The Open Door of NOW

Sr. Tram Bui is currently studying at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in Chicago.

Here at the CDN, we are able to attend Mass pretty frequently and have our Thursdays specifically reserved for a reflection day.  Our theme for last Thursday’s reflection day was to focus on different types of doors, “The Open Door of Now.”  Moving deeply in contemplation, many of us were invited to journey and reflect on the call to open many different doors in order to discover God’s unending love and grace for us.

Are we ready to say YES when we hear the bell ring to open the doors? One of our goals for all of us this year is to strengthen our relationship with God and with all those around us, to be able to listen, to hear, and to see God in all creation. We strive to foster and deepen our relationship with God both in our small community and surrounding communities.

Surprisingly, when we ask, God gives us many graces.  There are many doors that begin to open. We are five unique sisters with different cultures, backgrounds, education, ages…at the CDN house (further information in our previous blog). We are also connecting with many other communities such as the Intercommunity Novitiate, CTU, local communities of other congregations, churches, ministries, and many others. This includes the Live Out Loud community with many brothers and sisters, near and far around the world. We are learning to embrace many diversities, gifts, celebrations, and we share each other’s challenges and joys. We now have many opportunities to collaborate, work, celebrate, and interact with each other.

Left picture: Doors on the third floor.  Right picture: Front doors at 4950 S Ellis Ave, Chicago

Every day of our lives, we are called to “open the door of now,” the many doors that our God is longing and calling us to discover in order to deepen our relationship and understanding.  I am excited and happy that God has given us many doors to open and I am trusting that God will be there together with us when we are ready to open a new door. This reminded me of the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, who welcomed his son back with an open door, and our directors Lorraine and Cathy who opened doors to welcome us when we arrived.

Entering an open door doesn’t mean that there are no challenges. There are times God challenges us with an open door that we do not want to enter or we are not ready for yet. But grateful for God’s faithfulness and love, we know we are not alone as we enter these many doors.

Left picture: Cathy Arnold, OP and Lorraine Reaume, OP opened doors to welcome the three new novices. Right picture: Reflection day with local communities: Sisters from the Society of the Sacred Heart, the Felician Sisters, and Sisters from the Intercommunity Collaborative Novitiate, including Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange, a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, and a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration.



Posted in News

Dominican Sister of Peace Anita Schugart

Dominican Sister of Peace Anita Schugart, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Anita Schugart, OP (87), died on September 14, 2021, at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend, KS.

A native of Great Bend, KS, Sr. Anita was born in 1933 to Velma Hlavaty and Fred Schugart. She entered the Congregation at Great Bend in 1954 and lived a faithful religious life for nearly 65 years.

Sr. Anita began her ministry as a teacher, working with children in Wichita and Great Bend. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Math from St. Mary of the Plains College and began a 20-year career at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, beginning as an office worker, then moving into a position as Assistant Administrator, and finally to President of the Hospital in 1978, a position she held for eight years. During this time, she also earned her Master’s Degree in Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

After leaving St. Catherine Hospital, Sr. Anita studied a new area of medicine, this time at the Academy of Natural Healing in Santa Fe, NM. She returned to Kansas to establish the Heartland Wholistic Health Center, serving as a massage therapist, using her heart and hands to bring comfort to those in need.

She was both responsible for, and appreciative of, the peaceful, healing environment that the Center offered to those who came for treatment as well as those who worked in the Center. She ensured that this sacred atmosphere continued when she served as Director of the Center until 2015.

Sr. Anita’s many gifts were also recognized by her Congregation, and she served as General Councilor from 1970-1978 and again from 1990-1994.

In true Dominican fashion, Sr. Anita loved to learn and to study, and attended many events at our Heartland Center for Spirituality. She was committed to environmental causes as well. She enjoyed her time gardening and volunteering for and with her Sisters at the Great Bend Motherhouse.

Sister Anita was preceded in death by her parents and a brother Alvin. She is survived by three sisters, Joyce Irwin, Centennial, CO, Marilyn Grover, Olathe, KS, and Marge Widen, Concordia, KS; several nieces and nephews; and her Sisters at the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

A Vigil Service was be held Monday, September 20, and the Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday, September 21, 2021, both at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Great Bend Motherhouse.  Sr. Anita was buried in the Sisters’ Resurrection Cemetery.

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

To download a printable copy of this memorial, click here.

Posted in Obituaries

Persisting through Frustration

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

Frustration is that feeling you experience when even the most simple of task is suddenly insurmountable, and there does not seem any reason for it. From untying a knot in a chain to changing the systems that control our lives, we experience times when it seems we can do nothing to change anything. That is frustration.

But there is that one thing that keeps pushing us to try. I know someone who does this well and treats frustration like a “dog with a bone.” There will always be a way and no one can take it away from us.

Have you been reflecting on the daily Gospel passages these last weeks? Jesus is so frustrated he even resorts to name-calling; something we never advise people do. ‘Hypocrites’ is his word to describe those leaders who keep denying that they do not know who he really is. They cannot accept what they know because it will mean their lives and strategies will have to change and they see no good coming out of that. They will lose power, have less influence on people’s lives and, in general, won’t feel as important as they think they are. Jesus sort of says “Get over yourselves. There are greater needs and needier situations than you being frustrated that life as you know it has to change.” Easy for Jesus to say.

How frustrated have you been about a little thing like wearing a mask? How frustrated have you been about the lack of decision-making coming out of Washington? How frustrated have you been since the storms (they have been all over the country) when you try to get disaster relief? How frustrated have you been when your child turns to drugs or alcohol and there is seemingly nothing you can do to help. How frustrated have you been with medical issues and paperwork? How many times have you said, “I am so frustrated?”

Jesus’ frustration was real and intense, but like that dog with that bone, he persisted. He continued to speak truth to power and work towards the goals he knew were for the common good. We must do the same, and even in the simplest moments of frustration, don’t look for the easy outcome; look for the outcome that will serve the kingdom!

Posted in Weekly Word

Being Peace

Columbus, OH, is on track to record the most homicides ever in its history. As of October 21, 170 people in our city were murdered. In just the first half of October, more than 40 shootings have been reported to Columbus police.


Each Monday night since April, a group of Columbus Sisters and Associates have joined partners like Moms Demand Action, Mothers of Murdered Children, and Listen Good Youth in a march through neighborhoods of boarded-up houses, junked cars, trashy streets, and houses with bullet holes. Our very diverse group of marchers included ex-cons, ex-drug addicts, suburban white women, police, and firefighters, all who want just one thing – an end to gun violence.


As we marched, we chanted slogans to get the attention of neighborhood residents. Many came out to their porches to talk – conversations that reluctantly lead to stories of their fears and losses. Some were suspicious at first but then joined in our march through the neighborhood.

At the end of each march, we would join for a meal of hot dogs and hamburgers provided by the Dominican Sisters of Peace and our friends and supporters. Marchers and neighbors would eat and talk, getting to know each other and speaking of the hopes for the area.

As fall and cool weather have begun to make outside activities more difficult, we held our last march on Monday, October 18. At the time, we were recognized for our part in this important effort. We were humbled to receive a special award for our sponsorship.

Displayed here by Sisters Bea Tiboldi and Ellen Coates, the plaque reads “In appreciation of your time, commitment, and service to the neighborhoods of Columbus.”






Posted in News

Repotting Orchids . . . Reflections on the Spiritual Life

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

It was a mess! 

What had begun as a quiet morning was interrupted by a loud crash as the orchid pot hit the floor.  Sphagnum moss, bark chips, and pieces of orchid littered the stairwell. 

I put down my laundry basket that I’d been carrying when it collided with the orchid on the window sill.  As I stooped down to examine the situation, I was stunned to see the roots of the orchid had escaped the confines of their pot. They were now free to spread out in their constant search for air, water, and nutrients.  I knelt there and examined the roots, the pot, and the orchid’s leaves & flowers.  It became a moment of contemplation and prayer for me, and I reveled in the beauty of God’s creation.  Then, it dawned on me that this orchid could be a metaphor for what our spiritual life can look like at times and how God invites us to search for more.  I believe this is especially true for those discerning God’s call in their lives. 

Let me back up for a moment and share a little about Orchids.  One of the most important things to know is that they are epiphytes, which are plants that do not grow in soil but attach to other trees, or to a wall, or to some other stable surface where they can use their specially adapted roots to extract moisture and nutrients from the air around them.  Thus, they need something stable to hold on to – just like us in our spiritual life, we need God and faith.  Secondly, they need certain things, like water & nutrients, to live and to grow – just like we need the Word of God and the sacraments to flourish as people of God.  Third, their leaves must turn toward the light to absorb the energy needed for photosynthesis – just as those discerning God’s call must spend time sitting in the light of God’s love in prayer and contemplation to find the enlightenment they need to take the next step. 

I invite you to take a few moments to reflect on your own spiritual life.  What do you need to flourish and to grow?  Do you need to be repotted or trimmed?  Share from your heart, then listen to the master gardener, and allow yourself to be tended to.  Who knows what new life awaits to blossom forth.


Is the master gardener calling you to tend to your life as a religious sister?  Are you eager to discover or explore your calling?  If so, contact us.  


Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog