**Carol Lemelin, OPA, and Anita Watson, OPA, are two of our new Dominican Associates of Peace who made their first commitment as Associates on August 9, 2015. Read their reflections below regarding God’s invitation and call to us. [Dominican Associates of Peace are Christian women and men in mission with the Dominican Sisters of Peace who strive to be radically open to ongoing conversion into the peace of the Risen Christ. Read more.]
Associate Carol Lemelin, OPA, writes: “The day after my husband died, my sons and I went to Staples to buy the poster boards, glue sticks, etc. for the photo array which seems to have become de rigeur for funerals these days. While we there my son said, ‘I think this will change how I see people in stores for the rest of my life. You never know what people are going through even as they are doing mundane things like this. This is the worst day of my life and I’m in Staples!’
I thought of this as I read Matthew 19:16-22 where the young man asks Jesus what more he should be doing to find favor with God. Jesus told him, ‘Come, follow me.’ Now the young man had said that he obeyed the commandments, gave to the poor and did all the things an honorable person should do. But Jesus responded, ‘Come follow me.’ Well, isn’t that what the young man was doing? Aren’t the commandments and good works all that is needed to live a life in Christ?
Not according to Jesus. A life lived in Christ requires us to see each human being as just that, a human being exactly like ourselves and to act accordingly. Wars, civil strife and crime all have one thing in common. It is required that we dehumanize one another in order to kill. Many years ago, John Donne wrote, ‘Every man’s death diminishes me.’ That is a true statement. We are all alive on this planet; all the creations of God, bound by our common origins and connected intimately with one another.
So how do we go about this? Does this require heroic effort? Not really. It is pretty simple. Give up the grudge, forget past hurts, forgive, ask forgiveness, blow the horn less, be patient, genuinely look at people as you go about your life and remember that you don’t know anything about anybody’s true life so you have no right to judge. In every situation if you listen you can hear Jesus say, ‘Follow me.'”
Associate Anita Watson, OPA, writes: “I am both humbled and honored to be connected with this inspiring community of Dominican Sisters of Peace through the Associate relationship. Being an Associate allows me to share in their mission – to praise, to bless, to preach according to the uniqueness of my gifts and talents and the situation in which I live. This program is a powerful reminder to me of my baptismal call and confirmation courage to go forth and evangelize for Christ.
True to the spirit of St. Dominic and the example of the lay Dominican, St. Catherine, I want to live a life of prayer and contemplation. I intend to use study, particularly Scriptures and the writings of and about the Dominican saints to keep me inspired.
Through a sense of community with the Dominican Sisters and the multitude of Associates in many, many states, I want to keep in contact with as many as I possibly can. M. Scott Peck is quoted on Pace e Bene: ‘You are not likely to be able to act on behalf of peace without a community to empower you.’
My ministry is putting the spirit of St. Dominic in action among the sick, impoverished, and dying in the large apartment complex where I live. (On August 19 we had three ambulances and a hearse at our doors.) My greatest honor is to be able to offer the Eucharist to homebound Catholics here. (Occasionally I get to walk their dogs when they are sick or in the hospital.)
My life has definitely changed since I began discernment to become what I am so proud to be, a Dominican Associate. I am extremely grateful for this privilege.”