Adrian Dominican Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, founder and director of Barry University Law School’s Center for Earth Jurisprudence in Orlando, was elected Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, effective July 1, 2016. The election took place during Session II of the Congregation’s 2016 General Chapter, held February 18-26 in Adrian, Michigan.
“I will give all the gifts and the limitations I have to forward the Mission of the Adrian Dominican Congregation,” Sister Patricia said in accepting the office.
Sister Patricia, an attorney, comes to her new role with a variety of experiences. She is the founding director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University School of Law. The first of its kind at any U.S. law school, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence seeks to develop a philosophy and practice of law that respects and protects the natural world in its own right. She has also served at Barry University as an adjunct faculty member and, since 2010, as a team member of Barry’s Office of Mission Engagement. From 2001 to 2004, she directed the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida. She has served as staff attorney with Florida Rural Legal Services, working with immigrant farmworkers in Florida, and as a civil rights attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sister Patricia served previously in leadership in the Adrian Dominican Congregation numerous times. She was the Chapter Prioress (“Major Superior”) of the Sisters in the Congregation’s Mid-Atlantic Mission Chapter from 1988 to 1992, when she was elected to serve on the Congregation’s General Council as Vicaress/General Councilor until 1998.
As Prioress, Sister Patricia will hold the highest ordinary authority in the Congregation. Special responsibilities include promoting the unity of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, officially representing the Congregation in Church and civic affairs, and chairing the General Council. Serving with her on the General Council will be Sisters Margaret Mary Pachucki, OP, Vicaress/General Councilor-Elect; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator/General Councilor-Elect; and Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors-Elect.
The Dominican Sisters of Adrian are a Congregation of about 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; 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.