Pause to reflect on what experiences have shaped your spiritual life?
What practices do you follow to nurture your spirituality?
Recently, I was reading one of my favorite books: Traits of a Healthy Spirituality by Melanie Svoboda, SND. The book describes several attributes that can help us reflect on and deepen our spirituality. In the first chapter, two quotes caught my eyes: “Spirituality is how I cope with life” (Gerard Broccolo), and my personal favorite: “Spirituality is meeting God in all that life is.” (Patricia Livingston)
Broccolo views spirituality from the aspect of the way we cope with life. In what area of your life do you long for clarity? Where is God leading you?
Livingston views spirituality as meeting God in all that life is. We can meet God in the Scriptures through Lectio Divina, through quiet places, in music, in our quest for Truth, in times of need, in our joys, in our struggles, and in our everyday adventures and daily life. There is intention in encountering God and in allowing God to work in us and through us in everyday circumstances. Prayerful discernment also includes meeting God in the everyday moments of our lives. What helps you meet God in all that life is?
Let this be our prayer: “God, when you ask, ‘where are you?’ May my answer always be: ‘with you, my God. With you.” (Melanie Svoboda SND, Traits of a Healthy Spirituality, p8)
If you are a single, Catholic woman, age 18-45, and would like to pray together with religious Sisters and other women who are discerning God’s call to religious life, we invite you to our upcoming “Come and See Retreat.” The theme is: “Show me the way.” For more information and to register, click here.
“May the God of Transition be with you, inviting you to the new and the unknown where God waits to spring to life in you.” Maxine Shonk, OP
Before entering religious life, I rarely thought about the word “transition” or the action of “being in transition.” Yet, I certainly was aware of going through and adjusting to different changes in my life. I was also aware that these times of change were times of great personal growth. We have all heard the famous quote by the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, “The only thing constant in life is change.” Religious life is such a wonderful example and teacher of that principle. Our Loving “God of Transition” is always inviting us to the “new and the unknown.”
Indeed, God goes before us on our paths of change. The gift of approaching our transitions with open hearts and minds, is the blessing of allowing God to transform us into our best selves. I am grateful for the openness of several of the women in formation with our congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Peace, who are transitioning to the next stage of their initial formation journey. I am inspired by their openness to continue the new and changing path of their journey, opening themselves up to new experiences, such as new locations, new local communities, and new ministries. Each of the women in formation, who are anticipating a transition in the next few weeks and months, have allowed themselves to be open to God and the unknown path of their future.
Candidates Cathy Buchanan and Tram Bui will become Canonical Novices in July and will begin the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) in Chicago, on August 14, 2021. They are looking forward to deepening their knowledge and experience of Dominican life. Sr. Ann Killian has recently returned from the CDN and did a short preaching for her Welcome Back ceremony at Evening Vespers, which I invite you to read. Sr. Annie will be part of a new local community that is forming in South Bend, Indiana on July 1, 2021. She will begin her Apostolic novitiate year in ministry doing a Fellowship at Notre Dame University. Sr. Margaret Uche will renew her vows of Temporary Profession and recently began a summer unit of CPE. Sr. Ellen Coates will make her First Profession of Vows in the congregation on August 1, 2021. Additionally, Sr. Ana Gonzalez will make her Perpetual Profession of Vows on August 8, 2021. These women in formation, along with Sr. Phuong Vu, who made First Profession of Vows on December 8, 2020, have whole heartily embraced the transition and unknown elements of their future as they continue the path of their journey into religious life.
Transition is a part of all our lives. Even religious life, itself, is in transition, but moving toward a hopeful future. The good news about transition is that if we allow our hearts and minds to be open, God will enable us to grow through the transformative process of change. I want to invite you to please keep all our women in formation in your prayers as they continue the many transitions in their journey. And may “The God of Transition” be with all of us!
Call us if you feel that God may be inviting you to become a Sister!
Have you ever heard that the way you start the day effects how your day will go? What gets you up in the morning? Do you have any morning routines you follow?
Do you start your day with…
… a smile?
… a prayer?
… a run or yoga?
… a cup of coffee?
… a grateful heart?
… a glass of water?
… a cup of “positivitea?”
… a fresh start and energy?
… thinking: “it’s my favorite day of the week?”
Pedro Arrupe, SJ writes about how love affects many aspects of our lives in his poem, Falling in Love:
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, we commemorate God’s love for humanity, Truly finding love, falling in love, and staying in love is a daily adventure that affects how we live and move through our days.
One meaningful way to start your day is to pray in the morning by using the practice of Lectio Divina with the daily Mass readings to set the tone for the day.
When Tram, our Candidate, moved in to our House of Welcome, I found her “writing” on her blanket in Vietnamese. I asked her what it meant. She translated it and explained that each morning when she makes her bed, she sends off a prayer to God by writing on her blanket (see photos below), and every time she enters her room, she sees the note to God, and it helps her think of God throughout the day. I thought this practice was a really neat idea.
Whether you are reading this blog to help you find your vocation, or you are reading this blog to deepen your relationship with God through daily discernment to discover where God wants you, I invite you to pray with these two questions:
What gets you up in the morning? What helps you keep your heart tuned to God?
After all, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner)
If you would like to talk to a Sister about your vocation, contact us to begin a conversation.
On Saturday, as I packed my daypack and ran down the list of essentials for my hike, I realized the last two items on my list were not merely items . . .
Trail Map √
Hiking boots √
Hiking pole √
Yes, Sisters and Discerners!
One of our favorite things to do is to go for hikes. Sometimes they are leisurely strolls and other times they are moderate to strenuous hikes. Whatever the level of intensity, they always include bringing along one or two of our Sisters in community and often include friends, family, and discerning women. It is the perfect way to spend time outdoors, enjoying nature, getting to know people, and sharing more of our life as Dominican Sisters. Some of our favorite places to hike are Blendon Woods Park (OH), Lilinonah Trail (CT), Sleeping Giant State Park (CT), Cuyahoga Falls State Park (OH), Mohican State Park (OH), among others.
Discerning women often accompany us on our hikes and during of our journey, we talk about what is going on in life, prayer, discernment, or just share the experience of the hike. Very often, we spend time just walking, reveling in the beauty of nature, and watching for glimpses of God on the way. As I reflected on these hikes with our discerners and in planning my upcoming trip to walk part of the Camino de Santiago, I realized that I see all of these hikes and walks as pilgrimages. A pilgrimage is different from a walk or a hike in the woods; it is a journey that involves not only an external trip from one place to another, but more importantly, it is an interior spiritual journey. Ancient pilgrims walked to the Holy Land, along the Camino Way to Compostela in Spain or to other holy sites for many reasons, but most especially, because of their quest to grow spiritually.
In discernment, one is seeking to grow spiritually and to gain clarity as to God’s call for one’s life. Just as with a pilgrimage, one must pack a sack with supplies, get a map, plan your route, and begin and end in prayer. Similarly, women who are discerning a call to religious life need to have on hand such supplies as a Bible, rosary, and journal. The map or plan for your route may come from meeting with a spiritual director or a vocation minister, who can help you learn more about religious life and accompany you on retreats and or visits to our convents and ministries. Prayer always anchors discernment and pilgrimages. As we begin our hikes with prayer, we are reminded of the traditional pilgrim prayer of the Camino de Santiago –
“O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldean’s, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name to Santiago de Compostela.
Be for us our companion on the walk,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our albergue on the Camino,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.
So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and sound at the end of the Road and enriched with grace and virtue we return safely to our homes filled with joy.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Apostle Santiago, pray for us.
Santa Maria, pray for us.
So, as you set out on your journey today, what are you taking in your pack? What is your map or plan? What is your prayer?
If you are discerning your vocation, give us a call, attend one of our upcoming programs such as our Mission for Peace beginning on June 13 or let us know when you would like to lace up the hiking boots or trail sneakers and hit the trail.
In the meantime, here are some pictures from some recent hikes.
Peace is more than an idea … it’s a way of life. If you want to be part of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and be part of our work to build peace, here is your opportunity.
If you believe that you are being called by God to serve and to build peace, please join us for a three-part, summer-long virtual retreat that will include real-life peacebuilding in your own community.
Do you Imagine Peace?
Sunday, June 13, 2021, 2 PM EDT – 5 PM EDT
How do you imagine peace? How does it feel? What does it look like? And what is your part in making peace a reality?
Explore these and other questions in our June session. During this event, you will be invited to find opportunities in your own community to build peach by preaching the love of Christ through your works… an important part of consecrated life as a Dominican Sister of Peace.
Do you want to Be the Change?
Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 2 PM EDT – 5 PM EDT
You are blessed to hear the call of God … but what’s next?
How do you walk more closely within your own life, and are you called to live a life of community, service, prayer, and study with the Dominican Sisters of Peace? Share your own thoughts with other women like you, and take time to serve those around you.
Do you want to Walk in Peace?
Sunday, August 15, 2021, at 2 PM EDT – 5 PM EDT
Your walk with God is a walk of peace. Join us as we share what we have learned about our faith and ourselves, and how we can continue to serve God in our communities.
This free, virtual program is open to women 18 – 45 years old. To learn more or to register, click here.