Novena for Peace

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

As we move into the Easter Triduum, celebrating the three holiest days of the liturgical year, we pause to reflect on Jesus’ Passion, death, and resurrection.   When Jesus greets his disciples after his resurrection, his first words are “Peace be with You.”  These are important words for us to embrace and extend to each other.  May we be a people of peace, being peace, building peace, and preaching peace by what we say and do.

For nine days following Easter Sunday, the Vocations’ team for the Dominican Sisters of Peace invites you to participate in a novena for peace.  This special time of focused prayer, Scripture, song, meditation, and reflection will be a sacred time of joining our hearts and minds in pursuit of peace.

Starting on Monday, April 2 through Tuesday, April 10, we will post a daily reflection from our Vocations’ Facebook page that addresses a different theme of peace.  You can find the novena on Facebook at   Some days we will be praying the novena LIVE on Facebook.  (If we will be praying the novena LIVE on Facebook, we will let you know on that day’s Facebook posting.)  We will be posting and archiving this novena on the congregation’s “Become a Sister” webpage.

The themes for each day of the novena are noted below:

Join us as we pray for peace within ourselves and within our world.  May the Holy Spirit bless this novena as we seek to be peace, build peace, and preach peace.

Posted in God Calling?, News


Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

Today’s Gospel is a reminder of the painful times that Jesus had to face sometimes with his friends whom he called disciples. He tried to give them a message of hope, of compassion, and some responded with mistrust; a need for more than just hope for a good future but also for a successful present. They want it all and they want it now.

This is not news. This is how it is in 2018. Some members of the believing community will betray Jesus for just about anything: the right to run a stop sign ‘cause there is no traffic around; the right to complain bitterly when someone gets into the express check out line who should not have; the right to spread gossip and rumors; the right to deny people respect because they are not male, or are not white, or are not straight, or are not rich, or are not English speaking; the right to deny decent health care to everybody unless they can afford it.

Jesus was sad that evening when he realized how weak his disciples still were after all those days they spent with him. We can say that that would never be us, but, truth be told, it often is in big and little ways every day.

So go ahead and judge Judas or Peter, but let’s pray for ourselves each and every day that we can grow more grace filled and more committed to the words of our God than ever before. We have the heart and the courage to try always to do the best we can. The world needs a lot more people like that, and we need a lot more holy weeks!

Posted in News, Weekly Word


Quest for Peace

Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace.” 
(From the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Opening Prayer
Gracious God, I want to be on a quest for Peace in my heart and to know ways that I can share with others the Being, Building
and Preaching of Peace by my words and actions.  I trust that you will guide me and  I ask for this guidance from You.  I love you, God, and I want always to please you!  Amen.

Song: Prayer for Peace by David Haas

Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Lecture:
“I would like to use this lofty and historic platform to discuss what appears to me to be the most pressing problem confronting  (humankind) today.  Modern  (people) have brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future.  (They have) reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. (They have) produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space.  (They have) built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies.  (Their) airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere.  This is a dazzling picture of modern (people’s) scientific and technological progress.

Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing.  There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance.  The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.  We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living as brothers (and sisters).

Every (human being) lives in two realms, the internal and the external. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external.  We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the end for which we live. This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern man  (and woman).”

Martin Luther King speaks to the heart of each one of us!  Our outward actions must evolve from our inner spirit and become a blessing for ALL people. It seems that in the modern world, progress is made but it is progress without a heart. “What does it profit us to gain the whole world and yet suffer the loss of our soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

Questions for Reflection:

(Pause for a moment of silent reflection)

Prayers of Intention:
God, hear us.

  • Holy Spirit of God, awaken me to your presence within me and help me to know your way of peace, we pray.
  • Holy Spirit of God, help me to be a bright beacon of peace to all people around me, we pray.
  • Holy Spirit of God, help me to work with others to find peace and live in peace, we pray.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Lord God,  Teach me to trust in You so that when the unexpected storms of life come, I will expect PEACE in the midst of these storms knowing that You are near and that You hear my cries,  You are with me and for me!  Amen.

Dominican Blessing:    May God Creator bless us, May God Redeemer heal us and the Holy Spirit fill us with peace.

Suggested Practices:

  • Read and talk about peace to others. Help yourself and others to know the meaning of peace and to seek ways to be at peace.
  • Create a banner, large sign or peace pole and place it in a position where it can be a constant reminder to be peace.
  • Use the word “Peace” or  “Peace be with you” as a personal greeting to others in written messages and as a voice mail message.

Join us to Be Peace, Build Peace, and Preach Peace. You can reach us via email at

Please share this Novena on your Facebook page and forward it to at least 5 people. Thank you for joining us as we pray for peace.

 To download and print this reflection, please print here.

Prepared by Sister Mary Otho Ballard, OP, St. Catharine, KY.

Posted in God Calling?


Peace through the practice of non-violence

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.

Matthew 5:38 – 41 You have heard that it is said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evil doer.  But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.”

Song: Prayer of St. Francis,(Make Me A Channel of Your Peace)

Opening prayer:
Dear God, you call us to be peacemakers.  Yet, we do not know how to do this.  Help us to learn the holy stance and practice of non-violence.  May it fill our hearts, minds, and the very marrow of our bones.   May it drip from our fingers and flow in our speech.  May our hands always act non-violently and may our footsteps lead us in the way of peace.  May all that we do and are be filled with your non-violent spirit of peace.

The practice of non-violence is one that we need to live, model and teach others.  Jesus gave us some instruction for this practice in the Beatitudes, “if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”  We see him model heroic non-violence as he refuses to resist his own torture and death.  We can also look to modern day religious figures who practiced non-violence, such as Blessed Arch-Bishop Oscar Romero.  He grew in his understanding of the plight of the poor in El Salvador and he became a tireless non-violent advocate for their rights.  He too gave the ultimate sacrifice, with his life.

In the United States we have used non-violent means to change laws and social norms since the birth of our nation.  In the 1960s, we saw an example of this in the men and women being spit at and beaten as they sat at a lunch counter in segregated Mississippi.  They had trained for just such an encounter and they sat stoically as they were taunted and assaulted.  Just last month, we saw thousands of people, including some of our own Sisters and Associates, come together to march for an end to gun violence.  All of these are examples of non-violent actions to promote justice and peace.

Reflection Question:  How am I called to learn and practice non-violence in my life this day? 

(Pause for a moment of silent reflection)

Intercessory Prayer for Nonviolence:  by John Dear

Response:  God of Peace, hear our prayer.

  • That we might practice nonviolence as Jesus did, come to understand his creative non-violence, and obey his commandments of nonviolence: “put down your sword,” “Be compassionate as God,” and “love your enemies,” we pray:
  • For the coming of a new generation of peacemakers, for new teachers, prophets, apostles, champions and saints of Gospel non-violence, who will help the world turn from violence to non-violence, and so, fulfill our vocations to be the beloved sons and daughters of the God of peace, we pray:
  • That we might come to know and worship God as a God of peace and non-violence, who “makes the sun rise on the good and the bad, and causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust,” that we might become peacemakers who help end war and create a culture of nonviolence, and so, fulfill our vocations to be the beloved sons and daughters of the God of peace, we pray:

Closing Prayer:
Thank you for sending us Jesus to teach us the way of peace and non-violence.  We pray in gratitude for all of those who have modeled peacemaking through non-violence: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Rosa Parks, Daniel Berrigan, Oscar Romero and many other simple men and women.  May we learn to “act justly, love tenderly, and to walk humbly with our God, ” (Micah 6:8) as we too build peace through non-violent action.

Together, let us sing:  May God Creator bless us, May God Redeemer heal us and May God the Holy Spirit fill us with peace.

Suggested Practice: Today I will practice intentional breathing by saying inwardly, “Peace” as I inhale and “Love” as I exhale.

Join us to Be Peace, Build Peace, and Preach Peace. You can reach us via email at

Please share this Novena on your Facebook page and forward it to at least 5 people.  The Ninth Day of the Novena will be “Quest for Peace”

To download and print a copy of this reflection, please click here.

Prepared by Sister June Fitzgerald, OP, New Haven CT.

Posted in God Calling?


Peace within Family

1 John 4:19: “We love because you first loved us”

Song: A Prayer for Peace by David Haas

Opening prayer:
God of creation, from the beginning, you created family to teach us how to love and support each other. Many times, we fail to follow your will and your teaching of love. At this moment of family prayer time, we ask you to send your Spirit to inspire us with love and to be living examples of this love as your Son Jesus has showed us. May the Easter Peace continue to spread out in the family through the love we give to one another.

Family is the first basic community of love where a human being learns how to become a loving, compassionate person whom God has created.  In the family, peace and love are meant to be interwoven. Our presence to one another in love creates peace within the family; and peace within the family represents our love to another.

First, for peace to be present within the family, we have to balance the needs of others and our own self on a daily basis. We cannot become a peace advocate to our family if we are out of self-balance and not at peace.

Second, peace in the family does not require a giant deed but simple and kind acts. A hug, a smile, and a word of gratitude, comfort or apology can help each other feel peace and overcome life struggles.

Third, living peace within the family does not mean hiding in a place with no noise or no struggles, such as being silent in front of a screen for hours. Creating time to be together in love, both physically and spiritually, is the way to welcome peace into our family. It can be praying together every night, husband and wife helping each other to raise children, big sister helping younger brother doing homework, or family members spending time at soup kitchen together. You name them in your situation.

Peace within the family will be contagious if we love, care for, and listen to each other as well as accept the differences among each member.  Love generates patience and kindness.  “If we love one another, God remains in us, and God’s love is brought to perfection in us” (1John 4:12). Where love is, peace will be present.

Reflection Question: What gifts can I contribute to create my own peace and to spread peace throughout my family?

(Pause for a moment of silent reflection)

Prayer Intentions:

  • Holy Spirit, Come. Strengthen our faith, guide and send us to the bright and loving light. Help us to be the witness of love to each other. Teach children and spouses to feel love and appreciation of love today.  We pray, let peace be in the family and let it begin with me.
  • Holy Spirit, Come. Shower our home with the shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith. When darkness arrives, help us to find your presence and lead us to live in faith and love. We pray, let peace be in the family and let it begin within me.
  • God of Creation.  Protect all families.  Keep us united and may we stay strong together as the day passes. Equip us with your will each day and make us an instrument of your love and peace. We pray, let peace be in the family and let it begin within me.
  • Jesus, our Savior. Teach us to protect the right to life and value the dignity of each person in the family. Help us to follow examples of your Holy Family to raise our children to praise you and look to you in all things. We pray, let peace be in the family and let it begin within me.

Closing Prayer:  Your infinite love calls us to love one another. We humbly beg you for forgiveness for when we were not caring or patient with each other. In the spirit of Easter, teach us, Lord God, to recognize your presence in our family life. Shower our families with your peace.  May our practicing of love make us more patient, grateful and compassionate so your peace continues to shine out from within us. We ask this in the name of our Easter Jesus. Amen.

Dominican Blessing:  May God the Creator bless us, May God Redeemer heal us and May God, the Holy Spirit, fill us with peace.

Suggested Practice: I commit myself today to courageously ask for help, to do one kind act within my family and to be patient with others.

Join us to Be Peace, Build Peace, and Preach Peace. You can reach us via email at

Please share this Novena on your Facebook page and forward it to at least 5 people. Please join us for the Eighth Day of the Novena when we will pray for Peace through the Practice of Non-violence.

To download and print a copy of this reflection, please print here.

Prepared by Truc-Lan Nguyen, OPA, Louisville, KY.

Posted in God Calling?