Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Blog by Sr. Theresa Fox, OP

Treasure buried and dug up; pearl of great price found and bought. In both cases, there is something of great value that is hidden. It is up to the astute searcher to find this thing of value. Isn’t that what our lives are all about. We have found our treasure in our commitment to the gospel.  We have uncovered the pearl and have sold all we have to buy it. That’s why we live a Dominican life.

But then stuff gets in the way. We get busy with the daily-ness of life. Life becomes hum-drum. Then something catches our attention. We search again for that buried treasure, trying to remember where we buried it for safekeeping. Then we see that that pearl is right in front of us. We cherish it. We let go of some more of the stuff of daily life in order to possess that pearl. We again commit ourselves to deepening our relationship with the God we love – the God who loves us. Over and over throughout our lives we find our treasure, we bury it so we will always have it, then we forget, we search again and find it. The life journey of spiritual consciousness becomes our journey.

If we completely embraced the treasure of the Gospel, we would be like Moses. The skin of our faces would become radiant. It would be so radiant that like Moses we would need to veil our faces. But we are still on the journey. We still lose that pearl and then find it again. In another way,

Just a word about Ignatius of Loyola who we honor today. The motto of the Jesuits is “Contemplation in action.” I am struck by its similarity to the Dominican focus: “contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere (to contemplate and hand on to others the fruits of our contemplation) So similar. We are all about the same thing – only in slightly different ways. We all are on the journey of finding the pearl, letting our lives show the wonder of the treasure and sharing it with others.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Love it or Leave it?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

Love it or leave it is a phrase being thrown out lately. Recently, it’s been applied to four members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are women of color.  Three of them were born in the U.S. and one is a naturalized citizen. They are being criticized for criticizing actions by our government.  Should they be forced to leave or be silent about their gripes?

What does it mean to really love something like a country?  Thomas Aquinas says that to love is “to will the good of the other.” It means we want and expect the best for them.  This seems a reasonable standard for a country also.

So what is ‘good’ for our country?  Most of that is spelled out in the Declaration of Independence – equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and in the Constitution, the bill of rights and amendments – freedom of speech, of religion, of the press, the right to vote, due process, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance. When someone criticizes the government because these values are not being afforded to it citizens, then aren’t they working for the good of the country? In fact, the Declaration of Independence includes, “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.” This certainly includes voting for new government but it also means that we have a right to speak out when the government is unjust.

But here’s the rub… does this only apply for citizens of the party in power? To people who like the president? To white citizens? To those born in the US?

Thomas also wrote, “we must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.” People with differing opinions shouldn’t be ‘sent back’, they should be embraced as giving us another perspective that we might not be able to see.

I love my country. So when I see that we are not living up to the best we can be, it’s required that I speak out.  To criticize someone who also wants what’s best for the country is to disrespect what we are all about.  To chant ‘ Send her back’ is un-American.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

July 31, 2019 Justice Updates

Today is the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Human trafficking generates over $150 billion in revenue for traffickers. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asks us to reaffirm our commitment to stop criminals from ruthlessly exploiting people for profit and to help victims rebuild their lives.  Many trafficked individuals face even more difficult existences after being freed from trafficking because they are not accepted back into society. The UN Special Rapporteur, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, urges governments to be more aware of this problem. See her statement here.  Let us pray for an end of human slavery and for those who are ensnared by this great evil.

It doesn’t seem possible that there are individuals who don’t believe there is a climate crisis in our world today.  But it’s true.  Even those who believe something is the matter, can’t engage with the urgency of it all. National Catholic Register’s Bill Mitchell shares some insights on how to talk about it in this article.

Dr. Scott Warren, a member of the group No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes, was tried once for offering food, water, clean clothes and beds to two men from Central America. The jury was dead locked and the trial thrown out. Now the government wants to try him again for his humanitarian aid.  Since his arrest in January 2018, at least 88 bodies have been recovered from the Ajo corridor of the Arizona desert.”  Here is more information.

Now, No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes is hosting a short-term volunteer program in support of their legal defense campaign. From September to November 2019, they welcome volunteers from around the world for two weeks or longer to come support their community outreach efforts in southern Arizona.  Volunteers will commit on average 30-35 hours per week:

  • 12 to 15 hrs – doorknocking in Tucson & other towns
  • 2 hrs – weekly campaign meetings
  • 2 hrs – weekly team meeting
  • 4 to 6 hrs – event-based outreach
  • 2 to 3 hrs – research
  • 5 to 8 hrs – logistical & other support with weekend events

Shared housing, food and in-state transportation provided. Want more information?  Click here.

There are now 7,000 service members being deployed at the southern border even though legally these troops should be kept separate from the domestic law enforcement. Win Without War is asking its member organizations to spread the word and get their members to tell the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate the misuse of the U.S. military at the southern border. Please click here to add your name to this effort. Each anti-immigrant attack such as caging kids in detention camps, separating families, banning Muslims, destroying the U.S. refugee resettlement program, mass raids and deportations, deploying service members to the border and authorizing these troops to use deadly force empower an anti-immigrant and white supremacist agenda. This must be investigated so we have transparency.

Attorney General William Barr recently announced that executions for Federal Crimes will be reinstated.  He has ordered that the executions of 5 men on death row be scheduled. Sixteen years have passed since the last federal execution in June, 2013 and the U.S. has been trending away from capital punishment.  In fact, July was the first month in recent memory in which there were no executions.  Rep. Ayanna Pressley has introduced legislation to abolish the federal death penalty. When a bill number is assigned, I will ask you to contact your representatives.  Here is more information, from the Boston Globe and The Hill.

Quick…. Call your representatives – senators and representative – to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and invest in programs that strengthen – not tear apart – our communities. Dozens of people in the U.S., including citizens, were arrested in immigration raids last week. Desperate individuals and families are being turned back to Mexico despite their request for asylum. Let your legislators know that you do not want cruelty against immigrants to continue.

SAVE THE DATE.  Blessed are the Peacemakers Workshop and Webinar  will be held the afternoon of Sunday, October 27.  The workshop will be held at the Martin de Porres Center in Columbus and webcast to others who want to participate.  A Pace e Bene facilitator will help us learn tools that we can use to share our message of justice while interacting with people, including our own relatives, who disagree with us.  We want to bring civility back to the political process. More information will follow.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates


Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only person who has been taught to respond with kindness.

I’m also pretty sure that I’m not the only person who has been the target of a gut-wrenching insult.

When that happens, it can be difficult to respond with kindness.

Sometimes, you just have to clap back (respond quickly to critical remarks or unfair treatment).

In case you missed it, the editorial board at The Baltimore Sun did just that, after much of its city was described as a place where “no human being would want to live”; as a “very dangerous and filthy place”; and as a “rat and rodent-infested mess”.

The board fired back: “Better to have a few rats than to be one”

The interchange got me thinking about the times in my life when I’ve needed to use the power of my voice to set the record straight; to speak up for others who have no voice or are unable to speak for themselves; to speak up when I see a wrong or injustice being done; etc.

As people of goodwill, we must learn to speak truth to power – to confront those who hold important positions, to demand a moral response to a problem. I know it means taking a risk; but more importantly, it means taking a stand for what you truly believe. It is a powerful nonviolent response to injustice and abuse of power.

Because we espouse a truth that love endures and overcomes (and hatred destroys), speaking up can be a true act of humanity. Silence is not always golden. In fact, silence can sometimes be seen as complicit agreement or approval.

Sometimes we sit back and say nothing when something really needs to be said. It could be an idea, a suggestion, an observation, a criticism…but for some reason we don’t speak up.

We may be afraid of hurting another person, looking mean or foolish, or opening a can of worms that will make a mess. Sometimes it seems like staying silent is the wiser choice.

Despite the risk, standing up and saying your piece – with peace is best. It’s really okay to say “Ouch! Get off me!” when you’re being trampled on. It lets the other person know that you are being hurt and that they need to move.

Has there ever been a time when you knew you should have spoken up, but you didn’t? If so, how did it make you feel?

Posted in Associate Blog

10 Years and Counting

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

Is anyone surprised I chose the 10th anniversary of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates to blog about? Really?

How did we get here? Hard work, trust in God, desire for a future; all of those and so much more . Some Sisters have said they don’t want to spend time looking back on these 10 years. They were hard or painful and they would rather think of the future. Others look back in order to see where we have been and did we miss any signs to show us where we could be? There’s nothing bad about either of those perspectives. I tend to put them together as a both/and.

I do believe we have to know where we’ve been to see where we are and where we could go. Do we scrap it all and start from scratch? Do we just keep everything and create more? Do we take the best from everything and add to it?

We are at a moment in our history. No one dreamed those first Sisters were laying the foundation for a very different congregation to form 100 years or so after the first one, but they did. What has been and will be built on this new foundation is very much a work in progress fraught with fear and hope and nostalgia and promise. Some of us will not see the results or maybe even be able to comprehend what we are seeing. It will happen be assured of that.

Sisters and Associates are celebrating this weekend and even in the midst of it we will be asking what’s next? Together, we will figure it out and move with the Grace and Wisdom that comes from the Spirit.

Posted in Just Reflecting, News