ADRIAN - Sandwiched between Siena Heights University and acres of rolling fields, the Adrian Dominican Sisters live a peaceful life, many in retirement.
Today, things will get a little busier.
More than 1,000 Dominican nuns from across the country and around the world will gather in Adrian for a weeklong event centered on the theme, “Dominican Accompaniment.” Gathering 2002 is a chance for the women to talk about world issues, pray together, and of course, have a little bit of fun.
“It's a time to come together and be nourished, by our people, by our community, by our prayer, but by outside speakers as well,” said Sister Joann Podlucky, one of the event's organizers. “We have a wonderful time with each other but input and study is always an important part of our gathering.”
Adrian Dominican Sisters are an international congregation whose roots date to the 13th century. The group was founded in France by Dominic Guzman of Spain, who believed in going to the people to preach.
Today, Dominican nuns, who for the most part have shed their habits for contemporary clothing and rarely live in convents, are stationed in places such as California, Florida, and South Africa, where they are involved in a wide variety of ministries, ranging from health care and education to the environment and world peace.
There are about 78,000 nuns nationwide, of which more than 1,000 are of the Dominican order.
This week all of those issues and more will be discussed. Each day a featured speaker will address various social and religious issues, which will then be discussed by the participants.
“When St. Dominic founded the order, he dealt with heresy; that was the need of their day,” Sister Joanne said. “In our day, it's violence in the world, it's the crises in the church, it's what we're doing to our earth, it's a variety of things.”
But Gathering 2002 is not only about problems in the world. It is also a time for many of the sisters to come home.
“Primarily what it is, is a homecoming, a chance for all the sisters to come back to this Motherhouse where they all spent time, because they all would have been here for some time,” said Chris Berecki, communications director for the Adrian Dominican Sisters. “It's a chance for the sisters to share. They will have camaraderie and tours because a lot of them haven't been on campus since the last gathering.”
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters last came together as a collective group in 1989 and then the time before that in 1977. The dozen or so years between gatherings makes the convention a special and sentimental event - bar none.
“We are called together to share faith and life together, and to take that to the people we serve,” Sister Joanne said. “It's for the mission, not just for ourselves.”