Becoming Crew

By Racine Dominican Associate Gail Jacobsen

In May of 2018, Mare Wheeler, a Dominican Associate, became Co-Director of the Racine Dominican Associates in Racine, Wisconsin. She was ready to try creative ideas and invest her energies. However, she also knew there was a lot to learn. During the early weeks of her new job, she invited some of her Associate friends to join her on Zoom. She brought questions and concerns to these meetings and encouraged those present to help her brainstorm solutions. After one or two meetings, the small group began to look to her as the captain and they became the Crew. 

Since then, Crew has been Zooming every Wednesday morning for over four years. Any Racine Dominican Sister or Associate is welcome to join, whether weekly or occasionally. Sometimes Mare presents questions, other times Crew does. Many times, after a discussion of current events and the issues of the day, brainstorming begins and Crew takes action.  “I am always amazed by the way we move from discussing something that is happening in our community or world, to a flurry of ideas on how our Sisters and Associates can help, and then how committed Crew is to helping us take action. It’s inspiring!” says Mare Wheeler.

There are so many great examples of Crew’s work. Recently, Crew discussed needs of Afghanistan refugees arriving in Wisconsin. This resulted in creating a winter clothing/knitting drive to help provide warm clothes to the families. Another discussion about climate change led to the creation of a brochure called “Positive, No-Guilt and Fun Ways to Contribute to a Healthier Environment,” that was shared with other congregations throughout the US and Canada. During Covid, Crew discussed how to connect Sisters and Associates in a safe way leading to the creation of the annual outdoor “Trunk or Treat” Halloween party.

The idea of Crew was simple – bring together a group of people committed to the Dominican mission and charism, and from everyone’s gifts and talents ideas arise and come to fruition. Crew is a place where the Spirit is at work.

For more information on the Racine Dominican Associates and Crew, contact Mare Wheeler at