God Calling??

Do you dream of doing something more with your life? Are you longing for deeper meaning and sometimes feel that there is more to life than what you are currently doing? Maybe God is inviting you to explore becoming a Dominican Sister of Peace. Share your gifts with others who want to make a difference in the world. For more information, contact us to begin a conversation.


 

Storms of Life

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Seeing pictures of endless miles of flooding, of people displaced from their homes from the devastation wrecked by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, I am reminded of both the fragility and preciousness of life.  Such images of toppled homes and cars show us the fragile nature of things and when we see strangers helping each other and the disabled and elderly given appropriate care and concern, the goodness of humankind shines forth and we witness the preciousness of life.

Being safely tucked away from the hardships of these storms, I wonder how I would cope with such conditions. How would I handle staying in a shelter with so many other people with no quiet space or privacy?  Even having mundane routines disrupted can be unsettling; or, not having the comforts of home, where I can sit in my favorite recliner and watch sports, use my laptop to check emails, or sew my quilt designs is disconcerting. What if my home was demolished?  How would I start over again and rebuild my life?  I have the privilege of asking these questions from the comfort of my office, but so many are struggling to answer these real-life questions as they find themselves in the eye of a life storm reaching highs and lows perhaps stronger than a physical storm.

To lose all your possessions, some holding special memories of a person or event, would be difficult to bear.  Of course, we know that material things can be replaced and that our hearts can heal from the storms of life, but the path to get to new ground is not without obstacles and challenges.

All of us experience storms in our life and how we weather these storms reveals much about how we respond to change.  Change is not easy, whether it happens by choice or by uncontrollable circumstances. How do we respond to change?  Do we embrace or resist change when it comes knocking on our door?  Do we give up on what change can teach us or do we give over our controlling nature to God to transform us?  Are we able to ride the tidal wave of uncertainty to see where it will lead us and what will unfold before us?  Change certainly tests our faith, our beliefs, our values and calls us to ponder anew what is important.

As a people of faith, we entrust that God will provide for all our needs, maybe not in the ways we might see fit, but in ways that are fitting for us. When we are attuned to God’s ways, we can see the angels in our lives who offer help, encouragement, and hope.  As a people of faith, we believe that God can make good things happen from seemingly impossible situations.  Faith teaches us to believe in possibilities and to entrust our life to a loving, compassionate God who desires the best for each of us.

Let us pray to be open to change and to being transformed for the better when we encounter the inevitable storms of life.  Perhaps you are being called to a change in lifestyle of living a consecrated life, serving God’s people.  Why not talk with one of our Vocation Ministers about how you feel led to follow this call.

Posted in God Calling??, News

What would you bring?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

As I write this blog, I’m watching the rain turning our backyard into a swamp.  The rain is soft but steady and the water quickly gathers into a small pond.  I know that a rainfall like Harvey would flood our basement and house very quickly requiring us to evacuate.  After watching so much coverage of Harvey victims with their garbage bags holding their possessions, I got to wondering what I would pack if I had to evacuate quickly.  What precious items would be in my black bag?

The first thing that came to mind was the copy of my vows that I signed at my first and final professions. They define so much who I am today.  Then I thought of the small collection of pictures I culled out for use at my funeral- reminders of family, my Dominican Collaborative Novitiate crowd,  my good friends.  (I just stuck them in the envelope with my vows.)  I’d take two crosses hanging on my wall – one a resurrection cross given to me by a dear friend and the other that I received at my profession.  Another much loved mentor gave me a wooden statue of Dominic that she received at her profession in 1952. I couldn’t let anything happen to a Dominic who is as old as me.  I’d add a watercolor painted by another close friend.  Finally I’d stick some earrings that were my mother’s and my dad’s wedding ring into my stash.

As I reflected on why I’d take these items first I realized that they all remind me of relationships and events that have shaped in some way who I am… sisters, family, and friends. They are very valuable to me and would be lost forever if destroyed.  That would you take with you?  What memories and relationships do you hold dear?  My heart aches for all those who lost precious keepsakes in this recent flood and I pray that when the disaster is over, they can begin to gather some new mementoes.

Posted in God Calling??, News

How willing are you to change your mind? Your heart?

Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

I’m always a bit fascinated about what causes us to change our minds?  We finally try the food that we’ve never thought we would like only to discover we like it after all.  We avoid certain speakers or writers, because we wonder what good can come from that person, only to discover that we have something in common with the person.   We avoid activities or events or travel because of the large crowds or distances, later to learn that the activity or place becomes one of our favorites.

So, when I saw an article in the Akron Beacon Journal, “Why some people don’t change their minds?” I was caught.  Writer, Cass R Sunstein, begins with a quiz, “How attractive do you think you are on a scale of 1 to 10?”  He goes on to note that if you choose say a 5 and someone tells you they think you are a 7, you might actually raise your own estimation of yourself.  However, if someone tells you that you are, in their estimation, only a 3, you may be less likely to believe them and less likely to change your own estimation of yourself.  His point is that people are often more willing to change their opinions after receiving good news than after receiving bad news.

You can read more of the article at the link below, but the connection to my life as a Dominican Sister of Peace is the often challenging call, invitation, commitment we made with one another in the prologue to our Chapter Commitments, when we said we would be “Radically open to ongoing conversion into the peace of Christ…”  (https://oppeace.org/who-we-are/our-commitments/)  I sometimes think I am a very open-minded person, but I’m aware of many times when I don’t want to see or hear news or ideas with which I strongly disagree.  I’m aware that asking curious questions is often a way to process through a bias, if I can stay focused long enough to ask the questions without getting defensive.

Sunstein also noted two other common aspects of those willing to change their minds – they are willing to hear from a variety of perspectives, and secondly, they are more likely to accept bad news if they receive the news from someone they trust or like.  Maybe this is how we help each other as Dominicans by listening to perspectives from many people and by asking our friends to walk with us and listen to us as we hear bad news?

As Dominicans we were founded on Dominic’s commitment to searching for the truth within each and every person.  We are called to this search, and as we do so, may we listen, search for the value beneath an opinion that doesn’t match our own, and support each other in hearing both the good and the not-so-good news, so that we can fully become women and men of Christ’s peace built on love, justice, compassion, and mercy.   We need God’s grace, our willingness, and each other to live our lives radically open to ongoing conversion….

If you are interested in learning more about Dominican life and about the upcoming Come and See weekend, please click here. https://oppeace.org/respond-gods-call-discernment-weekend/  or here to contact one of our vocation ministers.   https://oppeace.org/become-a-sister/

Click here to read Cass R. Sunstein’s article, “There’s a Glimmer of Good News about Fake News.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-29/there-s-a-glimmer-of-good-news-about-fake-news

Posted in God Calling??, News

“I am not Smarter than a Second Grader”- Religious Life through Binoculars

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Which lens do you use to look at religious life at this time? Before we discuss this question, let me share with you the story of “I am not Smarter than a Second Grader.”

Two months ago, I ordered a binocular toy online for my eight-year-old nephew so he could explore nature. I checked it before giving it to him. I was so frustrated because the image seen through the binoculars was smaller than the real one.

“Why don’t you give the binoculars to ……” Mom suggested when my nephew came.

“Mom, it does not work” I replied.

“Just give it to him. He may find out how to make it work”

With her strong insistence and my nephew’s excitement, I gave it to him with doubt.

“Wow, it’s so big. Beautiful!”

I could not believe what he said. “How come that happened?”

The design of the lenses caused me to look from the objective lens instead of the eyepiece lenses, making the images I was viewing to become smaller. Since I was so attached to my observation, I did not try the other way but made a hasty conclusion. My nephew was more flexible to try both ways for the best outcome. How can we learn from children like my nephew to be flexibile so possibilities can happen? In this aspect, I have to admit that “I am not smarter than a second grader!”

Let’s apply this story of the binoculars to a view of religious life. Which lens from a pair of binoculars have you used to look at religious life at this time? If looking from the objective lens, you may conclude that religious life has no future and that it is boring because not many young people are entering and most of the sisters are elders. From the eyepiece lens, you will realize that although vowed-member has diminished, the core of religious life has been transformed daily, filled with love, grace, joy, and insight. This core calls us to be bold, more contemplative, more flexible, and more attentive to the signs of our times. It helps us to have faith-fulfilled confidence in our journey in the hands of God’s Providence. If you view religious life this way, you will be more open and have more courage about inviting young women to join us.

To young women, if you feel you are being called live in religious life, do not be afraid. Are you willing to talk with us (oppeace.org) and allow your call about religious life to be transformed?  Then, contact one of our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Do you have a bucket list?

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Perhaps you call it something else like I do.  Mine is an ever expanding “adventures and wish list.”  Over the years, my list has expanded, things have been crossed off either having been accomplished or I’ve decided it isn’t something I really want to do, like bungee jumping. That came off the list after I broke my leg preparing for a trip to the Everglades (that’s another blog).  The thought of reinjuring it . . . well that’s just too terrifying.

August is usually the month when I go on vacation.  This year, I went to Boston, Massachusetts.  In reviewing the “things to do in Boston” section of the tour guide, I came across Whale Watch Tours from the Boston Aquarium and knew I was about to cross off another adventure from my list.  I researched the outfit place to be sure that it adhered to the guidelines under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.  Reassured and carrying my handy dandy tote with sunscreen, a hat, whale watch guide, snacks, water and my cell phone to take pictures, I set off.

Our tour boat, the Asteria, encountered multiple humpback whales feeding, breaching and playing in the smooth ocean waves.  These creatures were magnificent!  To watch them was poetry and prayer.  I recalled Psalm 148:7 – a psalm of praise – where the psalmist sings, “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths.”  Indeed, as the whale breached the surface of the water and hovered in the air for a moment, time stood still and I realized that this whale was praising God in its magnificent whaleness.  Being just as God created it – reveling in the feel of the water, jumping to communicate with the other humpbacks, eating fish by the ton – this whale was alive and in it’s very being praising God.

How do I praise God for the wonder of my being?  How do you?

God calls us to respect all life and that begins with our own lives.  How do I care for my body, mind, spirit and live a life worthy of my call?  I invite you to take a moment to be aware of where you are right now.  Where you’re sitting, standing, laying down…be aware of your breathing, your heart beat . . . God dwelling within and around you – be aware of it all.  In whatever way you feel called to, praise God for the wonder of your being and ask God to help you be the best YOU, you can be.

God calling you to something more?  Contact us, to start the conversation.

Posted in God Calling??, News