Message in a bottle…. I mean around the chocolate

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

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.

 

Posted in God Calling?, News

Homily by Sr. Janet Schlichting

The souls of the just are in the hands of God. Grace and mercy are with God’s faithful ones.

A long time ago Betty offered her hands to God

And God, who cradled her already in divine love–God took those hands and blessed them and made them a blessing for every one she would touch through the years, in family, in the Dominican community, in an ever-changing Clarissa hall community for which she was a cornerstone and a warm hearth, in teaching scores of little second grade girls at the Elms elementary school, in reaching over the miles to get school supplies for needy children in central America,

Betty’s hands became God’s hands–neither of them ever let go.  Into your hands, O God, we commend her spirit.

If we have died with Christ we believe we are also to live with him.

Betty died with Christ at Baptism, drowned in a flood of grace and born again into the Christ life.

But to live with Christ, in Christ, means offering one’s self, one’s gifts, one’s love with a willingness to die to oneself—that self that really doesn’t want to face this or do that, or talk to that person, or give up something or someone held very dear…daily carryings of the cross of a kind all of us know. The daily yesses to the needs of the other and the necessary no’s to our own wants and preferences.

And Betty shares the grace and the glory of that resurrection, as she shared the cross, because each self-giving made her heart grow, opened up more space for God to dwell and to love through her. (as T.S. Eliot puts it: a condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything.”)

She welcomed God –every day—because she knew as we do that in God we live and move and have our being, and that with God come all kinds of neighbors. And every day in our little dyings Christ Jesus expands our hearts into sacred spaces, offering warmth and acceptance and a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for all who come to us with their needs and call upon our time and energy. Day after day, year after year, with patience and forbearance and trust and faithfulness and true deep quiet joy.

O God of life and love unending, welcome her into yourself, You our one and forever  home, where there awaits us all a warm embrace and a table of plenty.

When the son of man comes in glory, all the nations will stand before him….and will say to those on his right, “Come, you blessed of my Father.….for as often as you did this for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.”

The Gospel is a familiar one, and time and again a passage that as the song says: “causes me to tremble…”,

It’s all there: explicit and specific. Here is the way to the kingdom, here is the road to eternal life, here quite simply is what Christian believers do.

So “Whatsoever Betty did” she did it by/in God’s grace, returning God’s love and faithfulness. And today we send on her final journey, our Dominican Sister of Peace, preacher of the Gospel. With God’s hand in hers and God’s heart in hers and joined forever in that abundant life eternally poured out for the life of the world.  And here at this Eucharist, we share a foretaste of the feast of the reign of God, with hope and confidence that Betty – along with that great cloud of witnesses, among them not a few Baltrinics and Dominicans who have gone before us—continues to praise and bless and preach and live on in Christ’s resurrection.

And the one seated on the throne is saying, “Come, Betty, faithful servant, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

And I think I hear God saying one thing more to Betty: Now, Betty—there is no set-up or clean-up.  Just the Party!

Posted in News, Weekly Word

“I Stand with Immigrants”

Dr. James Tinnin, OPA

Associate Dr. Jim Tinnin, Bradenton, FL, ministers through his participation in the Dominican Sisters of Peace Immigration Reform Committee. Here is what he has to say about this work.

I am most grateful to serve on the Dominican Sisters of Peace Immigration Reform Committee, which is chaired by Conni Dubick, OPA, a fellow Dominican Associate and long-time friend, and includes fifteen other DSOP Sisters and Associates. We meet on a conference call every month to update each other on immigration issues and actions in the regions where we live and minister and discuss how we might aid those who are impacted by unjust immigration policies.

In his Prayer for Immigrants, Pope Francis states that “in caring for immigrants, we seek a world where none are forced to leave their homes and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.  Inspire us, as nations, communities, and as individuals to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.”

As a Congregation, we are committed to promoting justice through solidarity with the marginalized, and to creating welcoming communities. Dominican Sisters of Peace Immigration Reform Committee helps to give these commitments “legs” through action and advocacy.

We advocate against the separation of immigrant families and the detention of children at the border because like our Savior, we preach love for these children and their families.

In a speech at a 2019 educational event in El Paso, TX, Michael Okinczyc-Cruz, executive director of the Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership in Chicago, said “We have to be bold. The work of the church is to activate.” The Holy Father has told our Bishops that we must step back from partisan politics and discern how to cast our votes based on our values.

As members of the Committee on Immigration Reform, we are actively tuned into the 2020 political debates, carefully monitoring each candidate on this issue that is so vital to our Congregation’s commitments.

We ask that you, too, pay attention to the candidates and how their policy objectives coincide with the values that we hold central to our beliefs. Personally, I stand with these immigrant families and am solidly behind the candidate who can best resolve this important policy issue.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Brigid Gregory

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Brigid Gregory

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Brigid (Florence Elizabeth) Gregory (92), died on February 8, 2020, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.

Sister Mary Brigid was born to Mary Rose Sheehy and Whitney Irwin of Louisville, KY, in 1927. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Spaulding College before entering the Congregation in 1948.

She earned her Master’s degree in English from DePaul University in Chicago, IL, and taught in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee for almost 25 years.

In 1974, Sr. Mary Brigid answered a new call from God to serve the poor and marginalized. She worked with the Peace and Justice Centers in Louisville, KY, and in Memphis, TN, before beginning her work with the elderly and handicapped of Memphis.

Sr. Mary Brigid returned to Kentucky and to teaching in 1980, ministering as an English instructor at St. Catharine College, then serving her Congregation as the St. Catharine Motherhouse Coordinator and Coordinator of Residents.

Sr. Mary Brigid was an active and enthusiastic volunteer both in and out of her Congregation’s ministries, volunteering at St. Agnes Academy, St. Catharine College, and at the St. Catharine Motherhouse.

Speaking at the funeral, her dear friend Sr. Elaine DesRosiers made reference to the readings that Sr. Mary Brigid had chosen “From Isaiah: Fear not. I have called you by name, and you are mine. You are precious in my eyes and glorious, and I love you. She truly loved her calling to religious life.” Sr. Mary Brigid will celebrate her 70th Jubilee on March 7 with the God that she served so faithfully.

Sr. Mary Brigid is survived by several nieces and nephews.

A Vigil of Remembrance was held on February 12 at St. Catharine Hall, St. Catharine, KY.  The funeral Mass was held on February 13 at St. Catharine Hall, and Sr. Mary Brigid was buried in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Mary Brigid’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098.

To donate in Sr. Mary Brigid’s memory, please click here.

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

 

Posted in Obituaries

IMAGINE A PRAYER

 

Blog by Associate Michelle Gray

On my mantle there sits a group of black metal letters; standing about three inches high, they spell out “imagine.”

Not only are they there because imagine is one of my favorite words (like Louisa May Alcott, I like good strong words that mean something); they’re there to remind me to pray.

You see, I always have believed John Lennon’s song “Imagine” to be a kind of prayer. That might sound unconventional, even controversial, but bear with me.

The song begins:

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace… 

Lennon gets right to the crux of the things that divide us, the things that make us appear different from one another, the things that separate us into groups of us and them. But if there were no countries, there would be no borders, no need for walls, no need for wars, no us and them, only we, living life in peace.

And no religion too…” Here is where it gets controversial, but again, bear with me.

When we consider religion to be particular systems of faith and worship, we can see our differences come in the ways we worship, the books we hold as sacred, and how we view our relationship with God. What the major religions have in common is a sense of community and what we were taught as “The Golden Rule” — to treat others as we would have them treat us.

Focus on that and the differences among Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others fade to the background. Again, there is no longer us and them, only we, living life in peace.

The next verse:

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world

The Bible is full of references to material possessions and the obstacles they can present to our relationship with God and others. We want, we want, we want, and we feel we have to keep up with the Kardashians. And once again we are separated; into the haves and the have nots. But in a world where there are no possessions, there would be no haves, no have nots, no us and no them, only we, sharing all the world.

And the chorus:

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

And that is my prayer, that this is not just a dream, that some day, the world will be as one, in peace.

Posted in Associate Blog, News