True Happiness

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Recently, I began to accompany my nephew and Godson, Colin as he prepares for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  It is a great honor to serve as his sponsor.  So far, I am enjoying the opportunity for us to study, pray and talk together.   We have had some great conversations about why he wants to be confirmed, what it means to him and how he sees this whole process.  We have gotten to know each other in a deeper way – as our usual conversations have revolved around PVZ (his favorite video game), Lego architectural creations, his favorite movie characters and his daily adventures.

This past week we reflected on and prayed with the topic of “True Happiness.”  I, as a sponsor, have to complete study modules that parallel those the teens are using.  In the “Happiness or pleasure?” activity, we discussed what true happiness means to us.  I was delighted to find out that we have similar answers and habits.  We both said that what makes us happiest is when we spend time with those we love – especially family, both biological and religious.  In the course of this conversation, he shared that when he notices others around him are down or stressed, he reaches out to them with a hug (family) or slap on the back (friends) or a (typical guy greeting) “Hey!”  I too find great happiness in reaching out to others to connect or to offer a listening ear.  Yet, nothing compares to the happiness I find in God and the true joy that flows from it.

I enjoyed this conversation with my nephew so much, that I would like to invite you to reflect on

“What brings you happiness?”

Then, reflect on Pope Francis’ “Top Ten Secrets to Happiness,” paraphrased here for you:

  1. Stop clinging to past conflict; move on and let others do the same.
  2. Give yourself to others; give your time and money to those in need.
  3. Be kind, humble and calm.
  4. Enjoy a healthy sense of joy and relaxation.
  5. Make Sundays a day for family time.
  6. Do good work and create good meaningful work for others.
  7. Care for the earth and respect the environment.
  8. Let go of negative things quickly.
  9. Respect the faith of others, engage in dialogue, and witness to your faith.
  10. Promote peace.

Take a few moments to consider these and pick one to do today.  Perhaps, you would like to write your own top ten, or have it as a topic of discussion around your dinner table or zoom room today.  I can’t wait to talk about it with my Dominican Sisters as we gather around our table this evening.  For me, that is true community and joy in the Lord.

I would love to hear how your reflection and conversations go.

Blessings and much peace,

Sr. June

Posted in God Calling?, News

There Oughta Be a Law?

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

There is no law on any book at any level of our government that states we are obligated to wear a face mask. Check it out. Some states have mandated them but synonyms for mandate are directive, instruction, direction, and how seriously do we take those at all times?

The decision to wear a face mask is a moral one not a legal one; thus our difficulty in wanting to decide to do it. We are soooo good at making moral decisions in our country that we had to legalize abortion and the death penalty on national levels and euthanasia is legal in some states. At least going to war takes an act of Congress….or does it? None of those are moral acts but making them legal lets us think we have no choice. Do those laws thus make us more free? Is that why we can’t decide to wear a face mask because there’s no law for or against it thus some level of freedom is being denied to us?

I am in no way a scientist or medical professional. I have to listen to them and trust their judgment. I also have to be perceptive enough to know the charlatans among them who cater to the whims of their supporters. So all in all I have to do what is best for the common good and wearing a face mask, steaming up my glasses, muffling my speech and having to repeat myself, being uncomfortable and letting people question my sanity for wearing one—it is all part of keeping everyone as safe as I know how. I don’t have the answers to how this all happened or how we will make it all end, not my job. If I value the quality of my life and want the best for others around me, making the moral choice might save the day.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Peace and Justice Update May 27, 2020

Facing The days after the Pandemic
Sisters Elaine DesRosiers, OP, Luisa Derouen, OP, Mary Louise Edwards, OP, have sent a letter to their local newspaper to ask their fellow Kentuckians to worm towards a “new normal” of compassion. Click here to read their letter,

DACA Webinar
Justice for Immigrants (JFI) will present a webinar on the day immediately following the SCOTUS decision regarding the legality of the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) protecting the “Dreamers.”

The webinar is scheduled for 2 PM (ET) on the day after SCOTUS announcement on DACA.  Presenters will explain the decision, examine its implication and discuss how we might support DACA recipients in the days and weeks following the SCOTUS decision. We will share the URL as soon as it is available.

In the meantime there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Continue to pray for DACA recipients, their families and all of our immigrant community members who are at risk.
  • If you can, plan to join us for an interfaith prayer every Monday Morning DACA Prayers at 9:30. Click here to RSVP.
  • Urge your Senators to provide a permanent solution. Pass a clean Dream Act of 2019, S. 874.

 

People of Color Suffering from COVID-19

The health dangers and economic ramifications of COVID-19 do not affect everyone in the United States the same way.

Due to centuries of systemic injustice, people of color in the U.S. are more likely to get sick and die as a result of this pandemic, or be left unemployed and uninsured.

Our federal government needs to prioritize communities of color in the next stimulus legislation!

Please call, write or email your representatives and ask them to support communities of color in stimulus, medical and unemployment support!

Our Sisters In Iraq
News sent by Sr. Marcelline Koch, OP

Sr. Roberta Popara recently spoke with Sr. Marie Therese Hannah on Messenger.   Sr. Marie Therese shared that the Nineveh plain including Mosul has been spared from COVID-19.  She indicated that the authorities in the northern region have acted swiftly.  The students are continuing their education online (she is principal at the grade school that was opened up in Qaraqosh when people returned).  Sisters are well in the north.

Asking her about Baghdad, she indicated the virus is there, brought in from Iran.  The maternity hospital is open but not the schools.  I would expect students are learning online as well in that city.

Sr. Beth Murphy has spoken with Sr. Habiba in Jordan.  The clinic had been closed at one point and has reopened. Habiba is not going to the clinic to work, however, because she is in an at-risk age group. Instead she has become the chef for the community. She is not happy about not going to work,  but is resigned to the idea for now.

I emailed Sr. Luma who shared that it is a different time for all everyone and online teaching has been a challenge.   She noted that everyone is well in their area.  One of their elderly sisters in Qaraqosh died and, like us, they were not able to go to the burial.  There are few cases of the virus in Iraq compared to other places. But she also noted that Iraq is not able to deal with such situations as other countries have. So there, the government imposed curfew from Feb 27 until the beginning of May.

As we pray for each other here, we also remember our family around the world.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

What’s Best for Immigrants Helps All Americans

“Migrants are persons…  They are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society.  The weakest and most vulnerable must be helped.  This is a tremendous responsibility, from which no one is exempt if we wish to fulfill the mission of salvation and liberation, in which God has called us to cooperate.”     

Pope Francis

Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

If you asked the person on the street, “Who are the ‘dreamers?’” more than likely the response would be a stare, or “I have no idea.”  Dreamers, or DACA immigrants (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), have faded into the woodwork in the midst of COVID-19.  Dreamers work in our businesses, study in our schools, serve in our military and pray in our churches.

In 2012, when President Obama issued an executive order creating DACA, there was hope in the air that Dreamers would become citizens.  These immigrants who were brought to the United States as children are innocent victims in a broken immigration system.  As one commentator stated, “This is like arresting a two-year-old because its mother stole diapers at Wal Mart.”

Immigration dysfunction and misunderstanding continue in large part because of myths.

  • Myth 1:

Immigrants bring crime into the country.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce refutes that myth, stating that the crime rate has plummeted 45% from 1990-2010 and that property crime has dropped 42%.

  • Myth 2: Immigrants do not pay taxes.

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, immigrants collectively contribute an estimated $11.74 billion to state and local coffers, each year with a combination of sales, excise, personal income and property taxes.  This begs the question:  Does truth matter in our political arena?

  • Myth 3: Immigrants are given large amounts of federal help, taking money away from “real” Americans.

Undocumented immigrants … including the young “Dreamers,” are not eligible for federal benefits. But because many undocumented immigrants use a “borrowed” social security number to work, they are paying into a system from which they will never benefit. According to the financial website The Motley Fool, the Social Security program generated a net cash surplus of nearly $3.2 billion, much of that from the payments made by migrants and refugees.

If we listen to the voices of Dreamers, we will consistently hear a desire to serve their country and their families.  Denise Rojas, a medical student and DACA recipient from California, is one of those wanting to make a difference in the medical field.

As co-founder of the national organization “Pre-Health Dreamers,” which serves roughly 800 undocumented youth who have aspirations of becoming health professionals, Denise says: “Without DACA, or a long-term immigration remedy, I would not be able to practice as a doctor.  DACA has allowed for the significant economic and social incorporation of undocumented persons to American society and has served to benefit communities nationwide.  Without fair and just solutions to our immigration system, my future as a physician, and the aspirations and livelihood of millions of undocumented immigrants are in jeopardy.”

The supreme irony of immigrants wanting to serve the country as health care professionals is the fact that the United States continues to face a severe shortage of physicians.  According to the Association of Medical Colleges, by 2032 the country will face a shortage of 122,000 physicians.

At a time when we cannot physically embrace each other, we need to turn our attention to embracing “justice for all,” the common good, and the ideals symbolized by the statue that welcomes all.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Let us begin that sacred challenge in unity. 

Sr. Elaine DesRosiers, OP

We write as a few of the Dominican Sisters of Peace who live at St. Catharine Motherhouse.  For almost 200 years our sisters have stood with you and you with us as our neighbors and friends, our students, patients, parishioners, and colleagues.  We write today out of deep concern for what seems to be happening now in our community and in our world.

For almost two months Kentucky has stood strong and united against the worldwide threat of COVID-19.  Because of our united resolve against many odds, we have succeeded in keeping our disease numbers among the lowest in the nation.  But in recent days we experience forces arising among us that could destroy our unity and expose us to even worse threats from the pandemic.

Blog by Sr. Luisa Derouen, OP

Many members of our community suffer from unemployment and other restrictions.  We miss direct contact with our families, friends, and neighbors.  Many deeply miss the opportunity to worship God together.  We want our children back in school and day care, our businesses back to thriving. We want our freedom back to go where we want and do what we want.

But in recent days forces beyond these shared desires seem to be creeping into our reality.  These forces range from men with assault weapons protesting COVID restrictions at the state capitol to media posts declaring that the shelter-at-home policies we have sacrificed to embrace have been not only unnecessary but even designed to destroy our economy. We see people refusing, in the name of “freedom”, to wear masks in public thereby risking the health and lives of all of us, but especially the most vulnerable.  We even see incredible charges of “socialism” and “communism” being used to scare people into defying shared efforts to protect public health.  Bear in mind that our governor, along with most governors in the country, has worked to promote the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

Sr. Mary Louise Edwards

We invite all of us to take a hard look at the choices we make as we move into this new phase of responding to our pandemic reality.  Some key questions to ask ourselves:  Are my actions and words likely to unify or divide the people in our community in the common purpose of defeating this virus?  Are my actions and words designed to honor and protect all members of our community, including those who are most vulnerable?  Are my actions and words giving a good example to the children who learn more from our actions than from our words?  Might I be unwittingly supporting forces I do not want to rule our state or our world?

Friends, we, your sisters, believe that Kentuckians and Americans have arrived at a new crossroadsWe can go forward from our victory against this first wave of the virus to defeat a potentially worse second wave, or we can blow up our hard sacrifices to date by dividing again into partisan camps who waste energy making false accusations and stirring up false suspicions against the other side.  The choice is up to all of us.  Let us be guided by our better angels and bring our best wisdom and intelligence to this moment.  As people of many faiths, we CAN make this a better county for all.  Let us begin that sacred challenge again in unity.  And may the spirit of local hero Louis Sansbury be our guide on the journey.

Peace,

Sister Elaine DesRosiers, OP
Sister Luisa Derouen, OP
Sister Mary Louise Edwards, OP

Posted in News