Celebrating our 2017 Jubilarians

Join us in celebrating our Dominican Sisters of Peace celebrating 50 years of religious life.

Sr. Nancy Ames, OP
Sr. Patricia Cusack, OP
Sr. Joye Gros, OP
Sr. Carole Hermann, OP
Sr. Anne Kilbride, OP
Sr. Mary Ruth Leandres, OP
Sr. Maria Emmanuel Martinez, OP
Sr. Marilyn Mihalic, OP
Sr. Marietta Miller, OP
Sr. Charlene Moser, OP
Sr. Mary Riley, OP
Sr. Rose Ann Van Buren, OP

*View a full list of our Sisters celebrating other milestones in religious life.

What Happens at a Virtual Discernment Retreat?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

To help single women discerning God’s calling, last weekend, September 11-13, we hosted an online discernment retreat “Listening to God’s Voice with an Open Heart.”  Ten discerners participated. Our candidate Cathy Buchanan and many sisters were involved in the retreat as companions, supporters, and speakers.

Spread throughout the retreat were prayers, presentations, reflections, and sharing. We also showcased some videos about the Dominican Sisters of Peace. These videos ranged from a short video about the Motherhouse in Great Bend, KS with some Sisters offering messages of affirmation to the discerners; an overview highlights of the previous ‘Come and See’ event at the Motherhouse in St. Catharine, KY; virtual tours at the Motherhouses in Columbus, OH and Akron, OH.  We also watched a video on how our Sisters live out the Dominican pillars and charism.

Every night, we held an optional social, where some discerners joined our Houses of Welcome communities in Connecticut and Columbus for games, such as a scavenger hunt and Scattergories, which provided humorous exchanges and the opportunity to get to know one another better.

When it was time to pray, we lit candles to symbolize our unity, despite the geographic distances that separated us.  We experienced various forms of prayer, including preaching, guided meditation, Lectio Divina, and Dominican Praise with local communities in Wichita, KS and New Haven, CT. We provided a link for an online Mass, and participants could tune in to a Mass of their preference. The retreatants also had opportunities for personal prayer, reflecting, journaling, and integrating their retreat experience.

For the discernment session on Saturday morning, Sr. Pat Dual introduced some critical components of the discernment process and how it differs from decision making.  In the afternoon, we held a panel discussion on, “Living out our call as a Dominican Sister of Peace,” with Sr. Pat Connick, Sr. Ana Gonzalez and Sr. Ellen Coates zooming in and sharing their vocation journeys and life as Dominican Sisters of Peace. On Sunday, Sr. Bea’s presentation highlighted and integrated the weekend’s journey and ways that retreatants could continue moving forward in their discernment.

Sharing also occurred in many forms. In multiple breakout rooms, arranged by Associate Mary Ellen George OPA, the retreatants were able to share their reflections and ask challenging questions in one-on-one meetings with Sister companions and in small and large groups.

The discerners expressed their gratitude for this retreat. They experienced God’s presence and found some common ground among Sisters, their peers, and about their vocational calls. Some said they received clarification, reassurance, or comfort in their own discernment, which brought them joy and peace. Two retreatants offered these reflections:

“This virtual discernment retreat was an awesome experience and time well spent. I received great counsel regarding my discernment journey. The sisters who acted as mentors for us throughout the weekend cared deeply about helping us understand their lifestyles. This weekend was a great blessing to me.” Paula D.

“It was such a blessing to be part of the September virtual discernment retreat! In the midst of all the COVID chaos, it was a welcomed time to relax, rejuvenate, and really focus on trying to hear God’s call.  I especially loved the opportunity to meet 1-1 with my Sister companion to talk about our journeys and her experiences as a Dominican Sister of Peace!  While my vocation still isn’t crystal clear, it was a big comfort to hear that many of the Sisters and my fellow retreatants had similar stories and experiences of the discernment process.  Thank you, Dominican Sisters of Peace!”  Sarah

 

The discerners were not the only ones who experienced feelings of inspiration and joy. The sisters who joined us as companions and presenters also felt that they were renewed, had great hope for the future, and felt privileged to journey with these discerners.

When asked about this retreat, Sr. Rose Mary Stein, OP, said, “My experience at the online discernment retreat was most inspiring, rewarding, and very prayerful.  As a Sister Companion, I was assigned to meet with a discerner, and she was impressed to learn how I eventually came to my decision becoming a sister.  I know the Holy Spirit had put us together as we shared our stories and had a number of things in common. Many of the questions the discerners asked during the large group session could be answered by one of the Sisters because they had a story or experience that responded to the question…I was blessed to have been included in the retreat.”

God’s grace-filled days were upon each of us in many ways during this retreat. We believe that the seeds and spirit of this retreat will continue to grow and journey with each individual no matter which direction each person takes. Click here for photos from this retreat.

If you are interested in knowing more about our vocational discernment programs, contact us and we will be happy to share details about these programs.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Peace and Justice Updates: 9.16.2020

Water With Blessings 

Please join Sister Judy Morris and Water With Blessings for Give For Good Louisville on Thursday, September 17.

Water With Blessings provides safe and easy to use water filters to mothers around the world, with just one condition – that they share clean water with three other families. Water With Blessings has helped to provide water to more than 400,000 households, including in Haiti, Honduras, and the Navaho Nation.

You can donate on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 by clicking here.

World Cleanup Day

EARTHDAY.ORG is teaming up with Let’s Do It World and Keep America Beautiful to support World and National Cleanup Day this Saturday, September 19th.

COVID-19 has postponed most large-scale volunteer events, but trash in our environment continues to pile up. You can help us act on trash pollution and do it safely. Either by yourself or with a small group of family, friends or coworkers, you can make a difference by cleaning up litter by your favorite park or trail. Visit our registration portal to show that you’ve participated in World Cleanup Day. We have all the information you could need to do a cleanup safely — download our safety checklist!

Check out our Earth Challenge 2020 app to record the composition and amount of trash that you collected. Every data submission, including yours, will help researchers track global litter trends as part of the biggest citizen science project in the world.

Stand Up to Stop Executions

The Catholic Mobilizing Network has re-launched a petition urging Attorney General William Barr to reverse course on federal executions — a practice which he played a lead role in restarting this summer after a 17-year hiatus. Since the resumption, the federal government has carried out more executions than at any other comparable time in the past 70 years.

Please sign here to tell Bill Barr to follow true Catholic teachings and stop the executions!

Tell Amazon to Stop Using Dirty Fuel

Amazon Web Services is the largest cloud computing company in the world and consumes an enormous amount of energy from dirty coal, oil, and gas. It’s adopted an unambitious greenwashing “Climate Pledge” to be net carbon zero by 2040, but that means it can buy carbon offsets and continue to burn dirty fossil fuels that pollute our air. In fact, its carbon footprint grew 15% last year! The first step to real change is exposing Amazon’s hypocrisy.

Tell Amazon that you see through its corporate spin. It’s time to end reliance on fossil fuels once and for all, and this is the decade that counts most. Click here to sign the petition.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

What Is at Stake?

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

As a critical election nears, it is time to focus on being a “common good” voter.  We do not hear the words “common good” often, but those words are imperative in any election.  Too often we are stuck in “tribes:” pro-science or anti-science, liberal or conservative, Trumpster or anyone-but-Trump, masked or unmasked.  But truly, the only words that matter are “common good.”

Over the next weeks, I will be looking at a few of the social justice issues that demand our attention, especially in light of our own congregational commitments.

 

 

Health Care:

  • Congregational Commitment: Promote justice through solidarity with those who are marginalized, especially women and children, and work with others to identify and transform oppressive systems.

With the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), 20 million citizens received health care coverage, including nearly 3 million children. Persons with pre-existing disabilities could receive coverage, and young adults, who often cannot afford health insurance, could remain on their parents’ policies.

A March 2020 Gallup poll shows that more than half of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act. Support of the ACA has actually increased under the current administration. But the 2020 Federal Budget proposed $844 billion in cuts over a decade, for a budget decrease of 85%.  Outreach and policyholder assistance has been cut by 90%, so many people don’t even know that they are eligible for coverage.

The 2020 budget also includes $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts — such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps — and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to federal disability benefits.

Care for our children, our elderly, the weak and the marginalized are suffering death by a thousand cuts. We must act as the voice for those who will be left without healthcare.

Climate Change

  • Congregational Commitment: Foster God’s web of life personally, communally and ministerially by advocating and supporting just policies and decisions to reduce the impact of global climate change.

During the last three years, the current administration has attempted to roll back 100 environmental rules. These include everything from lowering fuel efficiency standards (both a climate and a pocketbook issue), to allowing coal power plants to emit greenhouse gases, to allowing hunters to kill animals while they are in hibernation, a practice that can be compared to shooting a human while she is asleep in her bed.

Five million acres have burned in the western United States and more than 30 people have died in wildfires that broke last year’s records, which broke the records of the year before. According to Michael Mann, the director of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center, “It’s clear that ‘dangerous climate change’ has already arrived,” Mann said. “It’s a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get.”

Meanwhile, hurricanes and other devasting natural disasters are becoming more common and more deadly. Jascha Lehmann, lead author of a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, says that climate change causes the extremes to become more extreme – the hot and dry areas become even more hot and dry, causing both destruction by fire and death by famine, and wet areas get warmer and hold more moisture, making hurricanes stronger and more dangerous,.

The current administration withdrew the United States from the Paris Accord, a monumental agreement with 196 nations that moved us to address climate change with serious commitment.  As California, Oregon and Washington burn, this serves as a precursor to what will happen to the rest of the United States if we ignore our present dire reality.

We need to become the voice for our world, to save it – and us – from destruction.

As we continue to consider how to be voters for the “common good,” do your own research on the topics that we have raised today and those we will discuss in the coming weeks. How will you speak up to stand for the marginalized, and to honor and value our common home?

Our voices need to be heard.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

I bet you think you know the answer to that question, right?  Our whole approach to life is the practice of peace: being peace, building peace, preaching peace.

So why am I feeling a little bit like I am at war? At war with the stress of the pandemic, the resulting sense of chaos, or lack of direction, the uncertainty, anxiety, and tension of sheltering in place all the time.  As part of our Assembly Chapter Planning Committee, I’m deeply embedded in the processes we need to create in order to form a spirit-led direction for the next six years and plan an election process that will truly discern who might lead us into the future as Dominican Sisters of Peace. A very demanding task!

NOT ONLY THAT, the eruption of racial violence, Black Lives Matter protests and my own awakening to the long list of ways I enjoy the privilege of being a white person has been heavy on my heart. ON TOP OF THAT, we are getting close to election day and I am quite concerned that we will have to endure another four years of rising division, a President who cannot tell the difference between lies and truth, and who wraps himself in a pseudo “pro-life” posture. In my opinion.

It’s enough to drive you crazy. It feels like everything is falling apart.

Pema Chodron, a Buddhist monk, wrote a beautiful book: “When Things Fall Apart.” I’ve had it quite a while now and just went back to it to seek out her wisdom once again.

She offered me this wonderful, balanced perspective: “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy… Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.”

It’s the not knowing part that speaks to me, as a person who likes to know, to understand, to have a plan and a mission. My dad was a great problem-solver. He believed that if you kept working at understanding something that was broken, you could eventually figure out how to fix it. He could fix anything: electrical, plumbing, motors, washing machines, bicycles.  I come by my urge to problem-solve from him.  And he never went to war over a broken pipe or flat tire.

I’m trying to peacefully be comfortable with that not knowing part. It’s a new way of practicing peace for me.

Dear God, I need your help to embrace this peaceful way of not knowing. Yes, in your wisdom, things do fall apart and then they come back together again. Help me to have room in myself to not know when or how we will emerge from chaos, from pandemic, from social conflict and division. Help me to recognize when I am at war with all that is falling apart. Help me to be a person who practices peace in all things.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Word

TRUE FRIENDS GIVE YOU ROOM TO GROW

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I’m going to sit this right here:

“Sometimes, you have to stay silent, because no words can explain what’s going on in your heart and mind.”

Let that sink in:

“Sometimes, you have to stay silent, because no words can explain what’s going on in your heart and mind.”

Understand one thing — this is not the “silence is complicity” silence. This is the silence that is necessary if you want to keep that card that allows you to walk in both worlds.

Some of you – who are probably not reading this – have no idea what I am talking about. But those of you who do, please stay with me.

During the past several weeks, I have been tested by a number of people who apparently think (operative word) that they know more about what I do than I do. This can be very distressing, especially when I understand that they only see a small glimpse of my world.

Probably what troubles me the most is that I wonder if there is something about me that speaks to this idea that something within me is lacking?

So, today I pay homage to my two strong parents who taught me that the world may not accept me for who I am, but that I am enough!

 

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
― Alice Walker

Posted in Associate Blog, News