Marian Retreat

Ten discerners and four women in formation, along with associates and sisters from the Vocations Team and Houses of Welcome gathered together to pray in the companionship of Mary on May 17, 2020, as part of our Marian Virtual Mini-Retreat. We prayed with the story of the Visitation and Mary’s Magnificat. The retreat started with a prayer that was taken from our Dominican Praise, then Candidate Annie shared about her discernment in the light of images of Mary in the medieval art, and then Sr. Bea shared her reflection on the Visitation and Mary’s Magnificat. Participants then had the opportunity to pray with what they have heard and to reflect with questions and with other hands-on prayerful activities (such as the one decade rosary bracelet or paper flower pictured.) We shared about our faith experiences, and then prayed the rosary together.

Each woman shared something unique about their reflection time – whether it was

  • taking the words of the “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman” song to heart,
  • or allowing Mary’s questions work in her like we heard it in the “Nativity story” movie: “why is it that God chose me?” and “how is he [Joseph] going to believe this?” which very much resonated with God’s call for her life,
  • or praying with the quotes from the reflection,
  • or reflecting on the Visitation with an image of Elizabeth as Mary’s ‘wisdom’ figure and how it resonated with her spiritual journey with her mentor,
  • or expressing her gratitude toward her best friend and a sister, who are like Elizabeth in the story,
  • or writing her Magnificat on the flower-petals that unfolded when placed in water.

As I think back about the retreat, I feel that the insights that the participants shared helped me gain a deeper meaning and more perspectives to pray with the Visitation story. We hope that it was a fruitful opportunity for all of us to take Mary’s example and companionship to heart, and thus to bring us into a closer relationship with God.

If you are interested participating in our next event, click here for more information about our Mission for Peace experience.

Posted in News

Drawing our Magnificat out of us in challenging times

Visitation image by Sr. Thoma Swanson, OP

May 31st marks the Feast of the Visitation. In the Visitation story, we hear about the time when Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Both were going through challenging times – Mary conceived a child before being married, and Elizabeth was bearing a child at an older age, yet they found reasons to rejoice. They used their faith in God and the joy of the Visitation as a source of energy for carrying out their missions.

During formation years, I read an article by Fr. Ron Rolheiser. In his article, The Visitation Revisited, Rolheiser wrote:

“what we are carrying will make something leap for joy inside the other,
and that reaction will help draw the Magnificat out of us,
and, like Mary, we will want to stay with that other for mutual support.”

I see our discerners in our monthly Emmaus Discernment group bringing their faith in God to each other, making something leap for joy in the other, and staying with one another for mutual support. Seeing this joy in the group prompted me to ask myself: “how can I share the joy of our life of prayer, study, ministry and living in community in a way that ‘will make something leap for joy inside the other’ when everything we do has to be on screen during this pandemic and I’m hitting screen-fatigue?” How am I supposed to do that?

In our vocation ministry, we use a quote by Frederick Buechner quite often: “vocation is a place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger,” and we tell women that even after one enters, discernment continues day-by-day. This quote became very real to me during this pandemic. “God, what do you want of me? I have heard about sisters doing courageous things, and how ambitious they are. But, God, what is my vocation during this pandemic? Show me where the world’s greatest hunger and my deep gladness meet.” I started to identify “hungers”: (1) our discerners’ desire to connect more often and pray together; (2) people going hungry more than ever, and (3) my desire for less screen-time as I was hitting screen-fatigue.

As I was praying, I started to connect those dots, and how I could respond to these three “hungers” that I mentioned above. I was thinking: “perhaps, I could volunteer delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’ on weekdays.” In my inner ear, I was hearing the voice of Charlie Brown, exclaiming: “That’s it!” That is where those “hungers” and my desire meet. So, I have been doing just that. Delivering meals to those in need helps reduce hunger, and it allows me to process, to pray, to reflect, and to get a break from screen-time. Recharged by the outcome of that silent prayer time, I head back each afternoon to continue serving our discerners with renewed energy and creativity. This two-hour activity might seem like nothing, but it helps others leap for joy – whether it’s the joy of physical food for the hungry or the spiritual food that empowers us to continue planning and providing opportunities for our discerners to come together and pray together, and it helps bring out my Magnificat.

Blog by Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP

Like Mary and Elizabeth, we, too, can turn our challenges into blessings and joys. With faith in God and with Mary’s companionship, we find strength to face our fears or the unknown, and we find strength even to rejoice.

Where does your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet?
What is the message that God is asking us individually to carry out to others
in a way that will make something leap for joy in the other,
and simultaneously bring out our Magnificat?

If you would like to talk to someone about your vocation, email us at Also, if you would like to participate in our free, virtual, five-day long Mission for Peace experience between June 5-9, 2020, please click here for more information.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Reflection by Patricia Herrick, OPA

In the gospel, John 16:16-20 Jesus tells his disciples, “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” The disciples look at each other, struggling to understand exactly what Jesus means by this statement.

I can just see Jesus, studying their raised eyebrows, their pursed lips, their silence, reluctant to ask him for an explanation.  Jesus says to them, “You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices, you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

Trying to place myself in this setting, I believe I would have reacted similarly to the disciples. As soon as I encounter something I cannot grasp, I immediately begin searching the internet, reading articles, asking questions to the point of annoyance.

Despite having the benefit of age, time and religious education, I assume I might have understood Jesus more than the disciples.

What I admire, though, is the disciple’s acceptance of the bigger picture and a willingness to delay their understanding of the details.

This is what I believe faith is, believing without seeing, hearing without understanding and placing our faith in Jesus.

Posted in Just Reflecting

Dominican Sister of Peace Joann Luttrell

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Luttrell

Dominican Sister of Peace Joann Luttrell entered into eternal life on April 9, 2020, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY. Sister Joann was born in 1936 in Louisville, KY, to Mary Cecilia Barr and Bishop Luttrell.

She decided to enter religious life while she was studying nursing at Nazareth College (now Spalding University). While visiting the St. Catharine Motherhouse with Father Raymond Smith, she heard God’s call and never looked back. She entered the Congregation on her twentieth birthday in 1956.

Sr. Joann continued her studies, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Science from St. Catharine College in 1956 and her Master of Arts in Nursing from Catherine Spaulding in 1962.

She ministered at the Congregation’s St. Catharine and Sansbury infirmaries in her early years before expanding her skills to serve as a nurse, administrator and chaplain at institutions in Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.

Sister Joann liked to refer to herself as a “jack of all trades.” A perfect example of this was her time at Sacred Heart Village in Louisville, KY. Hired as Director of Congregate Living, Sister Joann also served as Director of Mission for three institutions, planned a monthly in-service for Department Directors and filled any free time with pastoral visiting.

Sister Joann delighted in telling stories about some of her patients, but always with a gentle humor that made her love and care for her patients plain for all to see.

Her gifts and talents did not go unnoticed by the Congregation. She was elected to the Governing Board three times, and she was happy to serve her community.

Sister Joann continued to care for her community with prayer and service after moving to our Saint Catharine Motherhouse. She began her final ministry of prayer and presence at Sansbury Care Center in 2012.

She is survived by her twin sister, Jane Klobe, three brothers, John, George and Robert Luttrell; and nieces and nephews.

A private service was held on April 14, 2020. Sr. Joann was interred at the St. Catharine Motherhouse Cemetery in St. Catharine, KY. The sharing of memories and a Memorial Mass will take place at a later date.

Memorial gifts in Sister Joann Luttrell’s memory may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219 or submitted securely at

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

To view a printable PDF copy of Sr. Joanne’s memorial, please click here.



Posted in Obituaries

“A time to embrace, a time to refrain from embracing.” so sayeth Qoheleth

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

We’re all in this together.”  You’ve perhaps heard this from Ohio governor Mike DeWine in his daily conferences, and seen in a variety of nicely composed reminders on TV.

People are living up to that exhortation., and  have shown in marvelous ways their reaching out in care for each other: comforting, cooking and distributing food, looking in on the isolated,  phoning and zooming  and when we physically cannot touch or serve others—so many needing reassuring and hope—we must trust in God’s embrace of a world in confusion and division. Do you, along with me, still wonder what we can do, how we can help while safely tucked away in our homes and convents? We turn to prayer with a certain urgency.  After all, our prayer, our dwelling in the Word of God calls Dominicans to share the fruits of contemplation…

We are in Eastertide, with earth-life blooming with vivacity around us, yet to me it feels more like Advent—or the Babylonian captivity. All around us people are in mourning, in worry, in sadness, in financial peril, in fear, anger and sadness, and here we are waiting, sharing the uncertainty, safe for the present, but anxious to know what a future for us, the U.S., the world, is going to look like, how we will come back together whenever the virus is under control. And perhaps we are even more anxious because it seems to many of us that we are not essential, we are not out there on the front lines, doing the works of mercy, and we wonder how we are living our Dominican mission—sharing the fruits of our prayer and contemplation, which is such a strong part of our heritage..

We are needed and we will be needed, because the other Dominican “pillar” we have right now, the one to which we daily witness in oh so ordinary ways, is community, our common life.  At present, we hear a good deal of “we’re in this together,” being good neighbors, supporting our brothers and sisters by staying distant.  But as we know, along with the true goodness of the many shown in this time, we also notice the great fissures in our human society. As we form a “New Normal” our charism of common life gives us the graced duty of sharing our gift of Peace which is able to collapse the physical distance or social distance we maintain.

When we  see a ministry assignment to “prayer and presence” we know that the word “Presence” is a multi-layered word with  a range of possibilities for loving and caring and tending to sorrow and pain, offering kindness and cheer, taking time to listen to a person in distress. We are connected.  We participate in the loving-kindness of a God who desires not only presence but Embrace in the now of Eastertide, celebrating the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, opened to us in the spaciousness of the Holy Spirit. This is truly an other-centered way of living, the Good News which those newborn Christians shared with such joy in those first communities of Christians, as Acts has been recounting.

“We are in this together.”  We have two precious gifts to offer in helping to mend and to heal and to reconcile– our rootedness in contemplation, and witness through common life, our sisterhood.  And a title that reveals the power of our prayer and presence: Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Posted in Just Reflecting