Adrian Dominican Sisters from throughout the United States came home to their Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan, for a special week this summer to mark their Jubilees, their years of service and dedication to their Church and the Congregation. The 2016 Jubilee Class includes nine Sisters serving 75 years; 22 celebrating 70 years; 41 celebrating 60 years; 16 celebrating 50 years; and one celebrating 25 years.
Among the Adrian Dominican Jubilarians with connections to the Diocese of St. Petersburg are:
Sister Jean Charles Birney, OP, a native of Jackson, Michigan, is celebrating 75 years as an Adrian Dominican Sister. A graduate of St. Joseph Academy in Adrian, she entered the Congregation on July 2, 1940 from St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Parish in Jackson. She professed her first vows on January 8, 1942, and her final vows on January 8, 1947.
Sister Jean Charles holds a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian and a master’s degree in history from Loyola University, Chicago.
She ministered for nearly 40 years as an elementary school teacher at Catholic schools in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, the Dominican Republic, and Florida. From 1981 to 1999, Sister Jean Charles served in pastoral ministry at St. Jude Parish in St. Petersburg, Florida, visiting parishioners who were sick or shut-in.
Sister Jean Charles has been at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian since 1999, praying for the needs of the world and being present to all the people she encounters. She holds as special, fond memories the times that she taught more than 50 seventh and eighth-grade boys in one class – and the challenge of keeping on her toes with those students.
Sister Jean Irene McAllister, OP, celebrating her 70-year Jubilee, is a native of the Detroit area. She entered the Congregation in June 1946 and completed her high school education at St. Joseph Academy in Adrian in 1947. Sister Jean Irene professed first vows on December 30, 1947 and final vows on December 31, 1952. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian.
After serving her first assignments schools in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, Sister Jean Irene came to Florida. She served at Holy Family in St. Petersburg from 1976 to 1979 and was a pastoral minister from 1979 to 1988 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Melbourne, Florida, and from 1988 to 2003 at Rocky Creek Village, a senior living community in Tampa, Florida. While serving in Rocky Creek, she was part of a line dance group and kitchen band that performed at nursing homes, senior centers, and parish festivals. She retired to Adrian in 2003.
Sister Jean Irene described her vocation as “a gift and a shared journey with other members of our Congregation. …My heart overflows with gratitude for my 70 years as an Adrian Dominican.”
Sister Mary Kathryn Cliatt, OP, the former Sister Helen Maureen, is celebrating 60 years of religious life. A native of Miami, Florida, she graduated from Miami Edison High School and entered the Congregation in June 1956 from St. Rose of Lima Parish in Miami. She professed her first vows in December 1957 and her final vows in December 1962.
Sister Mary Kathryn holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling, both from Barry College (University) in Miami. She did her post-graduate work in sociology at Florida State University.
After teaching at Catholic schools in Florida and Illinois, Sister Mary Kathryn served from 1965 to 1975 as guidance counselor at Tampa Catholic High School. Originally the only counselor, she developed the program to the point that, when she left, the school was served by five guidance counselors.
In 1975, Sister Mary Kathryn began her 30-year work what is now Cedar Hill Enrichment Center in Gainesville, Georgia. The center primarily served low-income people in the cities of Gainesville, Cumming, and Dawsonville, helping the people to meet their material and spiritual needs. From 2010 to 2013, Sister Mary Kathryn and three other Adrian Dominican Sisters served as “grandmothers” to the students at St. Clare Girls’ Center in Kenya – a boarding house for 350 girls who were orphaned or from families so poor that they couldn’t be cared for.
Sister Mary Kathryn is currently engaged in active retirement: serving as mentor and grandmother to a Siena Heights University student who had graduated from St. Clare, as well as companion to first-year nursing students at Siena Heights. She also sits in vigil with Sisters who are dying.
Sister Grace Dougherty, OP, formerly known as Sister Grace Albert, is also celebrating 60 years in religious life. A native of Chicago, she graduated from Aquinas High School in Chicago in 1956 and in June of that year entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation. She professed first vows on December 28, 1957, and final vows on December 28, 1962.
Sister Grace earned a bachelor of science degree in home and family life from Barry College (now University) in Miami Shores, Florida in 1967 and a master’s in counselor education from Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian, Michigan, in 1983.
After teaching at Presentation School in Detroit for the second semester of the 1958-59 year, Sister Grace moved to St. Petersburg, where she taught t St. Jude from 1959 to 1962. She taught f rom 1962 to 1969 at St. Bede School in Montgomery, Alabama and returned to St. Jude in St. Petersburg to teach from 1969 to 1976.
From 1976 to 1982, Sister Grace served for two terms as Provincial in St. Rose de Lima Province, based in West Palm Beach. She then switched gears and served in pastoral ministry: in the Spiritual Care Department at Maria Health Care Center in Adrian from 1983 to 1988 and in the Spiritual Care Department at Mercy Hospital, Chicago, from 1990 to 2009. She is now actively retired and residing in Westchester, Illinois.
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The Dominican Sisters of Adrian are a Congregation of nearly 700 vowed women religious whose roots go back to St. Dominic in the 13th century. The Sisters minister in 26 states; the District of Columbia; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and in five other nations: Canada, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Norway, and the Philippines. The Sisters and more than 200 Associates are organized into seven regional Mission Chapters, each under the leadership of a Chapter Prioress.