Golden Jubilarian Sr. Judy Morris

Sr. Judy Morris, OP, celebrates her 50th year of religious life in 2019.

“My hope for the future of my congregation and religious life, in general, is that the focus of “meeting the needs of the time” remains.” It’s an appropriate goal for Sr. Judy Morris, who, in true Dominican fashion, has traveled to where she is needed to serve the people of the Church, most especially the marginalized.  Sr.  Judy, a Dominican Sister of Peace, is celebrating 50 years of religious life in 2019.

Sr. Judy earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology from Siena College in Memphis and entered her Congregation in Kentucky in 1969. She served as a teacher and a tutor at St. Catherine Academy during her postulancy and novitiate and ended her teaching ministry teaching high school English at the Congregation’s founded school in Memphis, TN, St. Agnes Academy.

Sr. Judy developed an interest in social service work while serving as Parish Social Service Coordinator at Catholic Charities in Chicago, and earned her Master’s in Social Work from Barry College in Miami, FL, in 1976. She went on to serve as a case manager in Louisville, and then as Director of Development for the Development Fund Office, also in Louisville.

She continued her work in social service in 1983, ministering at Catholic Charities and the Home of the Innocents. Sr. Judy returned to St. Catharine, KY, to serve her Congregation as Assistant to the President, during which time she also earned her Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Spaulding University in Louisville.

A move to Owensboro, KY, fond Sr. Judy serving as Director of Social Concerns for that diocese. She also ministered as Director of Social Services for the Sacred Heart Southern Mission in Walls, MS, before returning again to St. Catharine to as Coordinator of Community Relations. She served as a Case Worker for Sister Visitor, an emergency assistance program in Louisville, KY, for about a year before helping to build churches and Church communities as a Field Representative for Catholic Extension.

Sr. Judy served as her Congregation’s Justice Promoter for more than 6 years before moving to Louisville to help raise funds for St. Mary’s Center, a training center for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities.

Sr. Judy remains active in matters of social justice and non-violence from her home at the Akron, OH, Motherhouse. She currently serves as Community Liaison for Mobile Meals in Akron, an affiliate of Meals on Wheels.

Like most Dominican Sisters of Peace. Sr. Judy is saddened by the current state of unrest on our nation, but she also feels that there are ways to work for peace.

“Listening is an important act of nonviolence.  No one possesses all truth, and much can be learned by hearing differing opinions, rationales, or experiences,” she says. “By listening we are saying ‘I respect you, even if I disagree with your political opinion’ – and we may find that we have more in common than we think.”

Sr. Judy at the March for our Lives.
Sr. Judy at the March for Science.
Posted in Jubilees

Golden Jubilarian Christine Connolly

Sr. Christine Connolly celebrates her Golden Jubilee this year.

Vatican II changed the face of Cathodic for everyone – lay people and consecrated religious.  What was it like to enter religious life on the heels of such a sea change?

Sr. Christine Connolly, a Dominican Sister of Peace in Niskayuna, NY, is celebrating her 50th year of religious life in 2019, and says that the changes brought about by the Council brought her both excitement and sadness.

“A new paradigm of religious life was beginning to take place, which required us to live with a sense of flexibility and a willingness to be open,” she says. “One surprise has been the blessing of helping to lay the foundation for something new and vibrant to be birthed.”

Sr. Christine began her religious life in both religious formation and formal study. She studied in the Novitiate in Kentucky for two years, then attended Cardinal Cushing College in Brookline, MA. She earned her Bachelor of Science in History and Elementary Education in 1972.

Her first ministry was in education, teaching at St. Francis DeSales and East Boston Central Catholic in Boston, MA.

In 1980 she moved to St. Catharine, KY, to serve her congregation as the Administrative Assistant to the President of the Dominican Sisters in St. Catharine, KY.

True to the Dominican charism of study, Sr. Christine earned her Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College in 1989. She took her skills in administration and organization to the service of God’s people in Louisville, working with the Hospice of Louisville and Catholic Charities,

A move to Chicago to study at the Catholic Theological Center led to Sr. Christine’s next ministry. She served as Co-Promoter of Vocations and Spiritual Director at the Claret Center in Chicago for 6 years before beginning a ministry as Residence Hall rector at the University of Notre Dame.

After a brief Sabbatical, Sr.Christine moved to her present ministry, serving those seeking spiritual direction and a place of peace at the Congregation’s Retreat Center in Niskayuna, NY.

Of her 50 years of service to God’s people, Sr.Christine says, “I have learned that the Mission is God’s work, and my responsibility is listening to and working with God’s movement in ministry. God has blessed me with the opportunity to offer hope and peace in our world today.”

Posted in Jubilees

The Revolution of No Shame

Blog by Associate Joachim Seelos, OPA

What an amazing time to be alive! — to witness the activism of no shame, to know nothing compares to love.

It has been 50 years since Stonewall, when the LGBTQ Community (including persons of color, transgenders and drag queens) stood up against the brutality of the police and the silence of society. It was a revolution; the beatings and arrests (now part of our history) gave way to the first Gay Pride march one year later in New York City – evidence that love will conquer all.

Many things have happened since then — the crisis of HIV/AIDS hit the LGBTQ Community and our nation was falling into graves; 111 people protested against Cardinal O’ Connor, laying on the floor of the Cathedral of St. Patrick. The Cardinal during that time refused to allow instruction about condoms in AIDS education programs in the schools, hospitals and youth programs of the Archdiocese of New York (despite the approval of such an approach by his fellow bishops). The beauty of resilience stands ever strong in our history of the LGBTQ movement.

We have come a long way. But let us never forget those who fought for us, like Harvey Milk; and the many who lost their lives to violence, like Matthew Shepard; and those who committed suicide because of bullying or abandonment. I am proud to be a part of history and to see gay marriage become legal and the beauty of our Transgendered Brothers and Sisters coming to their true selves.

Being a Dominican Associate has given me the opportunity to see myself as loved for who I am; and has challenged me to preach peace and truth to those who are struggling to understand my LGBTQIA+ community.

Volunteering at the Kansas City Center for Inclusion in Missouri has become my personal ministry. To be present in hospitality and to carry out the center’s mission of being there for the LGBTQIA+ community via education, resources, offering a safe space for members of the community and friends to gather for support groups and activities. Our organization is one of charity and we are called, most of all, to save lives in our community and society. I continue to echo the words of St. Catherine of Siena to “be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

The Revolution of No Shame allows me to sit at the table with Jesus because the truth is: we all belong, and peace belongs to us all.

Now, I ask you to take my hand and pass on the olive branch, while we continue to bring change and become activists of peace for all people, including the LGBTQIA+ community, People of Color, Immigrants, Sexual Assault Survivors, the Incarcerated, the Disabled, etc. Stand with me against the injustices of all the isms — Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism, Classism, Ageism, Ableism, etc.

St. Catherine proclaimed the truth and did not let fear silence her. We must always do the same. Let us not live by ignorance and in fear. Instead, let us be dedicated to the passing of the olive branch, from hand to hand.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Golden Jubilarian Sr. Harriet Agnew

Sr. Harriet Agnew is celebrating 50 years as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

A number of years ago, the members of Sr. Harriet Agnew’s Congregation took a personality test. Sr. Harriet’s results were no surprise to her sisters and friends; she was described as a helper — caring, demonstrative, and generous. These attributes are the core values of her 50 years as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

Sr. Harriet began religious life in a most Dominican fashion – studying for her Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies and Elementary Education at Siena College in Memphis, TM. Her early ministry was teaching at schools in Kentucky and Tennessee, and during that time, she found that her own love of religious life increasing. “I found joy in community life, in the relationships that I built, and in my ministry – and religious life just grew on me,” she says.

In the 1980’s Sr. Harriet’s ministry took a different turn as she began teaching religion and formation in Kentucky while studying for her Masters in Religious Education at Seattle University in Washington. She earned her MRE in 1981, and put it to good use as a Religious Coordinator at St. Augustine Paris in Kentucky, then as Formation Coordinator and Associate Pastor in Chicago.

In 1990, she was called home to Kentucky to serve the congregation as a Coordinator at Sansbury Care Center, then began a ministry as a nursing assistant in St. Louis, MO – which may have been what led her to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Maryville, University in St. Louis.

Sr. Harriet’s skills as a nurse and her generous, giving spirit led her to serve patients of all ages -as a nurse at Shurer Long Term Care in Michigan, the Home for the Innocents in Kentucky, at a mission in Zambia, at the Marian Home in Kentucky, at the Congregation’s Sansbury Care Center and bow, at the Motherhouse in Akron, OH.

This quote from the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, is the advice that Sr. Harriet gives to women considering religious life. “Fall in love with Christ, and with our Dominican way of life, and you will find joy in your calling,” Sr. Harriet says. Her hope is that the Dominican Sisters of Peace will continue to respond to the needs of the times – an appropriate sentiment from a woman who has responded to the needs of God’s people and her Congregation with love and care for 50 years.


Posted in Jubilees

Golden Jubilarian Sr. Arleen Kisiel

Sr. Arleen Kisiel is celebrating 50 years as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

It only seems appropriate that Sr. Arleen Kisiel, currently of Columbus, OH, would celebrate her Golden Jubilee in the same year that the Dominican Sisters of Peace celebrate their Tenth Anniversary.  In her Jubilee reflection, Sr. Arleen says that the results of this union of eight congregations of Dominican women have been among the greatest blessings of her life.

Sister Arleen was a student at Ohio Dominican College when she entered the Dominican Sisters of Peace in 1969.  After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Education, Sr. Arleen went on to teach middle school and serve as a guidance counselor in Ohio, Chicago, and Michigan, and as a religion teacher in Pennsylvania and Ohio. She earned her Master of Science in Counseling from the University of Dayton in 1982.

In 1986 she answered God’s call to enter a new ministry of care and concern. She served as an administrator and counselor at Hope House Ministries, a ministry to the poor in Port Jefferson, NY. Sr. Arleen moved to Ontario, CA, for her next ministry, where she served the Church and other religious serving at Southdown, a mental health center for vowed religious where she served for three years before returning to the US to work in family ministry at St. Charles Center, then as a case Supervisor at the Agency on Aging in New Castle, PA.

Sr. Arleen returned to Columbus in 1996 to serve her Congregation, first as a member of Leadership and later is the Director of the Martin de Porres Center, an outreach ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. She later served as a Mission Group Coordinator in Akron, and as the Mission Group Coordinator of the Free-Formed group, based in Columbus. Today Sr. Arleen serves God and her Sisters as the Pastoral Care Director at Mohun Health Care Center, the Congregation’s home for retired and elderly religious.

“One of my greatest joys is being a part of a cause greater than myself,” Sister Arleen says. “I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish by working with others beyond ourselves … where ever there is one Dominican Sister of Peace, I am there too.”

Sr. Arleen Kiesel serving at Mass in Columbus.
Sr. Arleen as Director of the Martin de Porres Center.
Posted in Jubilees