Sister Vera Ann Tilmann

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever!” - Psalm 136:1

Jubilarian 2017 – 60 Years a Sister

Diamond Jubilee – sixty years! The power of GRATITUDE and acknowledgment of the many blessings in my life have been the source of much JOY throughout these sixty years. My deepest thanks to my Dominican Community, family, and friends.

I was taught by the Grand Rapids Dominicans during my grade school years. Since my family lived but a short distance from the convent, it was easy to be influenced by the Sisters. I entered Marywood in 1956, and soon realized that being “Dominican” meant study, study! I completed BA and MA Degrees at Aquinas College, and further studies included an MA Degree from Central Michigan University.

My life has been dedicated to Education – teaching or administration in schools in Grand Rapids, Byron Center, Lowell, Bay City, and Coopersville. During twenty of those years, I sang with the Mellow D’s. After retiring from full time teaching, I spent thirteen years developing and directing The WORD Project After-School Program for at-risk children.

Presently, I tutor/mentor at schools in Grand Rapids and at The Creative Youth Center. I feel so blessed to be able to continue doing what I love and I surely continue to “rejoice in every good thing God has given to me!” (Deut. 26:11)

Favorite leisure activities include reflection/ solitude/prayer time, reading, traveling, playing cards with Sisters and lay friends, spending time in nature, knitting, listening to music, and biking.


Vera Ann Tilmann was a school teacher and administrator for nearly 40 years. As she considered her ministry after retirement from teaching she said, I became determined to spend my retirement years trying to arrange for free tutoring for children who could not afford it. Today, she spends time one-on-one tutoring and mentoring children and youth in reading and writing.

2022 – 65 Years a Sister

Prayer Ministry

Pray for world peace

Sr. Vera Ann and a student from Sibley Elementary School in Grand Rapids share a book together. “A little one-on-one help can make a difference for students confidence in and love of reading,” says Sr. Vera Ann Tilmann.

Knitting for the Santa Claus Girls to help supply hats and mittens to area children who need them.

Sr. Vera Ann led the Dominican Sisters WORD ministry, which was originally based at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Grand Rapids. Through WORD, adults received English-as-a-second language lessons from Sisters and other volunteers. Additionally, students in grades one to eight worked one-on-one with volunteers after school four days a week to improve their reading skills. In 2008, 10 years into the program, an estimated 21,000 volunteer hours had been logged. “A little one-on-one help can make a difference for students confidence in and love of reading.” Read about the WORD program today.

Sr. Vera Ann Tilmann pitched in to care for the Prairie Habitat at Marywood with Srs Roxane Dansereau, Joan Thomas, and Lucille Janowiak. Her appearance “to work in the garden” drew some laughter from her long-time Sister friends. “Sr. Vera Ann is not one you typically find digging in the dirt.”

WORD ESL Tutor Sr. Vera Ann Tilmann with students.

In ministry with Sister Vera Ann Tilmann, OP

Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids 2017 Jubilarians


Dominican Associate Advisory Board


A Jubilarian Shares Her Story – Sr. Vera Ann Tilmann, OP


Creative Youth Center Lets ‘Their Imaginations Soar’