Watching and waiting…

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of watching and waiting over the past few months.  Watching and waiting for dear, dear friends to return to their loving God…. for April the giraffe to bring her beautiful little (yes, 129 pounds is little in the giraffe world!) son into the world ….for Lent to be over and Easter to arrive.  I’ve even spent some time waiting for paint to dry… on some gorgeous alcohol ink Easter eggs.  Watching and waiting …. very much like Mary Magdalene did before the Resurrection.

These opportunities to watch and wait have given me a chance to reflect on the idea of kenosis… emptying our own will so that we can receive God’s divine will.  We know that Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” and that he “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death.” (Philippians 2: 6-8)  St. Paul reminds us to take on that same attitude. So we empty our expectations of time… like how long it takes for paint to dry.  We empty our expectations of effort… like how much work it takes for a giraffe to have a baby.  We empty our expectations of control… like how little we can control the loss of a loved one.   We empty our expectations of our own importance and, like Jesus, humble ourselves.

These watching and waiting opportunities have also reminded me of the need for more contemplative time.  Time to gently let my thoughts go. to slow down and empty the myriad of thoughts in my crowded brain.  When I’m faithful to my meditation, I find that I’m more patient… more calm…. more open…. more accepting.

Easter season is a good time to celebrate and continue our kenosis- our watching and waiting.  We remember that after the dying, even dying on a cross, came the Resurrection.  We know our friends are in God’s loving embrace.  We applaud that an adorable little giraffe is standing on his own.  We enjoy brilliantly colored eggs.  With just a month until Pentecost, I hope you’ll join me as I continue my kenosis so that we can be ready to receive the Holy Spirit and open to allow our generous God to fill us with love.

Posted in Weekly Word

World Press Freedom Day: Advancing Truth and Promoting Justice

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

Back when I was in college, I lived in Washington, DC for a semester as I completed an internship. While there, I tried to soak up the life and culture of DC, often attending events, trying new food, and visiting as many museums as I could squeeze in.

One of the most impactful experiences during my time in DC was when I spent a Sunday afternoon in the Newseum, a museum that “promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.” Located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House, this museum speaks to the core values and principles that our nation was founded on.

While there, I recall spending time in the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery where I saw, experienced, and mourned Kevin Carter’s photo, “The vulture and the little girl.” This photo, taken in 1993, showed a collapsed and starving Sudanese toddler and a vulture standing in the background presumably waiting for her death. This picture shook me to my core and changed me deeply. My spark for justice was fanned from this experience as I decided I needed to work to create systemic change so that children, individuals, and families don’t have to experience the pain and suffering I witnessed through that picture.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, and the theme this year is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.” The press has a critical job in communicating to the public what is happening at all levels of government, in our communities, and around the world. Without this freedom, I may never have seen that photograph which could easily have been censored as inappropriate. Without this freedom, we wouldn’t have journalists who dedicate their time, and sometimes their lives, to exercising this right and to working toward truth and justice.

In this “post-truth era” that we continually hear about, it is crucial that we continue supporting freedom of the press and ensuring that the truth is always heard.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Dominican Kentucky Experience Extravaganza

Madison Wells, sophomore at Ohio Dominican University & member of the Dominican Young Adult Group

Truthfully, I never thought that April would come. We scheduled the trip for our Dominican Kentucky Experience Extravaganza in the fall and so much life happened in between the planning and the doing. Alas, the day finally came and all seven of us – three Sisters, two students, one Priest, and one Justice Promoter – squeezed into a van and hit the road. We were finally Kentucky-bound. We had our fair share of bathroom breaks and snack stops before we reached our first destination: The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. We toured the guest chapel and bookshop before heading in the main chapel to devote a half an hour of Vesper’s prayer with the monks. What a truly wonderful way to begin our trip by talking with our Lord in His House! I didn’t realize the power of taking 30 minutes to talk with God, especially when it’s difficult to find 10 minutes. It was truly a blessing. Afterwards, with it being a Lenten Friday, we found our way to a church with two great pastimes: bingo and a fish fry. (If you’re ever hankering for some quality bean soup, that church has it.) Finally, we made it to the St. Catharine Motherhouse. Continue reading →

Posted in Just Reflecting

Something Lost, Something Gained

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

Last Friday, someone asked me (kind of out of the blue): “Do you know what IHS means?” Surprised, I answered: “Well, yes it’s on my Profession Ring and I was told they are the Latin or Greek initials for Jesus Christ Savior.” And I held out my hand to show off the simple gold ring I have worn since making my final vows in 1965. In doing so, I was reminded of how much this symbol has meant to me over the years. Though I don’t think of it a lot, it has always been a quiet reminder that I have been given a special gift of a call to religious life as a Dominican Sister, and that I have given my life gladly in response to this gift, walking with and trusting God with “all I have, all I am, and all I will ever be” in vowed live in a community of prayer, study and service*. (*quote from Timothy Radcliffe, OP).

It was less than a couple of hours later when sitting down with a friend at a restaurant, I just happened to notice the ring was missing on my left hand. I was not aware of it having slipped from my ring finger, and could not imagine how or to where it would have disappeared. Alarmed, I began searching my pockets, my purse, the seat and floor around us. After finishing our meal, we both searched the ground all the way back to the car, around and inside the car—all to no avail. The ring was gone. The search has continued, but with less and less hope of finding it.  It was something precious to me, but now something lost!

As I reflected on my deep feelings of loss around this precious ring, I asked myself why was it so important to me? What meaning has it carried for me? It seemed that losing it was causing me to reflect on my graced life, stirring up deep gratitude as memories of sisters, classmates, friends and family, people with and among whom I have ministered, places where I was privileged to visit, live and/or minister came to my mind. So the shock of this loss was now gifting me with a renewed recommitment and an ever-deepening appreciation for all that this ring has symbolized for me.  Focusing on the countless precious gifts this life has poured on me these past 50+ years, the pain of losing it is receding. Yes, something lost, but also something gained… Is it time for me to simply hold on to the renewed and deepened meaning and let go of the symbol? Could be, but I am still asking St. Anthony to find it and return it to me if he can! And I probably will keep looking for it.

Have you ever lost something precious and find that in the losing, you have gained something more?

Posted in Associate Blog