While I do have some introvert tendencies, I score higher on the extroverted side. That fact, coupled with my previous experiences of retreats where the sharing and fellowship were key, led me to steer clear of silent retreats. After all, I took plenty of silent time daily to pray and be by myself. Continue reading →
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This past two weeks Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace have celebrated the life, death, and entry into Eternal Life of four of our Sisters: Carmelite Zibilich OP, Theresina Greenwell OP, Aniceta Pitstick OP, Siena Ward OP, and Gemma Doll OP’s Father, Jane Brown OPA’s Mother, plus relatives of several Sisters and Associates.
As a relatively new Congregation uniting Sisters from eight different congregations and cultures, it is both gift and challenge to get to know and appreciate each other. To this end, we gather in Chapter Meetings, yearly or bi-yearly Assemblies, have monthly webcasts by our Leadership Team, share Daily OPPeace E-News and Weekly Associates E-News, and have set up geographic Mission Groups (and a Free Formed one).
When one of our Sisters pass away, I am especially grateful for the practice of Wake services where family, friends, Sisters and Associates have a chance to share memories of the Sister. When I am able to attend these, whether I have personally known the Sister or not, I have always come to appreciate the person through the eyes of those closest to her and/or influenced by her life and ministry, and I come away feeling privileged to belong to this awesome family of Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace.
Last Saturday, July 11, marked a very special life step for our novice, Beata Tiboldi and for our Congregation as well, as she made her First Profession of Vows as a Dominican Sister of Peace and we welcomed her as a vowed member. This was just two days after we said goodbye to and entrusted our Sr. Siena to God. Both gatherings were celebrations of new LIFE, both a giant leap of FAITH, both graced moments for us to reflect and renew our own gift of self to God and others.
I held all of this in my heart as we sang the Communion Meditation at Bea’s Profession Mass: “How shall I sing to God when life is filled with gladness, loving and birth, wonder and worth? I’ll sing from the heart, thankfully receiving, joyful in believing. This is my song, I’ll sing it with love…How shall I sing to God and tell my Savior’s story: passover bread, life from the dead? I’ll sing with my life, witnessing and giving, risking and forgiving. This is my song, I’ll sing it with love.”
– How Shall I Sing to God by Brian Wren.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
President Obama made the following statement in his eulogy for Pastor Clementa Pinckney in Charleston: “According to Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not inherited. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God. As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God visited grace upon us for He allowed us to see where we’ve been blind.” Click here for the video.
These words linger in my mind as I take time this July 4 weekend to contemplate the events of the world and to ponder my responsibility as an individual American, Christian, and Dominican Associate of Peace. What grace has God visited upon me to see better as I observe the horrific acts of racism and gun violence, the abuse of human dignity in trafficking and immigration policies, and the destruction of the earth through careless inattention. Other issues exist which require careful dialogue including world economic disparity and the need to engage in deeper reflection and discussions on the meaning of marriage, both civil and sacramental. The President said “What grace freely gives me is to have an open heart so not to slip back into a comfortable silence again. If we can find that grace, anything is possible. If we can tap that grace, everything can change.”
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, stated in her book Naming Grace that “Naming the grace that is to be found in the faith experience of the community involves listening to and learning from members of the community. Preaching is the retelling of the story of Jesus in word and deed. In the African American community, no one asks whether the Pastor’s story is the story of Jesus or the people’s story; the community knows that in the end it is the same story.”
I believe that living as a Dominican of Peace Associate is the opportunity to name the grace that I see around me. Hilkert expresses it this way, “If the story of Jesus is a living tradition, it has to be retold anew in every period of history. Never before has the gospel been proclaimed or heard in the way we will announce it from our own unique moment in history.” Since this is my moment in history, I must tell the story of Jesus in today’s world and not slip back into a comfortable silence.
“Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps, then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear amid the uproar of empires and nations a faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope.” – Albert Camus (quoted by PACE E BENE) Continue reading →
“Discernment is that light, which dissolves all darkness, dissipates ignorance, and seasons every virtue and virtuous deed. It has a prudence that cannot be deceived, a strength that is invincible, a constancy right up to the end, reaching as it does from heaven to earth, that is, from the knowledge of me to the knowledge of oneself, from love of me to love of one’s neighbors.” The Dialogue St Catherine of Siena Continue reading →