When the Well Runs Dry

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

Ever feel like your well has run dry?  Sometimes when it’s my turn to write this week’s blog, I struggle with coming up with meaningful topics to write or share about. This phrase, when the well runs dry, keeps popping up in my mind as a metaphorical awareness of where my life is at the moment and so it deserves some reflection.

I like to do Google searches on phrases to get ideas beyond my own to see what emerges. Quotes, a book, and two films are attributed to this phrase.  Let’s look at each of these findings to see what bubbles up.

Perhaps some of you are aware that Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying “When the well is dry, we know the value of water.”  Another way of interpreting this saying is that you never know what you have until it is gone.  A twist on this phrase is the expression, “You’ll never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry” by W.C. Handy.  Both expressions are a wake-up call to take time to cherish the people in our lives who mean so much to us and to be mindful of what we do have because it could be gone tomorrow.

When we dig deep into the well of our being, we can see also whether we are a glass-half-empty person or half-full person.  We can ask ourselves whether we hold onto a pessimistic or optimistic worldview and we can try to shift our perspective if we find ourselves needing to move from the negative to the positive.

The Jesuit priest, Thomas H. Green, wrote a book on prayer that holds this phrase and is entitled When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings. It’s sitting on my bookshelf at home and this may be a good time for me to reflect on his words and to quench my thirst on the wellspring of prayer.

A movie and a documentary film also hold this phrase as its title. One is a 2018 movie about two brothers who struggle with their relationship after the loss of their mother. I suspect that one takeaway from the movie is an understanding of the difficulty we all have to appreciate what we have while we still have it. Turning to a pragmatic understanding of what happens when a well runs dry, is a half-hour documentary film, produced in 2015, that portrays “the vital connection that rural Kansans have with water” and “the ongoing threats [ranchers, farmers, and residents] face to the availability of the water they depend on.”  This environmental threat to our water resources adds another layer of meaning not to be forgotten when pondering the literal impact of a well running dry.

In Scripture, there are many references to callings, conversions, and healings that take place at a well or some reservoir of water. The story of the woman at the well illustrates not only her conversion but also the unconditional love Jesus extends to her. On the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calls Peter and other fishermen to follow him.  Both of these scriptural examples highlight the transformative power and healing nature of water and that when our well runs dry, God is there with us.

When discerning what to do in a particular situation or what life choice to make, we may find the well runs dry.  But, I think when we examine what is happening inside ourselves and listen to what thoughts and feelings are surfacing, we are being called to a deeper awareness of God’s workings in our lives and a deeper relationship with God.

Do you hear or feel God’s presence nudging you to dig deeper and to respond to a call to explore life as a religious sister?  If so, contact us and begin the journey to discovering a wellspring of possibilities.

Posted in God Calling??

Formation Update

Congratulations to our Sisters in Formation

for taking the next step towards religious life!

 

Sr. Phuong Vu, bottom left, has completed the Canonical Year of her Novitiate at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, and will move to New Orleans to serve her Apostolic year at St. Mary Dominican High School.
Candidate Ellen Coates, center, was welcomed to the Novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace by Formation Minister Pat Dual, left, and Prioress Pat Twohill, right, on July 27, 2019.
Annie Killian, left, of Nashville, TN, and Vocations Minister Sr. June Fitzgerald wait outside of the Columbus Motherhouse Chapel before the ceremony welcoming Anne as a Candidate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace on July 6, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please pray for all of our Sisters in Formation: Sr. Margaret Uche, Temporary Professed; Sr. Ana Gonzalez, Temporary Professed; Sr. Phuong Vu, Apostolic Novice; Sr. Ellen Coates, Canonical Novice and Candidate Annie Killian. Please also offer your prayers for our Formation Minister, Sr. Pat Dual and Vocations Minister Sr. June Fitzgerald.
Posted in God Calling??, News

Moving Forward into Mystery

 

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, we celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of the birth of Dominican Sisters of Peace!  Seven Dominican congregations with long and rich histories, dating as far back as 1822, united in 2009 for the sake of continuing the mission with the eighth congregation merging two years later.  Our Tenth Anniversary gathering was not only a time to rejoice with each other, we also reflected on the signs of the times and how we are called to preach the Gospel in the 21st century.   Religious life will not look as it did in the past in terms of the number of women who will enter. However, I believe the women who are in religious life, the women who are choosing to enter now and the women who will enter in the future will be enough for God’s vision.  We are all on the path of walking into that new vision, especially our women in formation and newer members.

Kentucky Visit with Annie Killian and Ellen Coates

It was really a joy to see the enthusiasm of our women in initial formation and newly professed sisters as we dialogued and worked toward envisioning our future together. They are fully aware that their numbers will be smaller than the abnormally large numbers of the past, yet their eagerness to be part of the future of religious life is not diminished.  Recently, I also had the opportunity to take some of the women in initial formation to visit St. Catharine, Kentucky, where the first American foundation of Dominican Sisters was founded in 1822.  Two of our Sisters shared with them the vibrant history of the first group of pioneering Dominican Sisters in the rolling hills of Kentucky. We visited St. Rose Catholic Church where those first nine women answered the call to form the first group of American Dominican Sisters.  As one of the women pointed out, “They entered into mystery then as we move forward into mystery today.”

 

Today, August 8, 2019 we celebrate the Feast Day of the founder of the Dominican Order, St. Dominic de Guzman.  Founded in 1216, the Dominican Family celebrates 803 years of preaching the Gospel in word and deed.  Our congregation is part of the rich heritage that forges ahead like our founder, Holy Father Dominic, following the call and vision of the Spirit.  Dominic could never have imagined the legacy he would leave simply by living into his call.  The same is true as the Dominican Sisters of Peace move toward “something new” in the future.  Together, along with our women in formation, we are not afraid of moving forward into mystery.  We have as guides and examples, the strong foundation of courageous women on whose shoulders we stand.

Want to learn more about the Dominican Sisters of Peace and help shape the future?  Why not give one of our Vocation Ministers a call.

Happy Feast Day to our Dominican Family!

Posted in God Calling??, News

The Joys, Assumptions and Challenges of Intercultural Community Living

 

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

Are you drawn to life in community?

Are you wondering if you could live with 5, 10, or 60 other women in the same house?

You’re not alone.  Most of the women we walk with in discernment feel a strong call to community, yet wonder what it will really be like and if they can truly live it.

It was the same for me.  When I was discerning religious life, one of the big draws for me was towards community.  I saw the sisters with whom I volunteered and interacted as having a loving, vibrant, faith-filled and healthy community.  I admired their dedication to each other and to their mission as Dominican Sisters.  As I celebrate my 25th Jubilee as a sister, I continue being drawn to live, minister, pray and be in community.

Community is one of the four pillars of Dominican religious life. When we enter a congregation, we never know with whom we will live and minister.  That is part of the great adventure of religious life.  Community is where I have found my greatest joy, reconstructed my assumptions about others and have been challenged to be truly welcoming and inclusive.  In our Constitutions (#18) we read: “Together we pursue our common mission, values, and goals. As members of a community, we share in a diversity of gifts and challenges, joys and hardships. We value the uniqueness of each sister and offer one another companionship and loving support. We celebrate our strengths, accept our weaknesses, and acknowledge our need for healing and reconciliation.”[1]

One of the great joys of living in a multicultural community is that we are all different.  It is in community that I have been challenged to try various cultural dishes, prayed in another language or in another way unfamiliar to me.  I have been enriched by the gifts my sisters bring to community.  I hope they have been enriched by what I have brought and shared.

We all come from different cultural perspectives formed by our ethnic, generational, national and families of origin.  As we mature, we become more aware that assumptions can cause many misunderstandings, hurt feelings and broken hearts.   One of the biggest ones is when we group people together and expect them to think and behave in the same way.  The way you interact with one person may or may not work well with another person. Therefore, like any human being, living or working with a multicultural community, on-going awareness and on-going learning are the keys.

As Dominicans, study is a primary part of our life.  St. Dominic taught that all of the members of the Order needed to study in order to preach, teach and to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel and to the life to which we have been called.  Last year, in community, we studied a book called, Living Mission Interculturally[2].  In that book, I discovered that there are a myriad of factors making up one’s cultural identity.  It has led me to see that getting to know others is a great adventure and offers an opportunity to be stretched, enlightened and challenged in new ways.  I thank God I was called to this congregation and have the opportunity to live and minister with sisters of many different cultures.

Are you open to living in a multicultural and intergenerational community?  Are you willing to cast your net out into the deep?  Then, contact one of us to begin your discernment or attend our  Come and See Discernment Retreat that will be held September 13 – 15, 2019 at our Motherhouse in St. Catharine, KY.  For the flyer and to register, click  here.

[1] Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, 2010.

[2] Living Mission Interculturally:  Faith, Culture and the Renewal of Praxis by Anthony Gittens,

Posted in God Calling??, News

Butterflies and what they can Teach us about the Stages of Discernment

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

Recently, I visited the Butterfly Garden in the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio. Between March and September, each day a specialist releases a variety of butterflies. This summer, I have enjoyed three different presentations there. However, there was something else I observed. Visitors in the butterfly garden kept chasing butterflies with their phones/cameras to capture images. I was smiling, because I could resonate with that feeling. I did that, too, during my first trip to the conservatory. Nowadays, I just wait, knowing that in each few seconds a butterfly would fly nearby, and I could just take a snapshot then or simply savor the moment.

The butterflies, these gentle creatures, can teach us a lot about ourselves, and about how to live out our mission that is lifegiving to others.

There are times when we chase butterflies: trying to chase an ideal that we cannot catch. At the beginning of my discernment, I wanted to deepen my relationship with God. I started to participate in more prayer opportunities, such as a prayer group at our school, Theology on Tap, Lectio Divina, centering prayer, and a small faith group. However, I felt like a headless chicken trying to go from one group to another. Needless to say, it never felt enough. If I had just savored and deeply entered into only a few of those prayer experiences instead of just trying to go to all of them, I believe I would have had a deeper outcome.

Then, there is a time when we get butterflies in our stomach, which simply indicates that we anticipate something with some anxiety. Whether it’s making a big step in discernment, whether it’s contacting a vocation director, whether it’s asking for an application, etc. And that’s totally ok, because in vowed religious life, there are many moments when we are called to dare to be bold and dare to do something bold as we meet the needs of our times.

Caterpillars transform into butterflies. One way to think of that is that the caterpillar was maturing into its mission. Just like caterpillars go through a major transformation to become pollinators, we, Dominicans, study with a purpose: for the sake of the mission. Butterflies have an important role in helping the ecosystems by pollinating flowers. If you feel like you are like a caterpillar, what can help you mature into your mission?

Butterflies face many challenges due to climate change, pollution, and the destruction of fields, yet, they continue their life-giving mission of pollinating flowers. There are so many needs in the world. As Dominicans, we are called to tap into the uneasiness of our world, and bring the Good News joyfully, especially to places that are more in need.

When analyzing dreams, dreaming about a butterfly that goes from one flower to another means, that one will hear good news. What if you are the one who is called to bring good news to others?

If you think you are chasing butterflies,

– slow down and God will lead you where you are meant to be.

 

If you think you have butterflies in your stomach,

– dare to be bold.

 

If you feel like a caterpillar,

– persevere in faith, and pray where/for what God is calling you.

 

If you feel like you are stuck ‘in a cocoon’,

– get out of your ‘cocoon’ and explore God’s call.

 

If you think you are a joyful butterfly, when your actions are lifegiving to others,

– continue to bring joy to others and inspire others.

 

If you would like to talk to a sister,

– contact us at vocations@oppeace.org

Posted in God Calling??, News