There’s something exhilarating about being in a room with people who have put their trust in God and are devoted to doing good.
I experienced that invigoration this past weekend while meeting with our Associates Council. The meeting started on Friday evening and the agenda was packed, so my expectation was to come home exhausted.
Instead, I returned home on Sunday feeling energized and encouraged.
On the drive home, as I reflected on our time together, I was reminded that we have all been blessed with different talents and gifts and unique voices and that we can use those voices, gifts, and talents – individually and collectively – to change the world. Continue reading →
I like sitting in this one recliner at home because it offers me a place to just be – to be alone with my thoughts, and to just let whatever transpires to wash over me. Sometimes I fall asleep while reclining, sometimes I muse over the day’s events, and sometimes I just daydream, pondering whatever fills my mind and soul. Indulging in these moments of quietude can reveal memories both from the past and the present, from forgotten memories to memories I’d like to forget, and from joyous times to painful or challenging times. Always, however, these moments of just being fill me with the desire for more silent moments to rest in what I perceive as my moments of being in a holy presence. Continue reading →
I won’t argue about who had this thought first – Pope Francis or me – but I suggested this to the parishioners of Good Shepherd Parish in Shawnee, KS, at the close of their parish mission, and in the spirit and sparkle of Mardi Gras.
This Lent, let’s all give up GIVING UP. Let’s replace this preposition UP with a few others that might lead us into a less self-centered piety, a less individual practice of discipline. Lent is far more about our entering into the heart of Christ and his passionate saving love for humankind, our stepping out of personal penance to be more loving, merciful and compassionate.
How about Giving TO? Or Giving FOR? Or Giving OF? Or Giving IN? Or Giving BY? Or Giving THROUGH? Continue reading →
During my time with the Dominican Leadership Conference NGO to the United Nations, I learned about the numerous injustices plaguing women and girls in our world today. From human trafficking to forced child marriage to gender based violence and lack of educational and career opportunities, women around the world are discriminated against and targeted for their mere gender.
Even in the United States, where many believe women are provided endless opportunities, the disparity is clear. It seems we grow closer and closer to breaking through the “glass ceiling,” but fall short. While women are receiving more college and graduate degrees than men, and are often the bread-winner for their family, economic equality is still missing and poverty still disproportionately plagues women. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy and Research, “in 2015, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent,” and this statistic is even worse for Latina women and women of color.
As seen recently, the political glass ceiling is especially hard to break through. Only 104 women serve in Congress out of the 535 total seats which amounts to only 19.4% despite the fact women make up half of the population.
International Women’s Day is March 8th
Tomorrow, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the progress women have made as well as a commitment to continue pushing ahead toward equality. This year, the theme is “Be Bold for Change,” a call on the masses to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.
As part of the International Women’s Day, women from around the globe will be gathering in New York City at the United Nations for the Commission on the Status of Women. This year’s theme is women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. Sr. Judy Morris, OP will be attending the Commission this year as a Dominican representative from North American!
We know the immeasurable positive contribution women have made and continue to make in our world. May we continue to “be bold for change,” continuing to share our perspective, our truth, and our peace.
This sentence by Paul Rogat Loeb – Soul of a Citizen was recently quoted in PACE E BENE’s daily e-mail:
“We do not know where to start… we mistrust our own ability to make a difference. The magnitude of the issues at hand, coupled with this sense of powerlessness, has led too many of us to conclude that social involvement isn’t worth the cost… it’s what psychologists call learned helplessness.”
It reminded me of how overwhelmed I had felt when I spent three months visiting my Mother’s birth country, the Philippines. The trip was a silver jubilee gift from three western Kansas parishes where I was ministering at the time. It was in and around Quezon City, PI that I saw firsthand the extreme poverty and terrible conditions that millions of our brothers and sisters live in daily. I remember the feeling of powerlessness that gripped me in the face of so much oppression and suffering. Where does one start? and is there anything at all I can do that would make a difference?
These thoughts were heavy on my heart as a Dominican Sister from Pampanga traveled with me to northern Luzon to see the Banaue rice terraces.
Upon our arrival in the Banaue viewing area, we were greeted by the tiny Ifugao farming people who have lived in the region for over 2000 years. I felt tall standing next to them! We learned how they had cultivated the rice terraces field by field as their families and villages grew, cutting away at the mountains as their needs arose, catching and channeling the water to grow their rice, doing what was needed right in front of them to feed their family and villagers. And doing just that over time had transformed the entire mountain region into what we now commonly refer to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”!
Working Side by Side, Does Change the World
I’m sure the small farming people of the north did not have in mind to build a “wonder of the world”; but by each of them doing what he/she could do right where they were—and with their primitive hand tools– they had done it. What an image for me to hold onto as I returned to the overcrowded poverty area of Quezon City where I was staying, and as I came back to my home in Kansas! I still keep a picture of these rice terraces in my bedroom to remind me that one person –and other persons cooperatively working side by side—DOES change the world, DOES make a difference, even if we can’t see/imagine the final outcome. My daily challenge is: how am I using my ‘tools’ and gifts to do what is right in front of me to change the world into God’s kingdom on Earth; to BE PEACE, BUILD PEACE, PREACH PEACE?
We don’t want intolerance, discrimination, and racism to continue permeating our society; we disagree with and reject the anti-immigration, the denial of climate change, the disregard of people’s rights to clean air and pure water. Instead of being overwhelmed by the scope of these issues, let’s ask: what one thing can I do right where I am to contribute to the change I hope for?
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, then you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito!”