For Caroline Cunningham ’22, Thursday was an exciting day full of Faith and important information about what it means to be a woman of the Catholic faith.
That’s because Cunningham and dozens of her classmates were not only able to attend Mass and enjoy a meal with four Sisters, including Sr. Madeline Marie, SsEW (formerly Jenny Van Dillen ’00), the assembled students were then able to listen to first-hand accounts of what the vocation of being a Sister truly means.
“I think it’s really amazing because it shows how the St. Dominic legacy of faith is being carried on,” Cunningham said. “It shows just how strong our faith life here can be. It’s just really inspiring for the rest of us that people like Sister have been here before and have come from where we are now. You always think of Sisters as amazing women of God, but it’s easy to forget that they were high schoolers once, too.”
Sr. Madeline Marie, who is part of the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word Community in Birmingham, Alabama, shared stories of her faith journey as did her fellow Dominican Sisters, Sr. Ave Maria, SsEW, and Sr. Marie Therese, SsEW, as well as a Franciscan Sister of the Martyr St. George, Sr. M. Karolyn, FSGM, who is a frequent visitor to St. Dominic.
Sr. Madeline Marie said that coming home and speaking to girls who are where she was made total sense.
“This is my home, it’s my high school,” Sr. Madeline Marie said. “Just knowing how things are here … Sr. Karolyn has been here several times and she’s been telling me of how St. Dominic has gotten back to the roots of what it could be with all the vocations that are coming out of here, I knew this would be a great place to come and speak.”
Sister commented on just how impressed she was to see not only a large crowd of girls assembled for lunch and the Sisters’ presentation but also for Empower Hour Mass before where everyone had the chance to pray as one.
“It’s amazing and I think it’s really inspiring to see that,” Sr. Madeline Marie said. “To have the Chapel full at lunchtime for an optional Mass is amazing. I don’t think, when I was in school, you could ever get 50 kids together like this.”
Sister Madeline Marie said that having the chance to make sure today’s students were able to witness the vocation was something she was glad she had back when she was a student at St. Dominic with Sisters Jean and Carolyn.
“I think the influence of Sr. Jean was important,” Sr. Madeline Maris said. “She was and still is, a faithful Sister. I always loved being around her. It was the same with Sr. Carolyn, she was the principal. I could talk to them and just seeing their lived experience really filled up what is a Dominican? I had an understanding of what their spirituality is.”