June 7, 1949 – June 30, 2023
“The finished, polished work carries my spirit way beyond me...”
Born June 7, 1949, Lucianne was one of six children of Clarence and Evangeline (Somerfield) Sieroslawski. In 1954, when Lucianne was five years old, the family legally changed its name to an Americanized, shorter version, Siers. Lu, as she was fondly known by family and friends, grew up in Saginaw, Michigan with her close-knit, religiously fervent family of three brothers and two sisters.
Grade school was with the Dominican Sisters at St. Mary’s Cathedral School in Saginaw, Michigan. For her high school years, she attended Marywood Academy as a boarder, graduating in 1967. Lu and her Marywood classmates maintained close ties over the years and relished their time at class reunions.
Lu entered the congregation in the fall of 1967 and made her first profession in 1969 with final profession five years later in 1974. Ever an eager student, Sister Lucianne received two degrees from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a BA (major English) and an MA in Religious Education from the AIRS program (Aquinas Institute of Religious Studies). These were followed by an MA (Systematic Theology) from Boston College and a DMin (Missiology and Catechesis) from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC and a Certificate (Spiritual Direction) from Fordham University, New York.
Creativity and confidence were overflowing in Lu’s personality; she was the embodiment of the arts, be it music, theater, film, or sculpture. Lu came to find working with stone a great release for her joy and soothing remedy for her sorrows. In 2005 she wrote, “I often find myself shedding tears as I carve. There must be something deep inside me that emerges and takes shape in stone.”
Her earliest missions were teaching junior high at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Grand Rapids; Sacred Heart, Saginaw; St. Mary, Gaylord; and St. Joseph and St. Boniface, both in Bay City. She later served the Diocese of Saginaw in two positions: Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and Coordinator of the Diocesan Ministry Institute.
In 1985, Sister Lucianne’s ministry extended beyond the borders of Michigan. She accepted the role of Associate Director of Religious Education in the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama. Then in 1993, under the auspices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, coordinated volunteers to aid the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe. She declared this one of the most profound experiences of her life. From 2002 to 2010, she directed the Partners for Global Justice as an NGO at the United Nations in New York City.
Sister Lucianne was appointed Regional Co-Promoter for North America by the International Dominican Commission for Justice and Peace in 2008. Sensitive to local and global injustices, Lu was ever persuading others to join her in planning and implementing projects to alleviate human suffering. At the same time, she recognized the need for play, lightheartedness, and laughter to partner with serious matters. Her playful qualities are legendary. Especially noteworthy was the creation of the UPPS or United Polish Postal Service – an ongoing excuse to entice friends and sisters into antics.
From 2012 to 2018 Sister Lucianne served as a Councilor on the Leadership Team of the Grand Rapids Dominicans. Upon completion of her term in office she joined the staff of Catholic Theological Union as Director of the Institute of Religious Formation and Hesburgh Sabbatical Program. In this role, she brought a passionate commitment to provide excellent theological background and a global perspective to those engaged in formation in religious life. She was equally passionate about providing quality continuing education for religious women and men in their senior years. The program she designed called “Reframing Retirement for Mission” helped dozens of elder religious engage in deep theological reflection as they shifted into new ways of being in mission. During the pandemic, her creativity and problem-solving gifts shifted into gear as she transferred the residential sabbatical program into a six- week online “Hesburgh Renewal Program.” Countless priests, sisters, and lay persons got a taste of the newest theological developments and experienced spiritual renewal through the impactful program she created.
Sister Lucianne’s creative endeavors over the years are too many to mention in this brief biography, however, some must be mentioned specifically. Many of her Sisters in the community recall her initiative in producing a choreopoem in collaboration with Sinsinawa Dominicans, Priscilla Wood and Carol Artery, entitled Peace in the Woods in 1988. She co-authored religious textbooks for senior high school students titled, Mission: Growing in Peace and Justice, published by the Center for Learning in Villa Maria, Pennsylvania and was the Executive Director for AIMM, a Leadership Conference of Women Religious project committed to providing inter-congregational collaborative ministry efforts of women religious in the Archdiocese of Louisville as they sought to address emerging needs.
Known for her ready hospitality wherever she lived, Lu welcomed friends and family with warmth and genuine delight. There was always room for one more at her table, always a space for a cot or sleeping mat if the beds were all taken.
When one Sister remarked at her calmness in hearing the difficult news of inoperable, aggressive cancer, Lu replied, “Well, there is nothing I can do about it, so I guess my part is to accept it.” Reflecting on her favorite artistic medium, that of stone carving, she wrote “the stone’s colors and lines emerge near the end.” Trust and acceptance of God’s abiding love were a hallmark of her life of faith. Once more thinking about her experience in shaping stone, she remarked, “the finished, polished work carries my spirit way beyond me.”
We who knew and loved Sister Lucianne are grateful for her lively spirit, her faith-filled life, which is now beyond us in body, yet ever present in our hearts.
Sister Lucianne is survived by her sisters Kathleen Callard, North Fort Myers, FL; and Susan (Fayaz) Stratton, Grand Ledge, MI; her brothers James (Mary Catherine) Siers, Saginaw, MI and Peter (Stephanie) Siers, Ann Arbor, MI; her sister-in-law Gloria Siers, Mt Pleasant, MI; nieces, nephews, many friends and members of her Dominican Community.
Entered eternal life on June 30, 2023 at the age of 74 after 55 years of religious life.
We commend Sister Lucianne to your prayers.
Sr. Lucianne directed the Institute of Religious Formation at Catholic Theological Union, facilitating a program to train men and women who lead formation programs in their communities. “It is a nine-month program invoking the question, ‘How do we do formation?’ “…we model what a formation program can be. So we develop prayer styles and reflection groups and study theology and Scripture and psychology and spirituality and religious life,” says Siers.
Her craft was stone sculpture. Her themes were to raise up women, children, and families.
Sister Lucianne Siers OP was elected to the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters Leadership Team for the 2012-2018 term. Pictured are Sister Sandra Delgado OP (Vicaress), Sr. Maureen Geary OP (Prioress), Sr. Lucianne Siers OP (Councilor), Sr. Mary Ann Barrett OP (Councilor)
Partnership for Global Justice awarded Sister Lucianne Siers the 2015 Peace and Justice Award. Sister Lucianne founded and served as executive director of the Partnership for Global Justice and also served on the NGO team at the United Nations.
Sister Lucianne Siers taught about threats to lives and planet, raising awareness about using more of the resources of Earth than can be renewed or replenished. “The most recent issue in our backyard is the water crisis in Flint,” says Siers. “The environment which nourishes our spirit is often destroyed by our desire and sometimes need for roadways, expressways and cost-cutting measures that are not well thought.