Just Reflecting

“Just Reflecting” features a variety of blogs and bloggers discussing various social justice topics that we encounter in our daily lives, whether it be within our communities or own families.


 

The Power of ONE Word

Blog by Sr. Rosemary Loomis, OP

It could have been a disaster. One word would have corrupted the project. But it didn’t happen – thanks to an honest conversation.

Last year, I wrote a children’s story featuring female white squirrels and the life skills the mother teaches her daughter. All generations of these albino squirrels were called Whitey. The story itself is not flawed; however, the original title was. You see, I had called it “Lessons from Whitey.”

During a massage with Adrienne, my African-American therapist, I mentioned the story and its title. I noticed a definite change in touch when I said the word “Whitey.” I immediately told her to stop and to tell me what had just happened – and yet, I already knew because something also changed for me. She knew that the title was based on the name of the squirrels, and still found it to be very offensive to her and to all African-Americans. And so, we talked. It was an in-depth and wonderful conversation about racism.

“If you were to see this title in a bookstore or library, what would you do?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t touch it, let alone open it, and would probably ask the owner or librarian why they had the book in their children’s collection,” she answered.

Instantly I had the new title: “Lessons from Mama.“ “This title would pique my curiosity about the lessons Mama had to teach. I would definitely check it out,” she said excitedly. I gave her the manuscript to check for any other possible offensive or confusing words, and happily, she found none. It’s interesting that I had been questioning the title for several months, feeling that it might be greatly misunderstood. Adrienne confirmed my suspicions. “Lessons from Mama” was saved!

We often talk about the power of words. They can build up or tear down; they can reveal or conceal; they can offer hope or intimidate. It’s why we have to choose our words carefully. We make choices with our words – and I chose to change ONE word, which has made all the difference.

Lessons from Mama will be available from SisterRosiesBooks@oppeace.org in March 2019.

Posted in Just Reflecting

The Face of God

Sr. Joye Gros, OP

Sr. Joye Gros is currently serving the refugees in El Paso through the direction of Annunciation House.

 

It’s not that I didn’t know to look for the face of God.  It’s just that I was overcome by the blessings of so many, the gratitude of those unable to come, the promised prayers of support, and the mandate to notice the many faces of God.

And I saw them.  It wasn’t hard really:  the wide-eyed expectant children, the watchful eyes of attending parents, the bright-eyed pride of naming home country, the gratitude at my feeble attempts at Spanish (who knows what I REALLY said!), the joy and tears of hearing the voice of and talking to the sponsoring family, the delight in a warm shower, fresh towel and toiletries and clean clothes, the relief of hearing we are NOT the government.  We are the Church – the people of God – here to feed you, provide safe shelter and connect you to your family.

Yes, I saw the face of God. Gracias a Dios!

Posted in Just Reflecting, News

Many Thanks

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

Don’t you just love the list of all the things that happened during 2018?  Here’s my list of all the things/people/events I am grateful for this year.

The members of the Justice Committees – Eco Justice, Immigration Reform, Human Trafficking and Peace and Nonviolence –  who work to keep the congregation and associates informed and active. Thank you to the chairs who keep the committees running smoothly.

The many secular and religious groups that study issues of injustice and educate us on how to work for justice such as LCWR, Network and Ohio Nuns on the Bus, Dominican North American Justice Promoters,  Farm Research and Action Center, Human Rights Watch, Interfaith Power and Light, USCCB Justice for Immigrants, Catholic Climate Covenant, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, BREAD, American Friends Service Committee, Win Without War, Death Penalty Action, Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking  and many others.

Faith in Public Life, especially the Ohio Chapter where interfaith leaders in Columbus meet regularly to address issues around Columbus.

The DSP Communication Department – Alice, Dee, and Ashley – who have been essential in getting the word out about our justice actions.

That the midterms are over, voter turnout was one of the highest ever including 3.3 million voters aged 18-29, a 188% increase over 2014, that Farm Bill passed with provisions protecting SNAP, and that the incoming representatives are talking about finally passing some gun safety legislation, that despite the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, many cities, educational institutions, businesses, and religious organizations are still committed to the principals of this accord.

And finally, my gratitude to all the sisters and associates who have been active in writing, calling, and/or walking for justice. You make my job worthwhile.  Let’s keep it up in 2019!

Posted in Just Reflecting, News

Nuestra señora de Guadalupe

Blog by Lisset Mendoza, Director of the Dominican Learning Center.

She is more than just the mother of Jesus – she is the mother of all Mexicans and part of our Mexican national identity.

I can recall my early childhood years: our family and church community praying the rosary for 12 days before her feast day, going on pilgrimages, dressing up in traditional Mexican indigenous attire, waking up in the early morning hours to visit her and serenade her with songs. All of these memories are near and dear to my heart. My entire family has a strong devotion to our Lady – both Catholic and non-Catholic believers.

Thanks to God and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I became a mother. Two doctors told me that chances of becoming pregnant were 10%. I prayed to our Lady for months and asked her if it was in God’s will to make me a mother, to allow for it to happen. If it were not God’s will, I would learn to live with His plan for me.

After only two months of prayer, I started to have odd symptoms and took a pregnancy test. Then I took another and another!

I called my doctor right away and again she said there was no way, the test must be wrong. She sent me to a lab where they ran a blood test. Sure enough, a day and a half later, she called and officially told me I was pregnant.

My son is truly our miracle child. As my husband and I considered names for our coming child, the name MATEO, which means Gift of God, was our first choice. Our Mateo was born on December 11th,  just hours before the Feast of our Lady. I know this is no coincidence.

Lisset Mendoza and her husband with a statue of our Lady.

I urge you to believe in her magical being and to enjoy one of my favorite songs to her.

¡Feliz día de la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Posted in Just Reflecting, News

Just Reflecting

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”    Hebrews 13:2 (NMW Toolkit p.9)

 

Conni Dubick, OPA

Dear Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates

When I read this Hebrew verse, I smile and think about the image of angels that surround us during this Advent and Christmas season.  It’s a tradition to decorate with lovely angels present at the crib.  But this year in National Migration Week 2019 (January 6-12), our Christmas angels could represent other angels who are perhaps strangers to us.  These new angels might be the immigrant strangers who are barefoot, hungry, and in danger, as they approach our or other international borders.

The DSOP Immigration Reform Committee has decided to describe these other ‘angels’, who are strangers, that DSOP Sisters and Associates meet each day in ministries, neighborhoods, parishes, on the streets, and at the wall by creating a representation of images and words for our “band of angels” who God has sent as strangers in our lives.

Please reflect on your encounters with ‘angel refugees/immigrants/migrants’ and send us a photo, personal art, or your own words.  Use this season of Advent as the time to create and submit your “angel image” by December 20.  Send it to Conni Dubick (cdubick@kent.edu) or contact Conni with any questions.

The IR Committee will launch these “angel images” in time for the January 6-12 National Migration Week to illustrate our DSOP efforts ‘to show hospitality to strangers who are angels and we were unawares.’

The Immigration Reform Committee members are Sisters Alicia Alvarado, Esther Calderon, Gemma Doll, Barbara Kane, Regina McCarthy, Roberta Miller, Rachel Sena, Carol Ann Spencer, Thoma Swanson, Janice Thome, Roserita Weber, Rene Weeks, and Associates Conni Dubick, Judi Engel, Dora Harper, Martha Maloney, Jim Tinnin and Tom Winters.

May you have a blessed Advent.

Posted in Just Reflecting, News