The Word Falls Where It Will

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

The Gospel for Sunday, July 16, was the Parable of the Sower and the homilist took an approach I don’t think I had heard before. He described the sower as a very unwise farmer. Instead of having a plot of land to cultivate he just walked around scattering seeds anywhere he walked with no idea if they would take root or not, without knowing if there were weeds or rocks or good soil. Never looked at it that way before; the presumption was always that this was a farmer in his own farm field with maybe a fence or at least some way to mark off the boundaries.

The homilist continued and compared the sower to God (as usual) but with the notion that God never stops scattering the Word, never looks where it is falling, and knows that wherever it lands there is the possibility that it will take root and produce fruit of some sort.

God knows we never experience life the same way every day or respond to the experience the same way every time, so why should God stop sowing just because God does not know how we will handle what life throws at us? God will always be there scattering the seeds and welcoming the possibilities.

We get to make choices; God just throws the seeds that we might catch and make good choices with sometimes. God keeps throwing the seeds and we keep catching them sometimes or missing them others. We all have the ability to let the seeds grow and flourish or not. God makes sure the seed will always be thrown.

As the Word keeps falling all around will our responses and actions make us stumble and ignore what good might have been done, or become stronger in our ability to meet situations with faith, patience, love, and hope?

Posted in Weekly Word

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Brennan, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Brennan, (81) of Brooklyn, NY, passed away peacefully at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on July 6, 2023. 

Mary was born to Patrick and Mary (Buckley) Brennan in 1935. She entered the Dominican Sisters of Peace at the St. Catharine Motherhouse in Springfield, KY, in 1958, and made final profession in 1960.

Sr. Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Spanish from Siena College, a Master of Arts  in Reading and Elementary Education, a Master of Science S in Administration, and a Master of Art in Theology.

Sr. Mary made caring for her community and society her life’s work, ministering as a teacher in Illinois, Nebraska, and New York and then worked as an Administrative Assistant and an accounting clerk. Mary then joined the Congregational Finance Office in St. Catharine, KY, where she had a deep appreciation for the land and its legacy. Her final ministry was spent serving the elderly, poor and marginalized in Brooklyn, NY, as a Social Service Case Manager for Catholic Charities and as a Social Work Supervisor for the homebound elderly. 

In an interview, Sr Mary once said, “Knowing the impact that we, as religious, have had on social justice issues encourages me to continue to work for causes that are important to society.” 

In her preaching at the funeral, Sr. Lois McGovern said: “What you see is what you get. And you may or may not always be prepared for it. But that was the kind of friend she was. A person of few words…and what you got was something special.” 

Mary Brennan was preceded in death by her parents, Patrick and Mary and by her sister, Patricia Buhse. She is survived by her beloved nephews, John, Kevin and Phillip Buhse, her Godmother and cousin Kathleen Brady, many cousins and friends, and her Community at St. Catharine and the Dominican Sisters of Peace. 

The Funeral Mass and internment took place at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in St. Catharine, KY, on Wednesday, July 19 and Thursday, July 20, 10:30 am.

A special memorial service will be held for her many local family and friends at the office of Catholic Charities in Brooklyn. She will be remembered especially there for her loving kindness, and the impact she made on the many that she served.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Mary Brennan’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219. 

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

Posted in News, Obituaries

Reflecting on the Scriptures – Matthew 13

Blog by Pat Schnee, OPA

Like many other people, I have kept a prayer journal over the years. To be completely honest, I use the term “kept” rather loosely. Sometimes I look back and see writing day after day, week after week, for several months before the entries become sporadic and the empty pages more frequent…  I stop. Then, after some time, I start again.

Looking back over those journals I see traces of today’s gospel played out in my own life.

I see where I have begun a spiritual practice and then, over time, other demands in life interfered, called me away… until the practice became only a memory, choked out by the weeds of my own life. I see times when a book I read or a retreat experience inspired me. And for a time my fervor leapt off those pages! …until it didn’t.

I expect my own spiritual life is not unique. I think most of us experience highs and lows in our interior life, as our fervor waxes and wanes. Though God consistently reaches toward us, offering God’s self in love, our response has its peak moments and its valleys.

It is consoling for me to know that the abundant harvest in the gospel is not based on fervor but on faithfulness. While our feelings may come and go, warm and cool, God’s love can produce an abundant harvest in us if we are faithful, if we keep showing up. We keep praying. We keep serving the poor. We keep caring for others. And so we work the soil.

And then God’s love in us produces a life that “bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”


Posted in Associate Blog, News