Celebrate the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena with an Octave of Prayer

April 29 – The Feast of St. Catherine of Siena 
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the graced life of St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin and Doctor of the Church. As she spoke fearlessly to heads of the Church and the State, may we also be unafraid to speak God’s peace boldly to those in power. St. Catherine of Siena is a patroness of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Through her merits and her intercession, we pray that we may attain her wisdom, her generosity of spirit, and her longing always to be closer to Christ. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

April 30
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the justice-seeking life of St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin and Doctor of the Church. She helped bring unity in her home country of Italy and spoke peace to nations at war. We ask you Lord through her merits and intercession to hear our prayer.  As Catherine is the patron of Europe, we pray for peace on that continent, and especially for the people of Ukraine. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

 

May 1
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the compassionate life of St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin and Doctor of the Church. Help us to serve as she did, offering our hands and our hearts to the needy of our day just as St. Catherine cared for those ill from the plague of her time.  As the patron of nurses, we ask for St. Catherine’s intercession for those who care for the sick, the wounded, and the dying. May they find strength, hope and peace to sustain them in this holy, compassionate work. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

 

May 2
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the passionate life of the admirable St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin, and Doctor of the Church. St. Catherine was said to have been praying in the middle of a terrible fire. By God’s grace, she escaped the danger of the flames. St. Catherine is the patron saint of fire prevention.  Lord of Love, through her intercession, set our hearts afire as we pray for our earth and work to preserve and honor the gift you have given us in our own essence and that of creation around us. We ask for her prayers for those suffering from the many fires caused by climate change. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

 

May 3
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the merciful life of the St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin, and Doctor of the Church. St. Catherine was one of 25 children born to her mother. She nursed many women who suffered from miscarriage or illness during their pregnancies and prayed for the soul of every lost child. Lord of Life we join with Catherine in prayer for families who suffer the pain of miscarriage and grieve the loss oF children.  May their souls find peace, and may they find union with their lost children in the kingdom of Heaven. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

 

 

May 4

Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the devoted life of the St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin, and Doctor of the Church.  Catherine’s parents sought to have her marry, but she persisted in her desire to serve God as the first Dominican Associate member. Grant us the strength to respond to the Spirit’s call in our lives and to persist on our vocations to serve God and God’s people. Lord of Mission, through Catherine’s intercession hear our prayer. St. Catherine is the patroness of those who suffer resistance to what they embrace. We pray for all those who suffer oppression and violence because of their belief. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

May 5
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the dedicated life of the St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin and Doctor of the Church. Help us, like St. Catherine, to pass with pure heart and spirit through the chaos and confusion this world so often presents.  Help us to remain faithful in our relationship with You and to always discern our next thought/decision/act in the light of your presence and unconditional love. As the patroness of those struggling with temptation, we ask for St. Catherine’s prayers. May we faithfully follow our vocations to consecrated religious life, single life, or to the sacrament of marriage, and find strength and fortitude as we discern and respond to our call from the God of Love. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

 


May 6
Loving and Faithful God, we praise your glory in the hope-filled and unifying life of the St. Catherine of Siena, Dominican, virgin, and Doctor of the Church. In troubled times within the Church. She used the power of the pen and the power of prayer to counteract strife, to unite the faithful and Church leadership, and to restore the Papacy to Rome. Lord of All,  as Catherine worked to heal divisions within the Church, let us also be ministers of Peace within the Church of today. As we take part in the Synod of the Church, let us, with the entire People of God, discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

 

Posted in Seasonal Observances

Finding Revealing Messages

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

As I was browsing through my email messages, two subject lines immediately caught my attention:  “Because TWO are better than ONE!” and “It’s time to cross this road.” Then there was a third one, “Looking for Something?”  Hmmm.  Messages can appear at the unseemliest time and place. Yet, if we are open to seeing them, these messages can illuminate our path and serve as a call along our path to God.

What strikes me about the first message, “Because TWO are better than ONE” is how we are invited into relationship with others and with our God. Certainly, we are familiar with the Scripture passage from Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” What a powerful reminder that God is always present to us in each other!  We are not alone; we are called to be with each other, to be helpmates—this is part of our makeup, being called into union with one another.

The second message, “It’s time to cross this road,” conjures up images of initial resistance, then surrendering and moving forward, taking that first step, a step of trust and faith in the unknown.  Just as Jesus knew it was time to take up his cross to Calvary, he knew that this step was necessary to fulfill his mission in life of sacrificing his life for the good of all humankind. Even in this moment of suffering, Jesus is befriended by Simon of Cyrene who helps Jesus carry his cross.  Who are the people who help you carry your cross?  Who are the people whose cross you help carry? We do not have to cross the road of difficulty or possibility alone. We are invited to be in community and to walk in solidarity with one another.

The third message, “Looking for Something?” speaks to me of a lifelong quest to find one’s essence, to find one’s calling, and to follow where that essence and calling invites us.  When we’re looking for something, like lost keys, when we pause long enough to examine where we’ve been, and where God is calling us, we can often find what is missing.  So too with our spiritual quest to know ourselves and our Creator, when we pause in prayer or take time to be with our God, in whatever ways God speaks to us, we often find that what we are missing is a connection with ourselves, with each other, and with our God. What we are looking for is within us and around us. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see and be aware of God’s presence. But, we get lost in our own darkness, and that’s when we need to be reminded of yet another familiar Scripture passage from Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” It is in the searching, in the seeking, in the opening of doors that we will find what we are looking for.

Looking at these three messages together: “Because TWO are better than ONE!,”  “It’s time to cross this road,” and “Looking for Something?,” are all part of the same message of seeking and finding God in our midst.  These messages are also about recognizing how we are connected to each other and are called to be there for each other, mending broken hearts, working in solidarity with others, bringing about peace and justice, being the Light in someone’s darkness, bringing hope to the downtrodden. We know these messages. We need reminders though that we may need help from others, and we need God’s help to walk across the road as we seek to live out and bring the Gospel message of love and peace to others.

If you are ready to cross the road and to find out whether God is calling to religious life, we invite you to contact us.  Together, we will journey with you as you seek to find your heart’s desire and God’s desire for you.  Better yet, take the leap and meet us in person at our Mission For Peace program, June 22 – 27 in Kansas.  Along with other women in discernment, spend a few days in prayer, community, and service while exploring the possibility of vowed religious life.

Posted in News, Vocations Blog

Dominican Receives Catholic Identity Award at NCEA

St. Mary’s Dominican High School Principal and Vice President, Instructional Area Carolyn Favre holds the Sadlier Catholic Identity Award that was presented at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) conference. From left are: Dr. RaeNell Houston, Superintendent of Catholic Schools and Executive Director of the Department of Catholic Education and Faith Formation in the New Orleans Archdiocese; Ray Fagan, President and Chief Executive Officer of William H. Stadlier, Inc.; Shannon Hauler, St. Mary’s Dominican High School Assistant Principal, Academics; Dr. Cynthia A. Thomas, St. Mary’s Dominican High School President; and New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond.

 

St. Mary’s Dominican High School received the prestigious Sadlier Catholic Identity Award at the 2022 National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) conference held in New Orleans April 19-21, with Willian H. Sadlier, Inc. and the Archdiocese of New Orleans recognizing Dominican for shaping Catholic identity in the school’s life, faith, and mission through the various ministries of Catholic education.

First presented in 1998, the award honors a school or parish that demonstrates effectively and clearly our identity as a Catholic people. Recipients are identified by the host diocese of the NCEA convention. For nearly 200 years, William H. Sadlier, Inc. has been forming K–12 students in the Catholic faith and preparing them for academic success by offering a variety of educational materials in print and digital formats.

Posted in News

Peace and Justice

Our eco-justice team reminds us of just a few of God’s creatures endangered by Climate Change

Akikiki, Hawaii is home to a type of native honeycreeper. Hawaiian honeycreepers are a group of small songbirds. Many have been driven to extinction since the first humans arrived in Hawaii, with extinctions increasing over the last 2 centuries following the European discovery of the islands, with habitat destruction and especially invasive species being the main causes.

 

Elkhorn Coral is one of the most important corals in the Caribbean. It forms dense groups called “thickets” in very shallow water. These provide important habitats for other reef animals, especially fish. The greatest threat to elkhorn coral is ocean warming, which causes the corals to release the algae that live in their tissue and provide them food, usually causing death. Other threats to elkhorn coral are ocean acidification (decrease in water pH caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) that makes it harder for them to build their skeleton, unsustainable fishing practices that deplete the herbivores (animals that feed on plants) that keep the reef clean, and land-based sources of pollution that impacts the clear, low nutrient waters in which they thrive.

The Bog Turtle is North America’s smallest turtle, growing only to 4.5 inches in length. It is classified as federally-threatened on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species List. Habitat loss and fragmentation and forest succession represent the primary reasons for the decline of this species. In the past, bog turtles could move to nearby habitat if conditions changed. However, remaining habitats have become more isolated because of land development.

 


The Bull Trout is listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act throughout its range in the contiguous United States. Bull trout reproduction requires cold water and very low amounts of silt, both of which are negatively impacted by road building and logging. Additionally, its need to migrate throughout river systems may be hindered by impassible fish barriers, such as dams.

 


In the lower 48 states, Canada Lynx are considered threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Lynx were often trapped for their valuable fur during the last century, and this practice continues in Canada. Today, aggressive logging, road-building and development of lynx habitat have severely fragmented their living space. Snowmobile trails and roads pose problems for lynx because these packed-snow pathways give high-country access to cougar and coyote (which can eat lynx), and bobcat (which compete with lynx).


Pacific Salmon 
are cold-water fish, and die when exposed for very long to freshwater temperatures above about 20º C. (72º F.) Global warming has pushed the average summer temperatures of many west coast river systems above that mortality threshold, killing many fish. Global climate change is also diminishing total river flows throughout the northwest and California, as well as changing the basic hydrology that these fish evolved with. Depleted genetic diversity, as well as accelerated habitat loss due to human development, has reduced their ability to respond to these stresses. Changing ocean conditions, including ocean acidification, are causing additional stresses to these populations from global warming.


Leatherback Sea Turtles face threats on both nesting beaches and in the marine environment. The greatest of these threats worldwide are incidental capture in fishing gear (bycatch), hunting of turtles, and collection of eggs for human consumption. The Pacific leatherback turtle populations are most at-risk of extinction.

 


Grizzly Bears
in the contiguous United States are currently protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, as there are less than 1,500 grizzlies left in the lower 48 states. Human-bear conflict remains the largest threat to the North American grizzlies, as well as the loss of major food sources and suitable habitats due to climate change and development.

 


The main threat to the Flatwoods Salamander is loss of habitat.  Pine flatwoods-wiregrass habitats have suffered rapid loss in the southeast due to agriculture.  Continued loss of habitat could cause extensive population loss. In addition, the lowering of water tables due to climate change is elminating the places where the salamander’s eggs mature.

 

 

Two-thirds of the world’s Polar Bears could be extinct by 2050 if greenhouse gas-fueled global warming keeps melting their Arctic sea-ice habitat.

 


Monarch Butterflies
are threatened by deforestation of wintering forests in Mexico, disruptions to their migration caused by climate change, and the loss of native plants (including milkweed species but also all nectar-producing native plants) along their migratory corridors.

 


American Pikas
 are suffering because climate change has brought higher temperatures to their western mountain homes. Pikas have already disappeared from more than one-third of their previously known habitat in Oregon and Nevada.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

In the Steps of St. Dominic: The Founding of Dominican Women in the United States

Articles by Marilyn Rhodes, OPA

This article is the first of in a series of twelve, one per month, celebrating the Bicentennial of Dominican Women in the United States.

St. Dominic was a traveling friar who shared his deep contemplation of the Gospel with others through his preaching. His Order of Preachers (OP) was formally designated by Pope Honorius III in 1218. Dominic wanted the friars, and soon the sisters of the order, to preach the truth of the Catholic faith. By his example, men and women Dominicans live in community and preach through their active involvement with others.

Angela Sansbury, the first elected Dominican Prioress in the United States

In the early years of our nation, many Catholic families migrated to Kentucky from Maryland in the late 1700s, and most settled in areas where they could continue to practice their faith. Central Kentucky became known as the new Holy Land as Catholic monasteries, convents, and schools sprang up around the area. By 1798, the little log church of St. Ann in Washington County was established. The parish quickly grew too large for this building, and on Christmas Day 1809, Dominican Fathers Fenwick, Wilson, and Tuite, blessed and opened a much larger brick church, St. Rose of Lima, just two miles away.

St. Rose of Lima provided spiritual care for twenty-three hundred souls and became the cradle for Dominican Friars in the United States. These friars founded the first seminary in the United States, a school for boys, the first Catholic college west of the Alleghenies, then turned to women to join the mission of the Dominicans.

In February 1822, Father Wilson invited young women to form a community of Dominican Sisters; nine women became candidates. On Easter Sunday, 1822, seven of these women, including Mariah Sansbury, who took the religious name Angela, were formally received into the Order of Preachers. Angela Sansbury was the first woman in the United States to receive the habit, and she, like those others who entered religious life that day, was part of a group unique in the Dominican order. These Nuns were not cloistered behind convent walls like their Sisters in Europe but called to lead active lives in their community and share the mission of the Dominican Friars – to respond to the needs of the world and the time.

In August, six more women joined the order. Their first mission would be to follow the prayer schedule of the friars and instruct girls. These pioneer women began their lives as Dominican Sisters in a log cabin named Bethany on the grounds of the Saint Rose Farm belonging to the Friars. This new community took the name of the Convent of St. Mary Magdalen, and Father Wilson appointed Judith McMan, a married woman from Cork, Ireland, as superior over the first candidates.

It was soon after that the Sisters moved to the Sienna Vale, near Cartwright Creek. Angela Sansbury and her blood sister Elizabeth, who entered religious life with the name  Benven, were the beneficiaries of their mother’s estate, which of course was passed on to the Community. These assets included land, a large log cabin, a still house, and farm animals, which the Sisters raised to help support the fledgling Congregation.

On January 6, 1823, Sister Angela Sansbury became the first woman in the United States to receive the habit as a Sister of the Dominican Order. Six months later, she was installed as the constitutionally elected Prioress of the Dominican Sisters in the United States.

 

 

Posted in News, Seasonal Observances