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.

YES

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

This Thursday, we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Mary into heaven. She is the only human that we know of whose resurrected body was united with God.  The rest of us must wait until the end times or second coming for this to happen.  Why was this incredible honor given to her?

It was certainly her radical YES to God’s request to become the mother of Jesus.  An unmarried teenage girl trusted God enough to agree to this request. But it didn’t stop there. Wasn’t it also all the other yesses she said during her lifeline? Consider these examples.

Mary said yes when she joined Joseph as they were forced to flee their homes to escape to Egypt when violence threatened the safety of their child. Despite the incredibly hard journey and their desperate poverty, they went.

Mary said yes when she realized the Jesus wasn’t with Joseph on the journey back home from Jerusalem.  Jesus was back in the temple learning from the elders.  Imagine the fear Mary felt at this separation. Yet Jesus had to ‘go about His Father’s business” alone.

Mary said yes when she stood at the foot of the cross.  She watched as her innocent child was executed by government forces and by hate for what he preached.

Mary said yes in all her experiences especially those that were the most painful.  She is a model for the many mothers seeking safety and survival for their children. She is the model for mothers whose children have been separated from them.  She is the model for the mothers of the executed. She is a model for each of us letting us know what we can say yes in the most sorrowful and fearful times in our lives.

Thank you, gracious God, for giving us this loving model of YES.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates 8-13-19

Why aren’t more Catholics demanding gun safety legislation? Michael J. O’Laughlin of American Magazine thinks they can make a difference. He describes it in this article “How the Catholic Church could help lead a gun control movement.  

Mass shootings are becoming more and more numerous. Our prayers are important but they are not enough. Several bills, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R.8) which prohibits most person to person and gun show firearms transfers without a background check and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 1112) that would require a waiting period of at least 10 days for a completed background check before firearms dealers could proceed with a sale (up from the current 3 days) have been passed in the House of Representatives but are held up in the Senate. Sign this petition from Faithful America to tell Mitch McConnell to stop abusing his power and that “We’ll take care of the prayers. You take care of the laws.”

Many of us are feeling overwhelmed by all the mass shootings. Fr. Tom Reese writes that we can’t let it stop us from acting. “Enough is enough. We must demand that our government do something about mass shootings and other forms of gun violence.”

Did you know that this administration has quietly used regulation to expand gun access? I didn’t. Here’s what they have been doing. Politico fills us in.

One quarter of the world faces a water crisis. Is there a solution? Somini Sengupta and Weiyi CaiAug of the NY Times tell us that city officials can plug leaks in the water distribution systems and recycle wastewater. Rain can be harvested and saved for lean times. Lakes and wetlands can be cleaned up and old wells restored. Farmers can switch from water-intensive crops to less thirsty crops. Here’s what’s happening.

This article in Global Sisters Report describes the work of the Guardian Angel Sisters who are caring for migrants coming through Mexico. Please keep them and all who are helping those seeking asylum in your prayers.

We must pass H.R. 1945 Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. Call your representatives today. Please see this letter from Sr. Anne who is the justice coordinator for the LCWR and was part of the Interfaith Mission to Honduras last spring. Sr. Doris Regan also attended and can fill you in on what they discovered.

On the evening of August 6, police in Honduras attacked public bus for no apparent reason. The bus was filled with students from the University in San Pedro Sula leaving their night classes and heading home to El Progreso. The police threw tear gas into the bus and there was no way to get out except climb out the windows. One of the students on that bus was the sister of teacher we met while we were in Progreso this spring.

The repression of the corrupt and unconstitutional government of Juan Orlando Hernández continues. It is well past time for our government to withdraw its support and stop arming the military and security forces. Ask your members of Congress to support H.R. 1945 Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. The act would suspend United States security assistance to Honduras until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.

Our friends in Honduras have asked us to shine a light on the horrors being perpetrated by the Honduran government on its people. Please share this information widely and make sure your members of Congress know that you care about the people of Honduras. I’ve posted this info on my personal Facebook page as well as on the JCWR page and have tweeted it from @lcwrjpic. Feel free to chare and retweet.

In spite of the increased knowledge of human trafficking, children’s trafficking and exploitation continues. This is a widespread phenomenon that causes enormous suffering throughout the world. It can be forced labor, sexual exploitation and child begging. Read more from CommonDreams.org.

Please take a moment and pray this litany for our ability to end gun violence by Sr. Julia Walsh. Maybe it will give you some energy to act.

Posted in News

Dominican Sisters of Peace Celebrate Ten Years of Memories and Mission

 

Sister Simone Campbell creates a “Living Bar Graph” to illustrate income inequity as a part of her presentation to the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Milestone anniversaries call us to look both ways – backward at what we have experienced, and forward at what is still to come. This is exactly what happened at the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, held July 26-28 in St. Louis, MO.

The Anniversary Event opened with a ceremony celebrating the coming together of eight congregations to form the congregation that is the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Eight leaves displayed on a tree were symbolic of the seed planted, growing together and of the growing works of the Congregation.  The flowing water used by the Congregation at its founding in 2009 was featured in a procession of movement and joy.  The opening address by Prioress Pat Twohill spoke of gratitude for all that has been accomplished in our ministries and our eagerness for the work to come.

Friday’s program featured Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK – Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and an original founder of Nuns on the Bus. Sr. Simone addressed the social and economic inequities that have become commonplace in our nation today and facilitated a discussion of how the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates could reexamine and re-focus their commitment to social justice.

The Congregation’s Leadership team addressed the Assembly participants on Saturday, using a metaphor shared by Pope Francis at the end of his reflection on the Synod with Youth: the image of a canoe, in which the elders help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead. This metaphor of traveling across the water was the theme for the afternoon’s activities of visioning for the future.

Sisters Kathy Broussard (25 years), (left), and Christine Connolly (50 years), (right), lead the procession of Jubilarians, including Sisters June Fitzgerald (25 years), Judy Morris (50 years), Janet Schlichting (50 years), Harriet Agnew (50 years), and Arleen Kisiel, (50 years). Not shown is Sr. Roberta Miller (50 years).

The Congregation’s future was further emphasized as the sisters formally accepted Ellen Coates into the Novitiate.

Since becoming Dominican is a life-long, communal venture, the 25 and 50-year Jubilarians were honored in a Mass celebrated with a friend and brother, Father Ed Ruane, OP, and followed by an evening of shared memories by friends of the Jubilarians. The Congregation’s 2019 Jubilarians include: 25 years: Sisters Kathy Broussard and June Fitzgerald; 50 years: Sisters Harriet Agnew, Christine Connolly, Arleen Kisiel, Roberta Miller, Judy Morris, and Janet Schlichting.

In honor of the Dominican Sisters of Peace’s commitment to peace, the Congregation closed the assembly by presenting a Promoter of Peace award to the Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association. The Promoter of Peace award was created to honor organizations that demonstrate a commitment to peacemaking and reflect the values of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, especially their commitment to women and children.

The Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association, located in Lame Deer, MT, is a coalition of 12 churches from seven faith groups: Baptist, Mennonite, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Pentecostal, whose aim is to build unity among the Christian churches serving the Cheyenne people.

The Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association received a $5,000 donation from the Congregation, as well as a custom-designed tile and plaque designed by Sr. Anne Lythgoe and staff member Ashley Apollonio.

 

Also honored were:

  • Freedom a la Carte: A non-profit organization in Central Ohio whose business, a catering firm, employs and supports survivors of sex trafficking.
  • Hotel Hope: A New Orleans ministry that moves people from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
  • The Lord’s Diner: A ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, the Lord’s Diner has served a hot, nutritious evening meal every day for the past 17 years, feeding more than 5 million people.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexican dancers, a ministry of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in St. Louis, provided entertainment for the event. The ministry’s mission is to promote acceptance and hope through Mexican cultural dances and education.

: Sr. Pat Twohill, right, and Vocations Minister Sr. Pat Dual, left, welcome Candidate Ellen Coates, center, to the Novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
: (Left to right) Staff member Ashley Apollonio, Sr. LeAnn Probst, Reverend Willis Busenitz, of the Cheyenne Ministerial Association, and Sr. Anne Lythgoe. Apollonio and Lythgoe designed and crafted the Promoter of Peace Award.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Dancers were a colorful end to the weekend’s festivities.
Posted in News

Young People and the Future of the Church

Blog by Associate Frank Bevvino

In the Baptism Rite, one of the Gospel options the celebrant can choose from is Matthew 19:14 “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

What a beautiful passage. It is Jesus showing a sensitivity to and a unique understanding of the mind of young people which is unparalleled.

In October 2016, Pope Francis said “Children, who have no problem in understanding God, have much to teach us: they tell us that He accomplishes great things in those who put up no resistance to Him, who are simple and sincere, without duplicity. The Gospel shows us how great wonders are accomplished with small things.”

Adults have squandered the greatest of all resources in the Church: our youth! We have a problem when we subordinate the young to obedience because we feel that the young have little or nothing to teach us and their only role is to follow our lead.

The fancy word used to describe this is “adultism”. Adultism is a bias that adults and institutions have against young people. As parents, we assume the role of teacher and person of authority. It is ingrained in us from our own upbringing. This attitude carries over to our institutions. It is evident in homes, schools and churches.

Conversely, young people assume the role of a person always being tested and evaluated by the adult(s) present.  Remember what we were told as a young person: “children are to be seen and not heard?”

At a recent parish meeting, to discuss the closing of one of our churches, questions arose about low church attendance and the lack of young people coming to church. Many parishioners in attendance (primarily gray-haired) agreed that even in their own families their now adult children were not regular churchgoers and in some cases, their grandchildren were unbaptized and  unchurched.

There have been 16 world youth conferences since 1984. Host cities around the world have welcomed youth from all nations for prayer and festive activities. A look at the agenda of these conferences shows that there are plenty of opportunities for prayer, Eucharistic Celebrations, parties and dances. Each host city establishes the details of the activities and arranges for the venues and the appearance of speakers and celebrities. What I see missing on the agenda is any opportunity for the youth to speak and the Church to listen.

Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa of Blantyre, Malawi, said at a recent press briefing: “If we ignore the call of our young people today and continue with business as usual without recognizing them, without empowering them, it means that the [church] of tomorrow will not be very powerful.”

This year, following the Youth Synod, Pope Francis wrote in Christus Vivit: “Those of us who are no longer young need to find ways to stay close to the voices and concerns of young people. Drawing together creates the conditions for the Church to become a place of dialogue and a witness to life-giving fraternity. We need to make more room for the voices of young people to be heard: listening makes possible an exchange of gifts in a context of empathy… At the same time, it sets the conditions for a preaching of the Gospel that can touch the heart truly, decisively and fruitfully.”

Many dioceses around the country annually hold youth celebrations which bring together their youth for prayer, the Sacred Liturgy and fellowship. How many of these celebrations set time aside to listen to what the young people have to say; to listen to their thoughts and to their concerns?

Perhaps one suggestion might be that every parish in a diocese organize parish youth conferences to discuss with the youth their concerns and select from the group some of the young to gather at a diocesan youth conference.

We need to start a regular dialogue with our youth. We cannot continue to let the clergy and adults guess at what the problems are. We need to talk to the young people to engage them in meaningful and ongoing dialogue. These should not be a once a year event but an ongoing, interactive conversation, where thoughts and ideas can be voiced, developed and exchanged so that we can arrive at solutions where young people see a reason to become engaged in shaping the Church of the future.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Feast of Dominic Jubilee Homily

Blog by Sr. Luisa Derouen, OP

Most of us would agree that the late ‘60’s were challenging years as our country was  turned upside down by the Vietnam war, and our church was turned upside down by Vatican II.  We were in the throes of radical change, and in 1969 when sisters were leaving in droves, Jeanne, Dot and I made final vows. The day before our vow ceremony our novitiate was abuzz with people sprucing up the grounds, busy in the kitchen preparing food, others placing lovely décor around the house and getting the chapel ready.  In conversation with one of the sisters I commented, “ Wow.  I feel overwhelmed and humbled by all that’s being done for us.”  Without batting an eye she said, “Oh we’re not doing this just for you.  The community needs this, and the whole church needs this.”  I felt properly put in my place.  But she was absolutely right, of course.

I could certainly say the same to you, Alverda, Pauline, Helen, Barbara, Terry, Harriet and Judy.  What we are doing is for you, of course, but in these times our community and the whole church needs the witness of your life’s fidelity to God and God’s people.    You and we are giving witness to the power of God’s Spirit at work now at a time when the American public image of the Catholic Church has been profoundly damaged like nothing before in the history of this country.  But God’s Spirit is alive and well in women religious.  For example, from CA to NY God’s Spirit is bringing us elder women religious together with young women and men hungry for meaning and purpose and eager to serve God’s people.  Who could have imagined such a powerful alliance between the Nuns & the Nones, or as we are also called, the Sisters and the Seekers!  And then there are our own women in formation!  Another example is that for the past several years Simone Campbell and we white haired Nuns on the Bus have been proclaiming truth to power on behalf of vulnerable people from so many arenas of life.

And what a model we have in our father Dominic whose feast we celebrate today.

The Dominican order was born out of Dominic’s passion to set people free from the tyranny of untruth.  Don’t we have our own versions of rampant untruth that Paul’s letter to Timothy warns us about? Fake narratives are tickling lots of ears! There was for Paul and for Dominic and now in our time a profound lack of trust in the truth of people’s words and the truth of their lives.

Simon Tugwell says Dominic did not deliberately set out to create something new in the church.  Rather he yielded himself faithfully to the mysterious dictates of providence.  The Church of the late 12th century needed men and women who spoke truth with their words and their lives.  We know well the stories of Dominic’s persistence, in season and out, to be personally present to those hungering for truth.  Dominic shared Pope Francis’s passion for a Culture of Encounter.  Simone Campbell spoke eloquently to us two weeks ago about the characteristics of religious life that nurture our prophetic call.  She said one of those characteristics is that we must touch the pain of our world and allow our hearts to be broken so that we may be present to it all and allow it to shape our lives.

That’s what each of our Jubiliarians has done with her life.  She has allowed her heart to be broken by the pain and need she encountered.  She has been and is the Holy Preaching. For each of them the proclamation of Isaiah from the first reading is so true.  “How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those announcing peace.”  Each has been led by the dictates of Providence to her own unique mountain and has been the presence of God by her life and her words nurturing peace.  I asked each of them to name a specific way that her life has been the presence of God and the Holy Preaching.

Alverda’s life has been a listening presence particularly in her ministry as a hospital chaplain.  She journeyed with the sick and dying in their sacred crisis moments.

Pauline’s life has been a respectful welcoming presence particularly during her years of ministry among the homeless.

Helen’s life has been a loving faithful presence to those among whom she lived and served as a parish pastoral minister.

Barbara’s life has been an empowering presence particularly as a voice for low-income women in domestic violence cases, helping them obtain protective orders and custody of their children, and the assets rightfully theirs.

Terry’s life has been a healing and life-giving presence particularly in her many years as a nurse and midwife.

Harriet’s life has been a compassionate gentle presence particularly in her years with medically fragile children at The Home of the Innocents in Louisville.

Judy’s life has been an advocating presence particularly as Justice Promoter for the congregation speaking and writing to shine a light on many justice issues.

The young seekers out there could well be sitting at the table with any of you wise women we celebrate today because you all continue to be the presence of God’s powerful Holy Preaching.

You our sister Jubiliarians, and all of us, signed a blank check with God decades ago not knowing what the cost would be.  All of us know that it not ourselves we are sure of, but the fidelity of God who lured us with the invitation to religious life. The very end of Matthew’s Gospel we heard today is a fitting reminder to us that in our struggles and doubts along the way, Jesus promises to be with us always.  THAT we can count on.

I want to close with a reflection by Cardinal Leger to the priests of Montreal that I’ve loved for decades and have shared with many over the years.

The demand for fidelity should always be before our eyes as one of the most important aspects of our moral life of which we should be constantly aware.  The act by which we committed ourselves to God and the service of our sisters and brothers was of incomparable daring.  Fidelity is not the hardness of habit or the dead hand of unenthusiastic perseverance.  It is consent reborn and renewed in spite of the changes in life.  It is a return and an approach to the first generosity, to the first giving.  Fidelity is not a blind attachment to a single decision, much less to a principle.  It is the unchanging gift of oneself to the person loved. 

Thank you, sisters, for the unchanging gift of yourself to God, to God’s people, and to us your Dominican family.

Posted in Jubilees