Associate Blog

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Witnessing for the Both And…

Blog by Marybeth Auletto, OPA, Columbus, OH.

One of the reasons I embrace being a Dominican is our call to study. Long before I became an associate, I was drawn to spiritual and social justice readings and have been blessed with friends who have turned me on to authors such as Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister, and Ann LaMotte. I do not think it a coincidence that these friends are also now Dominicans and together our study has expanded to include Sr. Diana Culbertson, OP, John Dear, and Pope Francis, to name a few.

Often, the most challenging part of study is when you finish it and say, after prayerful contemplation as an individual and as a group, “Ok,  how does what I read fit into my ministry…my faith life…my prayer life…the other parts of the Dominican Charism?” Laudato Si provided a powerful opportunity to grow in how we lived out our mission of caring for the earth.

A few weeks ago, I attended a local gathering/march in honor of Earth Day.  Earth Day events have been happening for years, but I believe this was likely the best-attended event of late, due to the “Science” theme that drew not only environmentalists but teachers, doctors, grandparents – all who believe in “science, not silence!”

There was a sign-making table and I had noticed that unlike most previous marches/gatherings I have attended, there seemed to be a lack of signs that were faith-based.

I am not an artist but managed to come up with what I thought was a meaningful slogan and added some symbols…and then anxiously waded back into the crowd.  I began to feel self-conscious…will the younger people think me weird? Was this sign even appropriate? After several minutes of scanning the signs, I was relieved to see another person of my generation with a sign similar to mine. At the end of the march, a man who looked to be in the millennial age bracket came up to me and told me he liked my sign. I hoped my smile and sincere thanks expressed the gratitude I felt from his affirmation!


Posted in Associate Blog

Something Lost, Something Gained

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

Last Friday, someone asked me (kind of out of the blue): “Do you know what IHS means?” Surprised, I answered: “Well, yes it’s on my Profession Ring and I was told they are the Latin or Greek initials for Jesus Christ Savior.” And I held out my hand to show off the simple gold ring I have worn since making my final vows in 1965. In doing so, I was reminded of how much this symbol has meant to me over the years. Though I don’t think of it a lot, it has always been a quiet reminder that I have been given a special gift of a call to religious life as a Dominican Sister, and that I have given my life gladly in response to this gift, walking with and trusting God with “all I have, all I am, and all I will ever be” in vowed live in a community of prayer, study and service*. (*quote from Timothy Radcliffe, OP).

It was less than a couple of hours later when sitting down with a friend at a restaurant, I just happened to notice the ring was missing on my left hand. I was not aware of it having slipped from my ring finger, and could not imagine how or to where it would have disappeared. Alarmed, I began searching my pockets, my purse, the seat and floor around us. After finishing our meal, we both searched the ground all the way back to the car, around and inside the car—all to no avail. The ring was gone. The search has continued, but with less and less hope of finding it.  It was something precious to me, but now something lost!

As I reflected on my deep feelings of loss around this precious ring, I asked myself why was it so important to me? What meaning has it carried for me? It seemed that losing it was causing me to reflect on my graced life, stirring up deep gratitude as memories of sisters, classmates, friends and family, people with and among whom I have ministered, places where I was privileged to visit, live and/or minister came to my mind. So the shock of this loss was now gifting me with a renewed recommitment and an ever-deepening appreciation for all that this ring has symbolized for me.  Focusing on the countless precious gifts this life has poured on me these past 50+ years, the pain of losing it is receding. Yes, something lost, but also something gained… Is it time for me to simply hold on to the renewed and deepened meaning and let go of the symbol? Could be, but I am still asking St. Anthony to find it and return it to me if he can! And I probably will keep looking for it.

Have you ever lost something precious and find that in the losing, you have gained something more?

Posted in Associate Blog

Faith Lights Our Way in Darkness

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

The family of Robert Godwin Sr. delivered a powerful message over the last two weeks: Faith is our saving grace in our darkest moments.

In the midst of tragedy and heartbreak, family members were able to clear their heads of emotional poison and forgive the shooter who randomly killed their 74-year-old patriarch and posted his crime on social media for the world to see. The seemingly senseless murder gripped the nation and launched a nationwide manhunt that ended two days later, when the gunman took his own life, after being cornered by police.

I can’t begin to imagine what it took for Mr. Godwin’s daughter to get to the place where she could declare “The thing that I would take away the most from my father is he taught us about God … how to fear God, how to love God, and how to forgive. Each one of us forgives the killer.”

What I do know is that her statement helped me to manage my emotions – and I didn’t even know Mr. Godwin.

After seeing an image of Mr. Godwin’s face (right before he was shot) on a news report, I felt sorrow, disgust, anger, confusion, frustration and heartbreak all at the same time. I was in shock and disbelief that this father and grandfather was walking down a street in Cleveland, Ohio on Easter Sunday when a seemingly unhinged gunman randomly chose him and intentionally shot him.

Easter Sunday –a day when we are reminded that we can find strength and ultimate hope in Christ, who has conquered death and can sympathize with human suffering; a day when we are reminded to entrust ourselves more fully to our faithful God, no matter what befalls us.

Perhaps it is fitting that family, friends and community members gathered on Easter Saturday to celebrate the life of Mr. Godwin. On that day, our gospel reading reminded us once again of our mission to proclaim the Good News of the Lord to all.

Members of the Godwin family – like the disciples in the scripture reading – have been bold in their testimony that the Lord is with them and that the Holy Spirit is giving them the courage, strength and wisdom to proclaim that there is a hope beyond all other hope when we are in despair and engulfed in darkness.

Like the Godwins, those of us who call ourselves Christians (disciples of Christ) should share the light that we have received with those who are living in darkness. The Godwins even shared God’s truth with the shooter by forgiving him.

My hope is that we can follow the example of the Godwins by living our lives with zeal and devotion to God through prayer, through faith, through charity, and through love. When we bring the light of Christ to others (by showing care and concern and through our just actions), we help them connect with the Risen Lord.

My prayer is that we share God’s love with those who have no one to comfort them, with those who are in need, and with those we consider our enemies and that we always remember that even Jesus forgave his condemners from the cross.

“I promise you, I could not do that if I did not know God, if I didn’t know him as my God and my Savior, I could not forgive (the shooter)”…the daughter of Robert Godwin, Sr.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Do not be afraid – Go, tell!

“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary…ran to announce the news…. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and…said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell…'” – Matthew 28

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

Today I am thinking about these women running to announce the news of Jesus’ Resurrection – and about all those who down through the centuries have continued to tell the story for 2000 years – and especially those in our own lives who have passed on their faith to us!

In reflecting on the wealth of joy, peace, guidance and wisdom that has filled my life because of those who shared their faith with me, those who helped nurture my love for Christ and my faith in his Resurrection, I am deeply grateful for all those announcers of Good News to me.

When I was about a five year old (before our family became Catholic) my sister, Ruth, and I would go with the neighborhood kids to a Baptist Sunday School held in borrowed rooms of the Will Rogers Public School building down the hill from our house. We prided ourselves in our perfect attendance record – and were rewarded by special prizes which we cherished beyond their worth! Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Moving from “Invitation” to a “Radical Welcome”

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

What is Radical Welcome?

I’ve been pondering a question this weekend: How do we move from invitation to radical welcome?

The question emerged on Saturday during the Midwest Mission Group Meeting in St. Catharine, KY, where we engaged in a discussion about Living Interculturally; and it’s been begging me for an answer since then.

I found that before I could answer that question, I needed to answer the obvious question: What is radical welcome?

I decided that radical welcome means asking people to be fully present and to share their total being – their culture, their experiences, their voices.

It means moving beyond inclusivity to a place where we genuinely want to engage in truly meaningful mutual relationships. It means valuing the culture, experiences, voice, and entire being of each individual in our community. It means ensuring that each individual’s presence, gifts, and perspectives will be valued and visible and will influence the community’s identity, structure, mission and ministries. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog