Spirit of Generosity

February 2nd marked the 25th World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. As I was listening to Bishop Brennan’s homily on that day, there was a phrase that kept resonating with me: “spirit of generosity.” Generosity is usually associated with kindness, charity, dedication, and often with offering more time, attention, care, or money than expected. Having a spirit of generosity is about having the openness to be generous without having any expectation of receiving anything in return. In the homily, we heard examples of this generosity from the day’s readings, like God’s self-emptying love, or Anna’s and Simeon’s prophecies of sharing God’s message without expecting anything in return. Later, Bishop Brennan thanked religious men and women for their spirit of generosity that God is calling out from each and every one of us.

The World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life also happens to be Candlemas Day, when candles, representing the light of Christ, are blessed. I heard several ways that we can reflect Christ’s light in the world from a panel conversation by the National Religious Vocation Conference, when six religious sisters and brothers reflected on God’s call in Pope Francis’ newest encyclical on Fraternity and Social Friendship, Fratelli Tutti. Click here for a video recording. Fr. Joseph reminded us that we are called to be hope bearers. God needs us to respond to the cry of the suffering, the marginalized, the abandoned and the neglected by sharing God’s hope with them. Sr. Leslie invited us to identify with the vulnerability of others, like we hear in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Fr. Steve shared insights on effective love and encouraged us to let love bubble into action and live out our caritas as true and effective. At last, Sr. Nicole shared about recovering kindness – recovering what it means to recognize God in one another and in otherness. This last thought brought me back to the spirit of generosity that I mentioned at the start of this blog.

Having a spirit of generosity can call us to “look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile.” (Fratelli Tutti, #55) The world is filled with hard hearts, and Pope Francis highlights several current issues in his encyclical. “If you today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.” (Psalm 95:8) How is God calling you at this time?

The combination of discerning God’s call in my life and the urge to work toward a more just and peaceful world led me to look into religious congregations that worked for peace and justice. I found the answer in becoming a Dominican Sister of Peace. I entered religious life in 2011, but it was not until early 2014 that I was able to put into words what I felt about our congregation while watching “Call the midwife,” a BBC TV series. A line in the last episode of the first season spoke to me as I was reflecting on my discernment journey with the Dominican Sisters of Peace: “I found grace, faith, laughter, tenderness, I found a purpose and a path, and I worked with passion for the best reason of all. I did it for love.” And I am doing it for the love of God…

I’m grateful to my Sisters and Associates, who help me become more aware of the cries of this world and show me where God’s love, hope, and peace can be shared joyfully. May the spirit of generosity, which God is calling out from each and every one of us, radiate in our hearts as we continue to reflect Christ’s light in the world.

If you would like to talk to a sister about discerning God’s call to religious life, please contact us at vocations@oppeace.org. If you would like to participate in a discernment retreat, please click here for more information.

Posted in God Calling?

Following God Joyfully

The dictionary defines a vocation as “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.” This “feeling of suitability” also extends to our life as Christians. Some of us feel called to family life, or to serve the church as educators or Extraordinary ministers. Some of us feel that “feeling of suitability” or calling towards life as a religious Sister.

If you believe that your calling is to serve God as a Dominican Sister of Peace, then this is the place for you.

Your next step? Learning more about religious life, more about the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and entering a process of discernment …  of determining God’s desire for your life.

To learn more, contact Sr. Maidung Nguyen
(405) 248-7027
Click here to email.

To register for this FREE virtual event,
click here.

Posted in News

Being Pruned

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

One of my favorite Gospel quotes is: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. (John 15:1-3) This message spoke to me during the retreat in preparation for my first vows and recently in the prayer before our Ministry of Welcome – Vocations team meeting.

Pruning can be a painful process – but the fruits are well worth it. Looking back at the time before I entered the community, I thought religious life was a life of prayer and helping the poor. The concept of helping the poor has evolved in me over the years.  I have come to see the poor not just as those who are materially poor but those in need of love, a spiritual life, and equal justice. The need to work on justice and dignity is present not only at the human level but also in the life of other species and the earth. This understanding broadens my view of ministry and daily prayer. Today, I realize that the call to live religious life is a call to live prophetically. This prophetic life is a dynamic one that must be built on faith and in the reality of life where I am living. So, it calls me to be open to on-going transformation and to accept the pruning necessary for new branches to form.

Another example of needing to be pruned happened when I was first called to religious life. At that time, I was worried that I would need to leave behind my love of engineering, life experiences, friends, and even my personal freedom when entering religious life. Later, I realized God did not ask me to cut them off completely but pruned me to see how to view them to bear more fruit and so that God’s work in me could be accomplished a hundredfold.  Thus, I am reminded of what Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (Mt 5:17).

Now, we are dealing with COVID, job layoffs, violence, and division in our country. The questions that have been raised within our community echo inside me: “What does the world or our society ask from us?” “What does the earth ask of us?” These are all big questions. To respond prophetically, you and I must be pruned so a new way of thinking, living life, and doing ministry can bring forth and bear more fruit. How willing are we to be pruned for this process? And God will make the way for us to live such prophetic life.

The call to live in religious life is the call to live prophetically in our time, with one another in God’s grace. This is an authentic call from God. Are you willing to be pruned by God and to accept this call to be prophetic? If so, contact us or visit our vocation webpages to learn more about the discernment process. We also have a virtual Discernment retreat this March 12-14, 2021 at no cost. An online register link is coming soon.

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

Elizabeth Jackson Professes Temporary Vows

vow signingCOLUMBUS, OH – Dominican Sister of Peace Elizabeth Jackson professed temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on Saturday, December 5, during the celebration of Eucharist in the Columbus Motherhouse Chapel. Sr. Elizabeth affirmed that she will give witness to trust, belief and the generosity of God through her vows and then made profession for three years into the hands of Sr. Patricia Twohill, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Sr. Pat presented Sr. Elizabeth with the congregational pin, an outward sign of her profession, and the Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters of Peace by which she has promised to live. Continue reading →

Posted in News