Margarita Solis-Deal has served as director of Dominican Center at Marywood since 2015. A ministry of Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, Dominican Center embraces the Sisters' pillars of prayer, study, community, and ministry. As Dominican Center's director, Margarita pulls from previous experiences to design and develop programs as well as to manage the center's day-to-day operations.
Margarita holds a master's degree in social science administration (social work) from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor's in social work from the University of Akron. Her career began at Indiana University's renowned outdoor leadership and camping center, Bradford Woods, where she served first as camp director, then as general manager. Margarita worked to further Bradford Woods' mission of serving those with disabilities and those seeking personal growth and team experiences.
After 14 years with Bradford Woods, Margarita felt a pull to serve the growing Latino community in Indianapolis and spent six months in Bolivia strengthening her Spanish skills. When she returned to the States, she worked with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as coordinator of Hispanic Ministry with a goal to ensure that the Latino community felt included and participated into the fullness of the Diocese.
Following her seven years with the Diocese, Margarita and her husband moved to Antigua, Guatemala. There she served as the in-country director for Faith-in-Practice, a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization that seeks to improve the physical, spiritual, and economic conditions of the poor in Guatemala through short-term surgical, medical, and dental mission trips and health-related educational programs.
While in Guatemala, Margarita's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After nearly two years in Guatemala, Margarita returned to the States to care for her mother. Caring for her mother became Margarita's primary focus and, in some ways, her most enriching and spiritually-deepening experience. While caring for her mother, Margarita worked for Catholic Charities within the Palm Beach Diocese in Florida. As program administrator of refugee and resettlement services, Margarita and her program team served mostly Cuban and Haitian immigrants fleeing from their countries due to impoverished and oppressive living conditions.
As her mother’s disease progressed, Margarita and her family felt it best to move Margarita's mother closer to her family in Michigan. As she cared for her in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Margarita worked as program director for Growing Hope, an organization whose primary mission is to foster an equitable and sustainable local food system where all people are empowered to grow, sell, buy, prepare, and eat nourishing food. It was there that Margarita gained a true sense of food justice issues that impact so many in the United States.
As the disease process for Margarita’s mother worsened, Margarita was able to move her mother into a warm and nurturing home where she received daily care. It was at this time Margarita moved into the director position at Dominican Center, a role she presently holds. Here at Dominican Center, Margarita feels she is able to channel all her experiences into furthering one mission. She is dedicated to advancing social justice, offering spiritual formation and contemplative programming for spiritual seekers, and providing a hospitable space for those needing quiet, sacred space for conferences, events, and retreats.