We are part of Divine Insanity

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting, OP

The grave could not hold him. No one people could possess him. No one sect or religion or culture could claim the Christ as theirs alone. The Spirit of God, of Jesus the Risen One, continued to surprise and shock and amaze and scandalize—not just in Galilean synagogues, or Samaritan towns, or Centurions’ households, or the courts of the Temple in Jerusalem– but in a blessed rampage from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. The Spirit prodded them and preceded them, beyond their boundaries, their ideas of clean and unclean, rich and poor, man and woman, slave or free, Jew and Gentile. This is the story we are following in the Acts of the Apostles.

But the Gospel we have been hearing along with Acts, prompts the question. What about the sheepfold? What of the safety in containment, the expectation of a voice they knew to guide them and guard them? What of their trust in the faithful presence of the one who called and named them? Jesus reiterates his abiding care, the comfort and clarity of a familiar call, his naming us with love. But now– the Risen Jesus has penetrated the walls, the Voice has dispersed into a hundred languages, the gates of the sheepfold have blown open in a mighty wind. Anyone can go out. Anyone can come in. The sheep to be gathered roam all over the earth.

The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of apostles and disciples dealing with surprise after surprise. The fearful preach boldly. Boundaries are crossed. Arguments ensue. The unacceptable becomes acceptable and then the norm.  But even as their souls were seared and strengthened, their hearts opened in joy beyond any known dimension, they had lost the Jesus they thought they knew, as the Risen One sent forth the Spirit.

Through the Christian centuries two realities grate against one another: the comfort of boundaries and protective fences, the strength in a particular community and its norms, versus the disturbances of the Spirit (the rattling of our cages). We cover our ears against intruding voices, even as the Gospel demands new hearing and new languages. We retreat into the fold of the familiar, the peace of restful waters even as wars and hatred ravage the landscapes of our earth and demand our presence as active lovers and peacemakers.

Jesus is risen. His glory pervades the universe. His Word cannot be chained; his Spirit cannot be tamed. This is our faith. His promise is to be with us always, and that we will be brought together, one flock and one shepherd. The catch is, that on any given day, he hands the staff over to you or me or any number of sheepish humans, and tells us to carry it. Shall we open or shut the gate, shall we gather or scatter? It’s Divine Insanity, as Catherine of Siena told God, to love us enough to trust us as partners, so to speak, in the work of salvation. But that’s what we’ve been carrying on about this Easter Season. Earth unites with heaven, and humankind is bonded to God. It doesn’t demand human clarity. An Alleluia will be just fine. Yes, Alleluia!

Posted in Weekly Word

Marian Foundation gives a Major Gift to the Dominican Learning Center

Central Ohio Adult Learning Center teaches ESL, ABE, GED

Columbus, OH – The end of the school year may be right around the corner, but at the Dominican Learning Center in Columbus, classes are just beginning. And thanks to a generous gift from the Marian Foundation of Columbus, the Dominican Learning Center will be able to continue its work of providing education to adults across Central Ohio.

Founded in 1954, the Marian Foundation is a Columbus-based charitable trust that supports service organizations for educational, scientific, religious and charitable programs. The Foundation’s trustees have made a $5,700 gift to the Dominican Learning Center.

“We are so grateful to the Marian Foundation for this generous gift,” said Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Director of the Dominican Learning Center. “The Marian Foundation has supported us for a number of years because we dedicate every dollar of their support to our learners.” Continue reading →

Posted in News

Preaching the Gospel through Shareholder Advocacy

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

Executive compensation. Incentive plans. Increasing numbers of common stock. Accelerated vesting of equity awards. Vote tabulation. These are corporate phrases that I rarely paid attention to before. Understanding that I felt a call to justice work, I had no need to surround myself with corporate verbiage and technical terms that I assumed would never affect me. Yet my role as Justice Promoter has quickly transformed me into a pseudo-corporate detective as I work with our proxies and our socially responsible investments.

Signing petitions, writing letters, calling legislators, and walking in marches are all ways to support just causes and make our collective voice heard. Yet we know there is beauty in diversity, and we can find multiple, effective ways to bring about change. One of those ways is through shareholder action.

As much as I wish we could easily change the system by changing hearts, telling stories, and forming relationships (and that is often an effective avenue to change!), I also realize that money talks, especially in the corporate boardroom. As shareholders, we have the ability to advocate for issues that are important to us and hold corporations accountable. We can ensure they know they have a responsibility to take care of their employees, to take care of the Earth, and to take care of all those they serve.

Investors have advocated for policy changes that have proved very effective over the long-term (although they are often slow victories to win, as is most systemic change work). Shareholder advocacy has been very effective in getting businesses to adopt sustainability standards and greenhouse gas emission limits, committing to sustainable sourcing, adopting human rights policies, and addressing supply chain risks. We now find ourselves at a critical time to protect the victories we’ve achieved through shareholder advocacy and ensure shareholders have a voice that will continue to be heard. Currently, before the House Financial Services Committee, there is a bill called the Financial CHOICE Act. Part of the legislation would curb the ability of small investors to bring issues to a shareholder vote during annual meetings. As shareholders, we have a moral responsibility to stand up for those without a voice at the table. Please click to review a letter about the Financial Choice Act and actions you can take today.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Witnessing for the Both And…

Blog by Marybeth Auletto, OPA, Columbus, OH.

One of the reasons I embrace being a Dominican is our call to study. Long before I became an associate, I was drawn to spiritual and social justice readings and have been blessed with friends who have turned me on to authors such as Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister, and Ann LaMotte. I do not think it a coincidence that these friends are also now Dominicans and together our study has expanded to include Sr. Diana Culbertson, OP, John Dear, and Pope Francis, to name a few.

Often, the most challenging part of study is when you finish it and say, after prayerful contemplation as an individual and as a group, “Ok,  how does what I read fit into my ministry…my faith life…my prayer life…the other parts of the Dominican Charism?” Laudato Si provided a powerful opportunity to grow in how we lived out our mission of caring for the earth.

A few weeks ago, I attended a local gathering/march in honor of Earth Day.  Earth Day events have been happening for years, but I believe this was likely the best-attended event of late, due to the “Science” theme that drew not only environmentalists but teachers, doctors, grandparents – all who believe in “science, not silence!”

There was a sign-making table and I had noticed that unlike most previous marches/gatherings I have attended, there seemed to be a lack of signs that were faith-based.

I am not an artist but managed to come up with what I thought was a meaningful slogan and added some symbols…and then anxiously waded back into the crowd.  I began to feel self-conscious…will the younger people think me weird? Was this sign even appropriate? After several minutes of scanning the signs, I was relieved to see another person of my generation with a sign similar to mine. At the end of the march, a man who looked to be in the millennial age bracket came up to me and told me he liked my sign. I hoped my smile and sincere thanks expressed the gratitude I felt from his affirmation!


Posted in Associate Blog

Am I toxic and/or part of a toxic religion?

Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

Recently I was in Denver for the Dominican Sisters of Peace West Mission Group meeting.  Sisters Pat Dual, June Fitzgerald and I presented a session on intercultural living to our Sisters there.  Since we had an extra day on Sunday, Pat and I went with Sister Adeline for a drive in the mountains where we also stopped to eat at a locally owned restaurant.  As we entered the restaurant, the owner came over to greet us at our table, curious to know who we were since the restaurant is off the beaten path and his most frequent customers were likely the folks in the area plus motorcycle riders out for a Sunday ride.  When Pat told him that we were Catholic Sisters, he said, “I am non-religious, but I try to watch people, see what they need and treat them well. “  He said again, “I try to treat people well.  The only problem I have is with toxic religions which damage people.”  We talked a little more with him and then as he left our table, he asked the waitress to give us soup and salad on the house.

His words stayed with me.  Am I toxic in my zeal to preach the living and loving God?  Do I offer to others the love, mercy, and forgiveness which I hope to receive from God and from others?  Am I part of a religion which is toxic to certain groups of people, divorced and remarried Catholics, women, LGBTQ+, Blacks, Muslims, those economically challenged?  Some of our teachings ostracize people, some of our practices keep people from sharing their gifts and talents to their full potential, some of our practices keep people at a distance because of how they look, and sometimes, issues like racism are not treated with the urgency required at this time.

And while, as a religious group Catholic Christians are some of the most generous, work consistently for justice, work to break down walls, and help to provide economic opportunities for those living in poverty, we have to continue to grow in our understanding of people who are different from ourselves and what we have always known and believed.  We are challenged to listen anew to the many different needs of the many different people in our world so that we are not toxic to anyone in our teachings and practices.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, we heard the story of the martyrdom of Stephen in our liturgy.  Stephen proclaimed Jesus as the Son of Man who was seated at the right hand of God.  Stephen, like the One he followed, died for his proclamation and beliefs.  The people covered their ears and rushed upon him to throw him out of the city and to stone him.  How often do I close my ears and try to shut out what is challenging to my beliefs, practices, and values?  How open am I to hear the new, to look for the true bread that gives life to the world, true bread which might take the form of a restaurant owner in the Rockies?

We are reminded in our Easter season readings that Jesus is our Bread of Life.  In Jesus we will never hunger or thirst, but will be given what we need to live in love.  As we become bread of life with Christ and with each other – willing to be blessed and broken—may we, too, become true bread for the life of the world.  May the Holy Spirit lead and guide us.

If you are interested in pondering questions related to mission, service, prayer, and justice, you might want to check out the opportunity “Pray, Serve, Reflect” from May 18-21, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio with our vocations team.  Click here for more information and to register.

Click here for a few photos of the Rocky foothills close to Denver!

Posted in God Calling?