Mountains of Oppression Cannot be Moved by my Depression – Bella

Catherine Arnold, OP
Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

Do you get saddened by the suffering of so many in our world today? Is it hard for you to read or see the news when it is filled with violence and injustice? What can one person do to make a difference?

One of the students in our most recent Leadership for Peace* class wrote the words used as the title of this blog and described the positive influence of her instructor, Dr. Julie Putnam Hart PhD, Assoc Prof of Sociology and Peace & Justice at Ohio Dominican University and of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Bella wrote of personal growth and strong relationships as ways to build peace and justice, when and where injustices abound. She and the other students took classes on non-violent social change and interpersonal negotiation and mediation, helping them learn how to stragegize for social change and how to practice skills in conflict resolution. Other students had the following comments:

I decided to do the Leadership for Peace* program because I am a social work major and can use the skills I have gained in my social work. …I feel I will approach situations with a more calm and peaceful way. I can evaluate things more accurately and understand how to advocate without violence. Leadership for Peace does require a time commitment but it is worth it. – Janae

I greatly value the class times and projects. These experiences enriched me in all my relationships by giving me positive ways to respond to others in all areas of my life. I’m very grateful for my mentor. These classes have shown me other tactics that all persons can benefit from in a pursuit of patient and real demonstrations of peaceful acts. Not only does it offer genuine practical skills to meet social concerns, I would see it as an opportunity for women to find their voices in supporting good within the members and on a group level as well. – Anne

The Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus honored eight students on April 18, 2015, when Dr. Hart and the students came to the Motherhouse dining room for dinner followed by the presentation of certificates. In addition to their participation in the two classes at ODU, the students also had the opportunity to come for dinner and prayer and to have a Sister or Associate mentor for the year. They also participated in an orientation day and/or a trip east in October when some visited our Sisters in CT and NY, including a visit to the United Nations and ODU grad, Kelly Litt, who is working in the office of Margaret Mayce, OP, NGO Representative of the US-based Dominican Leadership Conference to the UN. 

Sr. Therese Leckert and Dr. Hart presented certificates to Shakita Kabicek, Janae Stokes, Courtney Goldsbury (absent), Izabella Bogin, Dena Johnson, Sr. Emma Malisawa, Sr. Comfort Okoro, and Anne Shea. A big thank you goes out to Sr. Margaret Ormond and the Leadership team for their ongoing support of the project.

And when you are feeling like one person cannot make much difference, remember that TOGETHER we can make a difference in our personal life, family life, community life, and in the world.  Bella’s testimonial poem is included below. Plus, click here for photos.

Bella’s Poem (written at completion of Leadership for Peace at ODU 2014-2015)

I had a dream, I had a passion 
for showing others my compassion
You showed me how, you told me when you made me happy, full of zen 

You taught me courage, peace, and love
You’re like my saviors from above 

You showed me mountains of oppression cannot be moved by my depression 
You said that change requires growth and showing others what they’re worth

You made it clear that God is here in every person far and near 
You said that truth is love and peace 
You helped me realize all this 

You pushed me to achieve my goals 
you heard the struggles of my soul 

You made me want to do so much 
Please always stay in touch!

*Leadership for Peace – a collaborative project of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Ohio Dominican University

Posted in God Calling?

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