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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

Reflecting on the Scriptures – Matthew 13

Blog by Pat Schnee, OPA

Like many other people, I have kept a prayer journal over the years. To be completely honest, I use the term “kept” rather loosely. Sometimes I look back and see writing day after day, week after week, for several months before the entries become sporadic and the empty pages more frequent…  I stop. Then, after some time, I start again.

Looking back over those journals I see traces of today’s gospel played out in my own life.

I see where I have begun a spiritual practice and then, over time, other demands in life interfered, called me away… until the practice became only a memory, choked out by the weeds of my own life. I see times when a book I read or a retreat experience inspired me. And for a time my fervor leapt off those pages! …until it didn’t.

I expect my own spiritual life is not unique. I think most of us experience highs and lows in our interior life, as our fervor waxes and wanes. Though God consistently reaches toward us, offering God’s self in love, our response has its peak moments and its valleys.

It is consoling for me to know that the abundant harvest in the gospel is not based on fervor but on faithfulness. While our feelings may come and go, warm and cool, God’s love can produce an abundant harvest in us if we are faithful, if we keep showing up. We keep praying. We keep serving the poor. We keep caring for others. And so we work the soil.

And then God’s love in us produces a life that “bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”


Posted in Associate Blog, News

Associate Blog

A Reflection for June 13, 2023, on the Gospel of Matthew 5:13-16
Mary Marxen  OPA

I find it hard to imagine a world without either salt or light.  Most of us have grown up with seasoning for our food, and light in our homes that have allowed us to work long after sundown. We only need to “flip a switch” and our room is filled with light.

One day not so long ago, my electricity went out for several hours.  In order to see, I had to light an oil lamp and I got a taste of what the early settlers had to go through when the sun went down.

Today, our gospel is telling us that we, you and I, are to be salt and light for each other.  We are to flavor the lives and light the way so that others do not stumble in the darkness.  This can work if we but take one day at a time and try to make a difference.


Posted in Associate Blog, News

Blessing of Memorial to Enslaved Persons, A Reflection on John 16:12-13

Reflection by Elaine Riley, OPA

When the Spirit of Truth comes, the Spirit will guide you to all truth. John 16:13

As I reflect upon this memorial dedication to the enslaved, I’m reminded how this dedication’s origin was really formed at the reconciliation service held in Bardstown, KY, in 2000.

Little could have anyone ever imagined that this reconciliation service would be the key element used in calling forth the Spirit of Truth, as Sr. Joan Scanlon, then piesident of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, formally acknowledgd and
ask forgiveness for the owning slaves.

As the Sisters took this first crucial step, it would require profound courage in acknowledging the truth, to apologize and ask forgiveness for the truth, and to take ownership of the truth. Once this acknowledgement was spoken, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH emerged. This was our first encounter of witnessing the SPIRIT OF TRUTH challenging the Order who preached the Truth, to tell the Truth. Because for many years this “Unspoken Truth” was allowed to lie dormant within the Dominican Family’s historical archives.

But just as there’s an appointed time for everything, the Spirit of Truth would have to wait patiently before guiding
the Sisters to the “I WAS HERE” presentation on October 2, 2022. At this remembrance and blessing ceremony, the Sisters recognized and honored the contributions of the Enslaved. We also learned, through the research of Catholic Historian Walker Gollar, the first names of the very first women and men enslaved at St. Catharine.

And just when we felt that the Spirit Of Truth had nothing more to say, the “spirit” would once again emerge, taking the
spotlight, as Sr. Rosemary Rule summarized that St. Catharine’s Motherhouse was a place of injustice and pain for the enslaved persons who helped build it in 1822. Painfully, this was another “Unspoken Truth” now spoken.

Clearly, it was the pursuit of telling the Truth which has brought us to assemble here for this memorial dedication
honoring the Enslaved who once walked these sacred grounds. This monument is a true testament to how the lives of the Dominican Sisters and the lives of the Enslaved are inseparable.

So, it is only fitting that the Enslaved spirits of Grace, Lucy, Milla, George, Leanard, Robert, and the names unknown, take their rightful place here in this cemetery alongside their Dominican Family.

For this monument will always be a constant reminder that the Enslaved were here, when they journeyed to St. Catharine’s with the Founding Women who joined the order.

YOU were here working the fields, tending the livestock, and performing other domestic duties to Sisters, who may or may not have known your names.

YOU were here, at times broken and wounded in spirit, as a result of the oppressive injustices thrust upon you.

And yes, YOU were here, sometimes seen or unseen working among and alongside  of the First Dominican· Sisters of the United States.

To the Enslaved persons who once walked these sacred grounds of St. Cathaiine’s, may your eternal spirits rest peacefully with the Dominican Siste of Peace. And hopefully in time your “SPIRITS” will no longer feel like a MOTHERLESS CHILD, because the SPIRIT OF TRUTH HAS SPOKEN.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Do Not Let Your Heart…

Blog by Associate Merrylou Windhorst

Do not let your heart be troubled, have faith in me.

The Gospel tells us, have faith in me. Thomas doubts again …”Master, we do not know where you are going?” Perhaps we too are like Thomas sometimes, asking Jesus for reassurance, thinking that we are left alone, on our own to work things out. We know that we need to listen to the Lord’s promises, to accept his assurance, to allow him to remove our troubles from our hearts, or at least provide an option. And yet, we must realize, that the Lord is in “the driver’s seat” only if we let Him take the wheel!  Fear removal requires Faith!

“Fear not” appears in the Bible 365 times! These words are a gift. With FAITH in HIM, we have the deepest personal security in life, knowing that all can be found in him, in faith, in our church, in our community, in prayer, and in each other!

Fear IS a four-letter word, but so are HOPE , LOVE, , READ, CARE, GOOD and HELP!

Posted in Associate Blog, News