Peace and Justice Updates 5.26.2021

In 2014, the Dominican Sisters of Peace adopted a corporate stance regarding gun violence. The corporate stance reads:

In the U.S., we will advocate for common-sense gun control laws such as requiring universal background checks before purchasing arms; banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines; promoting strategies to prevent gun violence; and providing adequate financial resources to establish mental health programs for victims and perpetrators and prevention programs for at-risk people.

In keeping with this commitment, we invite Sisters and Associates to take part in the seventh National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 4, the first Friday of the month. That will kick off Wear Orange Weekend on June 5-6, which will feature virtual events across the nation.

Click your city to find events near you.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Seven Years to Sustainability – Be a Part of the Effort

Invitations from the Eco-Justice Committee:

If you are interested in joining the Eco-Justice Committee, you are invited to contact Judy Hardy at

Last Wednesday, May 19, the Eco-Justice Committee offered some suggestions for addressing Goal 2: Response to the Cry of the Poor (defense of human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth, with special attention to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, migrants, children at risk through slavery, etc.)

You are invited to share other suggestions for addressing this goal in the comments section below.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Encountering the Holy Spirit in Our Lives

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

This weekend we will celebrate the wonderful feast of Pentecost, recalling the coming of the Holy Spirit among us. Remembering God’s gift of the Holy Spirit within and among us is a source of renewal and hope in these uncertain times of 2021.  Recently, I found a prayer that Sr. Joan Chittister wrote about Pentecost.  I love what she said about the Holy Spirit in her prayer, that it “embodies the life force of the universe, the power of God, the animating energy present in all things, and captured by none.”  My imagination was captured by the phrase, “The Holy Spirit is the animating energy present in all things and captured by none.”  The phrase started me thinking about moments I became aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life in a particular situation or event.

I remember one such encounter that happened during the time that I was discerning religious life. I had been seriously discerning with the congregation’s vocation minister for several years.  But, even though things began to fall into place that would enable me to apply to the community, I started to rethink my decision.  Finally, I decided to end the discernment for religious life to look at another option I was exploring.  Before I officially called the vocation director to end the process with her, I was invited to a religious conference where different communities of Sisters had invited lay women to join them for a weekend of prayer and talks on various topics—including a panel talking about vocations. I made sure that I did not register for the vocation talk.

As you may have guessed, that was not the end of the story from God’s point of view. During the first day of the conference, I began feeling that I should attend—for one last time—the vocation talk. I spent the lunch hour that day asking God if I should go to the talk or not. I could not decide.  Finally, I said to God, if the door to the workshop was open, I would go in, but if it was closed, I would go to the workshop I signed up to attend.  When I approached the hallway where workshops were being held, I could see that all the other doors were open, but the room door for the vocation talk was closed. I thought, ok, problem solved! But just as I was passing the closed door, someone opened the door, smiled, and invited me in.

As I sat and listened to the Sisters on the panel, all from various communities, my mental self-talk began to list several reasons why religious life was a ridiculous idea for me. By the end of the presentation, I was sure I was not being called to religious life.  After the presentations, they asked if anyone had any questions.  A woman stood up and briefly shared her story and ended by saying that she was taking her first vows the following week.  This was a “Holy Spirit” moment for me because what she shared about herself were the exact same things—listed in the exact order—as my mental “elimination list” to God about religious life.  I was amazed.  Here was someone whose life circumstances were like mine, and she was accepted to make first vows. I literally felt that the Spirit was saying to me, “OK, now what other excuses do you have?”  That was quite a moment!  This took place in July 2002 and I entered the congregation as a Candidate in August 2005. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was operative within me and within Sr. Jackie Laster, RSM, the woman who shared her testimony that day.

All of us have had experiences of what I like to call “Holy Spirit” moments. Those times we become suddenly aware of the presence of the Spirit in our experience or within ourselves. Furthermore, as the congregation’s Coordinator of Formation, I have heard many stories about “Holy Spirit” moments from our women in formation.  As we approach Pentecost Sunday this weekend, I invite you to recall a few “Holy Spirit” moments from your own life.  How have you encountered the Holy Spirit lately?

If you feel the Spirit has been inviting you to consider becoming a Sister, give us a call.


Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Palestine – When Peace Is Possible

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

Imagine living in a land controlled by the military rule of another country, which disrupts every aspect of daily life.  This occupation affects whether, when and how you can travel to work, or school, go abroad, visit relatives, earn a living, attend a protest, access farmland or even access clean water.  This is the everyday experience of Palestinians.  They are “strangers in their own land” since 1967.  This iron-clad control has seen no relief, with Republican and Democratic presidents providing support for Israel in the form of military aid and vocal support.

The United States at times has called for a two-state solution but rarely focuses on human rights, which would create an independent Israel and Palestine.

According to Amnesty International, Israel for many years has continued its illegal air, land and sea blockade of the Gaza strip, restricting the movement of people in and out of the area.  They have stopped the entry of construction materials and fuel into Gaza repeatedly, which shut down the only power plant in Gaza.  This has caused the reduction in the supply of electricity, which has only been available for four hours a day, during the time of COVID.  Further, AI reports that Israeli soldiers continue to torture Palestinian detainees, including children—beating, applying painful shocking and sleep deprivation.

No one can dispute the right of Israel to protect itself, but illegal and immoral violations of international law, ignoring United Nations resolutions year after year, can only fuel the flames of desperation of an occupied people whose voice is not being heard.  Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children.

Voices of concerned citizens need to be heard to end a tragedy of countless lives lost, human rights ignored and failures of leadership.

It is time to call on President Biden to broker a cease-fire to de-escalate the situation.

As Israel continues to build settlements on the occupied Palestinian West Bank, President Biden needs to call a halt to this illegal action.  Words need to be backed up with the understanding that U.S. military aid to Israel will be suspended until this action ends with a withdrawal agreement.

The often mentioned two-state solution needs to be front and center, with the United Nations providing the leadership role, supported by the United States.

Palestinians, as people of every nation, have the right to freedom of movement, freedom to work, get an education and not live in fear of military occupation.  This can happen if real leadership happens, and the voices of concerned citizens are heard.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Peace and Justice Updates 5.19.2021

Ask President Biden to take Action in the Middle East
Over the past weeks, images of the violence engulfing Israel and Palestine have circulated around the world, capturing international attention as the threat of increased military action looms. The violence has already led to dozens of deaths, including children.

Military action will never bring about a just and peaceful resolution between Israelis and Palestinians. President Biden must take action to immediately de-escalate the situation, broker a ceasefire, and call on the Israeli government to put an immediate stop to the forced evictions and displacement of Palestinian families. Many more are likely to die if the situation does not de-escalate immediately.

President Biden campaigned on advancing human rights and a diplomacy-first foreign policy to restore America’s leadership around the world. In addition to brokering a ceasefire, the Biden administration must address the root causes of this decades-long crisis including calling on the Israeli government to put an immediate stop to the forced evictions and displacement of Palestinian families in order to achieve a just solution grounded in human dignity.

Click here to sign a petition asking President Biden to take urgent action to de-escalate the situation in Palestine and Israel, and secure an immediate ceasefire.

Pass Background Checks Now
This year, the AAPI community has repeatedly experienced that devastation. In Atlanta, nine people were shot, including six Asian women who were killed. In Indianapolis, eight people were shot and killed, four of them being members of the Sikh community. And yet, those tragedies are only a fraction of the violence the AAPI community has experienced this year. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against the AAPI community at large—particularly against AAPI women—has been on the rise like never before.

This AAPI Heritage Month, we must call attention to this hate-fueled violence, and demand our lawmakers work to stop it. We need strong gun safety laws now.

Tell your U.S. senators: Pass background check legislation now.

WEBINAR: Catholic Sisters Impact on Helping Trafficking Survivors Thrive
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
1:00pm Eastern

Register today for our webinar focused on “Catholic Sisters Impact on Helping Trafficking Survivors Thrive.” The panel speakers include:

  • Sr. Jean Schafer, SDS, a member of the USCSAHT Board of Directors and former Chair of the Survivor Services working group.
  • Sr. Kathlyn Mulcahy, OP, a Dominican Sister of Springfield and the Executive Director of Bethany House in Chicago.
  • Theresa Flores, LSW, Program Director for USCSAHT. S
  • Dawn Schiller, M.A., an expert survivor-leader in the anti-trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault movements.

Register Now.

Recognize Role of “Essential Workers”
Please contact your senators and representative and urge them to act boldly to provide a path to citizenship for the eleven million immigrants living in the United States without documentation.

Many have been here for decades. They include Dreamers (young people brought to the U.S. as children, many of whom have no ties to the country of their birth), recipients of Temporary Protected Status (persons from countries dealing with natural disasters, political upheaval or other crises), persons in Deferred Enforced Departure (similar to TPS but determined by presidential discretion) and agricultural workers.

The coronavirus pandemic has made the nation conscious of the critical role essential workers play in food production and food service, retail, healthcare, child and elder care. Many of these persons are immigrants.

It is critical that lawmakers hear that there is strong support for a path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today.

Click here to speak up for immigrants. 

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates