Blog by Associate Colette Parker

Does the name William Felton Russell mean anything to you?

If not, maybe you know him by Bill Russell — the 11-time NBA champion, five-time MVP, 12-time All Star, Olympic gold medalist, two-time NCAA champ and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom who fought for civil rights his entire career, financially supported the movement as one the NBA’s biggest stars, held his Boston Celtics team’s fans accountable for their racism, and convinced his entire organization to forfeit a game because a restaurant wouldn’t serve black customers..

Did you know that just last week he accepted his Hall of Fame ring, despite being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975?

Forty-four years.

What took so long for the basketball legend (and the first African-American player to be elected to Hall of Fame) to acknowledge the honor? (He essentially boycotted the ceremony back in 1975 for “his own personal reasons”)?

We got the answer last week, after he accepted his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony at his home – he was waiting for the NBA to induct Chuck Cooper, the first African-American player drafted by the NBA (in 1950).

That finally happened this year.

The moral of this story, for me: We are all standing on someone’s shoulders – benefiting from the work and experiences of those who came before us.

Whose shoulders are you standing on?

And who is standing (or will stand) on yours?

“You have been paid for. Each of you, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, Red — whatever pigment you use to describe yourselves—has been paid for. But for the sacrifices made by some of your ancestors, you would not be here; they have paid for you. So, when you enter a challenging situation, bring them on the stage with you; let their distant voices add timbre and strength to your words. For it is your job to pay for those who are yet to come.”  — Maya Angelou

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Dominican Sister of Peace Pauletta Kelly

Dominican Sister of Peace Sr. Pauletta Kelly

Dominican Sister of Peace Pauletta (Lucille) Kelly, (96), died on All Saints Day, November 1, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY. Born in 1922 in Greeley, Nebraska to Lucille Welsh and Thomas Francis Kelly, Sr. Pauletta grew up in the community of her eight siblings, and entered the Community at St. Catharine, KY, in 1943. She took her final vows in 1948, and served God’s people as a Dominican Sister of Peace for nearly 75 years.

Sister Pauletta earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education and English from Siena College (Memphis, TN) in 1959 and her Masters’ in Education and English from Spalding College (Louisville, KY) in 1990. She also participated in the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, NE. Her belief that her “first need is to study what is happening in renewal of religious life and then to look into new possibilities for the apostolate” also led to her participate in the Better World Movement program in Rome.

Sister Pauletta ministered as a teacher, principal and librarian for thirty years in Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska and West Virginia. In true Dominican fashion, she responded to the needs of the times by changing the focus of her ministry, working in the Medical Records Department at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln, NE, as Director of Staff Development at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Lebanon, KY, and, later, at Sansbury. After returning to the field of education in Nebraska for several years, Sister Pauletta moved to Saint Catharine Motherhouse and offered her many gifts and talents to the Sisters in community service. She moved to Sansbury in 2012, where she began a ministry of prayer and presence.

“Just as Jesus was a nurturer and community builder, I found Sr. Pauletta the same way both times I lived with her,” said Sr. Charlene Vogel, in her reflection at Sr. Pauletta’s funeral. “She loved working with the earth, and her green thumb with flowers always showed results.

Sr. Pauletta is survived by one sister, Patricia Kittridge, and several nieces and nephews.

A Vigil of Remembrance was held at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel on November 6. The Mass of Christian Burial was held on November 7 at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Sr. Pauletta was buried in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Pauletta’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219.

To download a printable version of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in Obituaries

A Reflection on “Harriett” and Its Message for Us Today

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Earlier this week, the daily Gospel came from Luke 17:1-6.  The apostles asked Jesus to “strengthen their faith.”  Jesus responded by saying, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”  As I pondered Jesus’ words about “faith,” I thought about the movie “Harriet,” which I had just seen (for the second time) the day before.  The movie tells the story of Harriet Tubman, the most noted “Conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Harriet escaped slavery herself, then returned to guide hundreds more slaves to freedom. It was a, seemingly, impossible task for an illiterate slave woman who had only the stars and her faith in God to guide her.

The Hollywood production, as movies usually do, took dramatic liberties in sharing Harriet’s story. But they got the basic events and the guiding focus of her story right. Harriet was depicted as a small but strong Black woman whose faith and experience of God in her life led her down a path that she never expected and one that she could never have accomplished on her own. Once Harriet discerned the plan, her faith and experience of God enabled her to carry it through.  The thread that connects Harriett’s story to a conversation highlighting vocation and formation in religious life—is faith. Her story highlights a kind of faith that trusts, listens, and responds to the Spirit of God within us even when we cannot clearly see the path ahead.

Whether one is beginning to discern a call to religious life, is in some stage of religious formation or has been a Sister for a number of years, the foundation of the call is faith.  It is a faith that reflects an openness to trusting, listening, and responding to the God that dwells in each of us. The “yes” of our response to religious life or any life that is lived based on one’s faith in God carries a responsibility. It is the responsibility to love and respect the dignity of all people.  A life based on faith tries to discern how God is calling you to use your gifts to address the needs in the world around you.  Living by our faith is not an easy task.  Yet, I am convinced that the problems and divisions that we face today can only be overcome if people of faith and goodwill stand together—trusting, listening, and responding to our God who lives in each of us.

The movie “Harriet” was inspiring to me on many levels, especially regarding the power of faith.  It ended with the stirring song, “Stand Up,” which I invite you to listen to and to view a clip from the movie.  While the song was written with the mission of Harriet Tubman in mind, I think part of it reveals a more universal theme that can inspire us today.  The song’s refrain says “I’m going to stand up. Take my people with me. Together, we are going to a brand new home.”  As I reflected on these words, in light of our world today, these personal questions surfaced for me: “In light of my own faith, who am I being called to “stand up” for with my voice, with my actions, with my pen or my vote?  And who am I “taking with me” to a better place of justice and freedom?” In fact, I would invite each of us to ponder these questions for ourselves.  In today’s world, the choices are many and the ways to stand up for change are varied and plentiful. So the question becomes, “How is my faith calling me to respond or stand up!”

Perhaps you are being called to respond to God’s call as a Sister?   Call us, we can help.


Patricia Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?, News

Reprise: Is Grace a State? Does the Holy Spirit Sit for Portraits?

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

In March of this past year, I shared with you my fretting over my art project—the collages of the 6 peace doves–tied to my theological musings about  the movement of grace and the unhindered surprise of the Spirit. I wanted the peace doves to be the Holy Spirit but they sat pretty, too static to express the “flowing, shimmering, gusting, blazing, cascading” sense I had of the spirit.   I proceeded to write about both grace and the Holy Spirit as “an ever-recurring mystery. It is mobility, not stability, that underlies and supports the matter-ing that we are and which surrounds us.”  My next piece would be an attempt to make visual the dynamism of the Spirit, that ever-moving and transforming force that we liken to wind, water and fire.

I’ve finished it.  Of course my efforts have fallen short but when I finally got some long-awaited inspiration, it became a collage of prayer and play, and eventually I had to stop somewhere.  I include a cellphone photo here, at a second remove from the project. And with it, a reflection based on the scriptural charge in  Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians ( I Thess 5) “Do not stifle the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit and the Invitation to the dance.

She is among us, Sophia, Shekina—
She plays here in our midst,
elbowing spaciousness into our crowded fears.
Will you deny her the delight?
Always be joyful, pray continually,
Give thanks whatever happens.
The dance of union, of new creation goes on
And we are awhirl in it, carried in it, borne up on it—
The singing wind, the lilting song
that led Dominic, Joyful Friar,
Along the Gospel path.
Will you join in the song? Will you try a new step?
Are you fearful, are you dreary, dragging, benumbed?
Sure it has all been said, nothing new under the sun?
Ah, do not stifle the Spirit—she burns and she sizzles
With Divine dreams, she comes to light in us a new fire,
To strengthen the weak, to encourage the weary,
To shake us awake! To limber us up!
To kindle our hearts! To lead us in laughter!
To twinkle in our eyes, to be hope for a new day.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Justice Updates – November 12, 2019

The editors of NCR write “The church is changing. The situation in the Amazon region gathers up, as we’ve noted before, the most compelling themes facing humanity and the church today. The Earth is indisputably under assault because of the activity of humans and nowhere is it more demonstrable than in this critically important ecosystem. Can humanity come to some agreement over ways to protect it?” Read Genuine Dialogue Takes Church into Unscripted Territory.

Today, November 12th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the legality of DACA. Archbishop Charles Chaput from Philadelphia writes, “In this great country, we should not have young people living under the threat of deportation, their lives dependent on the outcome of a court case.  The issues at stake are legal, but they are also humanitarian, economic, and moral. By now, these young people are grown up and are deeply integrated into our social fabric – studying in universities and colleges, serving in the police and military, working in hi-tech fields and hospitals; some are even preparing for the priesthood and religious life…. Business leaders from every sector of the economy say these young adults are vital to our nation’s economic future; already, they are contributing billions each year in tax revenues and income. This contribution is especially important at a time when 10,000 baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964 are reaching retirement age every day.”  Read more.

The Supreme Court will not issue its decision until the Spring of 2020.  In the meantime, we must urge Congress to act to provide DACA recipients a legislative solution and a path to citizenship.  The House has already passed H.R. 6 which includes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.  Please call your Senators and ask them to support S. 874, the Dream Act of 2019 which will support legislative protection for these young people.  Here is a suggested text:

 As a person of faith and a Catholic sister, I want express my strong support for the “Dream Act of 2019” (S. 874). The young people protected by this bill are our neighbors and friends. They are mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens. They are important members of our community and leaders in our parishes. As Catholics, we have long supported DREAMERS as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that has benefited over 800,000 young people by ensuring that recipients are able to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time to a country they do not know and separated from their families.I urge the Senator to:

  • Support and co-sponsor S. 874, the Dream Act of 2019; and
  • Continue to work towards larger legislative reform of our immigration laws.

Be assured of my prayers and please know that Catholics stand with you in support of the DREAM Act of 2019, S. 874.

For more information about what you can do, check out this information from the USCCB Justice for Immigrants.

Catholic Sisters Against Trafficking recently highlighted an innovative program used in Columbus, Ohio to help trafficking victims called CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court. To read more about this program, click here.

The LCWR released a statement about the recent withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. “Catholic teaching is clear – climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitment to: protect human life and dignity, exercise a preferential option for the most vulnerable, promote the common good, and care for God’s creation” Read the entire statement.  Also call your members of Congress and urge them to publicly oppose the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.





Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates