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.


 

New Beginnings

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to share in the new beginning for our Dominican Novices at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) in St. Louis, MO.  This year the CDN community welcomed Sr. Phuong Vu (Dominican Sisters of Peace), Sr. Maria Kieu (Mission San Jose) and Sr. Rolande (Maryknoll).  I was grateful to be able to share this sacred time as each Novice started this new beginning in their journey of becoming Dominican!


L-R: Sisters Kieu (Mission San Jose), Phuong (Dominican Sisters of Peace) and Rolande (Maryknoll)

 

New Co- directors, Sisters Cathy Arnold, OP (Peace) and Lorraine Reaume, OP (Adrian) led us in a prayer ritual that was filled with meaning and symbolism for our new CDN community.   Each Novice was asked to bring a small bag of soil from the grounds of their Motherhouse.   During the ritual they would each mingle their soil together and plant three different plants (symbolic of their particular Congregation) into one large planter to form together a living symbol of this new beginning for the present CDN community.  To conclude the ritual, the three Formation Ministers  for the Novices watered this new living symbol. As I participated in this part of the ritual, the watering of the plants symbolized, for me, each Congregation’s willingness to provide nourishing support and love for this grace-filled new beginning for our combined futures.

Mingling the soil of our Motherhouses

In sharing a few pictures from this inspiring moment, I hope that you, too, will experience some of the grace and hope that I felt in being part of this new beginning.  I was grateful to witness the continued growth of our Dominican family through these faith-filled women. Please remember them all this year in your prayers.

Perhaps God is inviting you to consider a “new beginning” as a religious Sister? Consider attending our next “Come and See” Retreat on September 7-9, in St. Catharine, KY. See our flyer for more details. You may also call our Vocation minister for more information about discernment and religious life.

Posted in God Calling??, News

How I said ‘Yes’ to the Lord!

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

“God is good, all the time.”

“All the time, God is good.”

“I say Yes to the Lord; Yes, I say Yes to the Lord”

These words are often chanted and sung by teens and young people. All of us know God is good all the time and it may be easy to say “I say Yes to the Lord,” but doing what this “Yes” requires is not easy, especially when God’s plan is not on our own agenda and God’s way is not our way.

A long time ago, I passed a vocation booth and the Sisters there at that booth stopped me. I wanted to move on but they invited me to come to their booth. Reluctantly, I entered and sat down with them. They began to introduce me to their community. I did not pay attention to what they said because I did not want to enter any religious order at that time. After a few minutes, they asked me for my contact information and I hesitantly wrote down my name and address for them.

As I left, one Sister said, “Please take time to read these materials” while another Sister handed me information about her community.

“OK!” I replied and put the information in my bag.

After going home, I took out the free items I collected from different booths and went through the Sisters’ community materials because I was curious about what I might learn. There was one article written by a new member, sharing her experiences in living with the Sisters. Another article encouraged people to explore religious life. Hesitantly, I emailed the Vocation Director to see if I could meet with her without knowing if it was the right decision or not.

After having a few conversations with the Vocation Director, listening to her challenging and encouraging words, I said to myself; “If I can spend many years studying, why not spend one or two years exploring religious life, about which I know little. Maybe my idea of religious life is different from the reality of this life. If I don’t like it, I can leave, but what I will gain from this experience may benefit me, especially in strengthening my faith.” Finally, I said “Yes to the Lord” and entered religious life.

Now, having lived  with Sisters in community, learning how good God is and how to say Yes to God in a profound way, I can really appreciate the moment the Sisters stopped me and encouraged me to consider religious life. Twenty years later, I can honestly say that religious life is much more than what I had imagined and it is where I have found great joy.

Religious life is a beautiful life. However, it is often hidden or overlooked in the midst of other calls, and many hold inaccurate assumptions about this life. Even though the call to religious life may not appeal to you at this time, you may want to take time to consider what this life offers. If you can say; “God is good, all the time,” “All the time, God is good,” or “I say Yes to the Lord,” then you may want to take another step towards discerning whether God is calling you to religious life.  Our Vocation Ministers can help you with this discernment.  We also have a “Come and See” weekend on September 7-9 this year at St. Catharine, KY, which will give you an opportunity to explore what religious life is about. To register, please click here.

Posted in God Calling??, News

The Life-Giving Gift of Quilting

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Quilting has become my avocation and passion; it all began with a gift given to me by a hospice patient.  Wanda was my first “client” when I started serving as a hospice caregiver.  She loved to quilt and being terminally ill with COPD was not going to stop her from enjoying this life-giving hobby.  Not knowing anything about quilting, she invited me to learn alongside her, even hiring a teacher to work with us in her home.

Every week we would work together on individual projects, exchanging ideas about what fabric colors to select or what designs to complete.  We would have “show and tell” sessions to share what we were working on or completed.  Oftentimes during my visits, she would have to stop and do breathing treatments, and then she would continue talking about quilts and offer encouragement with the projects I was working on.  (Her family told me that they felt her quilting interests gave her life in the midst of her dying.)

Wanda’s projects were dedicated to family and friends, wanting to leave them with a remembrance of her love and care for them.  We enjoyed our quilting adventures for almost three years before Wanda met her Creator.

Before Wanda died, she talked about how lap quilts would provide warmth and comfort to other hospice patients.  Taking this suggestion to heart, I started a quilters group called Wings and Prayers in her honor and memory.  Her idea of providing for others gave birth to the making of almost 200 quilts over the years our group was together.  With each knot that we tied to secure the quilt, we said a prayer and a prayer card of comfort was pinned to each quilt.

What Wanda taught me was far more than quilting.  She taught me to always embrace the moment, to give joy to others, and that creative expressions can be a way of sowing seeds of delight for both the giver and the receiver.  And so I’ve found that God can use me through my quilting to bring joy and comfort to others.  Quilting is a way for me to co-create with the Creator, connecting my creative gifts with the creative genius of God, whose own creativity led to the design of each of us and all that exists in this world.

What are your gifts?  What life-giving gifts can you share with others to make a difference?  Could being a religious sister be your calling and way to be present to others?  If so, take the next step and contact one of our Vocation Ministers.  Let God use you to fulfill the Gospel message of love to all people.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Building Peace, One Bead at a Time

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

“Build PEACE . . . “

A simple phrase.

A powerful phrase.

A lifetime commitment . . .

We are making rosary bracelets to promote peace.  Our Sister Mai-Dung Nguyen had the idea to create these rosaries to share with the people we will meet at the Marian Days Festival in Carthage, Missouri next week.  We will use them also in our ongoing vocation outreach ministry.

Each rosary contains a message in 10 letters – just the right number to create a one decade rosary bracelet.  The messages are; Build Peace, Live 4 Peace, I Love Peace. etc and are spelled out with small white letter beads.  The bracelets include a Cross and a medal of the Blessed Mother.

Many people (sisters, associates, volunteers) have helped create more than 600 of these rosaries. A group of our retired sisters spent several hours inserting them into small bags with a card that suggests how to pray for peace.  We don’t know how many hands have touched these bracelets already nor how many more will be touched by them.  What we do know is that they have already had an impact on those who’ve touched them.

Sr. Catherine Malya, OP puts Peace Rosary Bracelet in bag with the card insert.

When helping to make these rosaries, I discovered that it was a contemplative experience – albeit, I must admit that, at first, I was more frustrated (with my clumsy fingers) than contemplative.  However, as I strung the beads and reflected on the message, I realized that to build peace doesn’t always involve grand gestures or actions. Peace is more often built one bead, one prayer, one smile and one invitation at a time.

Last week, as six or seven of us Sisters were gathered around a small table in the dormitory, where we were staying for the Assembly, we laughed as much as we prayed while assembling the rosaries, correcting misspellings, and putting the finishing touches on each one.  It was an experience of the living communion of saints here on earth.  No, we are not all Saints – but we are all on “the narrow way” as one of our Sisters likes to remind us.  We spoke about how we build peace and of how we are challenged by those who are more intent to build division and un-peace.

Prayer Card Insert

Today as I wear my rosary bracelet, I have been approached by several people asking about my “pretty bracelet.”  When I shared the story of this Peace Rosary and the significance of it to me, I realized that in the simple act of wearing it, I was building peace.

How will you build peace today?

Learn how God is calling you to build peace with your life by attending our next Come and See Discernment Retreat in September.  For more information about this retreat or to speak to one of our vocation ministers, click here.

 

 

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Behind the Scene: Experiencing Sisters’ Life through Residency Program

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

After I finished my bachelor’s degree, I saw an article about a residency program for inquirers or discerners like me to stay and have a real experience with sisters.

– “Should I go or not go? How about my search for a job?” I debated back and forth.
– Well, just a few months with them would be like going for a long vacation. Why make it a big deal?

Finally, I decided to participate in the program and moved forward.

I lived with professed sisters from different stages of life as well as those who were learning to become sisters. They treated me as another member of that community. I signed up for cooking, did house chores, and was involved in other activities. Every week day, we came together to pray and went to Mass, then to work, volunteer, or study. In the evening, we ate and prayed together. After prayer, we stayed in the community room or went to our own rooms.

From the outside, life in the convent seemed very much routine and boring. But, I found that it was not what I thought or observed from the outside. The first week I moved in, the community spent about one hour each evening eating and chatting around the dining table. I thought to myself “Don’t these people have a lot of things to do besides talking like this? It wastes time!” Making this wrong judgment, I left the table while people were still talking.

Later, I realized that by spending time at the dining table, we shared our life stories from work and school, blessings, challenges and difficulties, good and bad news. We also laughed, joked and enjoyed multicultural food and traditions through the meals we cooked. Most of the time, after work, I was eager to head home because I knew that there would be something wonderful waiting for me to receive from this community. Opening the door, I could smell the food and hear laughter from the dining table. It replaced my tiredness right away. Gradually, I began to build up my trust with them, and learned sharing and listening skills as well as how to support and care for each other at a deeper level. All of these activities represented the images of living daily Eucharist.

Laughter and joyful moment can be spontaneous at any time even while washing dishes. Photo was taken at the Dominican Sisters of Peace House of Welcoming in New Haven, Connecticut.

We continued to carry life sharing from dinner table to washing dishes then to prayer time. When we prayed, we shared the word of God that touched and moved us. A lot of times, sharing around the dinner table and listening to the Word of God became interwoven. It was a such profound experience of how to live Scripture on a daily basis and how to bring the Word of God to life, right in the midst of our busy life.

All of this sharing connected me to the outside world as well as to my inner world. I must admit that without this Residency Program experience, my life may have turned in another direction. No words can express enough about my wonderful experience because it was “behind the scenes” and came from the love of God through the community.

If you want to experience living with our Sisters through our Residency Program, or if you want to have a conversation with a Sister about your vocation, you can text, email, or make a phone call to one of our Vocation Ministers. Click here for our contact information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in God Calling??, News