Jubilarians Shatter Previous Records
May 7, 2023 was a magnificent day for the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill who celebrated the 147th anniversary of the Congregation’s founding (Foundation Day), and Diamond Jubilees for more than 95 Sisters. The Congregation commemorates Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Sisters celebrating 60, 65, 70, 75, and higher, starting with the year of a Sister’s entrance into the Congregation with her group, which the Sisters call a “band.”
Among the Jubilarians was Sister Lois Liekweg who celebrated 90 years as a Sparkill Dominican and Sister Marie Daugherty who celebrated 85 years! Sister Lois has set a record in the Congregation, and Sister Marie became only the second Sister to reach the 85-year. But the similarity does not end with longevity. Both Sisters are also graduates of Saint Mark’s High School in Saint Louis.
These Saint Louis natives have witnessed incredible developments and growth in the world: from enhancements in the classroom, where they spent years of active ministry, to advances in American life and society, to an array of global events and concerns ranging from devastating wars to mind-boggling scientific discoveries. Throughout these changes, what has not changed is their commitment to the Dominican integrated charism of mission, prayer, community, and study. Sister Lois has excelled in the areas of education, administration, and catechetical ministry; in addition to education and administration, Sister Marie has shared her extraordinary gifts of music and healing prayer. Both Sisters have a great sense of humor and much wisdom to share.
In their own words…
Sister Lois said:
“In my lifetime, I have witnessed the development of technology which has provided some of the greatest ‘toys’ ever brought forth. The contribution of tech gadgets to society is on par with what the automobile has done over the years. Also, today it seems there is no peace in the world. Having lived through two world wars I can say the atmosphere in our world right now feels different. I think of groups like Boko Haram and ISIS, and I ask God to change their minds and keep them from becoming a powerful body. I also don’t remember as much physical hunger in the world as there is today…. I think about it a lot—what it must be like to be hungry, or to have children cry because they’re hungry.”
When asked, Sister Marie happily shared her wisdom:
[What do you think God wants to say to us?]
“Love one another as I have loved you!”
[What would you say to people who don’t know how to pray?]
“I’m still learning how to pray.... There are many things you can look at and get information to help you if you really want it.”
[What have you learned about dealing with changes in religious life…]
”I think we have to keep trying and go along with whatever comes. Sometimes I wish changes would bring us closer to heaven, closer to God. Other times I’m just very grateful to be where I am in this big chair.”
Although the other Diamond Jubilarians may not have shattered any records, they are each a cause for great celebration, affirmation, and thanksgiving. This year’s celebration was the first time the Community had been able to gather in four years to celebrate Foundation Day and Jubilees, and the enthusiasm was palpable. The Mass was full of joy from beginning to end, with a full choir and involvement of jubilarians in all aspects of the Mass. Sister Irene Ellis, the Prioress, delivered an inspirational reflection.
Following Mass, the festivities continued with a delicious meal, socializing, and lots of photo opportunities.
Click here to read Sister Irene Ellis' preaching from this Mass.
Click here to view a slideshow from this event.
You may find names and group shots of all Jubilarians here.