Marian Retreat

Ten discerners and four women in formation, along with associates and sisters from the Vocations Team and Houses of Welcome gathered together to pray in the companionship of Mary on May 17, 2020, as part of our Marian Virtual Mini-Retreat. We prayed with the story of the Visitation and Mary’s Magnificat. The retreat started with a prayer that was taken from our Dominican Praise, then Candidate Annie shared about her discernment in the light of images of Mary in the medieval art, and then Sr. Bea shared her reflection on the Visitation and Mary’s Magnificat. Participants then had the opportunity to pray with what they have heard and to reflect with questions and with other hands-on prayerful activities (such as the one decade rosary bracelet or paper flower pictured.) We shared about our faith experiences, and then prayed the rosary together.

Each woman shared something unique about their reflection time – whether it was

  • taking the words of the “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman” song to heart,
  • or allowing Mary’s questions work in her like we heard it in the “Nativity story” movie: “why is it that God chose me?” and “how is he [Joseph] going to believe this?” which very much resonated with God’s call for her life,
  • or praying with the quotes from the reflection,
  • or reflecting on the Visitation with an image of Elizabeth as Mary’s ‘wisdom’ figure and how it resonated with her spiritual journey with her mentor,
  • or expressing her gratitude toward her best friend and a sister, who are like Elizabeth in the story,
  • or writing her Magnificat on the flower-petals that unfolded when placed in water.

As I think back about the retreat, I feel that the insights that the participants shared helped me gain a deeper meaning and more perspectives to pray with the Visitation story. We hope that it was a fruitful opportunity for all of us to take Mary’s example and companionship to heart, and thus to bring us into a closer relationship with God.

If you are interested participating in our next event, click here for more information about our Mission for Peace experience.

Posted in News

Drawing our Magnificat out of us in challenging times

Visitation image by Sr. Thoma Swanson, OP

May 31st marks the Feast of the Visitation. In the Visitation story, we hear about the time when Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Both were going through challenging times – Mary conceived a child before being married, and Elizabeth was bearing a child at an older age, yet they found reasons to rejoice. They used their faith in God and the joy of the Visitation as a source of energy for carrying out their missions.

During formation years, I read an article by Fr. Ron Rolheiser. In his article, The Visitation Revisited, Rolheiser wrote:

“what we are carrying will make something leap for joy inside the other,
and that reaction will help draw the Magnificat out of us,
and, like Mary, we will want to stay with that other for mutual support.”

I see our discerners in our monthly Emmaus Discernment group bringing their faith in God to each other, making something leap for joy in the other, and staying with one another for mutual support. Seeing this joy in the group prompted me to ask myself: “how can I share the joy of our life of prayer, study, ministry and living in community in a way that ‘will make something leap for joy inside the other’ when everything we do has to be on screen during this pandemic and I’m hitting screen-fatigue?” How am I supposed to do that?

In our vocation ministry, we use a quote by Frederick Buechner quite often: “vocation is a place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger,” and we tell women that even after one enters, discernment continues day-by-day. This quote became very real to me during this pandemic. “God, what do you want of me? I have heard about sisters doing courageous things, and how ambitious they are. But, God, what is my vocation during this pandemic? Show me where the world’s greatest hunger and my deep gladness meet.” I started to identify “hungers”: (1) our discerners’ desire to connect more often and pray together; (2) people going hungry more than ever, and (3) my desire for less screen-time as I was hitting screen-fatigue.

As I was praying, I started to connect those dots, and how I could respond to these three “hungers” that I mentioned above. I was thinking: “perhaps, I could volunteer delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’ on weekdays.” In my inner ear, I was hearing the voice of Charlie Brown, exclaiming: “That’s it!” That is where those “hungers” and my desire meet. So, I have been doing just that. Delivering meals to those in need helps reduce hunger, and it allows me to process, to pray, to reflect, and to get a break from screen-time. Recharged by the outcome of that silent prayer time, I head back each afternoon to continue serving our discerners with renewed energy and creativity. This two-hour activity might seem like nothing, but it helps others leap for joy – whether it’s the joy of physical food for the hungry or the spiritual food that empowers us to continue planning and providing opportunities for our discerners to come together and pray together, and it helps bring out my Magnificat.

Blog by Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP

Like Mary and Elizabeth, we, too, can turn our challenges into blessings and joys. With faith in God and with Mary’s companionship, we find strength to face our fears or the unknown, and we find strength even to rejoice.

Where does your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet?
What is the message that God is asking us individually to carry out to others
in a way that will make something leap for joy in the other,
and simultaneously bring out our Magnificat?

If you would like to talk to someone about your vocation, email us at Also, if you would like to participate in our free, virtual, five-day long Mission for Peace experience between June 5-9, 2020, please click here for more information.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Dominican Sister of Peace Joann Luttrell

Dominican Sister of Peace Joan Luttrell

Dominican Sister of Peace Joann Luttrell entered into eternal life on April 9, 2020, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY. Sister Joann was born in 1936 in Louisville, KY, to Mary Cecilia Barr and Bishop Luttrell.

She decided to enter religious life while she was studying nursing at Nazareth College (now Spalding University). While visiting the St. Catharine Motherhouse with Father Raymond Smith, she heard God’s call and never looked back. She entered the Congregation on her twentieth birthday in 1956.

Sr. Joann continued her studies, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Science from St. Catharine College in 1956 and her Master of Arts in Nursing from Catherine Spaulding in 1962.

She ministered at the Congregation’s St. Catharine and Sansbury infirmaries in her early years before expanding her skills to serve as a nurse, administrator and chaplain at institutions in Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.

Sister Joann liked to refer to herself as a “jack of all trades.” A perfect example of this was her time at Sacred Heart Village in Louisville, KY. Hired as Director of Congregate Living, Sister Joann also served as Director of Mission for three institutions, planned a monthly in-service for Department Directors and filled any free time with pastoral visiting.

Sister Joann delighted in telling stories about some of her patients, but always with a gentle humor that made her love and care for her patients plain for all to see.

Her gifts and talents did not go unnoticed by the Congregation. She was elected to the Governing Board three times, and she was happy to serve her community.

Sister Joann continued to care for her community with prayer and service after moving to our Saint Catharine Motherhouse. She began her final ministry of prayer and presence at Sansbury Care Center in 2012.

She is survived by her twin sister, Jane Klobe, three brothers, John, George and Robert Luttrell; and nieces and nephews.

A private service was held on April 14, 2020. Sr. Joann was interred at the St. Catharine Motherhouse Cemetery in St. Catharine, KY. The sharing of memories and a Memorial Mass will take place at a later date.

Memorial gifts in Sister Joann Luttrell’s memory may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219 or submitted securely at

To donate in Sr. Joann’s memory, please click here.

To view a printable PDF copy of Sr. Joanne’s memorial, please click here.



Posted in Obituaries

Ghostly Concern

Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

Common Sense Alert!

Senator Richard Blumenthal led 15 senators in introducing the “Untraceable Firearms Act.”  Why is that important?  The COVID–19 pandemic is sparking a demand for guns – in March, the FBI processed over 3.7 million firearm background checks — the highest number in over 20 years. I would call this a second pandemic.

What is of greatest concern to those of us concerned with sensible gun ownership is the manufacture and possession of “ghost guns.”  These guns are made by an individual with online instruction, without serial numbers that make tracing possible. Currently, anyone who purchases a firearm at a gun store must go through a background check, but that represents only about 60% of gun sales. Nearly 40% of gun purchases are not checked because of a loophole for private, show or online purchases. These ghost gun kits are not required to be background checked either, making it easy for a person with a felony conviction or a history of domestic violence to skirt the law and obtain a dangerous weapon.

According to the May 14, 2020 issue of “The Hill,” Senator Blumenthal’s bill would address both the ghost gun components and the firearm.  The legislation would require online kit manufacturers and distributors to have a license, put a serial number on the kit’s frame, and conduct a background check.

Spoiler alert:  The Republican-led Senate will oppose the bill.

On November 19, 2019, a 16-year-old used a ghost gun at Sargus High School in California, killing two students and injuring five others.  When students were interviewed, they said they were not surprised, saying this has become “the new normal.”  As with mass shootings in schools around the country, students are under lockdown, texting families with messages expressing love and hopes for survival.

Students continue to be victimized by our gun culture. These vulnerable students cannot vote, and the “responsible” adults who should be looking out for them continue to pass on demanding responsible gun legislation.

We now find assault weapons proudly displayed in rallies to end the stay at home orders during the pandemic, and government business interrupted by unpunished death threats on public officials.

What can concerned citizens do?  Contact your senators and representatives and urge passage of the “ghost gun” bill.  Investigate “ghost gun” laws in your state, and push for legislation if there is none.  Contact ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and ask for immediate steps to regulate and monitor the surging sale of “ghost guns.”

Just write or call:  ATF, 99 New York Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C, 20226, (202) 648-8430.

We need passionate, “pro-life” voices. You can be one.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Noisy Disquiet

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

At this writing, I am in the midst of a second week of quarantine after some minor sinus surgery that needed to be done for a long time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed until now and the 14 days is just what is being required. I’m fine — recuperating more slowly than I thought, but no complaints really.

I’ve been sequestered at home, like so many other people who can work from home these days, who are plugged in with WiFi or cable. Many people I talk to say their sense of time is off, unsure of what day of the week it is, for example — a function of this disorientation we are experiencing. Working from home is not a retreat, and certainly not vacation, but a kind of twilight zone, a limbo of working in a disconnected way but tethered to tasks that need doing at the same time.  My attention span is short and I’m looking for distraction half of the time. I ate the last of the Easter jellybeans today. I hope I don’t panic.  Panic over candy? Now there’s a very privileged place.

Although the house is quiet, for some reason I am so aware of how noisy it is outside. I’m conscious of the droning lawnmowers and the loud sirens from the fire station around the corner.  I don’t think I noticed those sounds so much before.  My office in the Motherhouse is quieter, and I guess, now that people are beginning to emerge from their seclusion, it seems like everybody in this town who owns a motorcycle is coming down my street like a volcanic eruption.  It doesn’t help with the windows wide open.

I’m just so very struck by the sounds that I am engaging with as I sit here working at my desk, getting ready for another zoom call.

Besides the traffic, I can also hear lots of birds and the rain on the windows and out on the street. Some sounds are welcome. Others not so much. At lunchtime, I make a salad and catch some of the noontime news. Not a good idea. I forget how much news is streaming into my space and how little of it seems useful. Reports of one government official or agency complaining about another, rising numbers of cases and deaths, the ongoing debate between scientists and economists on what should happen when in order to regain some equilibrium.

I miss the beautiful interruption of someone stopping by the office to say hello, the friendly banter of our staff members in the kitchen. I miss eating lunch in the dining room, catching up with the sisters and eating with the staff. I miss saying hello to Howard on his daily rounds of collecting recycling.

The danger of my safe and lovely cocoon is that I get too comfortable in it. I’m easily sheltered from the harsh reality of people who face permanently losing their jobs, or who are not sure if they can continue to live in their homes. And how are parents going to provide for their children when the government assistance isn’t so friendly anymore?  I fear this darkness will grow deeper for those who are poor, the immigrant, and the millions of American families who live from paycheck to paycheck.

This is all an invitation to ask: what am I listening for? Who am I listening to? Can I listen with more compassion to those who are deeply anxious? Can I hear the impatient calls to go back to a” normal” with some understanding and a desire for stability?

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray that I can hear the sound of hope — louder and more clearly than the squawking geese of blaming voices.

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray that I can hear the sound of innovation and invention, of new ways to connect one human soul to another.

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray that I can hear the voice of compassion within myself and a sense of communion, of belonging — more penetrating than the empty promises of quick cures.

Amidst this noisy disquiet, I pray I just keep listening.



Posted in Weekly Word