How you Bless our Ministries

Julie McNamara, PhD, served at Albertus Magnus College.

Philanthropy is generosity in all forms…giving of time, talent, and treasure. The ministries of the Dominican Sisters of Peace are blessed with friends who are true philanthropists…who give generously of their time to volunteer, their talents to help us create new ways to serve the marginalized in our communities, and their
treasure to support the work that we do.

Julia McNamara, PhD, is an example of one such philanthropist. She will tell you that she has been associated with the Dominican Sisters of Peace for most of her life, attending our founded high school, Dominican Academy, in New York City, and Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.

She went on to earn a master’s in philosophy and a PhD in French Language and Literature. She contributed her time and talents to our work for most of her adult life, serving first as a visiting professor, later as Dean of Students, and from 1981 to 2016, as President of Albertus Magnus, our founded college in New Haven, CT.

“Albertus is a Dominican institution, and I really found my place working with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. It is such an important focus for me,” she said in a 2016 interview with the Hartford Courant.

“Organizations evolve,” said Julia, “to meet the needs of the time. We are required to participate in the work and the life of the church, and of one another. The Dominican Sisters of Peace do that through community, service to the Church, and through their ministries of ecology, education, health care and spiritual guidance. This why I supported the Congregation even before they became Peace and continue to do so today.”

William “Bill” Keck, of Dayton, OH, says that his support is a direct result of the fine education that he received from our Sisters who taught him while a student in Newark, OH.

“I attended Catholic school for all 12 grades, starting at Newark Blessed Sacrament, St. Francis High School, and Newark Catholic.” Bill chuckles as he says, “I needed a lot of encouragement from the Sisters. They were stern,
but they were good teachers.”

Bill remembers several of those teachers by name, but most important was Sr. Marie Bernard Kennedy,
OP, who taught Bill as a senior at Newark Catholic High School.

“She taught me geometry, physics, and advanced math, but the most important thing that Sr. Marie Bernard
taught me was that I was a better student that I thought I was. She inspired me to go from a C student to an A
student – she taught me that I could do that if I applied myself,” Bill recalls.

“I was lucky to have her as a teacher, even if for only one year. She had such a profound impact on my life…
her encouragement shaped the rest of my life.”

 

Bill studied accounting at the University of Dayton and has had a successful career as an accountant. He stayed in contact with Sr. Marie, visiting her at the Motherhouse even after she retired.

 

 

 

 

For Columbus, OH, resident Mary Rae Kelley, supporting Dominican Sisters is a family tradition. “My father was taught by Dominican Sisters at St. Francis on Buttles Avenue, I was educated by Sisters at St. James the Less and at St Francis DeSales.”

This affection for the Dominican order seems to be a family vocation as well. Her great Aunt was a Dominican, and she remembers trips to the Columbus Motherhouse and Mohun Health Care Center to visit her aunt and two second cousins who were Dominican Sisters of Hope. Many of Mary Rae’s donations have been earmarked for the care of our elderly Sisters.

Of her 24+ years of support of the Dominican Sisters, Mary Rae says “It’s just the right thing to do. I have spent my life around the Dominicans, and the Sisters taught us a lot.”

Julia, Bill and Mary Rae are just a few of the friends who have given so generously of their time, talent and treasure since we became Peace – and even in the years before. We are grateful to them – and to you – for your gifts that enrich our ministries at home and around the world.

Your year-end donation supports our ministries of education, justice, and service around the world.

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In the Words of Our Friends

As part of our Tenth Anniversary celebration, we sent prayer response cards to our friends and benefactors with our Catherine of Siena greeting. We asked that everyone tell us how they first became acquainted with the
Dominican Sisters of Peace, and for what about the congregation they were grateful.

We took these cards to our Tenth Anniversary Assembly in St. Louis, where we offered our prayers of gratitude for each one. As we have read them over these past months, spent away from those we serve, these little cards have been a blessing to all of us.

How did you get to know our Sisters?
Many of you remember our Sisters as teachers in your childhood school. You told us about the
values of love, caring and support that were imparted to you by a Sister, and how your Catholic education provided a strong academic and spiritual foundation for your life. In the words of one woman, “they insisted on clear, cogent learning…” a true Dominican value.

Several families remembered Sisters who served in their parish and helped to prepare them for the Sacraments. “She was so open about how we are all sinners seeking God’s grace,” said one mother describing a Sister who helped her son prepare for Confirmation. This work continues today as our Sisters serve as Pastoral Ministers,
RCIA instructors and Parish Administrators.

“They are my role models,” one card said.
Another woman recalled watching Sisters in Memphis march with Dr. Martin Luther King. Many spoke of how our Sisters care for the immigrant, the refugee, the prisoner and the poor without prejudice, acting in witness to
God’s love. Just as Christ commanded us to minister to the “least of these,” we have opened our hands and our hearts.

Other friends of the Congregation recounted how Sisters acted as spiritual counselors, guiding them through their darkest moments or when they felt adrift in their own spiritual lives.

There were wonderful stories about our retreat ministries and ecological ministries that create a space to enjoy God’s creation.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. As we celebrate 10 years as Peace, we too are grateful for the gifts that God has given us…the opportunity to share God’s love and preach the Gospel of Christ, and the love, friendship and support of you, our dear friends. We are blessed to work beside you to bring peace to our world, and blessed by your many gifts in our work.

Your year-end donation supports our ministries of education, justice, and service around the world.

 

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Supporting Religious Life in Nigeria

Top: Central Clinic Malumfashi educates on prevention of coronavirus. Middle: Novices celebrate their First Profession of Vows. Bottom: Reception of Novices, July 11, 2019.

In 1956, when the Dominican Sisters of Peace were called to help build a Catholic presence in Nigeria, they were ready for the challenge. The Great Bend, KS, sisters traveled to Nigeria to found schools and hospitals. They also founded a new indigenous Congregation, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of
Siena, Gusau.

The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, welcomed their first native postulant in 1973, and in 1977, two native Sisters made first profession. This “sister” congregation has continued to grow, and today, The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, serve 115,000+ annually in the Northwest area of the country with health care, social services and educational ministries.

Prioress Jacinta Nwaohiri describes a little about religious life in Nigeria. “In some parts of Nigeria, Sisters have a special seat in the church. From the beginning, with the American Dominican Sisters, our congregation has been grounded in inclusiveness, reflected in the way we interact with both the laity and people of other beliefs.

“Our partnership with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the GHR Foundation Sister Support project has offered the financial and moral support to bring old and new members of the Congregation together to reassess our faith, practices and attitudes – to look at how we treated each other and our neighbors, Christians and Muslims alike,” Sr. Jacinta continued. “This helped us to improve relationships with the people we serve in our ministries and to serve as ambassadors of peace as women, disassociating ourselves from any activity that demeans the human person.”

The Sisters are challenged by the harsh economic realities of life in Nigeria. The women of the Congregation had little access to education prior to entering religious life, and many novices lacked the education necessary to sustain the work of the Congregation. The resulting inability to command good wages or financial support often left the Sisters struggling to support the Congregation, much less their ministries.

“Our partnership with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the GHR Foundation has also increased the numbers of Sisters able to obtain higher education and helped us become more efficient and effective in ministry. Our Sisters are now more confident facilitators of programs and leaders in their various apostolates,” says Sr. Jacinta.

“The certificates our Sisters have acquired have helped them to increase their take-home pay, supporting both the Congregation and our ministries. With jobs in the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria or government institutions, we have a voice in the national conversation,” she explained.

“Young women entering the apostolate are beginning to be more prepared as well, as our Congregation has championed the education of the girl. Our Sisters are assigned permanently to manage the education project at a rural village in GidanYawa, Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State in Northern Nigeria,” Sr. Jacinta
said. “We have also been able to build a secondary school in Agbor Delta State.”

Speaking of the Church in Nigeria, Sr. Jacinta points out that, “Religious in our country are respected for their selfless love for God. The capacity for selfless love is the hallmark of Christianity. The Dominican Sisters of Peace and their friends have exemplified this love by empowering us to be fruitful witnesses of God’s kingdom, and we are profoundly grateful.”

The Annual Great Bend Bazaar, which was held online this year to maintain safety, supports the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine, Gusau, and other ministries of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Your generosity makes a difference!

Your year-end donation supports our ministries of education, justice, and service around the world.

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Sr. Phuong Thuy Vu Makes First Profession to Dominican Sisters of Peace

The Dominican Sisters of Peace were blessed by the First Profession of Vows for Sr. Phuong Thuy Vu on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The ceremony was held in the Chapel at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, New Orleans, LA, which was founded by the Congregation in 1860. Sr. Phuong ministers as an assistant in the Guidance Department at the school.

Dominican Sister of Peace, Dorothy Trosclair, receives Sister Phuong Vu’s profession of vows, in a December 8, 2020, ceremony.

Sr. Dorothy Trosclair, as delegate of the Prioress, received Sr. Phuong’s vows. Providing the music was the school’s Laudare Music Ministry, led by Lauren Bordelon with accompaniment by Kenny Lannes. Dominican Sisters of Peace Prioress, Pat Twohill, OP, and Formation Coordinator Pat Dual, OP, addressed attendees via video link Columbus, OH. Fr. John Restrepo, O.P., St. Martin de Porres Province, presided at Eucharist.

Sr. Phuong entered the Dominican Sisters of Peace as a candidate in 2016. She spent her candidacy at our House of Welcome in New Haven, CT, before attending the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis.

A native of Vietnam, Phuong and her family immigrated to the United States with her parents and siblings in 1989. She is a naturalized citizen. She holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Phuong first encountered the congregation when Dominican Sister of Peace, Sr. Binh Nguyen, OP, spoke at Phuong’s Texas parish, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Newly professed Dominican Sister of Peace Phuong Vu and Sr. Dorothy Trosclair sign Phuong’s temporary vows while, from right, witnesses, Sisters Mary Ann Culotta, OP and Kathy Broussard, OP, look on.

It wasn’t until my first retreat (with the Dominican Sisters) that I strongly encountered God,” Sr. Phuong says. “As I am more grateful for the many blessings that I have received in my life, I want to share God’s love with others.”

“Being a Sister,” Phuong continued, “I have learned to embrace God’s people more. I strongly believe God will continue to give me the grace I need to fulfill my calling.”

“We are inspired by Phuong’s faith, and the depth of her commitment to Dominican Life and Mission. Not even a pandemic could keep her from responding to God’s call!” said Sr. Pat Twohill, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. “She has caught the Dominican spirit, and deeply desires to embrace our Order’s preaching mission.”

Wendy S. Grubb, NCC, LPC, Director of Counseling/College Advisor at St. Mary’s Dominican High School and Sr. Phuong’s supervisor at the School, said Sr. Phuong has been an asset to the department during her two years there. “She is very professional, kind, helpful, and determined to complete every task perfectly. Sr. Phuong takes her job very seriously and we continue to grow together.  She is a role model for all as she lives the four pillars of Dominican life.”

Sr. Phuong will continue her ministry at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, as she also continues to discern her call to Dominican vowed life.

To view a video of Sr. Phuong Vu’s First Profession Mass, please click here. 

Your donation to the Dominican Sisters of Peace helps us continue to help women hear the call of God and follow their vocation to vowed religious life. 

 

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas from the Dominican Sisters of Peace

This is not a normal Christmas season. In a time that we usually associate with great joy, we see sickness, frailty, loneliness and need all around us.

As we share the beautiful words of the Christmas story, we are reminded that God gave us the gift of a Savior who was one of us … one who shares our human needs and physical condition. Our loving Savior, Jesus, understands our needs during this Christmas, and wants to come into our hearts today,

Let us rejoice with the angels and shepherds. Do not be afraid … for today, a Savior is born.

May we welcome our living and liberating God into our hearts today.

All of your Dominican Sisters of Peace wish you the most blessed Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year.

Please click here to view a video Christmas greeting from Sister Pat Twohill, Prioress, Dominican Sisters of Peace.

To download a printed copy of this greeting, click here.

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