NEW HAVEN – Two New Haven Dominican Sisters of Peace are celebrating their golden anniversaries this year and a third is marking the 60th anniversary of her final vows.
Sister Virginia Bruen and Sister Maryann Lawlor are the golden jubilarians. Sister Maria Beesing is observing her 60th anniversary.
Sister Virginia is the director of the Siena Learning Center in New Britain. She has been a lifelong educator who taught in the primary grades in Ohio, New Mexico, New York and Puerto Rico. She became the director of residents at Albertus Magnus College in 1980 and later director of students. She served as the director of campus ministry and taught at Ohio Dominican College in Columbus, Ohio.
From 1990-1996, she served as a member of the general council of the St. Mary of the Springs congregation, which merged with six other Dominican foundations in 2009 to become the Dominican Sisters of Peace. For 10 years, Sister Virginia was a pastoral minister in Marion, Ohio, and was a mentor to women who were in the process of becoming Dominican Sisters. She was named director of Siena Learning Center in 2007.
“As a Dominican Sister, I have had a wonderful life with its joys, challenges and sorrows. These 50 years have given me many opportunities to meet and serve people from various cultures and ethnic backgrounds,” said Sister Virginia. “My varied ministries have been about empowering others regarding their place in society or the church or with their personal lives. Through these people, I have been empowered and encouraged to be the best I can be.”
Sister Maryann has been an educator all 50 of her years as a Dominican Sister. For 17 years, she taught in grade schools in a number of New York parishes as well as for a year in San Juan, P. R. She then was director of religious education for four years at a parish in Ossining, N.Y., and for 12 years at a parish in Pearl River, N.Y. She currently is the director of the Springs Learning Center.
“At the Springs Learning Center in New Haven, we strive daily to bring God’s peace to the many adult immigrants who have come to the United States seeking to learn a new language and to become citizens,” said Sister Maryann. “We offer a place of solace, refuge, safety and peace in which cultures are shared and hope is alive.”
Sister Maria Beesing ministers in the community’s House of Welcome at St. Stanislaus Parish for women who are discerning a call to religious life. Sister Maria helped to establish this house and has served there since its inception in 2013.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace serve in a number of cities in the Archdiocese of Hartford, founded Albertus Magnus College in New Haven in 1925 and, more recently, opened adult learning centers in Fair Haven and New Britain where they work with adult learners building skills for reading, writing and speaking English.