I Stole a Bible From my Brother

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

True confessions, yes, I did steal it from him.  He was not using it.  That was my 10 year old self trying to rationalize my actions.  He had received it from a summer Bible camp he attended with some of his friends from the Baptist church.  It was green leatherette with gold lettering, “The New Testament and Psalms”.

From the moment I saw the small three by four inch New Testament, I was itching to get my hands on it.  Somewhere along the way, I had sensed the fact that if I had my OWN Bible then I could read and finally understand some of the readings we heard in church on Sunday.  In addition, all the grownups in our neighborhood – most of whom went to Protestant churches – had their own Bible they carried around on Sundays.  My parents carried their Missals to Mass and so, I figured I needed a book of my own to be a legitimate Catholic.

I hid the book under my pillow and only brought it out before bed to read a little bit at night.  My little sister, Amy, laughed at me and said, “When your husband sees you taking that Bible out from under your pillow, what do you think he’ll say?”  “He won’t say anything.”  I retorted, “Because, he’ll have one too.”   Now, I am not sure where that assurance came from.  I did not grow up in a family where my mom and dad read the Bible before bed and I was not even sure other people did this type of thing at all.  Nevertheless, I was quite adamant that it would not be a problem.

Looking back on my life and this hunger for the Word, I now realize that there was something, or more precisely someone putting that hunger for the Word into my heart.  God was calling me to come closer.  It was the beginning of my call to religious life.  I read and devoured the Word, like the psalmist of old.  Then, I shared it with others.  (Sounds a bit like the Dominican motto, “To contemplate and to share with others the fruits of my contemplation.”) My first audience was my sister.  Thank you, Amy.  Sometimes I would read bits and pieces of scripture to her in the late evening.  I am sure I did not preach to her or share with her how the scripture touched my heart.  I didn’t have the vocabulary for it back then.  However, what I do know is that something was taking root deep within me and the hunger was growing.

Today, my Bible has a beautiful cover from Guatemala and has many worn pages, notations, and is home to many prayer cards and special notes from friends.  I received this Bible from my parents the year I graduated from high school.  It was my constant guide and companion as I discerned my vocation, entered to and completed formation and made my final vows.

Discerning and living religious life involves listening to and reflecting on the Word of God.

  • Are you feeling a hunger for something more?
  • What Word of God is resonating in your life right now?

P.S.. In case you are wondering, yes I did returned the stolen New Testament and Psalms to my brother.


Posted in God Calling?, News

Mohun Health Care Center Recognized for Workplace Excellence

Staff and Sisters from the Mohun care Center attend the LeadingAge Ohio’s Workplace Excellence Award on August 30, 2018. From right to left: Venie Coleman, Human resources; April Queener, Administrator; Sr. Anne Keenan, Leadership Liaison; Michelle Kiner, Director of Nursing; Elaine Rose, Unit Manager; Sister Carole Hermann, Co- Resident Life Director, Sister Arleen Kisiel, Mohun Pastoral Care, and Unit Manager Angie Tucker.

More than 1.4 million people, the vast majority which are elderly, live in America’s 15,000+ nursing homes. More than 1.5 million nursing professionals care for those seniors – but the work is not easy.1 Industry-wide, staff turnover among nursing home employees ranges between 55 and 75%2, at a cost of $22,000 and $63,000 per individual.3

Mohun Health Care Center, a long-term nursing facility in Columbus, OH, founded by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, is bucking the turnover trend. Fewer than 17% of staff members leave the organization per year. This is one reason why Mohun has been recognized by Leading Age Ohio with their newest award – the Award for Workplace Excellence.

Mohun Health Care Center is a 72-bed facility dedicated to the long-term care of retired religious. Its population is predominantly female, retired members of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, with a few retired priests as well.

“Religious Sisters never really ‘retire,’” says April Queener, Mohun’s administrator. “Sisters living at Mohun serve in a ministry of prayer and presence – in fact, we refer to this facility as a “powerhouse of prayer.”

“This calling to prayer and peace is the foundation of our workplace,” Queener continues. “Our nurses and aides feel this peace as they go about their duties. Our nursing staff is treated with respect by patients and by the management team, so they treat one another with respect as well.”

The Dominican calling to justice and fairness also contributes to the quality of the Mohun workplace. “Our employees enjoy a full range of benefits,” says Human Resources Coordinator Venie Coleman. “Health, vision and dental insurance, 401k, financial counseling – even free life insurance coverage – all are available to our care team members.”

Continuing education, both in class and online, is another benefit offered to all Mohun employees, according to Director of Nursing Michelle Kiner. “It’s our goal to turn nurses into leaders. Study and education are part of our Dominican charism, and we are delighted to share that with our nurses.”

Employees agree with Leading Age Ohio’s workplace excellence designation.

“I don’t feel like just a worker; we are like family,” says Trefera Haile, LPN, who has 18 years of service at Mohun. This sentiment is echoed by other employees as well. “At the end of the day, we’re not drained,” says seven-year team member Beverly Greenidge, STNA. “We have a good residence,” adds STNA Lucia Duwon, who has worked at Mohun for six years. “We have a very good team.”

The administrative staff accepted the LeadingAge Ohio’s Workplace Excellence Award at the organization’s Annual Conference and Trade Show in Columbus, OH, on August 30, 2018.

To view the video presented at the award ceremony, please click here.


Posted in News

Dignity is on the Menu

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

“What does it look like to treat others in a way that contributes to their health and well-being? It looks like honoring their dignity”.

These words are taken from a book entitled Dignity by Donna Hicks, Ph.D. Many of our Sisters have read this book as part of their committee work or study groups. Dr. Hicks defines dignity as “an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.”

Those are some good words to reflect upon but now I can put a face to the truth that they speak.

Down here at the Peace Center we are often able to take our folks on field trips; we believe that this is good use of the generous grants that we have received from organizations such as Catholic Health Initiatives. One such trip was to the World War II museum with our adults. Many of the men had been in the service; all of them had “war” stories; so they enjoyed the outing.

We were able to end the trip by having lunch at the great restaurant there called the American Sector. As we sat at the tables, and menus were distributed, one fellow (I will call Joe) asked if he could order a salad. “Sure,” I replied. “Could I order soup, too?” he asked. “Of course.” “Well, could I order soup and salad?” “Absolutely! Order whatever you would like to eat, even dessert.”

When we returned home and were getting off the bus, Joe and a couple of the other folks came over and thanked us profusely for such a great experience and Joe said, “It was so awesome to be able to order from the menu.”

That is what honoring their dignity looks like. The value and vulnerability of another human being was found in being able to simply choose anything from the menu.

Posted in News, Weekly Word


Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

As Dominican Sisters of Peace, we committed to “promote justice through solidarity with those who are marginalized, especially women and children, and work with others to identify and transform oppressive systems.” I can’t think of a more oppressive system than the one that condones sexual assault and abuse of women and children.

I have never been sexually assaulted so I can only imagine what Professor Christine Blasey Ford must be going through.  She was attacked as a teenager during a party where drinking was going on.    What must have gone on in her head and heart after the assault?  Shame – was I responsible for it? Terror –  What if my parents find out? Will my reputation by ruined?  Fear – will he do it again?  Will he tell other boys and they will attack me? Confusion – how did I let myself get into this mess?   Hopelessness –  How can I trust a boy/man again?  Trauma affects victims in many different ways.

Sadly, we often see the victim ignored, shamed, or treated as the perpetrator. It’s a double whammy – assaulted twice – once by the attacker and then by those who are supposed to help.  Professor Ford is now in danger of a third possible attack by the Senate Justice Committee. Once again, a victim is not taken seriously… a woman is not heard.

20% of women – 1 in 5 – are victims of rape and 43.3% of heterosexual women have reported sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime (National Sexual Violence Resource Center).  These women should not be ignored.  It boils down to the fundamental principal of Catholic Social Teaching – that each and every person deserves dignity.

Why did she come forward now?  I don’t know. Perhaps she saw the possible impact on women in the future with Judge Kavanaugh as a supreme court justice. Perhaps the #MeToo movement gave her the courage to speak up. By all accounts, her actions have irrevocably impacted her life and that of her family.

I recently watched an interview of some women who are supportive of Judge Kavanaugh.  Their argument for dismissing this issue was that it happened in high school.  That they were young.  That boys will be boys.  I find this argument especially insulting for young men. They are perfectly able to understand right and wrong and assaulting a girl/women is wrong.  Today’s parents of young men must teach their sons about treating others, especially women, with respect and dignity.

As I write this, it seems clear to me that Dr. Ford is innocent.  The women above are just as sure that Judge Kavanaugh is innocent.  Without an adequate investigation, there will never be a resolution and doubt will remain. This is too important to leave it up to the testimony of just the two involved; for in addition to selecting a Supreme Court Justice, a true measure of whether women’s concerns, dignity, and voices are truly equal to men’s also lies in the balance.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog


Blog by Associate Colette Parker

Does the name Andrew Peterson mean anything to you? (No, not the musician or the author).

I’m talking about the Andrew Peterson who overcame Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to become a three-time Special Olympics Gold Medalist and the second Special Olympics athlete to qualify for the Boston Marathon (which he is scheduled to run next year, a month after he represents the United States in the upcoming 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi).

The predominant factor in Andrew’s ability to overcome was (and is) his father, Craig – who adopted Andrew and his three siblings about 20 years ago, when Andrew was five years old. At that time, Andrew couldn’t speak and had limited motor skills. When he was eight years old, Andrew ran his first race, a 3K, with his dad.

Andrew’s story inspires confidence that it is not impossible to overcome adversity.

(Sidebar: and speaking of difficulties, I’m sure the fact that Andrew is black and his father is an openly gay white man didn’t make life easy either. I encourage you to read more about this remarkable athlete and his father, who dared to adopt a total of six special needs children, proving that love doesn’t discriminate!).

Not only has Andrew established himself as an elite athlete. He also shares his experience as a public speaker and serves as an ambassador for the Special Olympics.

When we experience obstacles, frustration, or failure, perhaps we can learn something from Andrew, like the importance of developing the endurance needed to attain a good outcome; building enough stamina to be able to stand through any storm that life brings our way; and surrounding ourselves with good, positive, and supportive people.

We must think positively, live in faith, refuse to take “no” for an answer, be empowered by each accomplishment (no matter how small), and believe anything is possible if we persevere.

A little more than a week ago, Andrew shared his story with a group of elementary students in Billings, Montana. He recalled how in elementary school most kids couldn’t understand his speech and laughed at him and called him names. He told them how he struggled to walk and hold a fork.

“Since I have brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome, nothing in life has been easy … So many people focused on what I couldn’t do … I showed them,” Andrew told the students before delivering his takeaway: “I don’t ever want your pity. Rather, I need your respect.”

My conclusion: Don’t allow obstacles to dominate your life. Find the strength to work through the difficulties and setbacks. Don’t dwell on the past. Surround yourself with people who are good for you. Keep moving forward.

Posted in Associate Blog, News