The spirit of Christmas filled St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s halls with the annual Adopt-A-Family activities. When the last gift was wrapped, there were 160 individuals adopted through Catholic Charities programs that included Immigration and Refugees Services, Food for Families, and Health Guardians. Also adopted were 40 people from the Metro Advocacy Center, a shelter for women and children, and ten people from the neighboring St. Rita’s school and church community. Gifts were provided by religion classes and through donations from school personnel. Teachers Shannon Hauler and Anne Comiskey shopped for the St. Rita families and colleagues Jessica Chatellier and Ashlee Juhas wrapped those gifts. Campus Ministry officers organized the gifts. Students from all class levels helped the Dads Club members load their vehicles for delivery to all recipients.
Students and Volunteers
Returning with wins from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) state meet, St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s Cross Country team was celebrated during a Champions Parade on campus. The meet was held November 16 and 17 at Northwestern State in Nachitoches. Dominican finished state runner-up with 84 points to Baton Rouge’s St. Joseph Academy (48). Junior Kelsey Major won the Class 5A girls individual state title in 18 minutes, 33 seconds – the fastest three-mile girls time run on a revamped course outside Northwestern State’s Walter Ledet Track for all races.
Major, who was injured last year, said her goal was to win the race either this year or next. “During the last mile and a half, I decided, this is it, I am going to push it and win the race right here. And it worked,” she said.
In the fall of 1994, the ecology committee of the Dominican Sisters of Houston had a dream to use a small plot of the motherhouse grounds for a vegetable garden, one that would give witness to their commitment to live and act in an ecologically responsible manner. On Good Friday in April of 1995, the dream was realized, and a garden was laid out.
The garden has experienced a rich history over the past 25 years. During the first ten years, Sr. Clement Johnson, OP, botanist, founding member of the ecology committee, and resident expert, instructed and inspired garden volunteers and visitors. From the outset, she consulted with Dr. Bob Randall of Urban Harvest in the planning of the garden. The Dominican Sisters’ Community Garden has always been a donation garden. Manna House, a nearby Third Ward social service cooperative, has regularly received donations since the beginning. They also donate garden produce to Star of Hope Mission.
Pilar Hernandez has volunteered in the community garden since 2008. She began serving as garden leader in 2013. Pilar carefully prepares each seasonal planting and watches over the harvest, tending, analyzing, and improving for more abundance. She is a generous plant and seed donor.
Pilar and her husband, Jorge, recently installed a new irrigation system. Sister Heloise Cruzat, OP, garden liaison, describes Pilar as dedicated and knowledgeable, generous, and hard-working! Having taken a course on low-volume irrigation at Urban Harvest, Pilar told Sr. Heloise that she had supplies on order, wanting to gift and install a system here. On Friday evening, July 10, Pilar and her husband began the project. Arriving at 7:00am on Saturday, they had the installation complete by 9:30am!
The system concept is Israeli in origin, is flexible, changeable, and easy to operate: turn on, turn off. Each faucet has a back-flow preventer and a pressure regulator; it is a drip system, no sprayers, no waste of water. Over the years, the garden has had a variety of irrigation installations; this promises to be the best. It was extremely good fortune was to be able to begin using the system during the consecutive days of 100-degree July heat when there was no significant rain in the forecast.
The time has come for me to say farewell as Dominican Life | USA editor. Today is my last update, and my role as editor ends on May 31st.
Five years ago, when I was hired by the Dominican Sisters Conference (DSC) as administrative assistant, I did not know where this job would lead me. After a few months of working as the administrative assistant for the DSC, I took over the role of editor of DomLife (December, 2015); and I was happy to continue as DomLife editor part time when I finished my role as administrative assistant for the DSC in 2018 to start my new position as assistant archivist for the Sinsinawa Dominicans.
During these five years, I’m grateful to have had the pleasure and opportunity to work with and become acquainted with the various Dominican Catholic sisters, friars, associates, and lay employees in the United States. I look forward to continue working with the Dominican family in my position as assistant archivist for the Sinsinawa Dominicans.
In the meantime, an interim editor will take over Dominican Life | USA. Keep an eye out for announcements and content.
It has been wonderful to serve as Dominican Life | USA editor. Thank you!
Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis is seeking students for its Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program. Since its inception in 1993 as the only Catholic doctoral program in preaching, the program has remained unique. Our hybrid style of learning enables students to maintain their full-time ministry commitments. Students engage in online study and dialogue throughout the semester with a mid-course, on-campus intensive seminar held locally in St. Louis.