Prayers for Vocations

Last Sunday, April 25th, marked a special day of Prayer for Vocations.  During our prayer group for discerners that the Vocations team offers monthly, we contemplated peace with a guided meditation, and then we prayed for vocations.  Knowing that there is a power in communal prayer, we invite you to pray one of these prayers.

If you are a Sister, or Associate, or know someone who is discerning God’s call:

Loving God,
we pray for women and men who are discerning Your call for their life.
Open their hearts to hear your voice inviting them to be
preachers of the Gospel
following Jesus in the footsteps of St. Dominic.
Grant them generosity of spirit for selfless service
and enkindle within their hearts a desire to be your Peace in our world.
We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, our Risen Lord,
who lives and loves with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

If you are discerning God’s call for your life:

(The original prayer card that our team crafted can be found here.)

Loving Creator,
Thank you for calling me to share in Jesus’ mission.
I am not sure which way of life You are calling us to,
and I humbly ask you to guide me along the way.
Help me remain open and patient in this process,
whether to live the single life, the married life, or as a religious sister, nun,
brother, monk or priest.

Compassionate Jesus,
You showed us what it means to lay down one’s life for others.
As I seek to deepen my relationship with you,
help me to bear witness to the Gospel,
to lead others to you,
to speak for a more just and peaceful world,
to give voice to the voiceless,
and to be there for those in need.

Holy Spirit,
Inspire me and guide me
that I may listen to the still small voice in my heart.
I ask for wisdom, understanding, and courage to follow God’s call.

You can find additional prayers for vocations here.

May God bless all of us as we stay aware of God’s presence in our life and discern God’s call day-by-day.

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Siena Learning Center Builds Community Ties

New Britain, CT,  Chamber of Commerce President, William Moore and Siena Learning Center Director Nancy Rodriguez.



Siena Learning Center Director Nancy Rodriguez met recently with New Britain, CT,  Chamber of Commerce President, William Moore. Nancy and Mr. Moore discussed possible opportunities for Center staff and learners to network with Chamber members, and how the Siena Learning Center can help the community by offering employer-sponsored ESL classes.

Posted in News

LIFE ON THE FARM – Heartland Farm hosts annual Open Farm Day


Daniel Kiewel for the Great Bend Tribune, April 24, 2021



Heartland Farm Marketing/Media Coordinator Teresa Johnson feeds a Scottish highland cow during Saturday’s Open Farm Day at Heartland Farm. Though the cow was a visitor brought in for farm day, the farm is home to several animals, including chickens, alpacas and cats. – photo by Daniel Kiewel

Sunny skies and mild spring temperatures greeted visitors to Heartland Farm, owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, for their annual Open Farm Day Saturday, to explore the farm and learn more about its mission, activities, and services.

The event returned after a year hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, and as a result, looked a little different than in past years. Heartland Farm Marketing/Media Coordinator Teresa Johnson said previously the event was held in a come-and-go fashion, however this year visitors were asked to pre-register for a specific time slot to provide more social distancing.

Johnson said they expected roughly 80 visitors for the day’s event.

“It’s just a way to show people Heartland Farm and what we’re about, to come out and have a nice day,” Johnson said. “The goal is to remind people of some of the more simple things.”

At Saturday’s Open Farm Day, visitors had a chance to experience the farm firsthand, and to learn about some of its available activities and programs.

“It’s just a place to come and relax, be with nature and walk the gardens and the nature trails, and to be with some really good people and some great, unique animals,” she said.

Sr. Jane Belanger, a longtime member of the Heartland Farm, said since the beginning, the farm’s mission has to been to demonstrate good stewardship of the land, and of the planet, through sustainable agricultural practices and through sharing the land with others. She hoped Saturday’s event would help educate visitors on those practices, and to encourage them to carry on those practices, as well.

But it is about more than just the land. Johnson said she hoped to show Saturday’s visitors the farm is an ideal, safe place for people to get away from the bustle of everyday life and find peace and healing.

About Heartland Farm

A Heartland Farm volunteer discusses the farm’s alpacas with visitors to Heartland Farm. – photo by Daniel Kiewel

The 80-acre farm is located about 13 miles west of Great Bend, and is home to a wide variety of organically grown plants, and numerous animals. The Dominican Sisters have operated the farm since about 1987.

Most well-known, Johnson said, are the farm’s 17 alpacas, which visitors to the farm were given the opportunity to walk during their visit Saturday. The farm raises the animals for their soft fleece, which is utilized for various purposes. After the animals are sheared, the process of clearing the fleece of dirt and grass by hand takes about two months before it is sent to a fiber mill, to be processed.

In addition to animals, the farm also is home to several gardens of organically grown flowers and produce, including a high-tunnel greenhouse, in which plants can be grown year-round, and can often be found each summer at the Great Bend Farmers’ Market.

The farm is also home to about three miles of nature walking trails, and several other indoor and outdoor spaces which can be used for relaxation, reflection, and meditation.

In a normal year, Johnson said, the farm hosts numerous educational programs and activities on topics ranging from gardening, pottery, fiber arts such as knitting and weaving, beer brewing, pasta and bread making, and more. Saturday’s event, Belanger hoped, would be a step back into hosting more live in-person events.

Andi Dale from Dale Family Farms in Protection gives a presentation to visitors to Heartland Farm’s Open Farm Day Saturday afternoon. – photo by Daniel Kiewel

Sisters on the farm, including Sr. Imelda Schmidt, hand produce items ranging from pottery, to soap, to baked goods, as well.

The farm also has a guest house that serves as a place for people looking to get away, and functions as a “retreat center” as Belanger described it.

Belanger said the farm also welcomes volunteers to come out to the farm and help with a variety of daily activities including weeding the garden and helping out with day-to-day chores on the farm.

For more information about the farm and its services, visit the Heartland Farm Facebook page, or on the web at, or call 620-923-4585.


Posted in News

What Were You Taught?

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

The Broadway musical South Pacific debuted in 1958. 60 years or so later, one song from the play is so timely, it is scary!

The song is “You’ve Got to be Taught”. The lyrics have such phrases as “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear…..”; “You’ve got to be taught to be afraid, of people whose eyes are oddly made, and people whose skin is a different shade…”

So what were you taught? Growing up,I was never exposed to many people of color and hardly had any experiences with them until later in life. But as a child, I did learn to hate politics, and still do. Not for the reasons you might suspect, but because my Dad was a Democrat and always had to worry about the election of a Republican Governor. Dad worked for the State of Ohio DOT as a certified carpenter. Before 1975, if you drove on the interstates in Ohio and stopped at a rest area, my Dad probably built the structures on the sites. After the election of Jim Rhodes, Dad was demoted to road crew, just based on politics. I sure didn’t want my Dad to lose his job, and to this day the memory of Jim Rhodes is not one of my favorites. Thus my strong dislike for that system.

So see, it is easy to pick up a little fear and even hate for things or people that do not work well in your life, whether as a child you fully understand them or not. We could get into the whole nature or nurture issue, but that is for another time. Right now, I am just wondering, are there things or people you fear or even hate, and do you know where that fear or hatred came from? Have you learned anything that helped you dissolve the fear or hate, or do you find you still hold on to some of those feelings? Or have you been in a family where no one has ever hated or feared anyone?

These days we are confronted with fear and hatred in almost every news report or media interview. Where did it all come from and how can it all go away? Guess it is up to each one of us to confront the things we have been taught and maybe relearn them.

Posted in Weekly Word

Taking the Moral High Ground on the Death Penalty

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

“The death penalty is a cruel relic of the past and should have no place in our society.  A government should not have the power to take the life of another person, and the death penalty is a flawed and inherently unjust system.”  Rep.  Adriano Espailiat (NY – 13)


Rep. Espailiat made these remarks after introducing the Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2021.  He speaks for the majority of people in the United States who support abolition if the law provides an alternative, such as life without parole.  In spite of this support, congress has failed to abolish the federal death penalty.  Under President Trump thirteen federal prisoners were executed in the span of six months.  It had been 17 years since a federal execution had been carried out.

Support for the death penalty rests on myths.  The myth of deterrence against future crime does not hold up since many states with the death penalty have high rates of murder. The majority of murders can be classified as irrational acts, and the perpetrators are unlikely to have considered the possibility of a death sentence before and during the crime.

The belief that capital punishment is less expensive than life in prison is inaccurate.  The huge cost of appeal after appeal easily refutes that argument.

It is important for the focus on capital punishment to be on the morality of taking a life.  We can view the moral perspective in several ways:

We can celebrate some successes on the issue of the death penalty.  Recently the Virginia legislature voted to ban the death penalty, and this ban is now law thanks to the governor’s signature. The assembly in the state of Nevada voted to ban the death penalty, with the final approval resting in the state senate.  There are now 27 states that maintain the death penalty.  Because of the hard work of many citizens, some states have declared a moratorium on the death penalty, others have made it illegal to execute mentally challenged persons or someone who was younger than 17 years of age when the crime was committed.

President Biden, as a Catholic and as the first sitting U.S. president to openly oppose the death penalty, is limited in what he can do to end the death penalty. He can commute the sentences of all persons on federal death row today, and he can tell the justice department not to sentence people to death. These tactics will only be effective during his time in office.

Biden could sign a bill to abolish the death penalty, but that would require Congress to pass one first. Given the current obstructionist relationship between the Executive and the Republican party, that could be difficult, although thirty-seven members of Congress have urged the President to support the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, sponsored by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

We – YOU – can save a life.  Please contact your U.S. senator and ask that he/she vote to eliminate the federal death penalty.

If your state still has the death penalty, please contact your legislators and call for the abolition of the death penalty.

We can make a difference!  It has already been done in many states.  “Thou shalt not kill” is not a suggestion.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog