Despite what we might be seeing on TV, Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, but I guess that other than “Black Friday” advertisers cannot figure out a way to really market the holiday.
Or is their problem the fact that we have become aware in this 21st century that what happened in 1620 near a rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was just another way to exclude some folks who were not white Anglo Saxon Christians? So, are advertisers steering clear of making a big deal out of that event?
No matter what the issue is, we do have a day on our calendars that specifically demands a time of thanks giving. Right now it is demanded more than ever. We are searching for ways to see the good things around us in the midst of a whole lot of division, negativity, sickness, violence and hate.
When this Thanksgiving Day rolls around (tomorrow) and the only thing we can be thankful for is that we are still breathing……shout to the heights THANK YOU! It means we still have a chance to make a difference in all the right ways. It means we still have the opportunity to change some of the stuff we know should be changed. It means we can acknowledge that God can still work if we allow God to work.
Rev. Stephen Pugh, a minister of the Disciples of Christ Church wrote this prayer:
O God, when I have food,
help me remember those who are hungry.
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless.
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all.
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer.
help me to destroy my complacency,
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help,
by word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
The Albertus Magnus College Aquinas lecture series opened this year with the St. Albert the Great Lecture, delivered by Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Scanlon. Sr. Joan’s lecture, Pioneering Women of the Past, Innovators Shaping the Future, detailed how the Dominican Sisters in the United States lived the four pillars of Dominican life throughout their first 200 years.
Sr. Joan served in the college’s Dominican Mission and Ministry Office.
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The Dominican Sisters of Peace stand with our Dominican Sisters to pray for an end to divisiveness, hate, and violence.
November 21, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters issued the following statement, deploring the hate crime that resulted in the death of five people and the injury of at least 25 people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Our hearts ache for the five people who were killed and at least 25 injured in a hate crime committed at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night. We pray for the repose of the souls of those who died so cruelly, and for the healing and recovery of all who suffered grievous wounds. We offer deep condolences to family and friends who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
There is no place for hate crimes in our nation nor for the angry and venomous language that often precedes such evil acts – whether committed against members of the LGBTQ+ community or people who are Black, Indigenous, Latino, or Asian-American, or because of a person’s religious faith. As women of faith, we believe in the inherent dignity of every person, each one of us wonderfully made (Psalm 139) in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
We call on all people of good will to join in doing whatever we can to end the bitter divisiveness that rends our hearts and society with such deadly consequences. May we embrace the transformative gift of seeing each other as brothers and sisters, all loved by God, sharing precious life on our common Earth home.
Members of the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters are Sisters Elise D. García, OP, Prioress; Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress; and Corinne Sanders, OP, Janice Brown, OP, and Bibiana Colasito, OP.
On January 2, 1904, St. Catharine Academy senior May Curry of Springfield was awakened by a muffled explosion and discovered the school was on fire. Nearly overcome by the smoke, she woke the Academy prefect, Sister Borgia McCann, who directed students to the children’s infirmary. Sister Raymond Bird asked a novice to ring the summoning bell to call the novices to dress and assemble in the chapel. When it was apparent that the entire building was ablaze, sisters broke windows and tossed items to the ground in hopes of saving them. As flames advanced toward them, the sisters made sure that all students had vacated the school, then ran to escape the blaze. Many were still in their night clothes and reached for mantles from the chapel stalls to protect themselves from the cold.
As Sister Mary Edward Prendergast ran from the fire, she saw the profession book, in which recorded the names of all those who took vows, on a desk. She placed this important piece of history inside the desk to protect it, and as she was dragging it to the stairway, a man stopped to carry the desk down the stairs. The last to leave, Sister Bernard Fogarty was trapped by flame and smoke. She fled by breaking a window and climbing onto the roof, shuffling her way to another building, breaking another window and climbing through to escape.
By the grace of God, there were no fatalities in the fire. Immediate shelter was provided for 75 girls and 56 sisters by the Dominican friars of St. Rose, the Sisters of Loretto, Sisters of Charity, and Springfield citizens. Clothing was provided as well as many escaped wearing only their night clothes.
The news reached Louisville the next morning, prompting the friars of St. Louis Bertrand to organize a relief committee. This group provided food, clothing, and shelter. The Louisville and Nashville railway dedicated a special train, free of charge, to the relief committee.
Donations and support poured in from many religious communities. St. Francis DeSales in Charlestown, Massachusetts offered their convent as a novitiate. Holy Rosary Academy in Louisville made room for the sisters in their convent and created a classroom for St. Catharine students. A public meeting was held in Louisville to raise funds for the sisters; even a benefit concert was held in New York.
Only two buildings survived the fire – the chaplain’s four-room cottage and the laundry. The cottage became living quarters and the laundry served as kitchen and dining room as well as laundry. With help from the friars, the sisters built a framework house, covered with a tarpaulin, known as the paper house.
Ten postulants quickly advanced to accept the habit to prevent them from having to disrupt their study by leaving the motherhouse. These women professed as sisters on March 8, 1904. Holy Rosary Academy in Louisville hosted St. Catharine seniors’ graduation in the spring.
The loss of the Academy and the Motherhouse was profound. In addition to the buildings, art, and books, all records except the profession book were lost to the fire. It was heartbreaking for the sisters as they witnessed the burnt remains of their home and their work.
In the spring, however, jonquils again bloomed at Sienna Vale. These robust flowers of spring became and remain a symbol of hope, or a Sign of God, that the Dominicans should continue their ministry.
The discussion on where to build the new St. Catharine Academy and Motherhouse continued for months, with many options and opinions offered. But in the end, the Sisters felt that the rural site at St Catharine would be the best place to rebuild the school. As important, this sacred ground had become home, and the Sisters did not want to leave. On May 9, 1904, the community decided to build on their own land. Said to be the highest point of elevation in Washington County, Sienna Heights became the present home for Dominicans in Kentucky.
The Sisters were also looking ahead to the future. Within months of the beginning of construction of the new building, Mother Agnes purchased a harp and hired a professor to instruct one of the Sisters, so that she would be ready to teach new Academy students. She sent another Sister to Boston to complete her studies in vocal music. Both of these directives illustrate the Sisters’ dedication to the Academy, as well as the belief, held to this day, that art is a form of preaching. Today, Dominican Sisters of Peace preach by painting, singing, writing, weaving, and even through the creation of pottery and fabric arts.