For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


Eco-justice Blog – A New Work of Mercy: Care For Our Common Home


Julie and John of Oxbow Farm

September marked the beginning of the season of Creation! On September 1, 2016, Pope Francis introduced a new work of mercy: care for our common home. Why does this generation require a new work of mercy? The reason is the ecological crisis: “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years” (LS 53).

Thomas Aquinas enumerated the traditional sets of seven spiritual and seven corporal works of mercy in the thirteenth century. The corporal works include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, harboring the homeless, visiting the sick, ransoming the captives, and burying the dead. The spiritual works include instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, reproving the sinner, forgiving injuries, bearing with those who trouble and annoy us, and praying for all (ST II-II, Q 32, A 2).

What is merciful about caring for our common home? Shouldn’t our neighbors, and not the earth, be the objects of our mercy? In the Gospel of Luke, a lawyer asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” When Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan, he expanded the concept of neighbor to include anyone we might encounter, even those considered enemies.

Until the last few hundred years, most people had a local sphere of influence. It was sufficient to love your immediate neighbor as yourself. But in our globalized economy, we participate in systems that affect our brothers and sisters in the farthest reaches of the planet, most of whom we will never meet. In proposing care for our common home as a work of mercy, he is inviting us to expand our concept of neighbor yet again.

Furthermore, Pope Francis introduced this new work of mercy as a ‘complement’ to the traditional sets. This word comes from the Latin complere, which means to fill up or to complete. In a sense, care for our common home is the seed-bearing fruit of the other works of mercy. The rest are incomplete without it. We cannot give drink to the thirsty if we pollute our water. We cannot welcome strangers if our house is in disarray. We cannot counsel the doubtful among the next generation if, by our wasteful lifestyles, we leave them damaged earth less able to reflect the glory of the Creator (Romans 1:20).

Finally, Pope Francis explained that care for our common home is both corporal and spiritual in nature. Given that we started with fourteen, does this mean that we now have a total of fifteen, sixteen, or somehow still fourteen works of mercy? Regardless of how you choose to enumerate them, there are many ways to practice this new work of mercy in daily life. By transforming our homes, parishes, and cities into places of peace, we lay the groundwork for the other works of mercy to grow in the hearts of those who dwell there.

Posted in News

Dominican Sister of Peace Blaise Flynn, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Blaise (Kathleen) Flynn, OP (78), a native of Rochester, New York, died on September 14, 2023, at Sansbury Care Center, St. Catharine, Kentucky.

Blaise was born to Margaret McCullough and William J. Flynn on May 12, 1945. A Dominican for 57 years, she entered the congregation in 1964 and made Profession in 1966.

Sr. Blaise earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art/Theology from Siena College (Memphis, TN) and a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Fordham University (Bronx, NY).

She ministered as a teacher, Head of the Religion Department, and Regional Coordinator of the Western Region for three years for the former Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, St. Catharine, KY. Sister devoted many years to the cause dearest to her heart – ending homelessness.

For more than 20 years, she served as Administrator of Programs for Women and Children, and then as Case Manager at Pine Street Inn in Boston, MA. Pine Street Inn is the largest resource for homeless men and women in the New England area.

In her ministries and personal life, she was a gatherer of people.

In her preaching at the funeral, Sr. Joye Gros, OP, said: “Blaise was a master of the art of Visitation. In her many ministries, her desire was to call forth the best in people and help others see the life that was within them.”

Sr. Blaise is survived by three sisters: Jean Flynn (Illinois), Margaret Flynn Myers (New York), Carole Korupp (North Carolina) and three brothers: Richard Flynn (New York), James Flynn (New York), and Thomas Flynn (Pennsylvania) and several nieces and nephews.

A cremains visitation took place on Wednesday, September 20, at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. The funeral followed on Thursday, September 21, at Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Burial is in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

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

To print this obituary, click here.

Posted in News, Obituaries

Vocations Blog

Blog by Sr. Bea Tiboldi
Connecting with What’s on Our Heart

If you were to write a journal entry, a letter to someone, or record something in your diary about an experience that happened to you today or recently, what would you write about?

The question above surfaced recently when I saw a journaling idea that piqued my interest: “Attach an envelope to your journal or your Bible and insert a letter to God.” “That sounds like a good idea,” I thought, as it could be not only a reflective and meaningful experience but also a way to nurture and reflect on our relationship with God, on our thoughts, feelings, concerns, and observations and to reflect on what’s important and to know ourselves better.

“A handwritten letter to God…” I thought. Handwritten letters are so rare nowadays. They are not as fast as text messages or emails, yet, I believe, most of us cheer up when we find a handwritten letter from someone we know. Why? Most likely because letters connote an endearing and enduring relationship.

As I kept playing with the thought about writing a letter to God, I was pondering: “I’m quick to offer a prayer to God, but if I were to write a letter to God, what would I write about?” What would you write to God in a letter?

Reflecting on this question, my mind wandered to a recent experience of reading little notes of wishes on a Wishing Tree: at the Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio.  Dangling from this tree were colorful slips of paper tied to a branch with a string, which looked similar to the peace flags on the meditation trail at our Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center in Blacklick, Ohio. At this Wishing Tree, people wrote down their wishes on a small piece of paper and then hung the wish on the tree. There were wishes for a trip to Ireland, for a more peaceful world, for overcoming physical or mental illnesses, for a happy marriage, for a pet, etc. Some of these wishes made me smile and feel content, some made me think, and some filled me with sadness, especially when I read the one that was most likely written by a child: “I wish me and my mom find a house for ourselves soon.” As I read these wishes, I found myself wanting to offer a prayer for each wish, and so I continued reading these wishes – praying to God for each intent.

Both writing a letter to God and offering a prayer are just two simple ways to reflect on what’s on our heart or mind, what’s important to us, what we value, and ultimately, to reflect on our relationship with God.  So, as you read this blog, what’s on your heart and mind? What would you write to God in a letter?

If you would like to spend a few days reflecting on your relationship with God and contemplating what it might be like to live a life of prayer that’s lived out in ministry and community, we are offering an upcoming discernment retreat, September 8-10, 2023, for single, Catholic women ages 18-45, either virtually or in person, at our Motherhouse in St. Catharine, Kentucky. Click here for more information or to register.

Click here for photos. Wishing Tree

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

Associate Blog

Blog by Pat Schnee OPA



John 1:45–51 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”. With some small alteration that question could have been written just a few weeks ago. Can anything good come from those people who voted No on Issue 1? Can anything good come from those who voted Yes? In today’s gospel, Nathanael voices his preconceived opinion about those who come from Nazareth. But then, Philip invites him to “come and see”. We don’t know why Nathanael followed Philip. Was it idle curiosity? Was it trust in Philip? Whatever the reason, Nathanael followed…and found Jesus. What we see depends on where we stand. So, if we want to see something else, maybe we need to stand somewhere else.

Dr. Anthony Fauci served as the Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases and became a household name starting in 1984 and until retirement a short time ago. In retirement interviews, Dr. Fauci has talked about his work on HIV/AIDS beginning in the early 1980s. During the 1980s AIDS rapidly moved through the gay community. The rest of the community responded in ways deemed inappropriate, you would hear “Well, of course, they are infecting one another”. To me these comments sounded like another version of “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

In 1989, Dr. Fauci was invited to the Gay and Lesbian Center in New York City to meet with members of the community. While reflecting on that meeting years later with activists who became his lifelong friends, Dr. Fauci stated that it was like going into the lions’ den. “There were 100 of you and only one of me!”. Dr. Fauci had set aside personal insults and negativity to listen to what they were saying, he says it changed him and his approach to clinical trials. Years later under President George Bush, he directed PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which he describes as the most impactful thing he did in his career, saving over 20 million lives in over 50 countries.

What if Anthony Fauci had not accepted the invitation to come and see? What if Nathanael had not accepted Phillip’s invitation to come and see? It takes a special kind of hubris to believe that where I stand allows me to see everything is good and true and holy, every place where the divine can be discovered.

The Holy Spirit blows where she will! always inviting, coaxing, leading. For the sake of our souls, for the sake of the world. May we have the courage, curiosity, and humility to accept the invitation to “come and see”.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Walking down another street

If you’ve ever read Portia Nelson’s poem, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,” you see how she takes you from falling in the crack in the sidewalk and it’s being her fault to the 4th chapter when she progresses from falling into the crack to walking around the crack. Finally, in the 5th chapter, she decides to walk down a different street altogether.

For myself, after a life of blaming others for what happened to me, I decided to walk down another street – the street of taking responsibility, being accountable, not being a victim any longer, and being the “actor” of my actions. It’s made a big difference in my life.

In another venue, that of teaching, I find myself getting frustrated with my learners not understanding the particular math lesson I’m trying to present. Rather than feeding the frustration for both my learner and myself, I’m learning to try different strategies, different examples, different approaches – I walk down another street.

And still in another scene – I like to do puzzles of different kinds.  I used to give up easily and walk away from and throw them away when I didn’t reach successful solutions.  So now I’ve learned to endure the productive struggle, while looking for other ways to solve the puzzles, putting them aside to work on at a different time, place, etc. I get better results.  I walk down a different street.

All of these experiences as varied as they are have taught me how to approach God in prayer.

My early formation in doing this even before I entered religious life was based on childish images of God – the old man with a beard, a judge, and so on. And that didn’t work for me!

As I became more experienced and dissatisfied with the status quo, God revealed God’s self in different ways, with different people, at different times.  I discovered other forms and possibilities for prayer, other suggestions from retreats, reading the “masters,” and listening to other pray-ers on the journey.” I have a new image and a new experience of God. Now I walk down another street.

I just try to be present to Presence.

It serves me well.  I have grown in my relationship with God and others.  I pray on different streets.

Posted in Just Reflecting, News