I used to be a homebody.
It’s ironic, then, that I ended up becoming a Dominican Sister. The Dominican order has always been known as itinerant – traveling from place to place to meet the needs of God’s people.
Dominicans are also called to be itinerant in mind, spirit, and intellect – open to ideas.
At the beginning of my own religious life, I wondered why being itinerant was so important to the Order of Preachers. But the more I live and minister as a Dominican, the more I realize that being itinerant is not just a physical attribute – it’s the spiritual and mental combination of flexibility, reflectivity, and openness to new ideas and outcomes. Being itinerant gives us an opportunity to sort out what we need to let go and organize what we need for our life journey. Itinerancy also creates chances for us to reexperience some valuable treasure that may be buried in our everyday life and allows a glimpse of an expanded horizon.
Sr. Barbara Kane, one of many Dominican Sisters of Peace, reflected on her moving to her new ministry and new place. She wrote:
I’ve recently been asked to move for a new ministry.
I’ve moved a number of times and it’s always an opportunity to ask myself “Do I really need _____?”
Sorting and packing can be such a hassle and overwhelming. The other day I came across a card that my father sent me when I entered the congregation. There is a picture of an eagle with wings outstretched in the sky with the words “Spread Your Wings And Soar.” Inside, the caption is “You Can Do It.” Dad wrote “Since you will not be encumbered by earthly things, you will be able to serve God better. I think this card is appropriate for you. Soaring like an Eagle to God. Love, Dad.”
If only he could see the pile of stuff surrounding me today! He would laugh and shake his head. I’ve been trying to whittle down my possessions for 20-plus years and while I’ve been somewhat successful, I wouldn’t say that I’m unencumbered! In today’s world, the temptation to collect things – like books – is always present. Before we know it, there’s just too much. As religious, we are invited to ask “Do I really need this? Does someone need this more than me?”
I chuckled when I found Dad’s card. I’m glad I saved it and will continue to carry it with me to my next ministry. It was a good reminder to allow myself to soar like an eagle to God … and to continue to lighten the load.
Sr. Barbara’s experience mirrors my own Dominican life. I have learned that itinerancy makes me more open to the reality of life and makes it easier to follow God’s call. Itinerancy has given me the freedom to feel God walking with me, lighting my path, and inspiring me to fearlessly bring God’s love and peace to the world. To use Sr. Barb’s metaphor, Dominican itinerancy has allowed me to soar like an eagle to God.
Are you curious how religious sisters live this life of movement and freedom? Our vocations team can answer your questions. If you want to explore and discern if you can be itinerant in body, mind, and spirit, join us at our Come and See event from Sept. 8-10 in Kentucky. Travel assistance is available. Click here to register.