A Discerner’s FAQs

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Dear Sister,

Why is Study so important to Dominicans?

Dear Discerner,

You are right, study is very important to Dominicans.  In fact, on any given evening, you can find individual sisters or several members of our local community gathered in a circle discussing a book or article, attending a webinar, listening to a speaker or attending a spiritual retreat.  We Dominicans like to study.  We have bunches of books – both physically present on bookshelves and digitally filling up the memory on our e-readers and cloud accounts. Actually, study is so important to Dominicans that it is one of our “Four Pillars,” that is one of the foundations of our spirituality and life.  When I entered the Order, I knew that both formal and informal study would be part of my life.  It helps us to prepare for preaching, ministry, for educating ourselves on issues of justice and learning ways to create a more peaceful world.  Even more than that, study has changed me and challenged me to be, think, and act differently.

In our Constitutions for the Dominican Sisters of Peace, which are the guidelines for living our religious life, it states, The search for truth through study and contemplation is intrinsic to our mission as members of the Order of Preachers. Our prayer and preaching are informed by our diligent and loving attention to scripture and theology, as well as to all that expands our appreciation for the wisdom and beauty of God and God’s creation.”

So, what are you studying?    

I am reading and studying a variety of things, both in groups and independently.  On Tuesday, my Peace & Non-Violence group gathered to study, Hungry for Hope, a book by Simone Campbell.  She offers a personal reflection on her contemplative practice and how it has informed and shapes her life and ministry.  Reading this book calls me to examine how faithful I am to my prayer practice and how it informs my life and ministry.

On Wednesday, I gathering with the FIAT – Women’s Discernment Group of the Archdiocese of Boston to discuss Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis’ encyclical.  As I have read and reflected on it, I was drawn to pray with the story of the Good Samaritan.  Usually, I think of myself as the Samaritan, but lately I have been challenged to imagine myself as the person beside the road.  What is it like to be injured and to watch another walk by?  How is God with me as I wait for help?  What does this vulnerability open up in me?

In our Vocation Ministry, we invite discerning women to study with us various aspects of religious life, prayer, and discernment.  This month, our Emmaus Discernment Group will study and reflect on the stages of formation in religious life and hear from sisters in formation what it is really like after one enters the congregation.

What are other Sisters studying? 

Great question.  Thanks for asking.

I reached out to my sisters, and as expected, their study reflects the wide diversity of our members.

Here is a sampling of what they are reading and studying:

  • Reading poetry and prayers by David Whyte, Rainer Maria Rilke and Julian of Norwich
  • Studying Anti-Racism by:
    • attending webinars on Racism in the Sisterhood by Dr. Shannen Dee Williams
    • reading & discussing such books as:
    • Reading and studying Papal Encyclicals such as Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si.
    • Studying topics related to their ministries:
      • Vocation ministers attending workshops on Virtual Retreats
      • Pastoral Ministers studying grieving and ministering to people with dementia
      • A Spiritual Director studying gender issues, contemplative prayer and retreats for young people.
    • Studying the signs of the times such as the pandemic, politics, economics, and mental health.
    • Learning how to play the guitar
    • Attending an on-line pottery workshop on creating porcelain ware
    • And the list goes on…

What are you studying?

If you want to learn more about religious life, and our community, please contact one of our vocation ministers to discuss or attend an upcoming program.

Posted in God Calling?

Coming Home to Her Call

Maria Tram Bui Enters the Dominican Sisters of Peace as a Candidate

Columbus, OH – On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Catholics celebrate the sinless birth and life of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. This holiday was another sort of celebration for the Dominican Sisters of Peace, as the Congregation welcomed Maria Tram Bui, 41, as a candidate on December 7, 2020, the vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Born in 1979 in Binh Gia, Vietnam, Tram and her family, including her eight siblings, immigrated to America in 1999. The family moved to Houston, TX, in 2005, where she attended Christ the Redeemer and Our Lady of Lourdes churches in that diocese.

Candidate Tram Bui is welcomed as a candidate to the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Tram earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Lubbock, TX, in 2010. She served as a full-time physical therapist at a short-term stay skilled nursing facility, North Houston Transitional Care.

Tram was initially introduced to the Dominican Sisters of Peace through our Kentucky Sisters, where she also heard the call of God to become a healer through her career in physical therapy. After she returned to Texas to continue her education, Sr. Mary Vuong, another Dominican Sister of Peace who ministers as a physical therapist in Texas, invited Tram to look again at her calling to religious life.

“Meeting the Dominican Sisters of Peace has made me feel very much at home – welcomed to the Community,” Tram says. “I am blessed to experience the joy and caring that they have shared with me.”

Tram was welcomed to the Congregation in a virtual ceremony held at the House of Welcome. Prioress Patricia Twohill and Vocations Director June Fitzgerald joined by Zoom call. Sr. June delivered the preaching during her welcome ceremony. Vocations Minister Mai-Dung Nguyen, OP, attended via Zoom Wichita, KS. She gave the Responsive reading and offered a prayer for Tram’s family in their native Vietnamese.

Candidate Tram Bui, center, receives the traditional Dominican Blessing from Sisters in her community: from left, Sr. Robin Richard, Sr. Pat Dual, Sr. Bea Tiboldi, Sr. Ellen Coates, and Sr. Margie Davis.

Tram is the daughter of Nghiem and Hanh Bui, and has four sisters, Teresa, Kieu Anh, Phuong, Lyly, and four brothers, Hoang, Tai, Trung, and Thanh.  She also has two nieces and eight nephews.

During her candidacy, Tram will live at the Dominican Sisters of Peace House of Welcome in Columbus, OH. She will continue her career in physical therapy as she continues to discern her call to religious life.

The Dominican Sisters of Peace have seven women in various stages of formation and ministry. Cathy Buchanan and Tram Bui were welcomed into the congregation with their local convent communities in New Haven, CT, and Columbus, OH, respectively. Canonical Novice, Sr. Annie Killian entered our Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) in Chicago, IL.  Second-year novice Sr. Ellen Coates returned to Columbus, OH from the CDN in August 2020.  Sr. Phuong Vu professed her First Vows in December 2020.  Both Sr. Ana Gonzalez and Sr. Margaret Uche professed First Vows in 2019, and are currently in ministry as they continue formation.

To view a video of Tram Bui’s welcome ceremony, click here. 

Your donation to the Dominican Sisters of Peace helps us continue to help women hear the call of God and follow their vocation to vowed religious life. 


Posted in News