Precious Water

Blog by Sr. Roberta Miller, OP

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Did Noah in the Ark think the same as they all floated for 40 days? We assume God sent down sufficient rain to quench their thirst. Still—anxiety must have existed. What about us in 2019? Are we assuming God and technology will provide us with sufficient fresh water in these times of climate change with its overwhelming precipitation or drought as well as rising temperatures? Are we making peace with our water or waging war?

Some facts can frame our world’s water situation:

  • 98% of earth’s water is salt
  • Less than 1% of our total fresh water is available for human use
  • Water consumption since 1900 has increased 10-fold with population growth, economic development in industry and agricultural mass production
  • Fresh water scarcity has increased 20% with depletion of water aquifers, melted glaciers, destruction of lakes, streams, watersheds, and pollution

The human body stops functioning after going without water for 3-4 days. Each American (you and I) at home uses an average of 88 gallons (333 liters) of water daily. Our hygienic needs in handwashing with soap after/during activities, food preparation take 4-5 gallons of water. As fresh water scarcity increases on Earth, one-half of our current global population lives in deprived water areas for at least one month a year. This water scarcity exists on every continent. By 2020, 1.8 billion people will experience no water and another two-thirds will have very limited access to it.  What are ways you and I can reduce an everyday water routine—not run water when brushing teeth?

Having water for life is a human right—not a commodity. Water security means access to sufficient quantities of clean water for food, sanitation, and health care.  Are you aware that here in the US—and in OH—individuals/families go without water because they cannot afford to pay for or buy it? Cities and towns in their need to repair/update/expand their public water infrastructure (ex. Corroded/broken pipes or valves) and to adjust to changing climates are raising water rates.  The trend toward privatization of public utilities such as city water in the name of efficiency and expense endangers public access to this human right. The Corporations of Nestles/Perrier, Danone, Pepsi, Coca Cola see the increasing water crisis as economic opportunity as they pump water from springs, aquifer/underground sources, and lakes (as Lake Michigan and Superior) to bottle in plastic for purchase by us and in other countries. Do you recall the bulk packages of water bottles unloaded for the destitute residents of Detroit or Puerto Rico? Did the bottling corporations freely donate?

We cannot just wring our hands; it is not que sera, que sera. To make peace with water, we must keep tabs on the proposals and actions of our government officials, of business /legal entities proposing public budget savings.   We avoid buying bottled drinks and encourage relatives/friends to do also; we use waste containers to avoid polluting streets and streams. How do you plan to make peace with our precious water?

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates – March 12, 2019


Do you want to DO something during Lent?  Help us collect children’s and adolescent’s underwear and socks for the children coming with their parents to the United States through El Paso. The asylum seekers come with so little and often just the clothes on their backs. For more information, click here.

Making Peace with the Earth.  Watch your water intake. Do you turn off the water when you brush your teeth? Take time to slowly drink a glass of water and appreciate the gift.

Pray and Fast.  This week, the Immigration Reform Committee asks you to pray and fast for those persons whose asylum cases are denied by the inconsistent application of the guidelines by immigration court judges.  May God bless them with a sense of peace in the midst of the turmoil this causes them.

FYI.   In my blog on February 26th, I mentioned that Caliburn International, the parent company for Comprehensive Health Services, the company running the Homestead Detention Center, was planning in IPO (Initial Public Offering). In their filing, they said “border enforcement and immigration policy…is driving significant growth.”  Because of the public outcry over the company’s profiting from locking up children, Caliburn International canceled its planned stock offering.

Studying Racism.   During Lent, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice will examine how society in the U.S. has been deliberately organized to advantage white people over people of color.  Their goal is to examine how racism is not just a matter of individual actions and attitudes, but a pervasive predominant social order.  This systemic injustice harms all of us by preventing us from fully living out Jesus’s commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)  This week, they are looking at a “Common Understanding of Racism and White Supremacy.” The resource is attached here.

Call your Senators.

  1. The House of Representative passed H.R. 1, the  “For the People Act” that will protect and strengthen voting rights, transparency in campaign financing and government ethics laws. Unfortunately, Senator Mitch McConnell has said that he will not even introduce it in the Senate. Call your Senators and ask them to put pressure on Senator McConnell to bring this to the Senate.
  2. The Senate has still not voted on Mr. Trump’s Emergency Declaration. Our taxpayer dollars should be spent on critical programs that make our communities stronger such as education, health care, and housing …. not walls.  The President has proposed to take $2.5 billion from a Pentagon program for countering drug activities to pay for the wall. Isn’t this the reason he wants to build a wall in the first place?  Ask your Senator to OPPOSE the Emergency Declaration.


More Killing?   In 2019 alone, there have been over 51 mass shootings, nearly 100 people killed and more than 150 more injured.  The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 8, requiring background checks for all gun sales.  Call your senator and ask him/her to vote for S. 42, Expanded Background Check Bill. Right now it is in the Judiciary Committee.  Senator Lindsay Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is also planning a hearing on March 26 to discuss Red Flag Laws that are designed to remove guns from dangerous individuals.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

A Day in the Life of a Dominican Sister of Peace

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

When I was discerning, I had no clue what sisters did all day.  I knew that my teachers were with us students during the day and that the sisters at the retreat house were busy with programs on the weekends.  What did they do when they were not with us?  Were they ever bored?  Do they pray all day?  What kind of fun things did they do?

Well, if you have ever wondered what we do all day, here is a glimpse into “A Day in the Life”.

Friday, February 28th began like any other day at our convent at St. Stanislaus Parish in New Haven.  I got up, showered & dressed, spent some time in personal prayer and then walked over to St. Stan’s for 7:00 am Mass with my sisters.  Afterwards, we returned to the convent where we prayed Morning Prayer.  After prayer, we have the custom of talking about what we are doing that day, if we will be home late for dinner or if there is anything we need to share with the community.  This morning, Sr. Ana (who works at Albertus Magnus College in International Admissions) shared that she was volunteering to read to students at a local school and she wondered if anyone was interested in coming with her.  I immediately responded, “Yes.”  Then, she told me I would be reading in Spanish to kindergarteners and, “It will be very easy,” she assured me.  Little did I know it would not be easy.

Within 15 minutes, we were in her car.  Ana chatted the whole way about how this was National Read Across America Day and that she was excited to have the opportunity to help out in the community and to encourage children to read.  When we arrived, we discovered we were going to be reading the book, El Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  Did I mention this book was in Spanish?  This was not the “easy” book I had been led to expect.  Yikes!  All for God!  The good news is that the fourth graders and I survived the experience and they even asked me to come back again.

After this, Ana dropped me off at my office to attend to my ministry as Vocation Director.  The first order of business was to speak to a discerning woman on the phone for our monthly session.  We discussed her prayer life, ministry, and specifically, how she feels God is calling her to religious life in our congregation.

My office is in our convent on Lincoln St. and this brings me into contact with the five sisters who live there along with any guests they may be hosting that week.  This week, one of our sisters from Columbus, Ohio is staying there while she is on vacation and visiting her family.  Yes, we do get to go on vacation.  During lunch, we all shared memories about favorite vacations and places we have visited.

Later in the afternoon, I met with my Vocation Ministry Peer Group via video conferencing.  These four religious sisters and one brother are all in Vocation ministry for their respective congregations.  We meet each month to discuss our ministry and to help each other explore issues we encounter with discerners.  We first met when we were training for this ministry over five years ago and we have met almost every month since then.

That evening at dinner, Ana and I shared our experience of reading to the students – much to the delight of our sisters.  Our evening meals are often extended times at the table sharing about our day – the challenges and the delights – and we offer each other support and encouragement.

Evening Prayer follows and as the day winds down we often spend time reading, talking, playing a game or watching a program on television before retiring.  For me, I like to spend some time reading before bed and taking time to prayfully review my day and to read the scriptures for tomorrow.

To answer the questions I posed at the beginning:

  1. What we do each day always includes personal and communal prayer, ministry and some time spent with community along with personal time for reflection or rest.
  2. No, I have never been bored.
  3. We (active sisters) do not pray all day – however, contemplative nuns and monks do pray most of the day along with ministry to support the community and community time.
  4. For fun, we like to play games, exercise, participate in sports, read, do cross word puzzles, hang out with friends, and do a lot of the things other people do for fun.

Could God be calling you to consider religious life?  If so, contact one of us to begin the conversation.  Who knows, maybe one day you will be writing your own “A Day in the Life of a Dominican Sister.”

Posted in God Calling?, News

In Like A Sinner, Out Like A Saint

Blog by Sr. Pat Connick, OP

Every year, people wait for March 1st, and then say in great hope of spring when it is usually still very cold outside: “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” In the coming month as the Earth continues its orbit around the Sun, we will tilt as a planetary community towards the Sun (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).  We won’t necessarily get any closer to the Sun, but our orbit will tilt us TOWARDS IT, making us warmer by the end of our late winter’s journey.

This year, Lent begins rather late, in fact today, and I’d like to suggest: “In like a sinner, out like a saint,” in hope of what will happen this Lenten season.  In the next 40 days of Lent, I hope we will all choose to tilt towards God and grace, as we continue our daily lives, both alone and in community, even if we don’t feel closer to God and grace while it’s happening.  I hold this hope not only for myself, but for all those around me: my family, my friends, my students, my colleagues, my neighbors and even I suppose my enemies.

How does this happen?  Traditionally we are told to include fasting, almsgiving and prayer.  Whatever we do to live these out in our lives, they connect us more closely both to God and neighbor.  As we spin around the globe each day of Lent and make our journey that will tilt us towards God and grace, so we will naturally warm up to one another too.

This Lent remember it’s not just about God and me. It’s about all of us together on one planet, leaning into the inexhaustible grace and mercy of God.  We are all called to become saints together by our leaning into God and to one another and to the warmth of whatever we need to thaw our frozen hearts to make them ones of flesh again. May we support one another well on this Lenten journey in the coming days!

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Why We Need to Make Peace with the Earth

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

How does God reveal God’s self to you?  Perhaps it’s holding an infant with Downs Syndrome. Maybe, it’s serving at a soup kitchen. Many of us see God in a glorious sunrise or sunset… in the majesty of the mountains or the vastness of the ocean.   God is so often revealed in the nature that is all around us.  What responsibility do we have to protect this source of God’s revelation?  Are we in danger of losing it through climate catastrophes?

The Dominican Sisters of Peace Land Ethic Document states:  “It is a short jump to the realization that when we humans destroy the land, water and air with chemicals, sewerage, waste products and machines, we are crucifying again the God who created everything, ourselves included. This failure to recognize God’s presence in creation is our Sin. In our disregard or mindlessness, we are eliminating and short circuiting all life forms as nothing can evolve out of our destruction of ecosystems.”

Richard Rohr, in his February 27th blog, puts it like this: “Every single creature—the teen mother nursing her child, every one of the twenty thousand species of butterflies, an immigrant living in fear, a blade of grass, you reading this meditation—all are “in Christ” and “chosen from the beginning.” (Ephesians 1:3-4, 9-10)

Finally, a young person typing a reflection on her visit to the Grand Canyon wrote, “Hearing the words ‘Grand Canyon’ and now experiencing it for the first time, I realize that the term ‘Grand’ falls far [short] of what this place [truly] represents: Perfection.”

Yes… God is revealed in the perfection of the natural world. During the months of March and April leading up to Earth Day, members of the Eco Justice committee will present a series of blogs called Making Peace with the Earth.  It will be an opportunity for readers to reflect on the importance of our world and how we must make changes if we are to protect this amazing revelation of God.  Please take some time this Lent to consider what actions you can take. What’s one thing that you will do to make peace with the earth?


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog