National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Monday, February 8:

TWEET AGAINST TRAFFICKING:

You may compose your own tweets, or use the ones that we have created, below. The important thing is that there are at least 5 and that they all contain the hashtag #PrayAgainstTrafficking  It is also possible to add the second hashtag #EconomyWithoutTrafficking but please always include #PrayAgainstTrafficking.

  • Today is the World Day of Prayer against Trafficking. We pray for an economy that is not sustained by illegal actions and exploitation. #PrayAgainstTrafficking #EconomyWithoutTrafficking
  • No to trafficking. We want an economy that promotes the life and dignity of every person, decent work for all. #PrayAgainstTrafficking #EconomyWithoutTrafficking
  • On the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, we participate in the online prayer marathon against trafficking. From Oceania to the Americas a shared global moment for an economy without trafficking #PrayAgainstTrafficking
  • #PrayAgainstTrafficking: today is the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking. Join the global marathon live on the YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/PreghieraControTratta
  • Among the main causes of trafficking in persons is the economic model. Let’s promote a more humane and inclusive economy #EconomyWithoutTrafficking #PrayAgainstTrafficking
  • On the Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking we remember St. Josephine Bakhita and all victims of slavery. Want to know more? www.preghieracontrotratta.org #PrayAgainstTraffickin
  • February 8: Global prayer marathon against trafficking (today until 5pm CET). We invite everyone to join the live broadcast and share this special date https://www.youtube.com/c/PreghieraControTratta #PrayAgainstTrafficking
  • I #PrayAgainstTrafficking
  • We light a candle as a sign of our commitment to open our eyes and help free those who are oppressed by human trafficking and slavery #PrayAgainstTrafficking
  • #PrayAgainstTrafficking To move from words to action we need everyone’s commitment. Join in [add @ name of friends/other organizations].

January 11 – February 8 is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This annual observance is designed to bring attention and action to modern-day slavery in all its forms – sexual and labor-related.

Human trafficking is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, according to the federal definition provided by the US Dept. of Justice.

According to the International Rescue Committee, traffickers prey on individuals who are poor, vulnerable, living in an unsafe or unstable situation, or are in search of a better life. In the United States, victims include some of the most vulnerable populations: American Indian/Alaska Native communities, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-questioning individuals, individuals with disabilities, undocumented migrants, runaway and homeless youth, temporary guest-workers and low-income individuals.

This graphic from the 2019 Data Report by the Polaris Project illustrates the state of human trafficking in the United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered traffickers the opportunity to create new ways to take advantage of the pandemic to target vulnerable victims. In particular, the pandemic has surfaced systemic and deeply rooted economic inequalities – a root cause of human trafficking.

An icon of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking.

One of the Congregational Commitments of the Dominican Sisters of Peace is to:

Promote justice through solidarity with those who are marginalized, especially women and children, and work with others to identify and transform oppressive systems.

More than 70% of those who are trafficked around the world are women. Our Sisters work to create new systems that offer those women the opportunity to avoid or escape trafficking, to lobby officials to create ways to end trafficking, and to offer mercy and relief to victims of what the Holy Father calls “a wound in the humanity of those who endure it and those who commit it.”

For a calendar of prayers for National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, click here.

Resources:

The Economy of Human Trafficking 

U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking

United Nations

Polaris Project

US Department of State

Department of Homeland Security

 

Posted in News

Following God During a Time of Pandemic

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

For sure, the year 2020 was a year like no other. I need not list here, the suffering and chaos of the year to anyone old enough to read this blog.  But I am reminded of the message of hope expressed during the Christmas season and reiterated at the Epiphany—God’s Light (Christ) has come to dispel the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome the Light.  I have found over the last few months, that I need to hold this message firmly in my spirit. One thing that has helped sustain my hope during this time has been seeing God’s spirit continuing to inspire and call women to consider a life in service to God and the people of God.  Perhaps, it is in times of greater suffering and confusion that God’s call is clearer to us. However, I am certain that God continues to call women to consider religious life even amid a pandemic.

The fact that God is still calling women to religious life and to our congregation is great news!  But for relational ministries like Formation and Vocation, the isolation and protocol for preventing the spread of the virus, presented somewhat of a problem. The 2020 year of pandemic caused disruptions in everyone’s life, redefining how we lived, worked, and related to each other. Making use of virtual technology became the safest way to work and to relate to each other.  For better or worse, virtual technology became the “new normal.”

The vocation team seemed to quickly adapt to this new way of connecting with discerning women by sponsoring virtual Come and See Weekends; virtual dinner or prayer events with Sisters; and virtual Mission for Peace events, like the one happening this weekend.  The vocation team has designed a complete online program that continues the important ministry of helping women discern God’s call. They have been quite successful in their efforts, adapting to the fact that God continues to call people to consecrated life, even during COVID-19.

Sr. Phuong Vu Professing her First Vows with Sr. Dot Trosclair on Dec. 8, 2020

The Formation ministry also had to adapt to pandemic conditions. We had to rethink how we would welcome women who discerned and were accepted as Candidates in the congregation. In addition, there were several women already in the initial formation process as novices and temporary professed Sisters. Most of them were ready to take the next steps in their journey of becoming a Sister.

The ritual ceremonies for each step in the formation process are very meaningful and culminate after several years with final vows.  The rituals and ceremonies usually take place during congregational gatherings and requires traveling for almost everyone involved. As weeks stretched into months during the pandemic, using technology was the only way forward to hold these ceremonies.  The women in formation were open and ready for participating in modified virtual ceremonies, witnessed in person with their local community, with the congregation, and with family and friends joining virtually. Though not ideal, these virtual ceremonies were wonderful events seen by our Sisters and guests in several states.  Holding such ceremonies virtually, these women in formation have demonstrated two necessary characteristics of women in religious life—openness and adaptability.

Candidate Tram Bui’s Virtual Welcome Ceremony with Prioress Sr. Pat Twohill and Formation Coordinator Pat Dual.

I am very happy that the Dominican Sisters of Peace have been able to adapt to the continuing call of women to religious life.  Currently, we have seven women in formation. Two became Candidates during the pandemic this year.  Cathy Buchanan and Tram Bui were welcomed into the congregation with their local convent communities in New Haven, CT, and Columbus, OH, respectively. Canonical Novice, Sr. Annie Killian entered our Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) in Chicago, IL. All aspects of the novitiate have been adapted with online classes, retreats and even ministry in some cases. It has been a very different experience at the novitiate this year, but the novices are grateful they were able to continue their discernment process.  Our second-year novice, Sr. Ellen Coates returned to Columbus, OH from the CDN in August 2020. She can do her ministry from home as part of the Ohio State University Contact tracing team. Sr. Phuong Vu professed her First Vows in a beautiful Mass in New Orleans, LA since it was unsafe to travel to the Motherhouse in Columbus, OH.  While masks, face shields and social distancing were required, Sr. Phuong was grateful to take her first vows. The Prioress and I, along with her family, watched her special moment virtually and with much gratitude.

Posted in God Calling?

Small Parishes, Big Ministries

St. Dominic’s Church in Garden City, KS, is like many other small-town churches in 2020 America. The 800-family, multi-cultural parish shares a priest with a nearby mission church, so much of the sacramental and administrative work falls to the staff…which in the case of St. Dominic’s, is a bundle of energy in wild socks, Sr.
Myra Arney.

Parishioner Jan Deal says that as the Director of Religious Education, Sr. Myra manages a thriving religious education program, with students from preschool through high school. She recruits volunteer teachers and office help, coordinates enrollment and tuition, creates the school calendar and schedules First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies.

Sr. Myra Arney, in blue, at a confirmation ceremony.

“RCIA is where I have gotten to know Sr. Myra best,” parishioner Jan says. “She is an inspiration to me and to my faith. It is easy to see her devotion to our church and to the people she serves.”

“I have known Sister Myra since 2012 when I began working at St. Dominic Parish,” says Matt Perez, Parish Administrative Assistant, Stewardship Director and Adult Formation Director. “Not only am I a beneficiary of the work that she has done in the parish, I am also a beneficiary of her friendship, grace, and partnership in ministry. Knowing Sister Myra Arney has been a blessing,” Matt said.

Sr. Myra is known for her wild socks.

Across the country, in Leetonia, OH, St.Patrick’s church is very different from St. Dominic’s. A small congregation of older families in a mainly white community, St. Patrick shares a priest with nearby St. Paul’s in Salem.

Sr. Barbara Rapp joined the parish as the Pastoral Administrator in 2018, and according to parishioner Mary Ann Greier, immediately began to learn names, faces and families. She also jumped into parish activities, volunteering at the Food Pantry, helping with the Parish pierogi sales, and ministering to the needs of
the congregation. She often meets with parishioners on the porch of the home that she shares with Sr. Rene Weeks.

Sr. Barb Rapp meets with a parishioner on her front porch.

When the church was closed this spring during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sr. Barbara put her many talents to work for the good of the parish, sewing and distributing masks, applying for grants for the church food pantry, and sending emails full of parish news and words of encouragement.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sister Barbara in the short time she’s been with us in little Leetonia,” Mary Ann said. “We’re lucky to have her. My faith remains steadfast. I think the stability of our church and having someone like Sister Barbara there to keep everything going helps.”

Sr. Rene Weeks works with Hispanic families in Salem, OH.

Sue DeJane, who runs the parish food pantry at St. Patrick’s Church, says that Sr. Barb and Sr. Rene Weeks, who serves the Latinx community at sister parish St. Paul’s, are active participants in all parish ministries.

They help unload and stock donations from Second Harvest, pick up items at local stores, and help box food for the pantry’s drivethrough distribution.

“Their participation has given us a closer bond with our Church as a whole. Their words of faith and encouragement have lifted our spirits,” Sue says. “We are proud to have the Sisters working beside us. This has brought them closer to the rest of our small community.”

Across the country, there are many stories of our sisters in parish ministry helping young and old prepare for the sacraments, providing a listening ear and prayerful counsel, and doing what they can to strengthen not just their church, but their community.

Click here to read the entire 2020 Annual Report.

Your donation supports our work in more than 30 parishes.

Posted in News

Dominican Sister of Peace Sister Edwina Devlin

Dominican Sister of Peace Edwina Devlin

Dominican Sister of Peace Sister Edwina (Evelyn) Devlin, 106, died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH on Sunday, November 15, 2020.

Sister Edwina was born in 1914 in Yakima, WA, to Elizabeth Irvin and John Ross Devlin. Her mother died when Edwina was just six years old, and she moved to Steubenville, OH to live with her grandparents. There she was introduced to Dominican Sisters.

After graduating from Catholic Central High School, she entered the community in 1932, made first profession in 1934 and took her final vows in 1937. She served God’s people as a Dominican Sister for 86 years.

Sr. Edwina earned a Bachelor of Science in English from St. Mary of the Springs, now Ohio Dominican University, in Columbus, OH, in 1945. She returned to study in 1960 and earned a Master of Arts in English from Hunter College in New York City. She also studied Spanish and Latin American Studies at Catholic University in Puerto Rico and earned an Advanced Certificate in Religious Education.

She began her ministry as a teacher in elementary and secondary schools in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. She was one of three Sisters chosen to serve as the Congregation’s first missionaries in Chimbote, Peru. Once there, she taught children during the day, adults in the evening, and provided religious programs for the teachers in the schools.

She was in Chimbote when a devastating earthquake destroyed the convent. Although two visiting Sisters were killed, Sr. Edwina and the other Dominican Sisters remained to help their neighbors. She remained there until 1975 to help rebuild the convent and expand the apostolic work of the Sisters.

Upon returning the US, Sr. Edwina directed RCIA programs in several Ohio parishes and worked as an Ecclesiastical Notary in the Columbus Diocesan Office. She also served the Congregation in the Human Resource Office as the Coordinator for Community Retirement and later volunteered at St. Thomas Parish in Zanesville, OH.

After moving to the Columbus Motherhouse in 2000, Sister Edwina served as a volunteer and began a ministry of correspondence with her former students. She moved to a ministry of prayer and presence at the Mohun Care Center in 2011.

When Sister Edwina was asked the secret to her long and happy life, she explained that “I never worry. I just trust in the Lord. I believe all of us are here to do what God inspires us to do and coming to that realization brings happiness.”

She was preceded in death by her parents John Devlin and Elizabeth Irwin Devlin, her brothers, John, Patrick, and Joseph and her sister, Anamary Devlin.

Funeral services and burial at St. Joseph Cemetery were held privately on November 25, 2020.  A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.

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

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

 

Posted in Obituaries

Dominican Sister of Peace Sister Mary Hoguet

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Hoguet

Dominican Sister of Peace Sister Mary Immaculata Hoguet, 99, died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH, on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

Sister Mary was born Mary Rita in 1922 in Lansdowne, PA, to Mary Elizabeth McWilliams and Francis Hoguet.

She entered the community in 1941, made first profession in 1944, and took her final vows as a Dominican Sister in 1947. Sister Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from the University of Dayton and her CPE certification from the University of Michigan Hospital. Always interested in improving her ability to minister effectively, she also took courses in clinical pastoral education, psychopathology, and spiritual direction.

Sister Mary followed the Dominican tradition of itinerancy through her long religious life, which began with her ministry as an educator in Cuba, New Jersey, and New York. She served as Assistant Director of Novices at St. Catherine Hall and as Coordinator of the Dominican Retreat Center, both in Elkins Park, PA.

During her post at El Centro in Miami, FL, she assisted incoming Cuban refugees who were fleeing the Castro regime. She also ministered in retreat work in New York and Pennsylvania and served as a hospital chaplain in Michigan and Florida.

Sr. Mary entered a ministry of prayer and presence at Mohun Care Center in Columbus, OH, in 2014.  She enjoyed music, drawing, reading, needlepoint, puzzles, and even ping pong, but her focus was always on the wellbeing of those around her.

In her preaching at Sr. Mary’s funeral, Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, remembered Sr. Mary fondly. “Mary was a serious person who, in whatever she encountered, would do it right and well. She prepared well for her ministry and felt called by God throughout her life. She expressed it that way. A continuing call from one mission to another, freely taken up because Mary knew in her deepest self that God’s grace would be with her.  No matter what hardships would come her way, Mary was in tune with this sense of God’s invitation to respond to the next season of life, the next movement of the Spirit. and she felt confident, justified in her choices,” Sr. Anne recalled.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Francis and Mary Elizabeth McWilliams Hoguet, her brothers, Francis, Eugene and George and her sisters, Jane, and Anne Hoguet. She is survived by nieces and nephews.

Funeral services and burial at St. Joseph Cemetery were held privately on November 17, 2020. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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

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

Posted in Obituaries