News

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.


 

Hardly Ordinary Times

Blog by Sr. Ceal Warner, OP

According to the liturgical calendar, this is the second week in ordinary time. As I read more news items and watch more TV news or listen to the radio news, I do not believe these are ordinary times at all. But many things in our country, if not the world, have gone from OMG moments to it-happened-once-again moments.

It has become normal to wake up and see that there has been some kind of random shooting in a public place. It has become normal to hear about homeless veterans dying without anyone to provide funeral or burial services. It has become normal that politicians do not do the work we elected them to do, and that means it is normal that only a few people are being served by these elected officials. And now it is becoming normal that government workers are not working, not getting paid and not being allowed to work anywhere else by virtue of the current jobs they can’t do. That all seems pretty extraordinary to me, somehow, and those are just examples in the USA.

So, where does that leave us? Some folks shrug and say “it is what it is”, or “whatever”. We have called, emailed, snail mailed, tweeted , instagrammed, done it all to our congress people, governors, mayors and we see little change.

Don’t stop. The Gospels compel us to show folks there is a better way no matter how hard. Be a pebble in some leader’s shoe or a splinter in someone’s finger; make them groan when they see your return address or your name on a message; be like a dog with a bone, be determined to change these norms ‘cause they are really not normal at all. Be Peace. Preach Peace. Build Peace.

 

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

A Journey That Was Meant To Be

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

It was a horrendous trip – delayed by a winter storm far worse than expected with states and citizens not prepared or used to the amount of snow and ice.  We sat three hours on a closed highway in Oklahoma. Then once we got into New Mexico, we were trying to beat another storm so we kept going.  Unfortunately, it caught up to us about half way through the state and late into the night.  I won’t go into the details but we were traveling much slower than the speed limit and had a few harrowing moments.

Part way through this journey we realized that our experience might have some similarities to those of the refugees that we would be interacting with. We were all desperate to get to El Paso… we wanted to escape the danger of the snow and begin our service, they wanted to escape the violence of gangs and poverty and begin a new, more promising life. We were both at the mercy of the government… we needed them to plow and salt the roads, they needed to be processed and sent to a hospitality center.  We all needed rest and refreshment after difficult journeys.

But there were some big differences.  We could afford to stop at a nice hotel to wait out the storm.  We had a safe, warm vehicle to travel in, plenty of warm clothing, and nutritious food.  We knew where we were going and how to communicate with others if we were stuck.  The asylum seekers were not so fortunate sleeping rough, bringing little more than the clothes on their backs, and with little money for food or shelter. Most had never travelled by plane and where afraid of this final leg of their journey to their sponsors.

We arrived safely in El Paso after 18 hours or so and completed our ministry in the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of El Paso.  Each of us shared the gifts we had for language, cooking, organizing, and cleaning.  We met some courageous mothers and fathers from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Cuba, and Russia whose only desire was to live in peace and provide for their families.  We were blessed over and over again during our two weeks.  It was a journey that was meant to be.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

STAND FIRM AMID HATRED AND CIVILITY

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I had just finished reading an article about the death of John Salter Jr. (aka John Hunter Gray), when I was confronted with the video of white Catholic high school boys taunting an elder Native American Vietnam Veteran at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital.

I was outraged by the despicable display of white privilege looking down its nose at a man who put his life on the line in Vietnam and seeing him as less than human. The Omaha elder was in Washington D.C. for the Indigenous Peoples March when he encountered the group of Kentucky high school boys, wearing “Make America Great Again” caps, who had just participated in the March for Life.

The incident illustrates how white privilege empowers people to behave in the most inhumane, disgraceful, reprehensible, and hateful ways. It enabled white kids to mock the Little Rock Nine at Little Rock Central High School in 1957 in Arkansas. It empowered young white people to douse Salter, Anne Moody, and Joan Trumpauer with sugar, mustard, and ketchup at a segregated lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store in 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi and to burn Salter with cigarettes, throw pepper in his eyes and attack him with brass knuckles and broken glass.

(Sidebar: I am compelled to ask if those were the days when America was great?  Is that what the “Make America Great Again” message means?)

Maybe it wasn’t commonly called white privilege in 1963 and 1957, but the phenomenon was alive and well – the privilege to move through the world without your race defining your interactions, the power to remain silent in the face of racial inequity, the privilege to choose when and where you want to take a stand, the power of knowing that you and your humanity are safe.

Even in the face of the ugliness that was shown in the video (including the image of a high school boy with an arrogant smirk on his face, staring down the Omaha elder), there are some trying to discount or justify the actions of these boys and explain away the inhumane treatment of the Vietnam Veteran – at least two parents reportedly blamed a group of “Black Muslims” and the Omaha elder himself; others blamed his chaperones and parents. (Note: the “Black Muslims” referred to by the parent were actually identified as Black Hebrew Israelites).

But today – the day that we commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. – I would like to highlight those voices that condemned the actions of the boys who mocked the elder: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, Covington Catholic High School and Covington Mayor Joe Meyer (who technically isn’t the mayor of the municipality, Park Hills, where the boys’ high school is located). The people behind these voices chose to stand for what is right, when they could have chosen to be silent.

“… because of the actions of people who live in Northern Kentucky, our region is being challenged again to examine our core identities, values, and beliefs. Regardless of what exact town we live in, we need to ask ourselves whether behavior like this DOES represent who we are and strive to be. Is this what our schools teach? Are these the beliefs that we as parents model and condone?” Meyer wrote in an op-ed.

For me, the voices of those who had the courage to speak out against injustice, remind me of the wise words of Rev. King: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The question today is: Where do you stand in this climate of hatred and incivility?

“However young you are, you have a responsibility to seek to make your nation a better nation in which to live. You have a responsibility to seek to make life better for everybody. And so you must be involved in the struggle of freedom and justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (“What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”, October 26, 1967, Philadelphia)

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Sr. Lois Laronde, OP

Sr. Lois Laronde, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Lois (Therese Albert) Laronde, OP, 83, died on December 19, 2018, at the Mohun Health Care Center of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus, OH.

Born on August 4, 1935, Sister Lois was one of the two children of Lillian McAdoo and Albert Laronde of Arlington, MA. She entered religious life in 1953 after graduating from high school, saying that she wanted to serve God “as best as I know how in return for all of the graces and blessings which He has so graciously given to me.”

Sr. Lois earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Siena College in Memphis, TN, in 1969. Her first ministry was in education; she taught elementary school children in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and West Virginia. She took her responsibility to her students very seriously, attending summer classes and continuing education to keep herself current with changing educational practices.

In the early 1980s, Sr. Lois served as Chaplain at Cushing and Bon Secour Hospitals in Cambridge, MA. Typical of her desire to offer the best to those she served, Sr. Lois returned to study at Emmanuel College in Boston and earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling. She continued teaching in Cambridge before becoming Activities Director at the Windsor House in Cambridge, then worked as an Instructional Aide at the Cunniff School.

Even after her retirement, Sr. Lois continued to use her talents to aid her Congregation, volunteering at Rosary Manor.

In her remembrance of Sr. Lois at the Memorial Mass in St. Catharine, Sr. Ann Bernardine Shaw recalled Sr. Lois ‘sweet and gentle smile, saying it was an outward sign of her inner self, a woman grateful for the graces and blessings of God.

Sr Lois was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Lillian McAdoo Laronde, and her brother, Albert Jr. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Jeanne Laronde.

Sr. Lois was celebrated by her Sisters in Columbus, OH, at a December 28 Memorial Mass at the Mohun Health Care Center Chapel. A Memorial Mass was held on January 11, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel in St. Catharine, KY, and Sr. was interred at the St Catharine Motherhouse Cemetery

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

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

 

Posted in Obituaries

An Influential Moment in My Vocation Journey

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, I read an article by Global Sister’s report where several religious sisters offered reflections about Sisters who had influenced their vocation.  Most of us have memories of people who have inspired us or have been influential in our lives.  When I think of my own life, there are several people who have been significant in my journey into religious life.  There is one Sister in particular though who helped me fully realize the desire and possibility of such a call in my own life.

Some years before I decided seriously to discern a call to religious life, I met my first Dominican Sister. I had met many other religious women, a couple of them I knew fairly well, but I had never met a Dominican.  During the time I met this Sister, I had been secretly pondering the unlikely idea of religious life.   I will never forget the event, the room and the conversation where this Sister, unwittingly, brought this idea about religious life out of the shadows and into the forefront of my thinking.

I met this Sister for the first time during a meeting of a group where I was one of the newest members. The Sister was a returning member, but this was our first time being present together in the group.  As people were milling around, greeting each other before the start of our gathering, I remember noticing the new member as she greeted people, moving around talking, smiling and laughing.  I remember thinking there was something different about her.  Then, when I heard someone call her “Sister”—that really got my attention!  I remember thinking, “She’s a Sister?” I made a mental note to talk to her to find out what religious order she belonged to.  However, as it turned out, she found her way to me first!

The conversation started out as quite ordinary.  We exchanged pleasantries and she complimented me on the prayer service that I had just led with the group. I, in turn, thanked her and asked about where she lived and about her ministry.  I also asked about her community and specifically, if there were any African-Americans in her community.  Now, I was asking that question, simply, as a way to continue the conversation.   But, I will never forget the smile and cheery tone when she responded, “No, but you could be the first!”  Caught off guard, I started laughing, and said, “Oh no, Sister, not me!”  I suddenly found myself asking quite seriously, “Do you think I might have a vocation?”  She looked me in the eye and responded without hesitation, “Yes, I do.”

I never forgot that conversation.  While I was not ready to think about discernment at that time, future conversations, interactions and invitations to visit the community, helped me to eventually discern to say “yes” to the possibility of religious life.   I view that conversation as watering the seed that had already been planted.  It helped inspire the journey that eventually led me to become a Dominican Sister.  There were other Sisters (some from different congregations) and other moments that were inspiring or influential in my journey.  But it was the first Dominican Sister whom I met and our inspired conversation that became an influential moment in my vocation journey.

How about you?  Are there any Sisters who have influenced your life in some way?

In fact, maybe a Sister has even inspired you to think about the possibility of a call to religious life? Yes?  Call us, we can help.J

Peace.

Posted in God Calling??, News