Dominicans March in Memphis: walking in solidarity with all who seek justice

Blog by Sr. Cathy Galaskiewicz

In the spring of 1968 Memphis sanitation workers were on the move, marching for better wages and better working conditions.  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Memphis in April to support them.  On April 4th, during that visit, he was assassinated.

This April 4, 2018, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. King, the Order of Preachers, in concert with the Diocese of Memphis, gathered to pray and to march.  The National Shrine of St. Martin de Porres, housed in St. Peter Dominican Church, hosted the event.  Rev. Dr. Paul Watkins, OP, presided and preached at the Eucharistic liturgy.  Rev. Augustine DeArmond, OP, delivered an address written by Bishop Martin Holley, who was unable to be there, but had been very much a part of the planning of the event.  The Provincials of North America, along with Fr. Michael O’Rourke and other visiting Friars, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia-Nashville, Dominican Laity, and Dominicans of Peace Sr. Cathy Galaskiewicz and Associates Tine Williams, Ann Warlick and JoAnne O’Brien created a strong Dominican presence. Diocesan clergy, faculty and students from Christian Brothers University, Christian Brothers High School, an elementary Catholic School in Mississippi as well as many parishioners of St. Peter and other parishes gathered for worship.

The March followed the words of dismissal from the Mass, “Go, you are sent forth!”  The Christian Brothers High School Band led the March down Main Street in the heart of downtown Memphis.  The distinctive banners said who we were.  The 30+ Friars in their full habits along with children, men, women of various ages, races, and theological persuasions provided a visual image of the People of God, walking in solidarity with all who seek justice through prayer, witness, and action.

The 1.3-mile March ended at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was killed. The building has been enlarged and transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum.  Its most notable feature is the preservation of the room where Dr. King was staying and the balcony where he was shot.  Across the street one can enter the bathroom where his assassin took aim and fired the fateful shot.  Thousands visit this museum each year.

We arrived at this destination where a large old-fashioned garbage truck stood at the entrance to the courtyard.  Hundreds of people had been gathered there for a program that lasted all day, with a variety of speakers paying tribute to Dr. King and challenging all to continue his work for justice, for an end to poverty and for world peace.  At 6:00 p.m. a bell tolled, and the entire city observed this moment of silence.  Then bells could be heard tolling throughout the city, remembering the Drum Major for Justice who Dreamed a Dream that has begun to be fulfilled.

But there is so much more to be accomplished:  the opening of minds and hearts to one another and to all.

*Excellent coverage of the Dominican activities and march are shown in this video: . There is also information about the National Shrine of St. Martin de Porres located in Memphis.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Sister Mary O’Hara

Sr. Mary O’Hara, OP

Sister Mary (Sr. Eulalia) O’Hara

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary (Sr. Eulalia) O’Hara, OP, (77), died at the Mohun Health Care Center on May 1, 2018. She was born in 1940 to Margaret Davis and Michael O’Hara in Pittsburgh, PA. She entered Dominican life in 1960 at the convent of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and served faithfully for 55 years.

Sr. Mary earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio Dominican University in 1963 and served as an elementary school teacher and principal in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. As much as she loved teaching young children here in the United States, God had other work for her and in 1980 she began work as a missionary in Chimbote, Peru. Sr. Mary served the people of Chimbote by helping to train catechetical leaders and prepare candidates to receive sacraments, and by ministering to the sick.

Her love of and mercy for the sick led to her to seek certification as a hospital chaplain and she served as a hospital chaplain at Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus, Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati, and for 25 years at Saint Mary Medical Center in Indiana, where she was honored as Employee of the Year in 2012.

On her return to Columbus, Sr. Mary served as the receptionist for the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse until 2018.

Sr. Mary is remembered by all for her broad smile. She believed in the healing power of laughter, and tried to find many opportunities for laughter in her life. She shared that joy with all around her.

Sr. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Michael and Margaret Davis O’Hara, her brothers, Michael and Martin. She is survived by her sister, Margaret Abulencia.

A Vigil of Remembrance was held on Monday, May 7 at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel in Columbus, OH. The funeral liturgy was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel on Tuesday, May 8. Sister Mary O’Hara is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Columbus, OH

To download a PDF of this memorial, please click here.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Mary’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to:

Dominican Sisters of Peace
Office of Mission Advancement
2320 Airport Drive
Columbus, OH 43219

Posted in News, Obituaries

How Will We Send Love Ahead?

Blog by Associate Lucy Strohl

May 14, 2018, Feast of St. Matthias Acts 1:15-17, 20-26,Ps.113:1-8, Jn. 15:9-17

“Send love ahead.”
This phrase of Fr. Solanus Casey’s kept coming back to me as I prayed with the readings for this feast of St. Matthias. Fr.Solanus encouraged others to “send love ahead” margotno matter what the circumstances–positive or perplexing.

We listen to so many familiar words from scripture today. They can almost sound like clichés. We read where Jesus told his disciples, and he reiterates to us as well: “Remain in my love.” This brings several incidents to mind.

…The couple had been through a very hurtful time for themselves and their children. After hearing some of the details, I was angry, too. Yet the son was able to say of his father,'”This does not take away from the dad he’s been to me.” Isn’t that sending love ahead! I had quite a ways to go to catch up with that young man’s attitude.

…The client who had been in jail multiple times showed up in the office. The counselor’s frustration was evident in his voice, so he apologized and started the conversation again.

We don’t often get to choose the situations and folks God may put in our path. Jesuit Fr. Michael Gallagher points out, “We probably don’t hate anyone, but we can be paralyzed by daily negatives. Mini- prejudices and judgments can produce a mood of undeclared war.” Hopefully, instead, we can learn to send love ahead and remain in God’s love, with a little more compassion for ourselves and others.

In the gospel, we see that Matthias was the next chosen disciple. He spread the gospel with much zeal. Today we pray for enthusiasm and joy in being bearers of peace, whether this is a beautiful time or one of those ho-hum, ordinary days for us.

Our sisters in the infirmary and other health centers no doubt send love ahead as they daily intercede and support us with their loving presence, patience, and prayer. May they and their caretakers know that they remain always in God’s love!

Then I read the story of the woman who usually had a friend nearby because she was showing signs of Alzheimer’s. The lady explained: “Some of my mental faculties are leaving me. I ask God to let me know beforehand what will be taken from me next, so I can give it to God ahead of time.” What a courageous way to send love ahead!

According to Sophia Park SNJM, a Holy Name sister and professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oakland, “remain in my love” does not mean to stay, but rather to leave for the unknown. The disciples who experienced the resurrection were forced to look at their own limitations and embrace new things. They had to admit new groups that were beyond their own cultural norms and comfort. They were indeed surprised that the Holy Spirit was poured onto unbaptized foreigners.

Will we leave room to be surprised by the Spirit, to send love ahead, even though the coming days may be unfamiliar and challenging? Thankfully, we can recall Oblate Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s words: “If we’re still struggling, we’re still healthy. In making us, God factored in human weakness and how growing into deeper love is a lifelong task.” May we confidently send love ahead as we continue our prayer and our journey together.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Statement by the Dominican Sisters of Peace Regarding the revocation of TPS to Hondurans

The Dominican Sisters of Peace are disappointed and appalled by the action of Homeland Security and its Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, revoking the Temporary Protective Status of 57,000 Hondurans invited to the U.S. after Hurricane Mitch in 1999. In 19 years, these individuals have built lives and raised several hundred thousand children who are U.S citizens. This decision would separate hundreds of families and send those expelled into a dangerous and unfamiliar environment.

While the effects of Hurricane Mitch might be reduced, the country is currently experiencing unprecedented violence. According to Tomas Ayuso, reporting for National Geographic, “in gang-ridden Honduras, growing old is a privilege, not a right.”

There is still a strong humanitarian justification for allowing these Hondurans to stay in the U.S. and we call for the Secretary of Homeland Security to reconsider her decision.


Posted in News

In Spirit and in Truth

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

Dominicans have three mottoes. One is “Veritas,” another is “to Praise, to Bless, to Preach,” and another, “To share the fruits of contemplation.”  As Sisters of Peace, we share also in the hopes of being, building, and preaching peace, as we lean into the future, voices for Truth. But in this season of primary elections and the threats and miseries of the world, the instant news, and a cacophony of assertions, denials, insults and hate-speech, have us wearied and confused. I keep pondering “Veritas.” Truth.  God’s truth. Is it so humanly compromised, so twisted by the spin masters and the plots of the power brokers that we’re never sure enough of it to witness to it?

Our Easter scriptures offer us such contrast. We hear Jesus promising his disciples the Spirit who will lead them in speaking God’s truth and life with boldness. In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear again of the Spirit’s coming as Activator of Jesus’ Resurrection and Transformer of hearts. We witness the joys and struggles of a Spirit-empowered group of believers trying to work out the ways they will live together and practice this new life, this radical energy, which is forming them as the church expands. The Spirit of Pentecost is palpably at work. And we are participants in that Grace, no less consecrated in Divine truth–but how shall we bear witness in today’s “too-muchness?”

T.S. Eliot has written that “humans cannot bear much reality.” Our coping with life seems to require some distancing, some small relief from Truth’s demands. Christians know that on our own we don’t have much space for the “All” of God’s fullness. We don’t live easily in close proximity to the God who we fear will overcome us, transform us and send us out before we can get it all together. Individually and collectively humans put up defenses by which we actually deny ourselves access to our deeper truth and God’s patient ways, and with time we have established “religion”–boundaries, hard-edged doctrines and set words and rituals, snares for the free-flow of Spirit, and defense against the possibility of  transformation.

The ongoing remedy for our fears and tongue-tiedness are the “Pillars” of Dominican life: Study, Prayer, Common life, Preaching/mission. Together, we study the human situation and its workings, with the conviction that there is such a thing as truth, God’s truth and in our education of each other we have access to something larger than ourselves. We give ourselves to Contemplation, where we open what we can of ourselves to give God space and time to loosen some of our chains, and overcome our fears with love. Community life is the place where we gather and summon the Spirit to work its power and energy among us, bringing life and hope to each other in our shared knowledge and vulnerability, celebrating a new time of Pentecost. Thus fortified, with Christ and Dominic, we send each other again, renewed and empowered by the Word shared, for the life of the world.

On a poster I saw some years ago, a Raggedy Ann was being put through a mangle, and the caption read: “The truth will set you free…but first, it will make you miserable.” Our humanity guarantees our falling short in our grasp of Holy Reality, but there is a wonderful invitation there—a reason to listen to each other with care, to try to tame our defensiveness, to live at peace even without clarity, and to happily surrender to the nature our creator has granted us: a  blessed humanness, shared and redeemed by Christ. Truth abounds. It cannot be conquered and it will not be tamed. Go and Tell.

Posted in News, Weekly Word