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February 12, 2013 > A "Bold Awakening"

A "Bold Awakening"

In a meeting at the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose Motherhouse in Fremont on February 6th, Sister Gloria Marie Jones, O.P. welcomed a "Circle of Partners" and spoke to this group of concerned citizens about a three year planning process of "dreaming, exploring and planning." The result is a "Bold Awakening" with the community to focus on relationships and possibilities, "shaping a vision for a shared future."

Plans include expansion and renovation of residential facilities, increased visibility of educational efforts in fine arts, health & wellness, sustainable living and spirituality as well as inclusion of memory care facilities in partnership with Alzheimer's Services of East Bay (ASEB). The result will be enhanced community involvement, sustainability and adult day care, family support and education/outreach services to local families.

Although the Sisters have participated in community education and health since their inception in 1876, the move toward a more community-centered approach can be considered a paradigm shift. Over years of planning and prayer for guidance, the result S. Gloria termed a "graced moment" and "leap of faith," uniting religious and community organizations. This collaboration will increase community vitality and develop a "faith based model of memory care." Expressed as the birth of something special, City of Fremont Human Services Director Suzanne Shenfil has been dubbed "Midwife" of the process. Replacement of St. Joseph's Priory and expansion of the facilities on the Dominican Sisters grounds is "a concrete expression of a bold awakening."

Motherhouse Administrator Sister Karen Elizabeth Zavitz, O.P. shared the vision of the process in a Dominican Sisters newsletter, saying, "The vision of our BOLD Awakening in the U.S. is to integrate all of our energies and resources to re-imagine, revitalize and transform our religious life for the sake of inspiring our Dominican preaching mission into the future."

Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison spoke of the Sisters as "an amazing group with a new strategic plan" that exemplifies their purpose to serve the young, poor and vulnerable.

ASEB Executive Director Micheal Pope expressed her group's excitement to collaborate with the Dominican Sisters and be a vital part of the community. She commented that all partners in this endeavor share the same goal, a community that allows its citizens to "age with dignity and respect." Since 1989, ASEB has been providing Adult Day Care, Family Support, and Education & Community Outreach Services to provide a safe, caring, and stimulating environment for participants of all ages and respite and information for caregivers.

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