Jubilee Gratitude

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

When I made my first profession of vows, I had no idea what adventures, blessings, challenges and changes I would experience.  I knew that God was calling me to embrace life as a vowed Dominican Sister and I sung my “Yes” with gusto.  Today, as I celebrate my 25th Jubilee (counting from my first profession), I am overwhelmed with wonder and gratitude for all that has been. God has been so good to me and has surrounded me with faithful companions on the journey to challenge me, support me, guide me, and accompany me while calling me to greater faithfulness. It is to these faithful companions that I dedicate this blog.

You see, we do not do this journey alone. The call I received was an individual call, but it was one to be lived in community. My community can be defined as being local, regional, and congregational and can consist of five, fifteen or four hundred and sixty-five sisters.  Always it has been intergenerational, and most of the time it has been multicultural, and on a few occasions, it has been inter-congregational (meaning several different congregations living together).  As I look back on the sisters I have lived with, what stands out the most is that we have been and are family.

2019 Jubilarians

When I was discerning religious life, one of the questions I faced was, “What would it be like not having a family of my own?” I never asked myself, “What would it be like to have a religious family of sisters?”  My vision was too small and I did not even know it.  This week, as I have been opening and reading my Jubilee cards from my sisters and friends, I have been reminded of the many women who have shared my life along the way–those I know well and those who I do not know well, but I love just the same.  The reading from Colossians comes to mind, “In my prayers I always thank God for you.” (paraphrase of Col 1:3a)

I am continuing to read my cards – alternating between laughter, tears, sweet memories, and longing for the presence of some who have passed onto God.  (Sr. Mary Carmel, I know you are dancing in heaven.) I am writing my thank you cards and with each one, I pause and say a prayer for that person.  Near or far, we are united in God.

Are you hearing a call to religious life?  Have you asked the question, “How will it be not to have a family of my own?”  Maybe the question really should be, “What will it be like to have a religious family of sisters?”  Come and See!  Consider attending our next discernment retreat here or contact one of us to begin the conversation.

Posted in God Calling?, News


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

The photo accompanying this blog shows our mascot at the Peace Center. She looks so peaceful right now, sleeping with her head on her paws, lost to the world. But let a noisy car drive by or a car door slam or a small rock skitter across the sidewalk and she will leap into the air, tail fluffed out and body ready to strike.

That is what peace can be like, too. It is elusive. It looks calming, feels good, but too soon it is destroyed in the rambunctious earthly shakeups we call isms: racism, heterosexism, genderism, ageism, et al. We seek the peace that will be forever; we pray for it almost daily, but it is in the day to day that we will find it if we take a breath before we speak, if we see the face of God in someone else before we reject them, if we don’t look down on the ones we deem different but raise them up as we raise our own selves and give praise to God.

“Peace is flowing like a river”, “Make me an instrument of your peace”, “Give peace a chance”—these don’t have to be just words from a song. We can make them words to live by each and every day.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Justice Updates – August 27, 2019

National Geographic provides an excellent review of what happened in Virginia 400 years ago. “Stolen by Portuguese slave traders, kidnapped by English pirates, and taken far from home, African arrivals to colonial Virginia in 1619 marked the origins of U.S. slavery.”  Read more about our infamous past.

Associate Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens shares his litany for 400 years of Africans in American.

L: God has created all people.  Let us give God the glory for creating us all!

C: God be praised for the gift of one human race, it all its complexions, customs, and cultures!

L: From the beginning, the Church of Jesus Christ has been a blessed mixture of peoples—women men, children, Jews and Gentiles, slave and free;

C: We celebrate the cradle of Christianity in Africa – in Egypt and Ethiopia. Before American Christians were a twinkle in the Eye of God, African Christians were rising and spreading the love of Jesus Christ.

L: In shame, Christians and others were shackled and brought to America as slaves. They came as believers in Christ.

C: Not all “found Jesus” in America.  And those who were baptized into Christ here rose to shine His light to generations of believers! The faith of millions transformed the Church and our nation. Thanks be to God!

L: On this 400th Anniversary of Africans arriving in America as slaves, we celebrate all people of African Descent across the globe and in our land.

C: We celebrate the beautiful and powerful presence of all people of African Descent in our congregation, in Columbus, in Ohio and in our nation.

L: We confess, lament, and grieve the pervasive injustice and harm done to people of African Descent in our nation. We weep for the centuries of the Atlantic slave trade which resulted in millions of victims in our nation alone.

C: We remember the words of our third President and slave-owner, Thomas Jefferson who wrote of the sin of slavery: “The Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in this practice of slavery.” 1

L:  We lament the tragic legacy of slavery continued in segregated communities, schools, churches, South and North – a legacy which leaves a tear in the fabric of every community and a terrible scar on the body of Christ and our nation.

C: We remember the words of African American poet, Langston Hughes, “I am the American heartbreak; the Rock on which Freedom Stumps its toe; the great mistake that Jamestown made long ago.”2

L: Out of the American heartbreak, God is still speaking and God keeps a people vital, with resistance leaders, significant local and national cultural influences, beautiful music that changes our essence, spirituality that touches our souls, art beyond imagination, commitment to education, prophetic and social conscience, transformative writing and leadership in law, government, science and industry.

C: Thanks be to God, as we “lift every voice and sing.”

L: The history of people of African Descent is rich, complex, varied and close to home.

C:  Thanks be to God for the rich, complex and varied blessings which have touched each of us.

L: Out of history’s shame and deep-rooted pain

C: Still We Rise!

L: Out of slavery’s whip; and tears dreadful stain,

C: Still We Rise!

L: Out of the ashes of the past, out of memories that last,

C: Still We Rise!

L: With God before us, behind us, within us, beside us,

C: We Will Rise! We Will Rise!  We Will Rise! Amen. 3

*  Inspired by the work of CeCee Mills and Tim Waltonen, of the Virginia Synod African American Outreach Team for the “Sankofa Dialogue/Litany,” 2019.

  1. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785; 2. Langston Hughes, “American Heartbreak,” 1951; 3. Inspired by Maya Angelou, “And Still We Rise,” 1978


Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law, a founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color), and currently a fellow in the “Engaging Tradition” project at Columbia Law School. He explains “Winning legal equality—getting the law to cast us as victims of discrimination who the state will protect—will not support our survival.  Instead of focusing on what the law says about trans people, which is really what the law is saying about itself as a protector of trans people, we should be focused on what systems of law and administration do to trans people and our interventions should aim to dismantle harmful, violent systems such as criminal punishment and immigration enforcement. Critical Race Theory offers a critique of how law and certain law reform strategies misunderstand the actual operation of life-shortening state violence, and how that has produced a set of reforms that fail to actually transform material conditions of white supremacy. These critiques redirect our attention to the conditions we aim to transform.” This might also explain why other persecuted people are not moving forward.  He explains more in this interview in the Daily Good.

The American Friends Service Committee has developed a self-study e- course on Changing Systems Change Ourselves: Anti-racist Practice for Sanctuary, Accompaniment, and Resistance It’s a four session course you can use at your own pace.

Fr. Brendan Curran, a Dominican Friar of the Central Province, and the North American Dominican Justice Promoter Co Coordinator, took a delegation to Mississippi to help the community after the raid and arrest of 700 adults.  He writes that the communities in the four affected areas are very rural – about 20 miles between towns. Resources for immigrants’ rights are sparse. There are four immediate needs at this time. His report is here.

  1. Need for lawyers: The families need immediate help with immigration lawyers we need to help pressure the Guatemalan government to visit and represent Guatemalans in the affected zone. Nearly all of the 300 detainees are Guatemalan.  Some attention is also needed to work with the Vietnamese Consulate for similar support and access to the detained.
  2. Need for international outcry: we believe that there is evidence of abuse and violation of laws in the apprehension of these immigrant workers.  I am interested in assisting the local networks with support of the United Nations and/or other observers to ensure that a procedure for fighting these abuses proceeds.
  3. Need to support Vietnamese family victims:  There were a number of victims of the raid who are from Vietnam and have very little support in the area – pastoral ministers who speak Vietnamese, immigrant rights lawyers and volunteers who speak Vietnamese.
  4. Need for a climate-controlled space in a warehouse near Jackson, MS: Donations are coming in for baby diapers, formula, wet-wipes, paper towels, napkins, kleenex and other needs and more is needed.  There is NO warehouse space in the area at the moment.

If you can help or want more information, please contact Fr. Brendan at bcurran@resurrectionproject.org

Is planting trees enough to save the environment?  Maybe not but we should probably follow the actions of Sr. Redemptor Iconga  in Kenya and plant a few more ourselves.

On average, twenty active duty and veterans commit suicide each day primarily by guns.  There are many for whom guns are necessary for their livelihood who still recognize the need for common sense gun safety legislation. Please see this letter sent by the Giffords Law Center Veterans Coalition.  (https://lawcenter.giffords.org)

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

We write to you today from an America we no longer recognize.

As veterans, we have been willing to put our lives on the line for our country. Yet we can’t protect Americans from the gun violence epidemic here at home. This month’s shootings served as a stark reminder of how this crisis is ravaging the country. A killer fueled by hate and racism took the lives of 22 people and injured dozens in El Paso, Texas, while just 13 hours later, another senselessly murdered nine more and injured 26 in Dayton, Ohio.

Every day, 100 Americans die from gun violence. And yet for far too long, calls from a majority of Americans to pass commonsense gun laws have been met with indifference from our leaders. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Since September 11th, the United States has spent trillions of dollars combating terrorist threats abroad. But the unfortunate reality is that Americans motivated by homegrown hate and extremism are responsible for more American deaths over the past decade than sympathizers of al-Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups. Now is the time to confront domestic terrorism and gun violence with the same focus and national consensus we’ve applied to combatting international terrorism.

While hate can fester in any corner of the world, our country’s weak gun laws represent a glaring vulnerability to American security. Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported a record-high number of active hate groups in the United States. When we allow these hate-filled individuals to purchase and possess firearms, the consequences can be deadly. Every year, there are more than 10,000 violent hate crime attacks involving firearms in our country. Passing stronger gun laws is not only the right thing to do—it’s critical to our national security.

It is painful and tragic to fight for our security abroad only to return home and confront a country torn by hate and awash in unregulated guns. The power of this country has always come from embracing our diversity. Together, we stand; divided, we fall.

We write to you today to ask that you take these security threats to our nation seriously, and advance commonsense gun safety legislation, like H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. You have the power to condemn the violent, hateful rhetoric taking root in communities across the country, and to take action to address it.

Our time in service was dedicated to leaving our country a safer place. We ask you to use your time in service to do the same.


General Peter W. Chiarelli, USA (Ret.)
General Michael Hayden, USAF (Ret.)
General James T. Hill, USA (Ret.)
Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.)
General Stanley A. McChrystal, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Norman R. Seip, USAF (Ret.)
Commander Carlos Del Toro, USN (Ret.)
Captain Terron Sims, II, USA (Ret.)
Shawn VanDiver, USN (Ret.)





Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

400 Years of Slavery

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

In August, 1619, a ship docked in Fort Comfort, Virginia. “Twenty and odd Negroes” were sold for food. It marked the beginning of the slave trade in the United States. This past weekend, there were many ceremonies to commemorate the 400th anniversary of slavery.  They were not celebrations because how can you celebrate that human beings were considered chattel – to be used and sold. But they were vital events to recognize the role of slavery in so many lives.

Take a minute to think about this concept.  How would you feel if you were considered someone’s property?  You could be bought or sold, forced to work long hours, beaten and raped. Your children could be taken away.  All because of your color, nationality, or gender.

The legacy of slavery includes the Civil War, Jim Crow, lynching, race riots, segregated schools and housing, the school to prison pipeline and the deaths of innocent black boys and men. It touches each of us regardless of our color – black, brown, yellow or white. “If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

In Columbus, the Spirituality Network (an organization that we have longed worked in and sponsored) hosted a programs called 400 Years – Africans in America: I Am an Answered Prayer. Each presenter provided some insight in how slavery touches the very DNA of each person and our country.  If one is taught that he/she is not valued, in fact, not even fully human, is it surprising that they would struggle to value their own lives or the lives of others?  Or that others – immigrants, LGBTQ, or individuals with disabilities – would also be treated as less valuable?  Entire communities are treated as not deserving of clean water, clean air, quality education, safety, et cetera because of their color.

So we have reached a cross-road.  Which way America? Will we agree to face the last 400 years, recognize what we have done and are doing to others, acknowledge our own white privilege, and recognize the humanity of all people? Will we help young black and brown children who think their future is to be poor reverse that vision? Will we continue to perpetuate Mafaa, the great tragedy, that stereotypes people of color and enslaves them in hopelessness?

Frederick Douglass once said “The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.” It’s time to stop the misery of all people of color.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog


Blog by Associate Carol Lemelin, OPA

Every once in awhile, I hear or read something that startles me because I never thought of it before or it never occurred to me to see in a different light.  That happened recently when I read Pope Francis’ remark about gossip.

He said, “Gossip is the terrorism of the Christian community.”  Those are strong words, which indicate how deeply he feels about the subject.

In the current atmosphere of immigrant discrimination, churches are being called Sanctuary sites – places where people are safe.

What the Pope suggests is that our churches should also be sanctuaries from gossip, back-biting, criticism, tale-telling, unkindness, and grudges. It is supposed to be a place where the presence of Christ is not just in the tabernacle, but also in the people — a place where people are safe.

The more I think about this, the more my conscience stings. This behavior is practically a national pastime.  The idea that the church is a place of safety in this regard is very likely unheard of anywhere.  Is it a sign that our complacency with our Christianity is unfounded?

Do we reflect Jesus? Jesus confounded all the religious authorities by talking to, touching, loving, and healing everyone without discrimination.  When he was rejected, he simply moved on.  He did not waste time in regrets or stewing over slights, but looked forward and continued his mission.  He was commissioned to bring to the world the truth about God.  God is ever-loving, ever patient, ever forgiving.  That was his all-consuming passion. Shouldn’t it be ours as well?

The earliest Christian communities, beset on all sides by enemies, came together in the pure joy of sharing their love of Jesus. So what happened?  Why isn’t there one Christian Community instead of thousands?  Perhaps we need to start over.

Perhaps we need to model our church community on that of the earliest believers. They thought he was coming back, but we know He has not left us, which means He is present!

How would we behave if Jesus were visible?  There would be no question about our church being a safe place. As it is God’s will that all the good that is done, must be done by us, we have little choice but to try to make that dream come true.

Posted in News