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

The Kindness of Strangers, the Meanness of Others

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

An interesting story came my way this weekend that holds up for us the dichotomy of human experience in a fragile balance.  The story as I heard it, in shorthand:

A group of our sisters went to a play here in town and met for dinner at a nearby restaurant ahead of time. Parking was tight and time was short, so the two carloads of theater-goers parked under a NO PARKING SIGN, which said violators will be towed. Well…. It was Saturday night, the establishment that owned the parking spaces was closed, the restaurant was right there. It should be okay.  They went to the restaurant, ordered their meal, enjoyed each other’s company and along comes a waitress with bad news. Your cars are being towed. OH NO! the drivers rushed out, too late to stop the tow trucks. NOW WHAT? Can you imagine?

Here is where the kindness of strangers comes in. Some restaurant patrons heard the fuss and offered to take the sisters to the theater, about a mile away. Yes! There are thoughtful, generous people in the world. Later that night, other generous sisters came to take the drivers to the tow-away location to retrieve the cars and go home. A happy ending to the story. It was noted, in all the fuss, that the shop owner who also owned the parking places was notorious for watching out the window for violators and calling the tow company. Snaring a $168.00 fee each. Just plain mean.

So what are we to make of this story, and what would Jesus say?  The story of the weeds and the wheat in Matthew 13 comes to mind.

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.  The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.  Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Let them grow together…  so Jesus is asking us to abide the ill will or evil of others in such a way that God will make a proper judgement, not us. Our place in the kingdom is to do good, to extend a kindness to a stranger, even to the business owner whose actions seemed so mean. To be the balance of good in a world with such a capacity for meanness. Small things and large.

Most of us can only add good when we see and hear of evil, we have little power to change the vastness of the world’s problems. We grow up with the weeds, and it may be that we cannot always tell one from the other. So my prayer today is that we would act in the moment when it is right to extend good to the stranger, to the neighbor, the shop owner, our family, our friends, to the world we inhabit.

Lord, help me see the kindness of strangers as a sign of hope and open my heart to be grateful that the balance of weeds and wheat is up to you.   Amen.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Dominican Sister of Peace Maria Teresa Apalategui

Dominican Sister of Peace Maria Teresa Apalategui

Dominican Sister of Peace Maria Teresa (Cecilia) Apalategui (79), lovingly known in her Community as M.T., died on February 1, 2020, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.

Sister Maria Teresa was one of five children born to Mollie Barnes and Alfonso Apalategui in Tucson, AZ. At the age of 19, Sister Maria Teresa left her home for New Orleans, where she entered the Congregation in 1959. She once said that leaving her family was the hardest thing that she had ever had to do, but it was the most rewarding decision of her life.

Engraved inside her ring was her personal motto – “To do what I am doing.” She loved serving God and God’s people, and did so faithfully.

Sr. Maria Teresa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Community Service from Mary Rogers College in New York, and her Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. She put that education, as well as her natural affection, to work serving the poor in Texas, Arizona and Louisiana for the majority of her 58 years of religious life.

She ministered as an advocate for and worked with the poor in Tucson, AZ, for nearly 40 years, first as a facilitator for the elderly in the Diocese, and later, as Associate Director of Tucson Catholic Services, where she served for 10 years.

Sr. Maria Teresa was instrumental in the creation of the Santa Cruz Project, which was dedicated to connecting people with the religious/spiritual, physical/medical, and social services that they needed to improve their lives. She herself spent much of her time in the barrios of the city, home-visiting families to help them find the assistance that they needed.

Always generous with whatever she had, Sr. Maria Teresa also offered technical advice to programs that needed assistance regarding immigration and refugee issues.

After the death of her beloved twin sister Charlotte, Sr. Maria Teresa left Tucson again – this time to live at the St. Catharine Motherhouse in Kentucky. She spent her final ministry of prayer and community service in ministry to her Sisters at the Motherhouse and at the Presbyterian Church’s thrift store, where Hispanic shoppers loved her company.

Sr. Maria Teresa is survived by her brother Carlos Cocio, sister-in-law Shirley Apalategui, and several nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Alfonso and Mollie Barnes Apalategui, older brothers Alphonse and Jack, and twin sister Charlotte Apalategui.

A Vigil of Remembrance Service was held on February 6 at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel.

The funeral liturgy was held at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel on February 7, and Sr. Maria Teresa was buried at the St. Catharine Motherhouse Cemetery.

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

To donate in Sr. Maria Teresa’s memory, please click here.

To view or download a printable copy of Sister Maria Teresa’s memorial, please click here.


Posted in Obituaries

Justice Updates – 2/18/2020

Stop the Death Penalty

The Death Penalty Action Center is calling for action on pending executions by signing petitions provided in the links enclosed. The center also provides information on upcoming legislation on the death penalty. Please take a minute and respond to the requests for action. This is a good follow up action to our corporate stance on the death penalty.

Mobilize for Dreamers in March

Please show your support for Dreamers by encouraging your representative to protect Dreamers!

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

As the SCOTUS DACA decision date approaches, we ask you to continue to voice your support for Dreamers with your Senators in local meetings during the Congressional recess next month, which is March 16-20, 2020.

  • Use the talking points that CSMG attendees used in their Hill meetings and leave behind the 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.

Stop Trafficking

The latest edition of the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, Stop Trafficking, focuses on the role of race in trafficking. Click here to read the February issue.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates