Let us be Signs of Courageous Hope!

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald


I want to be a sign of courageous hope in the world.  How about you?

The reason for my hope is Jesus Christ.  One way I live this is as a Dominican Sister of Peace.  I believe that by accepting God’s call to be a religious sister and living my life faithfully, I am already showing others a sign of God’s hope.

In Jeremiah we read, “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future full of hope.” (Jer. 29:11-13) This scripture was given to me on the day I was waiting to hear if I was accepted into candidacy as a Dominican.  I was at work on a cold day in January 1991.  As I settled in for the day, I turned my page-a-day scripture calendar to the new page.  The reading from Jeremiah was written in bold italics.  I read the scripture, closed my eyes and sent up a quick prayer, “Please let it be a yes. God, please let it be a yes.”  Later that day, my phone rang and Sr. Anne told me that I was accepted into candidacy.

At many major milestones in my journey, that scripture has shown up just when I needed it–on the day I was accepted into novitiate, made my first profession of vows and the day one of my best friends died.  This scripture reminds me of God’s presence and the promise of hope and life.

When women and men hear the call of God to consecrate their lives in love as religious sisters, brothers, priests or as lay ministers, it is an affirmation of belief in and a sign of courageous hope, which was reinforced this past weekend at the Religious Formation Congress.  Fittingly, it was entitled, “Being Signs of Courageous Hope.” It was a gathering for young religious and those who walk with them as their mentors, teachers, and guides.  In the course of the weekend, I witnessed great care, joy, wisdom, courage, discernment, and encouragement between the participants in small and great ways.  It was the kind of weekend that keeps us going amidst the difficult times.  It reminded me that God is still calling men and women to religious life and that in answering that call we are witnessing to the Hope that Jeremiah prophesied so long ago.  He did not say it would be easy, but he did say that we are called to a, “future full of hope.”

Come and be a part of that future.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Blog by Sr. Theresa Fox, OP

Reading 1 Rom 8:26-30

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Gospel Lk 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”


ROMANS 6:8:26-30                LUKE 13:33-30

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for I many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

What is keeping each of us from entering through the narrow gate? Is it the stuff we have? Yes, we have given our lives to God. But if we look around us, we do have a lot of material goods. Some of them may be pictures of family, memories of past ministries, mementoes that we cherish. For example, I have a small statue of Mary that my Dominican aunt gave me when I was a child. At some point it will be time to let go of it. I can pass it on to a family member with its story. Or else someone who doesn’t know its history will discard it. There are other things we have that don’t have a lot of meaning. My guess is that we don’t use many of them. They just take up space in our room and offices.

Maybe the stuff we carry isn’t material. What about our attitudes? It is so easy to continue to let ourselves fall into the same old patterns of reacting to situations. What about that person I am still holding a grudge against? Maybe that grudge is that taking up a lot of space in my heart.

Then there are my good intentions – the ones I never seem to be able to carry through. They take hold me back from being challenged to grow.

When we do muster the courage to let go of those things – material or not – we believe that the Spirit will guide us. Then we won’t need to worry about whether the gate is narrow or wide. We will be living as God, who loves us intimately and without hesitation, has called us to live.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

2019 Education Sponsorship Meeting

Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, OH, hosted the 2019 Education Sponsorship Meeting on October 24 and 25.

Dr. Kathy Lechman, Associate Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity at The Ohio State University, addresses the Education Sponsorship Meeting.

This annual gathering brings together the presidents, board, chairs, delegates, and other representatives of our sponsored educational ministries: Albertus Magnus College (New Haven, CT); Ohio Dominican University (Columbus, OH); Dominican Academy (New York, NY); Our Lady of the Elms School (Akron, OH); St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School (Memphis, TN); and St. Mary’s Dominican High School (New Orleans, LA).

The meeting included opportunities for prayer, community building, and networking among our educational ministry leaders.

This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Kathy Lechman, Associate Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. Dr. Lechman’s topic, Equity and Inclusion: The Missing Pieces, addressed issues around diversity, equity and implicit bias.

Sr. Pat Twohill, OP, (left) looks on as outgoing Albertus Magnus Board Chair Jeanne Dennison, (center) is gifted an original painting by former Albertus professor Sr. Thoma Swanson, OP (right).

During the event, outgoing Albertus Magnus Board Chair Jeanne Dennison, ’78, was presented with a special painting of New Haven’s beloved East Rock by former Albertus Magnus professor Sr. Thoma Swanson.

Click here for additional photos.

Posted in Associate Blog

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Lois Schmeltzer

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Lois Schmeltzer

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Lois Schmeltzer, (92), died on October 7, 2019, at the Mohun Hall Health Care Center in Columbus, OH.  One of twelve children born to Mary Alice Gordon and Alphonsus Ligouri Schmeltzer in Somerset, OH, young Mary Schmeltzer was educated by Dominican Sisters and Friars from a young age and entered the Congregation herself in 1944.

Sister Mary Lois earned her BS in Elementary Education in 1957 from Saint Mary of the Springs College and her MEd from Duquesne University in 1962. She also earned certification in Administration and Supervision from Ohio State University. She served as an educator and principal for more than 30 years, teaching children in grades 1-8 in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, instructing children in choir and music, and also served as School Principal.

One of Sr. Mary Lois’ Sisters has commented that “She was a woman of great enthusiasm, and did everything that she did with 100% effort.” That was never truer than when she was asked to take on a new assignment for the good of the Church or her Community. After three decades as an educator, she left her ministry to serve the Congregation as Vocation Director and, later, as Director of Public Relations and Development.

She served as Director of Religious Education at St. Mary Parish in Marietta, OH, for nearly 10 years, then became the Administrator of Nazareth Towers, a HUD-subsidized senior citizen housing complex in Columbus, OH, where she served for eight years. She entered her final ministry of prayer and presence at Mohun Health Care Center in 2013.

When asked, “What ministry has been your favorite?” Sr. Lois always had the same answer: “I am doing my favorite ministry now, just where I am.” As she grew older and serving others became more difficult, she spoke often of how grateful she was for the care that she received from the staff at Mohun, saying how she appreciated being “a member of two wonderful families: a loving biological family and an outstanding religious congregation.”

Sr. Mary Lois’ was preceded in death by her parents, Alphonsus and Mary Alice Gordon Schmeltzer, her sisters, Madeline Takacs, Juanita Cline, Rita Keller, Betty Heyman, Audrey Hicks, and Nancy Palmer, and her brothers, William, Michael, and Edmund. She is survived by her sisters, Eloise Krumlauf, and Frances Orr.

A Vigil of Remembrance Service and Wake was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel, Columbus, Ohio on October 15, 2019. The funeral liturgy was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel, October 16. Sr. Mary Lois was interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Columbus, OH.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Mary Lois’ memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098, or made online at oppeace.org.

To view or print a copy of this memorial, please click here. 

Posted in Obituaries

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Dropski

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Dropski

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Marie (David Marie) Dropski, (86), died on October 4, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.  Born in 1933 in Lynn, MA, Sr. Joan and her two brothers were raised by two loving parents, Madeline Casey and Joseph Thomas. Sr. Joan worked for two years before entering religious life in 1953, and served God’s people for 64 years.

Sister Joan graduated from Rosary Academy and earned her AA in Education from Saint Catharine Junior College in 1957, her BA in Education, Social Studies and English from Siena College in Memphis in 1965, and her MA in Religious Studies from Mundelein College in 1971. She delighted in learning, and in sharing knowledge with others, so she continued her education throughout her years of ministry by attending many workshops and institutes.

Sister Joan’s early ministry was in education, serving as an elementary and junior high teacher and principal in Nebraska. Her study at Mundelein deepened her knowledge, and she moved on to serve as Director of Religious Education and Parish Minister in both Nebraska and Massachusetts.

Sister Joan shared her gifts and talents with our Order as both a Regional Coordinator and as an Administrative Assistant to the Regional in Watertown. For fourteen years she conscientiously fulfilled her responsibility as bursar for the Eastern Region, recognized for her faithfulness and dedicated service.

It’s hard to say that Sister Joan “retired” in 2005 because she continued to offer her caring service wherever she was needed and even after entering Sansbury Care Center, witnessed to others through her presence and prayer. In a reflection, Sister Joan wrote that she “would hope to enable others to be ALIVE with the love of the Lord.” Throughout her 64 years of ministry, she herself was alive to God’s love and shared it with others.

In her preaching at Sr. Joan’s funeral, Sr. Rose Cummins noted that Sr. Joan was a woman of great faith and optimism. Even though she suffered twice from breast cancer and eventually became legally blind, she had a great love for her community and offered her heart and hands in service to the Congregation and to God’s people. She also refused to let these things discourage her, and continued to enjoy her friends, traveling and reading.

A vigil of remembrance was held for Sr. Joan on October 13 at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel.  The Mass of Christian Burial was held on October 10 at Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Sr. Joan was interred in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Joan’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098. To make a secure online donation, please click here.

To view or print a copy of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in Obituaries