a missioner in Bolivia from 1991 to 1993 and as Co-Coordinator of the Lay Mission Office from 1993 to 1997.
After professing her first vows as an Adrian Dominican Sister in 2000, Sister Lorraine served as Campus Minister at Siena Heights University, Adrian, until 2003 and began her studies at Catholic Theological Union. During the following years she was involved in Hispanic ministry and in formation work: as Pastoral Associate for Hispanic Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Anchorage, Alaska; Pastoral Associate at Ste. Anne de Detroit, a largely Hispanic parish, in Detroit; as Formation Director for the Adrian Dominican Sisters; and as Co-Director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, where novices from several U.S. Dominican congregations spend a formal year of formation.
Sister Lorraine is currently serving on the Dominican Sisters Conference Futuring Leadership Team, working collaboratively with younger Sisters from U.S.-based congregations of Dominican Sisters to prepare for their future.
The 2022-2028 Prioress and General Council will formally take office October 8, 2022.
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Office of Sustainability for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, was elected to serve on the Congregation’s General Council during its June 27-July 2, 2022, General Chapter, held in Chicago. This is the second term on the General Council for Sister Corinne, who served as a General Councilor from 2010 to 2016.
Serving with her on the 2022-2028 General Council are: Sister Elise García, OP, Prioress; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Sisters Janice Brown, OP, and Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Councilors.
They succeed Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise García, OP, General Councilors.
“I’m very honored and humbled,” Sister Corinne said. “This is my second time on the General Council, but this is a new day, a new time, a new team, and I, too, have come renewed and changed after these last six years. I’m very excited about this new time. I’m looking forward to how we’ll explore and put into action the directives we talked about at General Chapter.”
Born in Miami, Florida, at the time of the migration of the Cuban people, Sister Corinne’s childhood experience and her travels to the Dominican Republic and the Philippines help to prepare her for leadership in a culturally diverse Congregation. Her ministries have varied since she professed first vows in 1981: teacher and administrator at Kino Learning Center, Inc., in Tucson, Arizona; youth minister at St. John the Baptist Parish in San Leandro, California; Director of Mission and Ministry at Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida; Director of Formation for the Adrian Dominican Congregation; and Head of School of Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach, Florida, for six years until her election to the General Council in 2010.
Since 2016, Sister Corinne has served as Director of the Congregation’s Office of Sustainability, coordinating projects such as the installation of a solar array and the Permaculture Garden on the Motherhouse Campus. Trained as a paralegal, she also worked with Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, an attorney and Director of the Congregation’s Office of Immigration Assistance.
The General Council-elect take office on October 8, 2022.
Sister Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP
Sister Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, was elected to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council during the Congregation’s 2022 General Chapter, held June 27-July 2, 2022, in Chicago.
Sister Bless is the first Filipina Sister to serve on the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council, and the first member of the Congregation’s Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in Pampanga, the Philippines, to be elected. Once a separate Congregation, the Our Lady of Remedies Dominican Sisters merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2011.
Sister Bless will serve on the 2022-2028 General Council with Sister Elise García, OP, Prioress; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Sisters Janice Brown, OP, and Corinne Sanders, OP, General Councilors. They will take office in October 2022.
“This is a humbling experience for me, and I am honored so much,” Sister Bless said. “I want to serve the Congregation in whatever way I can.”
Sister Bless was born in the Philippines, in the province of Leyte and the town of Tolosa, where her six siblings – four brothers and two sisters – still live. Her family members were devout Catholics, and she particularly remembers attending Mass with her father and praying the rosary at the age of 6 with older women.
Sister Bless entered the Franciscan Handmaids of the Lord in Palo, Leyte, in 1984 and, at one point, served on its General Council. While on retreat, discerning her call to leave the Franciscan Sisters and her next call from God, she met Sister Maria Socorro Garcia, OP, of the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies, and was invited to visit that community. While still discerning her call, Sister Bless served at the Dominican School of Apalit and, once accepted as a postulant, served the school as treasurer.
Many of Sister Bless’s ministries have involved school administration: serving as the first Head of School of the Dominican School of Angeles City, which the Remedies Sisters started with six students; Head of School of the Dominican School of Apalit; and treasurer of Holy Rosary College Foundation in Tala.
Currently, Sister Bless ministers as Head of the Commission on Family and Life for the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. She is involved both in counseling and in training parishioners to counsel others at the parish level. Sister Bless said she loves this ministry. “I make use of my skills in counseling and therapy,” she said. While serving in this challenging ministry, Sister Bless is also finishing her dissertation on intimate partner violence for her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
Sister Bless acknowledged the challenge of leaving a ministry she dearly loves and of adjusting to life in the United States, but she said she is willing to embrace her new ministry 100 percent. “When you’re in the mission … you embrace all the difficulties and all the challenges,” she said. “No matter how difficult the mission is, God will always sustain us.”