Sr. Joye Gros is currently serving the refugees in El Paso through the direction of Annunciation House.
It’s not that I didn’t know to look for the face of God. It’s just that I was overcome by the blessings of so many, the gratitude of those unable to come, the promised prayers of support, and the mandate to notice the many faces of God.
And I saw them. It wasn’t hard really: the wide-eyed expectant children, the watchful eyes of attending parents, the bright-eyed pride of naming home country, the gratitude at my feeble attempts at Spanish (who knows what I REALLY said!), the joy and tears of hearing the voice of and talking to the sponsoring family, the delight in a warm shower, fresh towel and toiletries and clean clothes, the relief of hearing we are NOT the government. We are the Church – the people of God – here to feed you, provide safe shelter and connect you to your family.
Don’t you just love the list of all the things that happened during 2018? Here’s my list of all the things/people/events I am grateful for this year.
The members of the Justice Committees – Eco Justice, Immigration Reform, Human Trafficking and Peace and Nonviolence – who work to keep the congregation and associates informed and active. Thank you to the chairs who keep the committees running smoothly.
The many secular and religious groups that study issues of injustice and educate us on how to work for justice such as LCWR, Network and Ohio Nuns on the Bus, Dominican North American Justice Promoters, Farm Research and Action Center, Human Rights Watch, Interfaith Power and Light, USCCB Justice for Immigrants, Catholic Climate Covenant, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, BREAD, American Friends Service Committee, Win Without War, Death Penalty Action, Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking and many others.
Faith in Public Life, especially the Ohio Chapter where interfaith leaders in Columbus meet regularly to address issues around Columbus.
The DSP Communication Department – Alice, Dee, and Ashley – who have been essential in getting the word out about our justice actions.
That the midterms are over, voter turnout was one of the highest ever including 3.3 million voters aged 18-29, a 188% increase over 2014, that Farm Bill passed with provisions protecting SNAP, and that the incoming representatives are talking about finally passing some gun safety legislation, that despite the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, many cities, educational institutions, businesses, and religious organizations are still committed to the principals of this accord.
And finally, my gratitude to all the sisters and associates who have been active in writing, calling, and/or walking for justice. You make my job worthwhile. Let’s keep it up in 2019!
She is more than just the mother of Jesus – she is the mother of all Mexicans and part of our Mexican national identity.
I can recall my early childhood years: our family and church community praying the rosary for 12 days before her feast day, going on pilgrimages, dressing up in traditional Mexican indigenous attire, waking up in the early morning hours to visit her and serenade her with songs. All of these memories are near and dear to my heart. My entire family has a strong devotion to our Lady – both Catholic and non-Catholic believers.
Thanks to God and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I became a mother. Two doctors told me that chances of becoming pregnant were 10%. I prayed to our Lady for months and asked her if it was in God’s will to make me a mother, to allow for it to happen. If it were not God’s will, I would learn to live with His plan for me.
After only two months of prayer, I started to have odd symptoms and took a pregnancy test. Then I took another and another!
I called my doctor right away and again she said there was no way, the test must be wrong. She sent me to a lab where they ran a blood test. Sure enough, a day and a half later, she called and officially told me I was pregnant.
My son is truly our miracle child. As my husband and I considered names for our coming child, the name MATEO, which means Gift of God, was our first choice. Our Mateo was born on December 11th, just hours before the Feast of our Lady. I know this is no coincidence.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 (NMW Toolkit p.9)
Dear Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates
When I read this Hebrew verse, I smile and think about the image of angels that surround us during this Advent and Christmas season. It’s a tradition to decorate with lovely angels present at the crib. But this year in National Migration Week 2019 (January 6-12), our Christmas angels could represent other angels who are perhaps strangers to us. These new angels might be the immigrant strangers who are barefoot, hungry, and in danger, as they approach our or other international borders.
The DSOP Immigration Reform Committee has decided to describe these other ‘angels’, who are strangers, that DSOP Sisters and Associates meet each day in ministries, neighborhoods, parishes, on the streets, and at the wall by creating a representation of images and words for our “band of angels” who God has sent as strangers in our lives.
Please reflect on your encounters with ‘angel refugees/immigrants/migrants’ and send us a photo, personal art, or your own words. Use this season of Advent as the time to create and submit your “angel image” by December 20. Send it to Conni Dubick (email@example.com) or contact Conni with any questions.
The IR Committee will launch these “angel images” in time for the January 6-12 National Migration Week to illustrate our DSOP efforts ‘to show hospitality to strangers who are angels and we were unawares.’
The Immigration Reform Committee members are Sisters Alicia Alvarado, Esther Calderon, Gemma Doll, Barbara Kane, Regina McCarthy, Roberta Miller, Rachel Sena, Carol Ann Spencer, Thoma Swanson, Janice Thome, Roserita Weber, Rene Weeks, and Associates Conni Dubick, Judi Engel, Dora Harper, Martha Maloney, Jim Tinnin and Tom Winters.
(Title adapted from Rainer Marie Rilke)
Not long ago in human memory, Aldo Leopold was in the adrenalin rush of his career. Tasked with getting a mountain in tip-top shape for deer hunting, he wondered if killing off the wolf would make for a hunters’ paradise. One afternoon, watching a young pack welcome an old wolf “with a melee of wagging tails and playful maulings,” he saw the mother wolf die. “We never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack….When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down. We reached her in time to watch a fierce green fire die in her eyes….I realized then that there was something new in those eyes, known only to her and to the mountain….seeing her and the green fire die I sensed that neither she nor the mountain would agree with [my] view.”
Beholding the cascading destruction of his “over the top” zeal, Aldo Leopold came into communion with the mountain. Embedded in deep time, mountain intelligence reverberated freshly within Leopold’s awakening. Over population of one species becomes a defoliated mountain, “the starved bones of the hoped-for herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of dead sage….”
This is more than a cautionary tale. Don’t you see the possibility of new love stories? Where previously, killing off the enemy seemed good enough for the “happily ever after” effect, Leopold developed the land ethic by “thinking like a mountain”. The climate crisis now urges the unfolding of a planetary ethic.
Adaptive measures to climate disruption are the talk of the moment. Widely touted plans preserving comforts for the humanly privileged, but not by any count creating the greatest good for the greatest number may be akin to “We never knew heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf.” The ethical challenge now upon us is to bring to light that which is hidden: to think like a planet.
Reimagining how we are to live as Earthlings is undoubtedly a stretch. But it is also raw necessity: noticing the sparrow who falls; the civilizations crumbing; the mother hen, with tenderness gathering blind destructive powers under her wing. Thinking like our planet infuses gospel stories with new vigor.
The prairie, the plains, forests, deserts, the waters, estuaries, the night sky, emerging cultures of food and place are no longer used as backdrops to buttress communion with the Divine; they become what we are to contemplate. Absorbing their revelatory pulse widens our stunted identities. These are Earth communities -some severe, some sweet, all verbs, voices, summoning us, stirring faith, spawning a felt possibility of humans re-inhabiting Earth. Streaming through the pores of our skin are ecotones of new psalms; praises we never knew that we knew reweave our ruptured selves with the land, our holy mother. Humility rouses us to participate actively, reverently as sacramental beings. There is nothing not kin in this sacramental revelation. An inner climate change indeed.
The eye of fierce green fire welcomes the vista of moral virtues developing in response to climate chaos: gratitude to those who photosynthesize; reciprocity, choosing to invest our love in healing relationships with each other and with the land; self-restraint through ecological practices building communities of peace and economies protecting the abundance and variety of other lives; intergenerational justice transforming our “too-much” fear into legacies of reverence; moral courage creating a world beyond war. (KDMoore and RKimmerer)
In the vast immediacies of our moment leaps a new ethic of planetary affection. Midwife like a planet, no matter the cost, no matter the outcome.