Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

You know it is election season when bumper stickers adorn cars everywhere.  One that appears every election season is, “I’m pro-life and I vote.”  It is always encouraging to observe a person committed to voting, but the first part of the bumper sticker raises the question:  What does it mean to be pro-life?  For many, being pro-life means opposing abortion.  Is that where it ends?

The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin created the concept of a “seamless garment.”  He articulated a long list of pro-life issues, widening the perspective to focus on the need to protect all life.  This does not diminish the importance of the abortion issue but emphasizes the urgency of all life issues that threaten human life and all creation.  While I am concerned about protecting the unborn, I also have concerns about the other 90% of life issues.  I am not a one-issue voter.

Can one be pro-life and:

  • Support the execution of prisoners on death row?
  • Support the manufacture and use of nuclear weapons that can kill millions of people?
  • Support policies that cut food stamps, subsidized housing, daycare that support the women who have chosen to have their babies?  How do they care for their babies without that support?
  • Support putting children in cages?
  • Support the manufacture and use of landmines that kill thousands of children and farmers long after a war is over?  (This is once again legal.)

The list of pro-life issues is endless.  An election year is an important time for dialogue, not debate, on life issues with persons with whom we disagree.  Unfortunately, dialogue does not happen often, following the advice to avoid talking about politics.  I believe political issues are moral issues and need shared wisdom from informed and committed citizens.  Together can we look at the entire landscape of life issues?  Neither silence nor heated rhetoric can bridge the deep divisions we face as a country.  The gift we can bring is a commitment to pursue truth, working to deepen understanding of issues of concern, always building mutual respect.  Now is an important time to “be peace, build peace and preach peace.”

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates – 2.25.2020

Mobilize in March for Dreamers

Senators will be in their home districts March 16-20. This is an important opportunity for you to visit with your Senator and talk to him or her about protecting DACA recipients.

On November 12, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and is expected to issue a ruling on the legality of the DACA program in late April-June.

The Catholic Bishops continue to express their support for Dreamers and sent letters to the House and Senate supporting legislation to protect these young people from deportation and family separation.

  • Please use these talking points to plan what you say to your Senator. You can also print and leave behind this  DACA backgrounder in your own meetings.
  • Need help on how to set up a meeting? Click on this link for “How to Set Up an In-District Meeting with your Lawmaker.

Support a “National Bureau for Gun Safety”

The Justice Conference of Women Religious is calling for a National Bureau for Gun Safety that would lead a campaign to reduce gun deaths based on proven public health practice.  Please consider signing the petition provided calling on Congress to create this important bureau.

There is a successful precedent for this action. In 1966, faced with rapidly rising motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths on our roads, the National Highway Safety Bureau (NHSB) was created to promote and implement safety technology and practices, such as seat belt use, as well as to support research into causes and contributing factors. This approach has been credited with reducing motor vehicle mortality by two-thirds over the subsequent thirty years.

Now, we must direct this strategy towards one of the deadliest threats we face today, preventing deaths at the hands of gun violence. Gun violence kills 40,000+ people a year. In the wake of shooting after shooting, we’ve got to figure out the root causes and how to prevent the next tragedy before it happens.

The National Bureau for Gun Safety (NBGS)’s mission would be to lead and coordinate a multidisciplinary, multifaceted campaign to reduce gun deaths based on proven public-health practice. NBGS would be run by experts in public health, medicine, engineering, communications and law enforcement, and:

  • Be transparent and nonpartisan;
  • Take the lead in setting the nation’s research agenda and developing, testing and implementing safety technologies;
  • Set out legislative priorities for saving lives;
  • Oversee campaigns to encourage behaviors likely to reduce gun injuries and;
  • Direct priorities for enforcing gun laws, in concert with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Sign the petition: Congress must establish the NBGS to reduce gun deaths. Click HERE to sign.


Posted in News

Dominican Sisters of Peace Hold Founded Ministries Meeting



Ministry Leaders Share Past Successes, Plans for Future

The Dominican Sisters of Peace welcomed ministry leaders from 13 sponsored ministries in 7 states for their annual Ministry Leader Gathering, held at the Martin de Porres Center in Columbus, OH, on February 19-20.

Ministries represented at this gathering included ecology centers, retreat centers, and learning centers. The theme of the meeting was “Carrying the Charism into Tomorrow” and explored issues such as sustainability/capacity, mission advancement, and resources for sharing the Dominican Charism to advisory council/board members.

“It is amazing to see how our Dominican Charism is celebrated in so many ways,” said Mark Butler, Director of Founded Ministries. “This gathering feels much more like a family reunion than a meeting.”

The Dominican Sisters of Peace have 27 ministries in ecology, retreat ministry, and adult and ESL education, primary and secondary school, colleges, health care and housing.

Row 1, from left: Sr. Pat Twohill, Prioress, Dominican Sisters of Peace; Andrea Pannell, OPA, Martin de Porres Center; Jeanne Mangino, Springs Learning Center; Sr. Jane Belanger, OP, Heartland Farm; Ann Axeman, OPA, Heartland Farm; Carole Hoffman, Dominican Retreat and Conference Center; Nancy Rodriguez, Siena Learning Center; Sr. Virginia Bruen, OP, Siena Learning Center; Sr. Margaret Mary Kennedy, OP, Springs Learning Center; Sr. Rosie Van Buren, OP, Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center; Elizabeth Reno, Rosaryville Spirit Life Center; Sr. Anne Lythgoe, Dominican Sisters of Peace Leadership.

Row 2, from left: Yahaira Rose, OPA, Martin de Porres Center; Carolyn Keene, Crown Point Ecology Center; Therese Leckert, Dominican Sisters of Peace Leadership; Suzette Callais, OPA, Rosaryville Spirit Life Center; Mark Butler, Dominican Sisters of Peace Director of Founded Ministries; Gene Poore, Dominican Sisters of Peace Leadership; Susan Milne, Dominican Sisters of Peace Assistant Director of Founded Ministries; Michael Pennison, OPA, Peace Center.

Row 3, from left: David Simpson, Crown Pointe; Alice Black, Dominican Sisters of Peace Director of Communications/Director of Mission Advancement; Jennifer Dixon, Dominican Sisters of Peace Director of Human Resources; Pattie McGurk, Heartland Center for Spirituality; Kristine Gehring, Dominican Learning Center; Sr. Sue Zemgulis, OP, Dominican Retreat and Conference Center; Denise Hilliard, Dominican Learning Center; Gemma Doll, Dominican Sisters of Peace Leadership; Sr. Pat Thomas, OP, Peace Center; Sr. Susan Leslie, OP, St. Catharine Farm; Sr. Chris Loughlin, OP, Crystal Springs Center for Earth Learning; Sr. Charlene Vogel, OP, St. Catharine Farm; Natalie Fullerton, Heartland Farm, Donna Vroom, OPA, Dominican Sisters of Peace Grant Writer; Danny Ray Spaulding, St. Catharine Farm; Mark Hanes, Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center.


Posted in News

Keep it Civil

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

In case you haven’t noticed, there are some people vying to become the next president of the United States.

How could you NOT, you might ask.

I don’t know, I might answer (lol).

I wanted to get that laugh in, hoping a little levity will help during this contentious time in American politics.

I know things can get ugly – name-calling, nasty barbs, harsh criticism, etc. – but abusive or venomous language does not have to be the norm. We can choose a different path by reviving civility in a time of deepening political divisions.

We can choose to accept the fact that not everyone is going to agree with our political views. We can choose to disagree without disrespect. We can choose to use respectful dialogue, which can translate into modeling the Golden Rule – recognizing  the respective dignity of others.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I can be as passionate as the next person about my opinions. But I hope they also know that I am willing to listen intently to someone who does not share my opinion.  I listen intently because I believe engaging in dialogue goes beyond exchanging views – it requires a sharing of reasons for the perspective; it requires truth-seeking.

Can the exchange be stormy? Yes. Disagreements can be unsettling. But they don’t have to be toxic, if we come from a place of integrity and common respect with a willingness to listen.

Opinions are important, but how we express them is almost always more significant than what we say.

Paulo Coelho (a Brazilian lyricist and novelist) puts it this way: The world is changed by your example not by your opinion.

What kind of example will you set when expressing your political views?

Posted in Associate Blog, News

What Does the Vocation Team of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Do?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Are you curious about what our Vocation team does? Let me share with you some of the vocation programs and outreach activities we are involved in.

For discerners, we offer the following programs to nurture the call to religious life and to help women with the discernment process:

  1. Come and See weekend retreat: this two-day program is usually in March and September. Our upcoming Come and See retreat is March 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio; and the September one will be Sept 11-13 in Akron, Ohio.
  2. Mission Immersion program: this five-day program involves service, reflection, visits, community time, fun, and prayer with local sisters. Our upcoming Mission Immersion is June 5-9 and will be in Wichita and Great Bend, Kansas.
  3. Monthly Emmaus group: this on-line zoom discernment program is held on the second Friday of each month (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST) for discerners around the country to study and discuss a discernment topic, pray together and receive peer support. Each time we meet, we have five to nine discerning women attending, in addition to the sisters.
  4. One-on-one conversations (by phone or zoom): we have phone calls or zoom conversations with discerners to assist them in learning more about religious life and prayerfully considering God’s call in their life.
  5. Discerner visitation: we host individual discerner from a few days to a week or longer at our Houses of Welcoming or Motherhouse, helping them experience real community living.

For vocation outreach and vocation promotion, we are involved in many activities:

  1. Give vocation talks, attend events, help give retreats at churches, universities, or schools, or hold vocation display tables at various conferences.
  2. Collaborate with our Communications department on our Vocation webpages, publications, and other communications
  3. Collaborate with vocation directors from other congregations on vocation outreach.
  4. Post to social media on our Vocations Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
  5. Write and send out weekly blogs and monthly e-newsletters to discerners.
  6. Involve sisters and associates in providing help with programs and outreach efforts.

For our team, we plan and implement events to fuel ourselves with energy, knowledge, and a spiritual focus for our mission by:

  1. Having weekly Vocations team meetings and regular meetings with our leadership liaison, who is the congregation’s Prioress.
  2. Holding team reflection days.
  3. Attending workshops or webinars to be updated and develop our own gifts/talents for the ministry.

Our religious life is so beautiful and filled with love, companionship, peace, and blessings. Our congregation mission is so vibrant and vital for the church and society. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Mt 5:14-16). Thus, we strongly believe and feel confident about greeting and encouraging others to join us as vowed members.

Sisters, associates, discerners, and friends, you can help us to be the hands, feet, voices, and hearts for our religious life and mission. Please help us spread the word about our upcoming events (see list below) wherever you can, including your churches, families, places of ministry, and by sharing our postings on your Facebook page. We appreciate all your help in bringing the light of our religious life and congregation’s mission to the world.

Posted in God Calling?, News