Associate Blog

Blog by Pat Schnee OPA



John 1:45–51 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”. With some small alteration that question could have been written just a few weeks ago. Can anything good come from those people who voted No on Issue 1? Can anything good come from those who voted Yes? In today’s gospel, Nathanael voices his preconceived opinion about those who come from Nazareth. But then, Philip invites him to “come and see”. We don’t know why Nathanael followed Philip. Was it idle curiosity? Was it trust in Philip? Whatever the reason, Nathanael followed…and found Jesus. What we see depends on where we stand. So, if we want to see something else, maybe we need to stand somewhere else.

Dr. Anthony Fauci served as the Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases and became a household name starting in 1984 and until retirement a short time ago. In retirement interviews, Dr. Fauci has talked about his work on HIV/AIDS beginning in the early 1980s. During the 1980s AIDS rapidly moved through the gay community. The rest of the community responded in ways deemed inappropriate, you would hear “Well, of course, they are infecting one another”. To me these comments sounded like another version of “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

In 1989, Dr. Fauci was invited to the Gay and Lesbian Center in New York City to meet with members of the community. While reflecting on that meeting years later with activists who became his lifelong friends, Dr. Fauci stated that it was like going into the lions’ den. “There were 100 of you and only one of me!”. Dr. Fauci had set aside personal insults and negativity to listen to what they were saying, he says it changed him and his approach to clinical trials. Years later under President George Bush, he directed PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which he describes as the most impactful thing he did in his career, saving over 20 million lives in over 50 countries.

What if Anthony Fauci had not accepted the invitation to come and see? What if Nathanael had not accepted Phillip’s invitation to come and see? It takes a special kind of hubris to believe that where I stand allows me to see everything is good and true and holy, every place where the divine can be discovered.

The Holy Spirit blows where she will! always inviting, coaxing, leading. For the sake of our souls, for the sake of the world. May we have the courage, curiosity, and humility to accept the invitation to “come and see”.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Walking down another street

If you’ve ever read Portia Nelson’s poem, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,” you see how she takes you from falling in the crack in the sidewalk and it’s being her fault to the 4th chapter when she progresses from falling into the crack to walking around the crack. Finally, in the 5th chapter, she decides to walk down a different street altogether.

For myself, after a life of blaming others for what happened to me, I decided to walk down another street – the street of taking responsibility, being accountable, not being a victim any longer, and being the “actor” of my actions. It’s made a big difference in my life.

In another venue, that of teaching, I find myself getting frustrated with my learners not understanding the particular math lesson I’m trying to present. Rather than feeding the frustration for both my learner and myself, I’m learning to try different strategies, different examples, different approaches – I walk down another street.

And still in another scene – I like to do puzzles of different kinds.  I used to give up easily and walk away from and throw them away when I didn’t reach successful solutions.  So now I’ve learned to endure the productive struggle, while looking for other ways to solve the puzzles, putting them aside to work on at a different time, place, etc. I get better results.  I walk down a different street.

All of these experiences as varied as they are have taught me how to approach God in prayer.

My early formation in doing this even before I entered religious life was based on childish images of God – the old man with a beard, a judge, and so on. And that didn’t work for me!

As I became more experienced and dissatisfied with the status quo, God revealed God’s self in different ways, with different people, at different times.  I discovered other forms and possibilities for prayer, other suggestions from retreats, reading the “masters,” and listening to other pray-ers on the journey.” I have a new image and a new experience of God. Now I walk down another street.

I just try to be present to Presence.

It serves me well.  I have grown in my relationship with God and others.  I pray on different streets.

Posted in Just Reflecting, News

Weekly Word


Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas


How Can We Love Nature?

So, doomsday is upon us, right? I mean, raging wildfires that are destroying whole cities, torrential rains resulting in landslides that have destroyed major highways and the first tropical storm warnings for Southern California since 1939, lower water levels in major reservoirs that supply water to large cities, oppressive heat, and humidity ( I live in the South), and now——-the cousin of the Murder Hornet is invading our country, and let’s not overlook the “vibrio vulnificus” (google that one)!; what does this all bode for the fall and winter? I mean, how much, Oh Lord, how much?

Nature owns us, it cannot be denied. Over the years, we have seen nature changing so many aspects of human life. Who ever imagined COVID-19 and the changes it would wreak in our economy, our ways of life, our employment situations, and our church-going practices? You name it and that disease has changed all of us.

How can we love nature? How can we show nature how important she is to all of us no matter where we live? Several people think that “Laudato SI” was a nice document that exaggerated the conditions of our climate and all things natural. It was written long before nature’s destruction now occurred, so how prophetic! The changes in our climate may not have caused what we see happening, but it certainly has exacerbated things. Science keeps trying to tell us why the climate is changing but as soon as there is any indication that human errors are part of the cause……well, that just can’t be right!

I remember some hot summers when I studied at Notre Dame when we would try to bribe the library guards with brownies if they let us stay in the AC after closing time. I remember snow up to my waist back in the 70s and my hometown neighborhoods where floods were inevitable. All of this was documented, and shown to climate experts who wrote reports and sent to government agents for the environment, but who would have thought things could be worse?

The good news is that we have not given up. Yes, there are still the deniers, the doubters, those who continue to ignore the human actions that have contributed to what we see happening around us. Human nature is what it is, we must struggle with that. For most of us, it is hard to imagine being without anything that nature has always provided. Let your imaginations run wild and make sure that some things nature provides for us will continue to be there when we need them.

File drawers are full of them. Our country’s leaders seem to think America is stronger than nature and so consistently downplay the need for climate control in the face of its own EPA studies. So maybe when the end comes for real the last ones standing will be those same scientists who can say “Told ya’ so”!


Posted in News, Weekly Word

Finance Director Joe Scott takes a Summer Adventure

Finance Director Joe Scott



Finance Director Joe Scott recently completed a nine-day canoe trip with his nephew Ryan that began and ended at Sawbill Lake, Minnesota.

Click here to read more.
Tip: At the end of each day click the brown “Continue to Day 2”, (and so on) to go on to the next page.


Posted in News

Coming Down the Mountain – Moving from Prayer to Action

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

This week, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the Gospel, we heard, “Mary set out and traveled . . . to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:39)  Mary, as the first disciple of Jesus, is showing us how we are called to share the Good News of God’s presence and action in our lives.

Many pilgrims are returning from World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal with their hearts burning with the love of God, body tired from the travel and the activities, and yet are searching for the answer to “now what?”  What am I to do now as I return home from this life-changing experience of being with 1.5 billion other young people on fire with the love of God?  Others may have the same question, “now what?” as they return from a mission trip, or a summer retreat, or another experience of God’s presence and action in their lives. Perhaps Mary and Moses before her can give us an answer to this question.

Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments he received from God and shared these commandments with the people waiting for him to return.  Engraved on stone tablets, these commandments, offered our ancestors then and us now signposts for living our lives and for being a person of faith.  Moses did not simply take and put these tablets on a shelf with his other possessions. He knew what to do next with the commandments God gave him–to proclaim and to live out these commandments.  Mary, likewise, having received the call to become the mother of Jesus, responded by sharing her joy with Elizabeth, and in embracing this next step in her life, her joy resounded in the heart of Elizabeth and caused John to leap in Elizabeth’s womb.  Nothing was ever the same again for Moses and Mary after they accepted how they were being called to live a life of faith and trust in God.

We, too, are invited to take our experiences and allow God to transform our hearts and spirit so that God can direct our next steps.  Here are a few practical things you can do as you seek to answer the question, “Now what?”

  • Set aside some time to reflect on your experience, whether a pilgrimage, a retreat, a mission trip, or a prayer experience. Recall the details, the high points, the low points, who you were with, and any words from God or others that have stayed with you.  Take time to journal what you recall and what emerges for you as you reflect on your experience.
  • Take your reflections to prayer. Sit before God and ask God to help you see and hear what is next, or how you are called to share your experiences with others, or how you are to live out your life in service to others or to the world.
  • Speak to a trusted friend, spiritual guide, or wise person to get their perspective on your experience and your prayerful reflections.
  • Pray, pray, and pray some more.
  • Take the first step, even if it is a small step, a step of faith, a step of exploring possibilities, steps that bring you closer to the life God desires for you. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Perhaps you are feeling that God is inviting you to explore religious life.  If so, consider attending our Come & See Discernment Retreat – “Called by Name.”  September 8 – 10, 2023 in St. Catharine, Kentucky.  Gather with other discerning women and the Dominican Sisters of Peace for prayer, presentations, sharing with the sisters, and time for rest and recreation.  The retreat is free, and some travel assistance is available.  For more information, click the link above or contact Sr. Mai-dung Nguyen, OP at or call or text her at 405-248-7027.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog