God has Stacked the Deck in our Favor

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

I attended Mass at one of our surrounding churches for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The homily was another scholarly definition of the Immaculate Conception which certainly is confusing for many people. But I found myself wanting something more… some suggestions on how this concept of Mary being born without the stain of original sin impacted me… how it affected my life… what did it really mean.  As I pondered this, it occurred to me that God ‘stacked the deck’ in Mary’s favor so that she would say ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to birth the divine. Without original sin, there was no roadblock to Mary’s willingness to participate in the incarnation. She still could say ‘no’ – still had free will-  but there was nothing to get in the way of  ‘yes.’

In the Incarnation, God has stacked the deck in our favor also.  When God became a human person, we caught a glimpse of what true humanity looks like. We see how God would like us to relate to one another….how we should act… what we should do.  At one point, I would have said, the Incarnation shows us what we have to do to get to heaven.  But that’s not correct, since heaven – unity with God – is pure gift.  But Jesus’ modeling of how we should live our lives does show us how to be truly happy.

Many people in our world today feel that the deck is stacked against them.  Men and women living in war torn, violent, or poverty stricken cities.  Parents who can’t afford insurance for their families.  High school students who fear another shooting in their schools. People who are discriminated against because of the color of their skin, the religion they practice, the nation of their birth.  Environmentalists who see safeguards that protect the earth eroded. Women caught in the pain of addiction and trafficking.  There are many more.

The Incarnation can speak to these people as well. God coming to dwell with us speaks of hope – hope that humanity is worth investing in…. hope that relationships can be forged between peoples who have different faiths and beliefs and cultures…hope that the good in people will overcome the bad…hope that people of privilege will speak out for those who have none.

As we begin another year, let us look to the Incarnation and recognize that God has stacked the deck in favor of humanity and work to make that a reality for all.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Sr. Elizabeth Jackson Makes Perpetual Profession

Sr. Elizabeth Jackson (far right) signed her perpetual vows as a Dominican Sister of Peace at the Congregation’s Motherhouse in Oxford, MI, on December 2. Witnesses included Sr. Aimee Ryan, far left, Sr. Rebecca Nolan, and Prioress Sr. Patricia Twohill. Monsignor Frank P. Lane looks on.

Sr. Elizabeth Jackson, OP, made her Perpetual Vows as a Dominican Sister of Peace in a beautiful December 2, 2018, Mass in the chapel at the Congregation’s Motherhouse in Oxford, MI.

Sisters Aimee Ryan and Rebecca Nolan witnessed Sr. Elizabeth’s vows in a ceremony by the Dominican Sisters of Peace Vocations team and Sister Pat Twohill. The Mass was presided over by Monsignor Frank P. Lane of the Columbus, OH, diocese, and music was provided by Christine Heber of the St. Dominic’s Chapel Choir.

During the ceremony, Sr. Elizabeth professed the vows of obedience, celibacy, and poverty to God, accepting a ring as a token of God’s love, and a candle to represent the light of Christ within her and all people.

Sr. Elizabeth graduated from the College of St. Mary of the Springs (now Ohio Dominican University) in 1965 and from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1975. As a psychiatrist, Sr. Elizabeth practiced in Ohio, Massachusetts and Florida. She worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs and specialized in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. In 2007, she became the Chief of Mental Health at the Chalmers P. Wylie Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus and then was Acting Chief of Staff until her retirement in 2012.

Sr. Patricia Twohill, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, presents Sr. Elizabeth Jackson with a ring representing the endless nature of God’s love during her perpetual profession ceremony.

A Columbus, OH, native, Sr. Elizabeth is the daughter of J. Harry and Marian Jackson (both deceased). Prior to entering the Dominican Sisters of Peace, she belonged to St. Margaret of Cortona Church in the Columbus, OH, Diocese, where she served as organist from 2007 to 2015.

Sr. Elizabeth has ministered as a volunteer in the Pastoral Care Dept. at Lourdes Senior Community, Waterford, MI, since 2017. She serves as an organist at Lourdes Senior Community as well as the Sunday liturgies at the Oxford Motherhouse. Sr. Elizabeth also serves on the Advisory Board for the Dominican Learning Center, a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace that offers adult education, ESL and citizenship classes.

For pictures from Sr. Elizabeth’s ceremony, please click here.

Posted in News

We Still Have Miles to Go

Blog by Sister Amy McFrederick

Last Monday, December 10, was the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was drafted in 1948 by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world: Dr. Charles Malik (Lebanon), Alexandre Bogomolov (USSR),  Dr. Peng-chun Chang (China), René Cassin (France), Eleanor Roosevelt (US), Charles Dukes (United Kingdom), William Hodgson (Australia), Hernan Santa Cruz (Chile), John P. Humphrey (Canada). The United Nations General Assembly in Paris formally approved it on Dec. 10, 1948, as a declaration of principles, a common standard for all peoples and all nations, listing fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

In 2009 on a visit to the Empire State Building in New York City, I was inspired as I read the  Universal Human Rights displayed artistically on one of its walls. But I became more and more uneasy as I noted that we still have miles to go, until our actions match our words.

Long before the Declaration of Human Rights was written down, President Abraham Lincoln believed in his heart that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”[Article I of UDHR]. Nearing the 3rd year of the Civil War, he bravely issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring “that all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward, shall be free.”

However, enslavement continues. And it takes many shapes around the world as well as in our own so called ‘land of the free’–human trafficking, debt bondage, unjust imprisonment, blocked access to resources and advancement opportunities, etc.

In a recent Global Sisters Report, Sr. Janet Kinney, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York, and the executive director of the Partnership for Global Justice, a U.N.-based advocacy organization, referring to the 70th Anniversary, notes “We still have so far to go.” “Human rights violations are widespread across the globe. Faced with the reality of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the plight of the people of Syria, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, migrants being turned away from our American borders, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the victims of human trafficking, the pilfering of our Earth of its natural resources — it can be overwhelming.”

But, as Lao Tzu wisely observed: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
One step—just one step at a time–makes miles to go seem more possible.


Posted in Associate Blog, News

Dominican Sister of Peace Rosemarie Robinson

Dominican Sister of Peace Rosemarie Robinson

Dominican Sister of Peace Rosemarie (Margery Ann) Robinson, 89, died on December 1, 2018, at the Regina Health Care Center of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Akron, OH. Described as “gracious, kindly, diligent, wise, competent, capable, good-humored, generous, ingenious, and outstanding,” Sr. Rosemarie celebrated 70 years of religious life this year.

Born in Youngstown, OH, in 1929, Sr. Rosemarie was one of nine children born to Anne Helbig and George Robinson. She entered religious life in 1946, following the example of her sister, Sr. Bernadine, who is also a Dominican Sister of Peace.

Sister Rosemarie earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1958 and her Master of Science in Education in 1966 from St. John College of Cleveland. True to the Dominican charism, she also continued her studies with courses at Ball State, Kent State, Siena Heights and the University of Dayton.

Sr. Rosemarie took her love of learning and study to her early ministry, serving as a teacher and educational administrator at schools in Akron, Barberton, Cleveland and Doylestown, OH. Beyond teaching her elementary and middle school students, she also served as a mentor and guide for the teachers on her staffs.

She was an active and important support to her founding congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Akron. She was elected Second Councilor in 1969, and served as President from 1973 to 1981. She was thrilled to preside over the burning of the million-dollar mortgage in 1976.

Her educational experience was put to good use as she served as business manager, personnel director and maintenance coordinator at Our Lady of the Elms, and on various committees as well.

As first Co-delegate for Religious and later Delegate for the Diocese of Cleveland, Sr. Rosemarie used her gifts of leadership and foresight to enhance the lives and spirit of the religious in the diocese. In her final years, she served the people of God and her Sisters in a ministry of prayer and presence at our Akron Motherhouse and at the Regina Care Center.

In the history of the Dominican Sisters of Akron, A Moment of Grace, Sr. Diana Culbertson, OP, wrote “Sr. Rosemarie’s years of leadership would test her skills as a calm administrator … She offered the kind of quiet steadiness at the helm that the community needed in tumultuous times. If she ever became exasperated at unpredictable events and crises that she would inevitably face, her demeanor consistently suggested that all was under control-and it usually was. ”

Sr. Rosemarie is survived by three sisters, Anita Watson, Coletta and Sister Bernadine Robinson, OP. She was preceded in death by her parents, Anne and George, her brothers, George and Richard, and three sisters, Eileen Macupa, Kathleen and Rosemary.

A Memorial Mass was be held at Our Lady of the Elms Convent Chapel in Akron, OH, on Thursday, December 6. Sr. Rosemarie was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron, OH.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Rosemarie Robinson’s memory may be submitted securely online at www.oppeace.org or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219.

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

Posted in Obituaries

Dominican Sisters of Peace Help Build “Bridge to Hope”

St. Catharine Motherhouse in St. Catharine, KY.

Religious Sisters have a history of offering sanctuary to those in need – those fleeing persecution, those needing medical assistance – the St. Catharine Motherhouse even hosted soldiers from both sides of the Civil War.

In today’s world, there is a whole new group of refugees seeking sanctuary at the door of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine Motherhouse in Bardstown, KY – women who are seeking a safe place to escape the dangerous world of drug use and abuse.

Kentucky has the third highest rates of opioid overdoses in the nation; the state lost nearly 1500 lives to overdoses from fentanyl, heroin and other opioid drugs in 2017. But Kentucky’s rural environment makes overdose treatment and recovery services hard to find. While the government is investing heavily in treatment facilities, little is being done to support newly-sober people after they leave rehab.

In the true tradition of Dominican women, the Dominican Sisters of Peace are responding to this very modern need with an answer born of Christ’s love and informed by study and service. Beginning in 2019, in cooperation with the Hope Network, a group of pastors and lay persons of central Kentucky religious congregations, the St. Catharine Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace will become home to ten women recovering from the effects of opioid abuse.

Aptly named “One Bridge to Hope,” this new ministry is not a drug “treatment,” but rather, a much-needed “next step” for women who have been released from the nearby Marion County Detention Center.

“By the time these women come to us, they will have already completed the hard work of detox,” said Sr. Terry Wasinger, OP, one of the team that initiated support for the transitional housing concept for the St. Catharine Motherhouse. “What they need at this point in time is a secure, peaceful, and temptation-free environment in which to heal and regain their strength. They need a safe bridge to their new, drug-free life – and St. Catharine can be that bridge.”

Representatives from the Hope Network and The Dominican Sisters of Peace display the “lease payment” for the “One Bridge to Hope” space in Bertrand Hall.

“St. Catharine is blessed with an important resource – space,” says Sr. Barbara Sullivan, also part of the planning team. “We will be using the Bertrand Hall space previously used to house students from St. Catharine College for women learning a new lesson – how to live drug-free.”

The new facility will include a comfortable kitchen and living room for residents to share, as well as several meeting rooms. The women in the One Bridge to Hope program will take part in group and individual counseling to treat their addiction, family counseling, and training in life skills, parenting skills, and job skills, as well as daily Bible study and prayer groups.

“The goal is to help these women learn how to reintegrate into their families and support themselves emotionally, spiritually, and financially,” explains Sr. Terry. “We want them to be ready to succeed when they move on.”

While the initial “class” is expected to be about 10 women, renovations to Bertrand Hall could help the facility house as many as 40 women in the future.

“Renovations of Bertrand Hall are already underway,” says Sr. Barbara. “We are building out the first floor now, and with God’s grace, we will welcome our first women early in the new year.”

The Dominican Sisters of Peace respond to the needs of today’s broken world with love, hope, and peace. You can help us build a new bridge to hope for women in Kentucky by donating today.

Posted in News