Dominican Sisters of Peace Help Meet Needs for COVID-19 Patients

On March 8, 2020, the last weekend retreat at St. Mary’s Retreat House, a sponsored ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Oxford, MI, ended. This retreat, entitled Beatitudes: Hope amidst the Challenges, marked the end of 60 years of ministry for the Sisters in Oxford.

The Retreat House actually closed a few weeks earlier than planned due to restrictions put into place to combat the COVID-19 virus, but the Sisters in the Oxford Community have been able to extend their ministry in an unexpected way.

In the normal course of preparing to close the Dominican Sisters of Peace Oxford Motherhouse, the Sisters made inquiries to find a place to donate beds and other furniture. It was determined that these items would be donated to “House into Homes,” a Ypsilanti, MI, organization that supplies furniture for families moving out of homeless shelters into stable private housing.

But God had another purpose for these items – a purpose specific to the most current need in our world – care for those with the corona virus.

Sisters donated 60 sets of linens to the new quarantine center.

One of the members of “House into Homes” is also employed by Trinity Health, and was aware of an immediate need for furnishings for a new overflow facility for Trinity’s St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti. This facility will house those who need quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19 as well as those who no longer need hospital care but are not ready to go home, creating much-needed room at the hospital for those who need more acute care.

On Monday, March 30, 2020, volunteer crews from Barton Malow Construction, Southfield MI and Kasco Construction, Royal Oak, MI, showed up bright and early to begin the moving process. The two companies donated their trucks and crews for this project. In about 2 ½ hours they had loaded 60 beds and 60 bedspreads, sheets, blankets, mattress pads, and towel sets freshly cleaned by the staff at St. Mary’s Retreat House. Chairs, a few dressers and small desks were also sent to their new temporary home in Ypsilanti.

Volunteer movers took 60 beds and other furniture from the St. Mary’s facility.

After the overflow facility closes, the donated furniture will be moved to the “House into Homes” warehouse to help give a new start to formerly-homeless families.

As St. Dominic preached to the needs of his day, the Dominican Sisters of Peace are blessed to be able to provide for this important need in the Detroit area, and to be able, in the closing of one of their homes, to furnish new homes in their community.

Posted in News

There is Hope in the Midst of a Storm

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

During stormy seasons (like this current pandemic), it can be difficult to maintain hope.

We can be so blinded by the storms in our lives – sickness, job loss, financial crisis, failing a class, losing a loved one, etc. – that we forget the power, love, and mercy of God and we forget the goodness that can be found in humanity.

When life seems to be spiraling out of control, those of us who believe in God should remember that God is in control and is stronger than our problems and that God will give us the strength we need to get through the storm.

For those who may not believe in God or a higher power (and those who do), perhaps comfort and strength can be found in the goodness of humanity – the acts of kindness that we see every day (people shopping for those who are vulnerable; employers who are providing pay to employees who are sheltered in place; restaurant owners who are providing meals for the homeless and economically disadvantaged; neighbors who are checking on neighbors and sharing meals and supplies;  athletes who are donating to food banks and childcare programs; healthcare heroes who  are on the front line; grocery store and retail workers and custodial and cleaning staff who continue to serve, etc.).

A friend of mine, who is a pastor in California, recently shared a message with his parishioners that I believe is worth repeating :

Never forget how far you’ve come.  Everything you have gotten through. All the times you have pushed on even when you felt you couldn’t. All the mornings you got out of bed no matter how hard it was. All the times you wanted to give up but you got through another day. Never forget how much strength you have learned and developed.

I would like to add: Never forget that we lift each other up – we make the world a better place – when we show our goodness.

My prayer is that rather than sinking deeper into fear or pain or chaos, we can all find enough hope to get us through the storm. I think we can find that hope by reaffirming our trust in God and in humanity.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

The Annunciation: A Moment of Unparalleled Courage

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

This week, the Church’s celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation occurred in the middle of the more subdued season of Lent.   Yet, it seemed very appropriate to celebrate the event that set in motion God’s plan of salvation for humankind.  Without Mary’s “yes,” the Paschal Mystery, as we know it, would not exist. What a phenomenal decision for a young, unmarried Jewish girl to have to make—with no certainty about how her answer would affect the rest of her life.  Recently, I learned of a beautiful poem that focuses on the courage of Mary in that moment.

We do not often reflect on the courage of Mary in giving her “yes.”  The poem, Annunciation, by Denise Levertov, offers a beautiful image of Mary and this moment in salvation history.  Of this decisive moment in Mary’s life, Levertov writes, “God waited.  She was free to accept or to refuse, choice integral to humanness.”   The poet then asks a question that is relevant for each one of us today.  “Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?”  The answer is a resounding, “yes!”

Think about the significant times of discernment and choices in life.  These occasions might include choices about health, careers, marriage partners, or religious life discernment.  The moments of choice or “annunciations” in our lives come with no guarantees and the path forward is often not clear.  The only guarantee we have is the same one that Mary had—faith that God could be trusted.

How have you responded to the “annunciation moments” in your life?   For me, there have been times when I have said “yes.”  There have also been times when I have turned in fear, a time when as the poet said, “God waited.”  It takes courage to say “yes” to the “annunciations” or invitations from God in our lives.  Nevertheless, God is persistent, constantly inviting us to grow, to live and to love.

Mary is an example for us of both grace and courage.  The beautiful words of Denise Levertov’s poem, Annunciation, blessed my spirit.  I look forward to praying with it during times of personal discernment.  I invite you, also, to take time to sit and reflect with Levertov’s poem and consider the “annunciations of some sort or another” happening in your life.

May we all be blessed with the courage of Mary during times of discernment, uncertainty and when facing the unknown.

Perhaps, an “annunciation” in your life is feeling called to consider being a Sister.  Call us, our Vocation Ministers would be happy to speak with you.


Pat Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?, News

Aetna Benefits Concerning COVID-19

With all that’s going on with COVID19, here is a brief summary of all of the Aetna benefit specific updates. Please see below and attached:

  • Testing: COVID19 testing will be covered by the plan 100%. CVS is working to offer COVID19 testing. Click here for the latest press release.
  • Treatment: Current plan benefits cover treatment of COVID19 the same as any other condition based upon medical necessity. We’re waiting to hear more on whether this will change to cover treatment at 100% but for now the typical plan benefit rules apply (copay/deductible/coinsurance).

    o No cost Teladoc visits: For 90 days Teladoc visits are covered at no cost (through June 4th). This includes ALL Teladoc visits including behavioral health visits.

    o Healing Better Kit available to members diagnosed with COVID19. This is at no cost to members. The kit arrives within 1-3 days of Aetna receiving notification of diagnosis. Click here for more information on the kit.

  • Prescription Coverage: Early refills available for maintenance medications. Additionally, CVS is waiving delivery charges for members that request to have their medications mailed to their home address from their local CVS store.
  • Other Resources:

    o Aetna Resources For Living (RFL) is offering support to individuals who have been impacted by Coronavirus. This is at no cost to plan sponsors or their members. Those in need of support can access EAP services whether or not they have EAP as part of their benefits. Individuals can contact us at 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386).

    o 24/7 access to Aetna’s registered nurses through the Informed Healthline. This program is currently included with Aetna plans but adds a valuable resource to members with health related questions and concerns.

    o Members can also access Aetna’s website for details and FAQ’s about COVID19.

Posted in News

Be a Good Neighbor

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

COVID19 came to the Peace Center this week; not because of sickness or death, but because we had to close. Last week we kept the center open especially for our after school kids who now had tons of work to do and often needed our computers to do it, but also for the new folks who stopped in because they had just been laid off and now had to fill out applications for SNAP. Completing SNAP applications is no easy task and online is really tough. The work was done and the applications filled out but now we “shelter in place” and pray for all of this to end. Contingency plans now include setting up a schedule for phone calls to our senior adults, some walks around the neighborhood on weekdays when we usually were not able to do so, setting up a neighborhood ambassador who could tell us if someone was in need that we might not know about and could help. Many folks do not have cars so we can offer to go to the store for them.

There are lots of people offering advice and suggestions for how to stay sane during these days, but it is the human presence that suddenly seems so vital. As we walk through the neighborhood, we will stop and say a prayer or greet those sitting on their porches and just let them know we are here and will do what we can and are allowed to do for them.

Let us pray for each other and look for new ways to stay connected that somehow won’t stop just because life might return to normal. Nothing is going to be normal again for a long time so what can we do to bring peace and hope to someone who is anxious and feeling downcast, and how do we prevent ourselves from having those same feelings? So, let’s take a breath, pray a lot and connect with each other as best we can.

Posted in News, Weekly Word