Vocations Blog

Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen, OP

Creating Opportunities

What image, picture, or voice showed up in you when reading the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Mt 18:21-35)? In this message, Jesus gave a parable to respond to Peter’s question; “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?” The parable is about the loan forgiveness between the king and his servant and between the servant and his fellow servant. Yet, besides this forgiveness topic, there must be something more.

In the parable, the servant did what the law allowed him to do toward his fellow servant: “If someone owes you something and does not pay, then you can sue that person and put that person in jail.” Under human law, I don’t find any wrong from this servant, who did not commit any sin. However, under the compassionate aspect, I asked, “How could this fellow servant pay off his debt if he was in jail? His family might have to borrow money from another place with a higher interest to bail him out or sell his family members, which would cause more poverty and division.” How can this person and his family have an opportunity to live better if these things happened? I felt heartbroken for this servant.

God has created many opportunities for us to live better lives, like the king forgave the debt to his servant and freed this family for a better life. In return, we are obligated to help others have such opportunities. Look around to see the needs: the cry of the earth, the pollution, the immigrant’s flux, the gun violence, the pro-life issues, human trafficking, the freedom to pursue dreams and visions, the depression along with suicide, death penalty, the water and food qualities, and more. Who will put hands together to create opportunities for a better life on this earth? Is that “they” only, or is that “they, you, and me?”

Being a Christian is not only following the church’s rule, attending Mass and praying. Our living faith requires actions. We need to listen to the world’s needs and God’s voice and, at the same time, work for peace and justice in the world. “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” (James 1:22). In the parable, the king was angry at the servant because this servant could not show compassion. I questioned myself: who am I in this situation, and who am I in the role of a Christian living my faith daily? The song: “Here I Am came to me, and I was touched when listening to this song.

There are needs in the world and right where we live. Crying voices are everywhere. And God is calling each of us to respond to this mission. How can we equip ourselves with the ability to hear and act in love and compassion so we can come together, creating opportunities for all to live a better life?

Yes, the goal of a religious vocation is to build relationships with God and through God, to learn and act in love as God loves, and to become compassionate as God is. Yes, love with compassion urges us to make commitments to go beyond ourselves for others. Are you willing to allow this call to grow and develop in you so you can be God’s ears, eyes, hands, mouth, and feet for others? Are you willing to say to God, “Here I am,” to enter a discernment process, even though you are unsure which path God is leading you? Contact us, and we will journey with you in this discernment process.

Posted in News, Vocations Blog

Eco-justice Blog – A New Work of Mercy: Care For Our Common Home

                                                

Julie and John of Oxbow Farm

September marked the beginning of the season of Creation! On September 1, 2016, Pope Francis introduced a new work of mercy: care for our common home. Why does this generation require a new work of mercy? The reason is the ecological crisis: “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years” (LS 53).

Thomas Aquinas enumerated the traditional sets of seven spiritual and seven corporal works of mercy in the thirteenth century. The corporal works include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, harboring the homeless, visiting the sick, ransoming the captives, and burying the dead. The spiritual works include instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, reproving the sinner, forgiving injuries, bearing with those who trouble and annoy us, and praying for all (ST II-II, Q 32, A 2).

What is merciful about caring for our common home? Shouldn’t our neighbors, and not the earth, be the objects of our mercy? In the Gospel of Luke, a lawyer asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” When Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan, he expanded the concept of neighbor to include anyone we might encounter, even those considered enemies.

Until the last few hundred years, most people had a local sphere of influence. It was sufficient to love your immediate neighbor as yourself. But in our globalized economy, we participate in systems that affect our brothers and sisters in the farthest reaches of the planet, most of whom we will never meet. In proposing care for our common home as a work of mercy, he is inviting us to expand our concept of neighbor yet again.

Furthermore, Pope Francis introduced this new work of mercy as a ‘complement’ to the traditional sets. This word comes from the Latin complere, which means to fill up or to complete. In a sense, care for our common home is the seed-bearing fruit of the other works of mercy. The rest are incomplete without it. We cannot give drink to the thirsty if we pollute our water. We cannot welcome strangers if our house is in disarray. We cannot counsel the doubtful among the next generation if, by our wasteful lifestyles, we leave them damaged earth less able to reflect the glory of the Creator (Romans 1:20).

Finally, Pope Francis explained that care for our common home is both corporal and spiritual in nature. Given that we started with fourteen, does this mean that we now have a total of fifteen, sixteen, or somehow still fourteen works of mercy? Regardless of how you choose to enumerate them, there are many ways to practice this new work of mercy in daily life. By transforming our homes, parishes, and cities into places of peace, we lay the groundwork for the other works of mercy to grow in the hearts of those who dwell there.

Posted in News

Dominican Sister of Peace Blaise Flynn, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Blaise (Kathleen) Flynn, OP (78), a native of Rochester, New York, died on September 14, 2023, at Sansbury Care Center, St. Catharine, Kentucky.

Blaise was born to Margaret McCullough and William J. Flynn on May 12, 1945. A Dominican for 57 years, she entered the congregation in 1964 and made Profession in 1966.

Sr. Blaise earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art/Theology from Siena College (Memphis, TN) and a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Fordham University (Bronx, NY).

She ministered as a teacher, Head of the Religion Department, and Regional Coordinator of the Western Region for three years for the former Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, St. Catharine, KY. Sister devoted many years to the cause dearest to her heart – ending homelessness.

For more than 20 years, she served as Administrator of Programs for Women and Children, and then as Case Manager at Pine Street Inn in Boston, MA. Pine Street Inn is the largest resource for homeless men and women in the New England area.

In her ministries and personal life, she was a gatherer of people.

In her preaching at the funeral, Sr. Joye Gros, OP, said: “Blaise was a master of the art of Visitation. In her many ministries, her desire was to call forth the best in people and help others see the life that was within them.”

Sr. Blaise is survived by three sisters: Jean Flynn (Illinois), Margaret Flynn Myers (New York), Carole Korupp (North Carolina) and three brothers: Richard Flynn (New York), James Flynn (New York), and Thomas Flynn (Pennsylvania) and several nieces and nephews.

A cremains visitation took place on Wednesday, September 20, at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. The funeral followed on Thursday, September 21, at Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Burial is in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Blaise’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 print this obituary, click here.

Posted in News, Obituaries

Dominican Sister of Peace Mauryeen O’Brien, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Mauryeen O’Brien, OP, (92), of Flushing, NY, died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH, on August 22, 2023.

Sr. Mauryeen was born to Aline Kehoe and Leo O’Brien in 1930. In 1949, she made her Profession as a Dominican Sister and has spent the last 74 years serving God’s people.

Sr. Mauryeen earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio Dominican University and a Master of Arts in English from Notre Dame University. 

She served in Divorce and Bereavement Ministries for over 30 years, was a retreat director, teacher, and administrator in schools in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, and was a published author. She also journeyed as a companion with Sisters entering the Congregation.

Her work with the bereaved will live on through the five books she wrote on dealing with grief and loss and through the “New Day Program,” which is used nationally.

Sr. Mauryreen was beloved at Albertus Magnus College where she served on the Board of Trustees for many years. In 2015, she was awarded an honorary doctorate. 

In her preaching at the funeral Sr. Anne Kilbride, said,In all her ministries, she relied on God’s grace as she helped others find their peace. She did this with a listening ear, speaking with kindness and gentleness even when it was difficult, recognizing these gifts were from her loving God.” 

She was preceded in death by her parents Leo O’Brien and Aline Kehoe O’Brien, and her brothers Brian O’Brien and Eugene O’Brien, S.J.

A vigil of remembrance was held on September 5, 2023, at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel, Columbus, OH. 

The funeral liturgy was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel on September 6, 2023, followed by burial at St. Joseph Cemetery by Egan-Ryan Funeral Home.  

Memorial gifts in Sr. Mauryeen’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 print this obituary, click here.

Posted in Obituaries

Vocations Blog

Blog by Sr. Bea Tiboldi
Connecting with What’s on Our Heart

If you were to write a journal entry, a letter to someone, or record something in your diary about an experience that happened to you today or recently, what would you write about?

The question above surfaced recently when I saw a journaling idea that piqued my interest: “Attach an envelope to your journal or your Bible and insert a letter to God.” “That sounds like a good idea,” I thought, as it could be not only a reflective and meaningful experience but also a way to nurture and reflect on our relationship with God, on our thoughts, feelings, concerns, and observations and to reflect on what’s important and to know ourselves better.

“A handwritten letter to God…” I thought. Handwritten letters are so rare nowadays. They are not as fast as text messages or emails, yet, I believe, most of us cheer up when we find a handwritten letter from someone we know. Why? Most likely because letters connote an endearing and enduring relationship.

As I kept playing with the thought about writing a letter to God, I was pondering: “I’m quick to offer a prayer to God, but if I were to write a letter to God, what would I write about?” What would you write to God in a letter?

Reflecting on this question, my mind wandered to a recent experience of reading little notes of wishes on a Wishing Tree: at the Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio.  Dangling from this tree were colorful slips of paper tied to a branch with a string, which looked similar to the peace flags on the meditation trail at our Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center in Blacklick, Ohio. At this Wishing Tree, people wrote down their wishes on a small piece of paper and then hung the wish on the tree. There were wishes for a trip to Ireland, for a more peaceful world, for overcoming physical or mental illnesses, for a happy marriage, for a pet, etc. Some of these wishes made me smile and feel content, some made me think, and some filled me with sadness, especially when I read the one that was most likely written by a child: “I wish me and my mom find a house for ourselves soon.” As I read these wishes, I found myself wanting to offer a prayer for each wish, and so I continued reading these wishes – praying to God for each intent.

Both writing a letter to God and offering a prayer are just two simple ways to reflect on what’s on our heart or mind, what’s important to us, what we value, and ultimately, to reflect on our relationship with God.  So, as you read this blog, what’s on your heart and mind? What would you write to God in a letter?

If you would like to spend a few days reflecting on your relationship with God and contemplating what it might be like to live a life of prayer that’s lived out in ministry and community, we are offering an upcoming discernment retreat, September 8-10, 2023, for single, Catholic women ages 18-45, either virtually or in person, at our Motherhouse in St. Catharine, Kentucky. Click here for more information or to register.

Click here for photos. Wishing Tree

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog