Have you ever found a message in a bottle that was floating in a river or ocean? Naturally, people are curious, and a message in the bottle allows us to peek into other’s thoughts that they wish to communicate. Just a few days ago, I was munching on chocolates on my way to a meeting in Cleveland. Each chocolate was wrapped in a message. After a few pieces, I caught myself realizing that while I loved the creaminess and smoothness of the chocolate, I was eager to open the next one because I was curious about the message that it contained.
The first message I read was: “Compliment someone…” (LindseyL., Indiana) Rather than complimenting one or two people, I choose dedicate this blog to all Sisters around the world on the occasion of Catholic Sisters Week.
“Smile, someone is thinking of you.” (Sherry A., Iowa)
Yes, if you are a Sister, know that we are thinking of you and praying for you, especially during this week.
“Be fearlessly authentic.” (Sotiria S, New Jersey)
Every six years, Sisters and Associates come together to prayerfully study and evaluate the needs of our times. Then, together, we create ways we would (fearlessly) respond to those needs, even if it requires us to take risks (i.e. founding the Peace Center in New Orleans just a few years ago.)
“Throw kindness around like confetti!” (Molly B., Kansas)
Above the door at the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus, it is written: “Peace to all who enter.” This message of peace is extended to all of our motherhouses, convents and communities. No matter which part of the congregation I visit, Sisters always radiate God’s peace, kindness and care.
“Dare to cross the line.” (Dove)
Sisters are mission-driven. It is about making God’s love known as we build the kingdom of God. At times, we dare to cross the line – in persevering to push for more just laws, making this world a more peaceful place, or going out to help the sick and those in need. Sisters, thank you for your witness of faith.
“Always time for love.” (Shannon B., Washington)
One of our Sisters in New Orleans always had boxes of twinkies in the trunk of her car – for the times when she encountered homeless people. Or, another example, our Candidate, Annie, who ministers full time as a professor of English, also found time to volunteer at the YWCA on a regular basis. I have learned from our Sisters’ example of faith that there is “always time for love.”
“Be with people who make you laugh.” (Lucy K., California)
I consider myself as playful and someone who has a sense of humor. When I looked at congregations to enter, I knew the congregation I chose would have to have a sense of humor as well. I certainly found that in my Sisters; our community life reflects this with many moments of joy, laughter, and companionship.
The message I chose to send you off with is: “It’s your call.” (Jenna L, New York)
Is it? It’s your call whether you just munch on chocolates, or whether you are open to the message that these Dove chocolates offer to be communicated. Similar to God’s call, we can only feel or hear God’s nudging, if we are open to it. A vocation to religious life comes from God, but certainly, it’s our choice whether we respond to it.
Sisters, thank you for your Yes! to God’s call and your witness of faith, and I’m raising my glass to toast you and our collective future full of hope.