Ghostly Concern

Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

Common Sense Alert!

Senator Richard Blumenthal led 15 senators in introducing the “Untraceable Firearms Act.”  Why is that important?  The COVID–19 pandemic is sparking a demand for guns – in March, the FBI processed over 3.7 million firearm background checks — the highest number in over 20 years. I would call this a second pandemic.

What is of greatest concern to those of us concerned with sensible gun ownership is the manufacture and possession of “ghost guns.”  These guns are made by an individual with online instruction, without serial numbers that make tracing possible. Currently, anyone who purchases a firearm at a gun store must go through a background check, but that represents only about 60% of gun sales. Nearly 40% of gun purchases are not checked because of a loophole for private, show or online purchases. These ghost gun kits are not required to be background checked either, making it easy for a person with a felony conviction or a history of domestic violence to skirt the law and obtain a dangerous weapon.

According to the May 14, 2020 issue of “The Hill,” Senator Blumenthal’s bill would address both the ghost gun components and the firearm.  The legislation would require online kit manufacturers and distributors to have a license, put a serial number on the kit’s frame, and conduct a background check.

Spoiler alert:  The Republican-led Senate will oppose the bill.

On November 19, 2019, a 16-year-old used a ghost gun at Sargus High School in California, killing two students and injuring five others.  When students were interviewed, they said they were not surprised, saying this has become “the new normal.”  As with mass shootings in schools around the country, students are under lockdown, texting families with messages expressing love and hopes for survival.

Students continue to be victimized by our gun culture. These vulnerable students cannot vote, and the “responsible” adults who should be looking out for them continue to pass on demanding responsible gun legislation.

We now find assault weapons proudly displayed in rallies to end the stay at home orders during the pandemic, and government business interrupted by unpunished death threats on public officials.

What can concerned citizens do?  Contact your senators and representatives and urge passage of the “ghost gun” bill.  Investigate “ghost gun” laws in your state, and push for legislation if there is none.  Contact ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and ask for immediate steps to regulate and monitor the surging sale of “ghost guns.”

Just write or call:  ATF, 99 New York Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C, 20226, (202) 648-8430.

We need passionate, “pro-life” voices. You can be one.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Noisy Disquiet

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

At this writing, I am in the midst of a second week of quarantine after some minor sinus surgery that needed to be done for a long time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed until now and the 14 days is just what is being required. I’m fine — recuperating more slowly than I thought, but no complaints really.

I’ve been sequestered at home, like so many other people who can work from home these days, who are plugged in with WiFi or cable. Many people I talk to say their sense of time is off, unsure of what day of the week it is, for example — a function of this disorientation we are experiencing. Working from home is not a retreat, and certainly not vacation, but a kind of twilight zone, a limbo of working in a disconnected way but tethered to tasks that need doing at the same time.  My attention span is short and I’m looking for distraction half of the time. I ate the last of the Easter jellybeans today. I hope I don’t panic.  Panic over candy? Now there’s a very privileged place.

Although the house is quiet, for some reason I am so aware of how noisy it is outside. I’m conscious of the droning lawnmowers and the loud sirens from the fire station around the corner.  I don’t think I noticed those sounds so much before.  My office in the Motherhouse is quieter, and I guess, now that people are beginning to emerge from their seclusion, it seems like everybody in this town who owns a motorcycle is coming down my street like a volcanic eruption.  It doesn’t help with the windows wide open.

I’m just so very struck by the sounds that I am engaging with as I sit here working at my desk, getting ready for another zoom call.

Besides the traffic, I can also hear lots of birds and the rain on the windows and out on the street. Some sounds are welcome. Others not so much. At lunchtime, I make a salad and catch some of the noontime news. Not a good idea. I forget how much news is streaming into my space and how little of it seems useful. Reports of one government official or agency complaining about another, rising numbers of cases and deaths, the ongoing debate between scientists and economists on what should happen when in order to regain some equilibrium.

I miss the beautiful interruption of someone stopping by the office to say hello, the friendly banter of our staff members in the kitchen. I miss eating lunch in the dining room, catching up with the sisters and eating with the staff. I miss saying hello to Howard on his daily rounds of collecting recycling.

The danger of my safe and lovely cocoon is that I get too comfortable in it. I’m easily sheltered from the harsh reality of people who face permanently losing their jobs, or who are not sure if they can continue to live in their homes. And how are parents going to provide for their children when the government assistance isn’t so friendly anymore?  I fear this darkness will grow deeper for those who are poor, the immigrant, and the millions of American families who live from paycheck to paycheck.

This is all an invitation to ask: what am I listening for? Who am I listening to? Can I listen with more compassion to those who are deeply anxious? Can I hear the impatient calls to go back to a” normal” with some understanding and a desire for stability?

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray that I can hear the sound of hope — louder and more clearly than the squawking geese of blaming voices.

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray that I can hear the sound of innovation and invention, of new ways to connect one human soul to another.

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray that I can hear the voice of compassion within myself and a sense of communion, of belonging — more penetrating than the empty promises of quick cures.

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray I just keep listening.



Posted in Weekly Word

Peace and Justice Updates 5.20.2020

Navajo Nation Receives Needed Assistance, More Needed
As we reported last week, the Navajo Nation has been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus. The good news is that Doctors without Borders has announced its first-ever mission to the United States, helping the hard-hit Navajo Nation fight COVID-19.

However, news reports tell us that South Dakota Governor Republican Kristi Noem has threatened to sue Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux leaders to force them to remove COVID-19 checkpoint set up to protect tribal lands from the spread of the disease. Tribal governments haven’t received one penny of the $8 billion allocated by the CARES Act.

Please join a Zoom call today to see how you can help.

WHAT: COVID-19 and Native American Communities

WHEN: Wednesday, May 20, 7:00 PM Eastern / 4:00PM Pacific


  • Special guest Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01, Laguna Pueblo)
  • Faith Spotted Eagle (Native Organizers Alliance, Brave Heart Society, Yankton Sioux)
  • State Rep. Ruth Buffalo (ND-HD27, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation)
  • Tara Houska (Giniw Collective)
  • Kevin Allis (National Congress of American Indians, Forest County Potawatomi)

Click here to register.

Laudato Si’ Week Events
There are many virtual learning and celebration opportunities available to help us celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. Please click here to see the entire list and to register.

Help Protect Those Who Protect Children
The Administration’s border wall is now threatening a Catholic orphanage near the U.S.-Mexico border. The Department of Justice has filed an eminent-domain lawsuit against Sacred Heart Children’s Home in Laredo, Texas, demanding access to the orphanage’s land in order to conduct surveys for the wall.

As an attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project told the Laredo Morning Times, the administration seems to be taking advantage of the pandemic to speed up wall construction, since public demonstrations aren’t possible during social distancing.

Under eminent domain laws, the government must pay landowners a fair price — yet Trump’s callous administration only wants to give the sisters a paltry $100 to let its construction teams parade around their land.

This orphanage has been run for more than 100 years by the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Poor. As these sisters fight back in court, let’s show them that they are not alone, and submit 10,000 signatures demanding the DOJ drop this outrageous lawsuit!

Click here to tell the Dept. of Justice: Drop your border-wall lawsuit against a Catholic orphanage. 

2020 Census – Every Person Counts
In a time when so many are marginalized by our government, a fair and accurate count in the Census is more important than ever.

In 2010:
2.2 million children weren’t counted
3.7 million African-Americans weren’t counted
3.8 million Latinos weren’t counted

You can join Faith in Public Life to become a Faith Census Ambassador. Click here to learn more.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Serving those Most in Need – The Homeless and Trafficked

Sr. Louis Mary Passeri helps pack bags.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of those who need assistance to become even more desperate. Unfortunately, those of us who minister to the homeless and trafficked women and men have not been able to go out and by providing food and supplies.

Sister Nadine Buchanan works with Monday Sanctuary Nights, a “drop-in” event that welcomes trafficked women and men for a meal, supplies, and safe conversation. Traditionally the meals have been provided by local volunteers, but with the concern about food safety caused by the pandemic, meals must now be prepared by a commercial kitchen.

At the most recent Sanctuary Night, homeless women and men came during a terrible thunderstorm to pick up a good meal prepared and packaged by Freedom ala Carte, a local ministry that employs those coming out of trafficking. The Dominican Sisters of Peace, Columbus Motherhouse Administrator Jean Sylvester, and Keith Johnson, Kitchen Manager, along with the Columbus Motherhouse Kitchen Staff, donated sandwiches. To-go bags including t-shirts, underwear, socks, washcloths, toilet paper and wipes, notes of encouragement and a $5.00 McDonalds gift card were provided by generous donors to Sr. Nadine’s street ministry.

We were so blessed to be able to help our sisters and brothers on the streets, and look forward to when we can see them more regularly, Thanks to everyone who helped make this night of ministry possible.

Sr. Nadine Buchanan collected supplies to distribute at a Sanctuary Night drop in.
Sr. Nadine loading her bags for Sanctuary Night.
Posted in News

Dominican Sister of Peace Thomasine Hardesty

Dominican Sister of Peace Thomasine Hardesty

Dominican Sister of Peace Thomasine (Ann) Hardesty entered into Heaven on April 5, 2020, at the Mohun Health Care Center in Columbus, OH. A native of Columbus, OH, Sister Thomasine was born in 1925 to Agnes Daoust and Frank Hardesty. She entered the Congregation in 1951.

Sister Thomasine earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Mary of the Spring College, now Ohio Dominican University, and Mount Carmel School of Nursing in 1948 and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati in 1986. She ministered to the sick at the Columbus Motherhouse infirmary and Wellness Center, Saint Francis/Saint George Hospital in Cincinnati, and the Huntington Surgery Center in New York. While at St. Francis/St. George Hospital, she developed and implemented the hospital’s case cart system.

She also was the Director of Health Care for the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Nursing Care Coordinator for the Dominican Sisters in Newburg, now the Dominican Sisters of Hope.

After moving to our Oxford Motherhouse in 2013, Sister Thomasine became involved in a wide variety of activities to benefit the community and the Congregation, from planning parties to liturgical responsibilities. She also assisted in transportation and volunteered in many other areas.

When she returned to the Columbus Motherhouse in 2017, Sr. Thomasine delighted in attending lectures at Ohio Dominican University and the Martin de Porres Center, volunteering at the Bishop Griffin Center, joining in numerous activities and social justice events, being of service wherever needed and spending time with her friends.

Even during her final ministry at the Mohun Health Care Center, Sister Thomasine continued to aid her friends and the Community through her prayers.

In her preaching at the funeral, Sr. Louis Mary Passeri noted that the readings that Sister Thomasine chose for her funeral liturgy were all centered around the Eucharist as their theme, because of her own deep devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. “Thomasine was in my crowd and a great community woman.,” Sister Louis Mary said. “She took every occasion to celebrate together and she was ready to help anyone in need.”

She was preceded in death by her parents Frank and Agnes. She is survived by her first cousins, Catherine, Jeanne and William, her Dominican Family and friends.

A private service was held. Sr. Thomasine was interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Columbus, OH. Memorial gifts in Sr. Thomasine’s memory may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr.

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

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

Posted in Obituaries