Jubilee Gratitude

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

When I made my first profession of vows, I had no idea what adventures, blessings, challenges and changes I would experience.  I knew that God was calling me to embrace life as a vowed Dominican Sister and I sung my “Yes” with gusto.  Today, as I celebrate my 25th Jubilee (counting from my first profession), I am overwhelmed with wonder and gratitude for all that has been. God has been so good to me and has surrounded me with faithful companions on the journey to challenge me, support me, guide me, and accompany me while calling me to greater faithfulness. It is to these faithful companions that I dedicate this blog.

You see, we do not do this journey alone. The call I received was an individual call, but it was one to be lived in community. My community can be defined as being local, regional, and congregational and can consist of five, fifteen or four hundred and sixty-five sisters.  Always it has been intergenerational, and most of the time it has been multicultural, and on a few occasions, it has been inter-congregational (meaning several different congregations living together).  As I look back on the sisters I have lived with, what stands out the most is that we have been and are family.

2019 Jubilarians

When I was discerning religious life, one of the questions I faced was, “What would it be like not having a family of my own?” I never asked myself, “What would it be like to have a religious family of sisters?”  My vision was too small and I did not even know it.  This week, as I have been opening and reading my Jubilee cards from my sisters and friends, I have been reminded of the many women who have shared my life along the way–those I know well and those who I do not know well, but I love just the same.  The reading from Colossians comes to mind, “In my prayers I always thank God for you.” (paraphrase of Col 1:3a)

I am continuing to read my cards – alternating between laughter, tears, sweet memories, and longing for the presence of some who have passed onto God.  (Sr. Mary Carmel, I know you are dancing in heaven.) I am writing my thank you cards and with each one, I pause and say a prayer for that person.  Near or far, we are united in God.

Are you hearing a call to religious life?  Have you asked the question, “How will it be not to have a family of my own?”  Maybe the question really should be, “What will it be like to have a religious family of sisters?”  Come and See!  Consider attending our next discernment retreat here or contact one of us to begin the conversation.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Community Hive

Recently, I visited the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, OH.  Among the exhibitions, there is a hands-on, thought-provoking activity where the curators invite visitors to contribute to a “community hive.”

In the exhibit, they describe this activity in this way: “Each block features a word or icon that represents an aspect of community. Choose the blocks that you think are most important. Connect the blocks to build your ideal community. Think about how you can improve your community to reflect your ideals.” The picture represents what other visitors created. I invite you to look at each block on the picture of the community hive. Which one speaks to you? Which ones would you use to create your own? If you would add a tile, what would you write on it?

The community-hive activity made me think about: what makes a community? Because community is only as good as the members make it. Also, why would someone join a religious community? Is it seeking a deeper relationship with God? Is it praying in community? Is it the passion for the mission? Passion for justice and peace? Is it empowering the neglected? The little ‘wheels’ in my brain came up with more and more questions.

When I saw this ‘community hive,’ my thoughts went back to our most recent community gathering, where we revisited what has been in the last ten years, and we also had table discussions about what our hope for the future was. Those conversations at our Tenth Anniversary articulated some of the same ideas that the ‘community hive’ exhibit evoked in me: how our community reflects our ideals, our passion, and our mission. Sr. June Fitzgerald recently wrote a blog about community.

I am not here to tell you why someone would enter our congregation of Dominican Sisters of Peace. However, I invite you to pray with these thoughts:

  • If you are a Sister or an Associate, what were your reasons to live out God’s call with the Dominican Sisters of Peace; what ‘keeps’ you here; and what are ways we could ‘spice up’ our community to better reflect our Chapter Commitments?
  • If you are discerning living vowed religious life as a Sister or becoming an Associate, what are your motivations to join a religious community?

If you think you would like to talk to someone about your vocation or you would like to check out our community, contact us at vocations@oppeace.org, or join us for a ‘Come and See’ retreat in September.

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi
Posted in God Calling??, News

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