Can We Learn Peace from a Squirrel?

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen

How can a Dominican Sister of Peace find space in her daily life to BE PEACE, BUILD PEACE, and PREACH PEACE? There are many ways to live out this call. The story below is one example.

A sunny morning blessed with a gentle breeze beckoned me to take a short walk. Passing an apple tree, I felt something gently dropped onto my head.

“Oh, no! Is it poop from a bird?”  While scrubbing my hair to check, I looked around, up, and down. I saw apple pieces on the ground, and a squirrel in the apple tree biting an apple into small pieces and dropping them down.

“What a wasteful act! That’s why people don’t like you,” I said to the squirrel. However, I also paused to watch the squirrel enjoy its treat.  From my perspective, what the squirrel had been doing was wasteful; however, under the web of relationship in this small ecosphere, it might be an act of charity.  Many other creatures could not reach that apple – the squirrel was sharing the wealth with his less-agile neighbors.

Letting go of my prejudice towards his seemingly wasteful action, I felt freer to watch the squirrel enjoying the apple. I went on to work with a peaceful spirit and a deep appreciation of the web of relationships between all parts of nature, and toward God who creates this web.

Now, every time I pass this apple tree or see a squirrel, the memory above comes back, reminding me of the relationship that we are meant to share with those around us, just like my generous squirrel.

“Peace I give to you. My peace I have given to you.” God’s peace is overly abundant and comes in many forms, like in the story above. Our responsibilities are to recognize that peace, appreciate that peace, and share that peace with everyone we meet on a daily basis.

If you feel called to be God’s peace to the world or want to explore more about the life and mission of Dominican Sisters of Peace (, please contact our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling??, News

13 responses to “Can We Learn Peace from a Squirrel?

  1. Great story. So thought provoking. You are a good story teller. Bet there are more stories to tell of your experiences. We are blessed to have you here at the Ursuline Motherhouse and we are happy to share our squirrels with you. They are also eating our figs. Is there a story in that?

  2. Thank you, Maidung, for your beautiful and thought-provoking reflection! I’ll remember this every time I see a squirrel!


  3. Loved your story. As my mom was aging, i washed dishes and saw the squirrel in my mom’s apple tree, the only sign of active life. This stayed with me always.

    Bunny O’Brien, OPA, ct

  4. Yes we are blessed to have all God’s creatures teach us a lesson. One day I will share with you my experience with a dying Road Runner. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Fantastic message, Mai-Dung! Thank you! I especially noted that you spoke to the squirrel, even though perhaps you misunderstood her action. That helps us to learn that we are meant to be in relationship with all of life, not just with humans. As Native Americans would say, ALL are our relatives!

  6. Sr. Maidung, what a treasure in reflection you have shared with us. I have these little creatures all around me and particularly when I am visiting a friend here who shares food with them under her Feeder. Now I’m going to appreciate them from an entirely different perspective thanks to you!

  7. What a beautiful story of mother nature and how we miss so much if we do not stop to look and listen. Birds songs, butterfly’s.

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