Do You Let the Star Lead You?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Have you ever had any conversation with God through the Star that led the Magi to the Baby Jesus? How did that conversation turn out for you?

The Christmas season always brings me back to a special moment of my discernment for religious life. Nineteen years ago, around this time, I was discerning a vocational call to religious life with Dominican Sisters. I lived in Boston with a friend of my family, and after work, I usually walked home from a train station. The city was crowded with people and full of Christmas decorations; but one night in that Advent, I felt so lonely in the middle of this busy city and the night seemed especially very dark. Suddenly, the image of the star leading the Magi to the Baby Jesus came to me. At that moment, I said to God; “I don’t know where I will live. If your Star could lead the Magi to the Baby Jesus, be with me at this moment to guide my steps into the future. You are my Star.” I hold the image of this Star so vividly that I gained courage to move forward with trust and inspiration to join the Dominican Sisters.

The Star is still alive within me and has never faded since then—one year, two years, three years, and even 19 years later. Indeed, it is the Star that has given me courage and enthusiasm to move forward, not only for my discernment year of religious life, but also for my whole life. As an itinerant Dominican, every moment of life is the moment of discernment to live God’s call based on the signs of our time. This Star has taken me to many places without fear and full of joy, hope, love, and peace.

Again, this new year, this Star will take me to another place to meet Jesus. I am leaving Louisville, Kentucky, where I have been living for 14 years, and moving to Wichita, Kansas. I am moving to live closer to my family to help my elderly parents and continue my vocation ministry from that area. Again, I strongly believe that this Star continues to direct me, and I am happy to follow its unfailing guidance.  With this Star and the Dominican charism, I step into this New Year full of enthusiasm, hope, peace, and insight. I hope that I can be God’s star to all those whom I meet. How about you?  Are you willing to let this Star lead you to the place where God is calling you to live without fear? In the year 2019, how much joy, peace, hope, and insight will you have when you let this Star lead you into this New Year?

Have you ever had a trust that the Star of God will lead you into a future full of hope, peace, and insight? Do you want to explore more on how to be itinerant for God’s mission—to be Peace, live Peace, and build Peace? If you do, please contact one of our Vocation Ministers. We also have a “Come and See” discernment retreat weekend March 15-17, 2019 in Akron, Ohio. We, Dominican Sisters of Peace, always welcome you.

Posted in God Calling??, News


Blog by Sr. Pat Connick, OP

Today is the feast of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, both from Cappadocia in Turkey.  Basil and Gregory were best friends from the time of their initial studies in their early 20’s.  In their later lives they were pivotal in defending the Church against the Arian heresy.  I would suggest in honor of their feast today it might be a good time to thank God for our best friends.

Thank you, God, for my best friend in life…
Who has helped me believe in myself and accept myself as I am,
Who has helped boost my self-confidence.
Who has been unswervingly encouraging
And has fostered my personal growth.

Thank you, God, for my best friend in life…
Who has taught me how to respect differences
And to honor still my own beliefs.
Who has been my best sounding board and listener
And a place where honest opinions about anything can be shared.

Thank you, God, for my best friend in life…
Who has been a shoulder to cry on, providing comfort,
Yet open to being needed in a mutual way.
Who is understanding
To the point where many words need not always be spoken.

Thank you, God, for my best friend in life…
Who connects me to a world wider than of my own devices
And who has taught me to live more intentionally,
To laugh more deeply,
And to love more profoundly.

Thank you, God, for my best friend in life…
Who is always loyal and protective,
And yet who has taught me new things by a challenge of my status quo.
Who always has been, is, and always will be available,
For unconditional love and support, which reveals to me the face of God.

I pray I have been a best friend to you too!

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

Sister Joanne Baltz, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Joanne Baltz

Dominican Sister of Peace Joanne Baltz (89) died at Regina Care Center in Akron, OH on December 18, 2018. Born August 25, 1929, Sr. Joanne was the daughter of Margaret Thimmes and Albert Baltz of Lancaster, OH.  She felt called by God from a very early age but worked as a bookkeeper for a short while before entering religious life 1948.

Sr. Joanne began her ministry as a primary school teacher in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Ohio Dominican University in 1958, taking classes at the same time that she was teaching primary school in Ohio. She earned her Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Notre Dame in 1966, as well as additional courses in administration, supervision and child psychology at Xavier and the University of Dayton. She truly loved working with little children and did her best to be as prepared as possible to give her students a quality academic and moral grounding.

Sr. Joanne served as a principal for 23 years at St. Francis, Newark, OH, and St. Mary in Lancaster, OH.

After leaving teaching, Sr. Joanne served as the Administrator of the Columbus, OH, Motherhouse and the Fleet Manager for the Community. Her organizational and administrative skills were a true asset in these important roles!

She spent several years caring for her own family members before she moved to the Mohun Health Care Center, where she served as a volunteer as well as in prayer and presence. She was particularly helpful to our Activities Director, helping to set up and offer assistance to other Sisters.

Sr. Joanne was preceded in death by her parents, Margaret Thimmes and Thomas Baltz, her brothers Albert and John, and her sisters Mary and Dorothy. She is survived by her nieces and nephews.

Sr. Joanne was remembered at a December 19 wake and December 20 Funeral Mass at the Chapel in the Columbus Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. She was interred at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Columbus, OH.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Joanne Baltz’s memory may be submitted securely online at  or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219.

To download and print a copy of this memorial, please click here.


Posted in Obituaries


Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

Has anyone said to you? “Wait!”

Ironically, in the business world, holidays are rushed. We see holiday items in the stores two months before the actual holiday. Two weeks before the holiday, the items start to go on sale, and the day after the holiday, they need to be marked down because they are considered outdated.

In my daily life, at times, I catch myself rushing internally. Wait, what does that mean? I would catch myself rushing internally when I wished for a traffic light to change to green, or when I am in the doctors office, I like to be called in on time instead of waiting. Both are out of my control, and I just have to go with the flow.

As a discerner, I think waiting was one of the hardest tasks because my heart was on fire and my heart kept asking: “Are we there yet?” During this “waiting time,” I had the opportunity to explore and take the necessary “steps” of growing through prayer and reflection, processing what I was experiencing, becoming part of the community, and gaining a deeper sense of mission and ministry.

Waiting has its value of having time to evolve and to process.  While “advent” means “coming,” many people think of Advent as a season of waiting – waiting for Jesus’ second coming. We don’t just wait. We await Jesus’ second coming by preparing the way of the Lord.

How do you await in hope?

While you await, we invite you to pray Jan Richardson’s blessings with us for those in need.

Blessing for Waiting
Who wait for the night to end
bless them.

Who wait for the night to begin
bless them.

Who wait in the hospital room who wait in the cell
who wait, in prayer,
bless them.

Who wait for news
who wait for the phone call
who wait for a word
who wait for a job, a house, a child
bless them.

Who wait for one who will come home
who wait for one who will not come home
bless them.

Who wait with fear
who wait with joy
who wait with peace
who wait with rage
who wait for the end
who wait for the beginning
who wait alone
who wait together
bless them.

Who wait without knowing
what they wait for or why
bless them.

Who wait when they should not wait
who wait when they should be in motion
who wait when they need to rise
who wait when they need to set out
bless them.

Who wait for the end
of waiting who wait for the fullness of time
who wait emptied and open and ready
who wait for you,
o bless.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Dr. Cynthia Thomas of St. Mary’s Dominican Honored by the Southern Dominican Province

Dr. Cynthia Thomas, OPA, accepts the Martin de Porres award from the Southern Dominican Province, USA. Shown left to right: Fr. Juan Torres, OP, Director of Development, Southern Dominican Province; Mrs. Michie Bissel, Adv. Brd. Pres.; Dr. Cynthia Thomas, OPA; Fr. Tom Condon, OP, Provincial.

Dr. Cynthia Thomas, an Associate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and President of St. Mary’s Dominican High School, a sponsored school of the Congregation, was awarded the 2018 St. Martin de Porres Award at the Southern Dominican Province Gala on November 8, 2018.

The Martin de Porres award recognizes individuals who are dedicated to the mission of the Dominican Order and who emulate St. Martin’s spirit of compassion, mercy and the search for truth.

Thomas was introduced to the Dominican life at a young age. Growing up in Independence, Louisiana, she worshipped at a parish church staffed by the Dominican Friars and was taught by St. Mary Dominican Sisters at Mater Dolorosa Elementary.

Thomas received her bachelor’s degree at Nicholls State University, then began discernment with the St. Mary Dominican Sisters. She completed five years of the congregation’s initial formation program. Thomas was named the first lay Principal of St. Mary’s Dominican High in 1992, and continued to serve the Order and the people of the Church by working with the Sisters as the high school’s first lay President in 1997.

In partnership with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Dominican’s Board of Directors, school leadership and administration, Thomas is responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans, goals and objectives for St. Mary’s Dominican High School, viewed through the Dominican lens.

Thomas holds a doctorate in education from Spalding University as well as two master’s degrees: a master of education from the University of Holy Cross; and a master of religious education from Loyola University.

Thomas is currently a Dominican Associate (OPA) with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. At the ceremony on November 8, Dr. Thomas spoke of St. Martin de Porres, his message and his mission. “St. Martin de Porres offers another way of preaching the Gospel … So many preachers use many words to preach the Gospel, but with St. Martin de Porres, we have a beautiful example of someone … his generosity, his charity, his holiness could speak to people in a way that words could never speak.”

She went on to say, “We have so many WORDS today … but it is really, truly in our actions, and in our charity, and in generosity, in our prayer that we grow closer to God.”

Thomas also serves on the Executive Board of the Dominican Association of Secondary Schools, the Board of Directors for Boys Hope/Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans, and on the Advisory Council of Archbishop Shaw High School.

Left to right, back row: Fr. Juan Torres, OP, Director of Development, Southern Dominican Province; Dominican Sisters of Peace Ceal Warner, Pat Thomas, Dominic Savio; Fr. Tom Condon, OP, Provincial, Southern Dominican Province; Dominican Sister of Peace Suzanne Brauer. Left to right, front row: Dr. Cynthia Thomas, OPA; Dominican Sisters of Peace Therese Leckert, Angeline Magro, Dorothy Trosclair, Joan Arceneaux.

“Cynthia Thomas is a wonderful example of how our Associates and lay partners extend our Dominican mission in so many significant ways,” said Sister Therese Leckert, OP, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Peace leadership and a former St. Mary’s Dominican Sister. “Her dedication to her faith, to service, and to her students have helped hundreds of young of young women learn to love learning and to search for truth.”

Her past service includes seven years on the board of directors for Holy Cross High School.


Photos by Michael Maples, Southern Dominican Province, USA

Posted in News