Current Newsletter - Dominican Sisters of Amityville

VOL. 13 / NO. 1
To Praise
To Bless
To Preach
Congregation of the Holy Cross
A P U B L I C AT I O N o f t h e D O M I N I C A N S I S T E R S o f A M I T Y V I L L E , N Y
Dominicans in Action
S. Mary Erica Burkhardt: Walking the
Humble Footpath of a Ministry in History
by Carol Hansen
he task of archiving and preserving
the vast and intricate history of the
Dominican Sisters of Amityville seems a
daunting task indeed, and yet the Sisters
have done exactly that for over 160 years.
Their efforts are lovingly displayed in the
Motherhouse Heritage Center, public face
of an extensive archives housed in Amityville.
It was S. Evangeline who first brought
the archives of many convents under the
Motherhouse roof, where they were later
given a place of honor in their current
location by S. Frances Maureen Carlin. In
1995, S. Erica Burkhardt was asked to join
S. Frances Maureen as a Heritage Center
historian, and she has been there ever since.
S. Erica compares each person’s life to
a tapestry. As the eldest daughter of Erich
and Hedwig Burkhardt, Erica grew up
with four sisters in Astoria, NY. Following
a public school education, and a stint as a
stenographer for Dry Dock Savings Bank,
she entered the Amityville novitiate in
1948, and eventually taught at St. Joseph
(Above) A historian at her
desk: Sister Erica has been
affiliated with the inspiring
Heritage Center since 1995.
Valuable treasures share
space with sweet memories
like these Dominican dolls.
Did you have one?
Patron School, St. Nicholas High School,
Dominican Commercial High School, and
Queen of the Rosary Academy. She was
also principal at Blessed Virgin Mary
School in Woodside, 1969–1972. During
the Leadership terms of S. Irene Garvey
and S. Mary Ryan, S. Erica was appointed
Secretary General for the Congregation,
with duties that included care of the
archives. It might be said that S. Erica’s
path through ministry led her right to the
Heritage Center!
A ministry in history is multi-faceted;
there are no “typical work days.” Tasks vary.
Maintaining online files, changing physical
(Left) Student desk, St. Pius V School, Jamaica;
(Right) Queen of the Rosary Academy uniform
donated by alumna Barbara Zimmerly.
continued on page 3
Letter from the Prioress
In the News / Event Overviews
Who We Are & How To Reach Us
Recent Grants & Awards
Our History: In Loving Memory
In Our Donors’ Words
Veritas Society: Legacy Gift Options
Calendar / Dominican Business Partners
From the desk of
Mary Pat Neylon, OP
Dear Friends,
Winter is doing it again! It fooled us into thinking it would be relatively mild this
year, and it was—until Juno arrived on January 26-27! It has been said that there is a time
for every season under heaven: a time for snow, and a time to leave the snow behind and
welcome the crocuses and daffodils. As bleak and as dark as winter time can seem in the
northern hemisphere, we know it is the prelude to the birthing place of new life and
therefore, part of the life cycle of all creation.
As we draw nearer to the 800th Jubilee year of the Dominican Order in 2016, we
embrace the jubilee theme for this final preparatory year which is:
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).
Truth is the motto of the Dominican Order. Our feature story offers a glimpse of
S. Mary Erica Burkhardt’s pursuit of the truth as Director of the Archives/Heritage Center.
We are astounded at the breadth and depth of the work she has been doing since 1995.
The written material and artifacts in the Center speak for themselves but S. Erica herself
is a unique repository of our living tradition, a tradition in search of truth these last
162 years in service to the Church and the world. Now, as she embraces her upcoming
retirement, we are so grateful for the diligence with which she has pursued her ministry
these past 20 years.
Each one of us and each of you, our benefactors, holds precious memories within us
of our families and communities. The popularity of websites like tells us
we are not alone in this and we want to know more about who preceded us on the journey
and how we carry some aspect of their search for truth within our own search for the kind
of truth that sets us free. This issue also contains the names and photos of our Sisters,
former members, and friends who have been part of our lives and have preceded us into
new life this past year. They were remembered in our special November liturgy. Again,
I invite you to study the names and faces and consider how each one has been a gift to us
in some special way. You just may recognize someone from your past whose story (truth)
you are now carrying forward.
Remember to glance at our website ( from time to
time to read about other parts of our ongoing pursuit of truth and to get a sense of our
continuing ministries. The growing edges of our lives help us enjoy new forms of
membership and delight in the ways our gracious God continues to nudge us to be
“women of joy and hope…searching for truth and ministering to the people of God.” May you
continue to be blessed for all the ways you are part of the life and mission of the Sisters of
St. Dominic as we, with your help, continue to spread the gospel through the life and
example of Jesus, the inspiration of the Spirit and the richness of Dominic’s charism.
Prayerfully and gratefully,
S. Mary Pat Neylon, OP
“We Dominican women religious called to be signs of joy and hope, commit
ourselves to incarnating the Gospel, deepening our life of prayer, searching for Truth,
discerning the needs of the Church and ministering to the people of God.”
Excerpt from the Vision Statement of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville
Four Sisters Honored For Local Achievements
Four Sisters were recently recognized for their
contributions and ministries on Long Island:
S. Leonore Toscano was honored at the 2014
CARACEN (Central American Refugee Center)
Awards Dinner for her work as Executive Director
of the OPening Word ministry.
S. Dorothy Fitzgibbons received a Lifetime
Achievement Award at Molloy College this past fall
for her many years of dedicated service there.
S. Joan Martin was honored by St. Agnes
Academic High School and inducted into its Hall of
Fame for her long tenure as Principal there.
S. Ave Clark received the Humanitarian of the
Year Award from the Douglaston-Little Neck Lions
Club for the tireless efforts of her “Heart to Heart
Ministry,” which serves those who have survived
trauma and abuse.
Congratulations to all. We are so proud of you!
S. Leonore
Toscano, OP
S. Dorothy
Fitzgibbons, OP
S. Joan Martin, OP
S. Ave Clark, OP
Dominicans in Action: A Ministry in History
continued from page 1
stories. The postulant’s bonnet,
exhibits, and posting current
habits and dolls give insights of
events can be offset suddenly
what has been. Photographs of
by unexpected inquiries.
hospital wards, schools and
“Our mission is to help
orphanages portray our many
anyone who comes in for
ministries over the years. As a
assistance. This ministry is to
answer the requests of all who Prie-Dieu from Casa Santa place of welcome, we strive to
contact us,” explains S. Erica. Caterina in Siena, presented show how we have reached
to Mother Polycarpa.
out to the people of God since
Inquiries come from many
1853 and continue to do so.”
sources: families of Sisters;
A touchscreen computer now enables
adults helped as children by the Sisters, such
visitors to access a vast collection of photos
as orphans who attended the Nazareth
and oral history, or you can visit the
Trade School in Farmingdale; genealogists
Heritage Center’s YouTube channel at:
researching family history; and the media.
Tours (by appointment only) are tailored
Sister Erica will be retiring from her
to accommodate diverse groups: students,
position in June after 20 years, a legacy in
graduates of Dominican schools, parishes,
itself! She plans to continue as a volunteer,
donors, and Rosary Societies.
cross-referencing the archives, while care
“The Heritage Center, through its
of the Heritage Center is entrusted to
displays, artifacts and collections, reflects
Sisters Margaret Kavanaugh and Denise
the words of the Amityville Dominicans’
Nolan. We welcome them both and thank
Vision Statement: called to be signs of joy
Sister Erica for her dedicated service.
and hope,” notes Sister Erica. “We keep the
During her long tenure, Sister Erica
helped other Congregations to set up their
archives. Asked for words of wisdom to
close this article with, she offered this
advice to fledgling archivists who may
want to organize their community’s history:
“Don’t throw anything away!”
Heritage treasures include statues and relics.
…and the preaching continues.
Vol. 13, No. 1
Winter 2015
The American Congregation of the Holy
Cross, Dominican Sisters of Amityville, is a
Congregation of over 400 women religious.
Our Motherhouse is in NY but our Sisters
minister in four other states, Puerto Rico
and the Dominican Republic. We are a
preaching/teaching Congregation always
seeking creative ways to minister in the
present moment.
Mary Pat Neylon, OP
Councilor for Dominican Identity
Pat Hanvey, OP
Councilor for Charism
Antoinette DeAveiro, OP
Councilor for Stewardship
Pat Koehler, OP
Councilor for Mission
Peggy McVetty, OP
Councilor for Wellness
Peggy Warren, OP
Provincial of Puerto Rico
Teresita Rivera, OP
Development Office
Acting Director of Development
Eileen M. Nolan, OP ext. 241
[email protected]
Director of Special Projects
Ann Marie Ellingham ext. 238
[email protected]
Director of Donor Communication
Carol Hansen ext. 269
[email protected]
Development Associate
Susan Jappell ext. 246
[email protected]
Grant Writer
Amy Lax
[email protected]
Our Preaching is a publication of the
Dominican Sisters of Amityville
Development Office
555 Albany Avenue
Amityville, NY 11701-1197
631-842-6000, ext. 269
Congregation Website:
The Season of Joy and Giving
Dominican Young Adults, Molloy Chapter and
Dominican Volunteers (above) gathered in
Amityville on Sunday, December 7th, for an
afternoon of prayer and sharing with our
Sisters. Afterwards, our guests sang Christmas
carols throughout the Motherhouse, bringing
Christmas cheer wherever they visited. It was
a wonderful day for all.
Recent Grants & Awards
The Sisters would like to acknowledge:
The Mary Alice Fortin Foundation has
approved an $80,000 grant to the Sisters’
Ministry Support Fund, which subsidizes
educational, health, and human service
programs in which our Sisters are engaged.
A special thanks to S. Alice Byrnes, OP.
The George Link Jr. Charitable Trust has
gifted $17,000 to the Congregation, which
will enable a Dominican Volunteer to serve
as a nursing assistant in our infirmary and
St. Catherine’s Residence. The Dominican
Volunteer will also have the opportunity to
live in our House of Hospitality, located in
St. Hugh’s Parish, Huntington Station, NY.
The Calvin Klein Foundation awarded
$10,000 to the Ministry Support Fund.
The TD Bank Foundation has granted
$7,500 to the OPening Word program.
The Raskob Foundation awarded $5,000
for the After-School and Summer Camp
programs in Sol Naciente del Japon, El
Salvador, organized by S. Flor de Maria
Buruca, OP. The camp serves 60 children.
The PSEG Foundation has given $2,500 to
S. Joan Donovan to be used towards the
Hurricane Sandy Project.
Office Depot has granted $1,500 for use
by the Sisters’ Hurricane Sandy Project.
United Way has donated $1,500 in gift
cards to the Hurricane Sandy Project.
The John and Susan Dewan Foundation
awarded $500 to S. Flor de Maria Buruca
for the After-School and Annual Summer
Camp Programs ministry in El Salvador.
Thank you to these generous benefactors!
Our History
In Loving Memory
We remember in our hearts and prayers these Dominican Sisters of Amityville
who were called home to God in the past year.
S. Alicia Lanni, OP
October 22, 2013
S. Cecilia Aymong, OP
November 30, 2013
S. Janet Fitzgerald, OP
December 1, 2013
S. Catherine Reilly, OP
December 1, 2013
S. Virginia Maguire, OP
December 5, 2013
S. Mary Ann Tirelli, OP
December 12, 2013
S. Grace Sierp, OP
January 8, 2014
S. Barbara Mullen, OP
January 16, 2014
S. Mary Teresa Brown, OP
January 25, 2014
S. Joseph Lucille Lipps, OP
February 8, 2014
S. Mary Higgins, OP
May 25, 2014
S. Rosemary Giebel, OP
June 27, 2014
S. Charlotte Tighe, OP
June 28, 2014
S. Prague Maria Fortier, OP
August 10, 2014
S. Clare Patrice Farrell, OP
August 27, 2014
S. Cora Marie Sprolle, OP
September 7, 2014
Remembrance of Our Former Members
Mary Lee Collins Bedford
Mary Schiller
Elaine Hallisey
Jean Farrell Wade
Dear Friends of the Congregation
Sister Juanita Barto, RSM
Sister Virginia Farnan, RSM
Brother Patrick Murphy, OSF
S. Mary Joyce LeRoy, OP
October 8, 2014
In Our Donors’ Words
Memories of Many Good Times
Summer Joys at St. Joseph’s
Dear Sisters,
I was taught by Dominicans through
grade school and high school, including:
St. Barbara’s in Ridgewood, St. Pancras in
Glendale and All Saints in Brooklyn. I
remember Sisters Rose Winifred, Vincent
Marie and Margaret Mercedes, among
others. Sister Mary Ellen was my favorite.
I was ten years old and I would go to
college with her after school. The Sisters
would not travel alone, and my sisters and
I would go with them as we lived on the
same block as the convent.
In the All Saints auditorium we had a
phonograph—in a suitcase in 1943/1944!
One or two Sisters would be with us, and
we all danced the Lindy with them.
When my mother died in 1971, Sister
Margaret Mercedes (then living in NYC)
saw the obituary in the paper. She took a
train and a bus to come to us, as all six of
us had her as a teacher in St. Pancras.
As you can tell, I have many happy
memories of these lovely Dominicans.
Helen Engelhart
Brightwaters, NY
As a member of the community from
1955–1971, I recall happy summers at
St. Joseph’s in Monticello. We took
college credit courses there as we got
away from the congested city, breathed
in the mountain air and felt wonderful
freedom. We went for long walks
“around the block,” rowed and swam
in the lake, laughed and giggled, and
praised God for the gift of St. Joseph’s!
Terry Rouge
Jackson Heights, NY
Would you like to share fond memories of
the Dominican Sisters of Amityville?
Letters are published here as space permits.
Greetings From Villa Veritas
Dear Sisters,
Your heartfelt, beautifully written
article* brought tears to our eyes! God
spoke to us through you today with a
direct reminder that He is in charge and
He will keep the Villa going no matter
what. Reminded that we are the
instruments, we must keep the Faith. It
has been a tough year. You don’t know
how much we needed your message of
hope and encouragement. We are still so
honored the Dominican Sisters gave us
the opportunity they did so many years
ago. Thank you so much.
Sue and Jim Cusack
Villa Veritas, Kerhonkson, NY
* Fall 2014 Our Preaching, “Our History: Veritas Villa”
Around the Motherhouse
The Dominican Worldwide Order of
Preachers will be celebrating 800 years of
ministering to God’s people in 2016.
Members of the Dominican order are
preparing for this event around the globe!
A year of celebration begins in November
2015 and concludes in January 2017.
It was on December 22, 1216 that
Pope Honorius III approved the order
founded by the Spanish priest Saint
Dominic de Guzman in France. Since
then, Dominican charism has grown upon
the Four Pillars of Dominican life: Prayer,
Study, Community and Ministry.
…and the preaching continues.
Sisters enjoy appointments at the Beauty
Salon on the third floor of the Motherhouse,
where manicurist Margaret (below, left) and
stylist Agnes (bottom, center) tend to them
with professional and
loving care. The salon
is a busy place!
Veritas Society
leaving a legacy of Truth
To Praise
To Bless
To Preach
Congregation of the Holy Cross
Dominican Sisters of Amityville
Our legal title is Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic, Amityville, NY
What Will Your Legacy of Truth Be?
visionary donors, and
the Dominican Sisters of
the motto of the
Amityville. By creating a
Dominican Order, proplanned gift that benefits
claiming our dedication to
the Sisters, you can leave
a common search for
a “Legacy of Truth” which
truth with mutual respect.
will touch the lives of the
This search calls each
most vulnerable in society
Sister and Associate to
and our Sisters well into
credibility in their various
the future.
ministries, wherever those
There are several ways
ministries may be.
he true meaning of life
can create your legacy
VERITAS has led us
is to plant trees, under
Bequests, Stocks,
to 161 years of searching
whose shade you do
Charitable Gifts, IRA’s,
for truth, listening deeply,
not expect to sit.”
Annuities and gifts of
discussing honestly, and
—Nelson Henderson
paid-up life insurance are
seeking God in all things.
practical and fairly simple
From our mission work in
to initiate. Other vehicles such as trusts
Colombia and the Dominican Republic,
and gifts of property provide alternate
to our long history of community service
avenues of participation that will fund
via ministries such as the OPening Word,
the work and care of the Sisters for years
we have been led by the pursuit of truth.
to come. Veritas Society members are
Dominican Village and St. Agnes High
recognized on the VERITAS SOCIETY
School continue to promote Dominican
plaque in St. Albert’s Chapel and on our
Charism, while new ministries develop as
the need arises.
To learn more, please call the
The VERITAS SOCIETY guarantees
Development Office at 631-842-6000,
the continued success of these ministries.
ext. 241 or email [email protected]
It is a sacred partnership between you, our
Veritas Society Members
Helen M. Bingert
Elisabeth V. Bohnert†
Mr. James V. Bologna & Family
Mr. & Mrs. Gregory M. Bouley
Emilie Cerar
Patricia Chapel
Dorothy & Paul Clark
Maureen G. Collins
Deacon Tony Cuseo
Patricia Chambers Daly
Rev. John J. Fitzgerald
Floramay Gannon
Margaret C. Gehnrich
Marie DeSantis Gragnaniello
Rev. Martin J. Hall
Ms. Carol J. Hansen
Dolores Hayden
Cynthia M. Johnson†
Claire B. Joseph
William Kort
John LaRocca
Joseph Levonas
Angela Minsavitch
Diane Muzio
Richard C. Nerod
Lester J. & Frances M. Poggioli
Terese Rouge
Howard & Antoni Shannon
Thomas & Carol Silvestri
Joseph F. Stein
Rita E. Stufano
Marie Stufano
Mary J. Verrall
Marie Wahn
Frank Wranek†
indicates deceased members
Our legal title is Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic, Amityville, NY
Yes, I am interested in becoming a member of the Veritas Society. Please contact me regarding:
q Bequest
q Charitable Gift Annuity q Gifting Appreciated Stock
q IRA Gifting
q Life Insurance
Name _______________________________________________________________________________________
Address __________________________________________ City ______________________________________
State ______ Zip ________ Phone ___________________ Email _____________________________________
Please return to: Sisters of St. Dominic, Attention: Development Office, 555 Albany Avenue, Amityville, New York 11701
Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse,
St. Albert’s Chapel, Amityville, NY
4:00 pm
March 15
June 7
April 19: Bonding of Associates
Evening Vespers
Friday, June 26, 2015
Crest Hollow Country Club
Woodbury, NY
Beauty of the Spirit Luncheon
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
John W. Engeman Theater
Northport, NY
Spring Event : “A Chorus Line”
Irish Night
Saturday, March 7, 2015
St. Brigid’s School
Westbury, NY
Please Save the Date:
Development Calendar
INSIDE: Dominicans in Action / In Loving Memory / Awards & Honors / Veritas Society
Dominican Business Partners promote Dominican ministries
by supporting these events: Beauty of the Spirit Luncheon,
the Dominican Spring Event, and the Dominican Autumn Event.
For more information, please call the Development Office at
631-842-6000, extentions 241 or 238.
Islip Car & Truck Recycling, Inc.
Pinnacle Associates
Chem RX Pharmacy Services, LLC
Farrell Fritz, PC
Trinity Automotive Services, Inc.
In Memory of Chris Waldorf ~
The Waldorf Family Foundation
The Koehler Organization
We acknowledge with Gratitude our
Dominican Sisters of Amityville
Development Office
555 Albany Avenue / Amityville, NY 11701
In order to steward our resources wisely, we ask that those who
would like to be removed from our mailing list or prefer to hear
from us only by email, please let us know. We are also happy to
share our newsletter with your family and friends who would
like to receive it. Contact us at 631-842-6000 ext 269
or email the editor: [email protected] Thank you!
we never sell our mailing or email lists to other organizations.