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Dominican Sisters, Citizen of the Year 2020

Posted on March 4, 2020


Dominican Sisters COY

The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael have had an unparalleled impact on the community in the areas of education, social justice and health care. For more than 100 years, the Sisters have provided uncompromising leadership in the community through their extensive education mission at Dominican University, The Garden School, San Domenico School, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for individuals over 50 years of age, providing an educational world with a variety of courses to meet the inquiring minds of many of our community members.

The Sisters’ dedication to the local community and the world at large is unsurpassed. For many years in San Rafael they, and the college that they started and fostered, have been an unparalleled asset for our growing City. They have provided a beautiful campus atmosphere centered in a residential area, attracting students from around the world. They have shared their campus and resources with the public at large. Angelica Hall provides a wonderful venue for guest speakers and authors to talk to hundreds of local residents. The Santa Sabina Center is a unique sanctuary in Marin where people of all beliefs and cultural backgrounds can find sacred space and contemplative quiet. The Sisters share this space with others for retreats, musical programs, conferences, private study and reflection, etc.

Their involvement in social justice issues from immigration to affordable housing to advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable in our community has been a beacon of inspiration and hope for all; and

In an age where incivility permeates all levels of our society, the Sisters have shown us what it means to be thoughtful, patient and understanding. This was the case when the Sisters pursued the Yellow Hallway at Lourdes Convent project, opening their home to house two single mothers and their small children. The Sisters spent nearly two years in the process, attending all City meetings and meeting with neighbors, spending their own funds to remodel and bring the Convent wing into compliance with Code requirements, in order to welcome two previously homeless families under their Dominican roof. These women and their children are experiencing living in a safe, loving home environment, benefiting from the support and companionship of the Dominican Sisters. There aren’t many who would voluntarily open their home to house the homeless. The Sisters did it voluntarily and not without spending countless hours, dollars and even their own elbow grease (the Sisters painted the wing themselves) to see their dream of sharing their home with the less fortunate become a reality.

The Sisters collective accomplishments of their quiet determination has bettered not only our community but also everyone they have touched. They are silent warriors who continue to persevere, selflessly pursuing their vision statement: “We reverence and affirm the inherent dignity of each person. We will work for transformation of attitudes and systems that deprive any person of dignity.” All this for others and without any expectation of acknowledgement. Remarkable, unsung, influential and visionary leaders, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. The Sisters walk the walk and talk the talk, working tirelessly to advance positive change in our San Rafael community and the world.

The San Rafael City Council expresses its appreciation to The Dominican Sisters efforts on behalf of their community and hereby awards them the Richard O’Brien and the Mary Ferrario O’Brien Citizen of the Year Award.

Congratulations Dominican Sisters!

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