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.


 

An Influential Moment in My Vocation Journey

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, I read an article by Global Sister’s report where several religious sisters offered reflections about Sisters who had influenced their vocation.  Most of us have memories of people who have inspired us or have been influential in our lives.  When I think of my own life, there are several people who have been significant in my journey into religious life.  There is one Sister in particular though who helped me fully realize the desire and possibility of such a call in my own life.

Some years before I decided seriously to discern a call to religious life, I met my first Dominican Sister. I had met many other religious women, a couple of them I knew fairly well, but I had never met a Dominican.  During the time I met this Sister, I had been secretly pondering the unlikely idea of religious life.   I will never forget the event, the room and the conversation where this Sister, unwittingly, brought this idea about religious life out of the shadows and into the forefront of my thinking.

I met this Sister for the first time during a meeting of a group where I was one of the newest members. The Sister was a returning member, but this was our first time being present together in the group.  As people were milling around, greeting each other before the start of our gathering, I remember noticing the new member as she greeted people, moving around talking, smiling and laughing.  I remember thinking there was something different about her.  Then, when I heard someone call her “Sister”—that really got my attention!  I remember thinking, “She’s a Sister?” I made a mental note to talk to her to find out what religious order she belonged to.  However, as it turned out, she found her way to me first!

The conversation started out as quite ordinary.  We exchanged pleasantries and she complimented me on the prayer service that I had just led with the group. I, in turn, thanked her and asked about where she lived and about her ministry.  I also asked about her community and specifically, if there were any African-Americans in her community.  Now, I was asking that question, simply, as a way to continue the conversation.   But, I will never forget the smile and cheery tone when she responded, “No, but you could be the first!”  Caught off guard, I started laughing, and said, “Oh no, Sister, not me!”  I suddenly found myself asking quite seriously, “Do you think I might have a vocation?”  She looked me in the eye and responded without hesitation, “Yes, I do.”

I never forgot that conversation.  While I was not ready to think about discernment at that time, future conversations, interactions and invitations to visit the community, helped me to eventually discern to say “yes” to the possibility of religious life.   I view that conversation as watering the seed that had already been planted.  It helped inspire the journey that eventually led me to become a Dominican Sister.  There were other Sisters (some from different congregations) and other moments that were inspiring or influential in my journey.  But it was the first Dominican Sister whom I met and our inspired conversation that became an influential moment in my vocation journey.

How about you?  Are there any Sisters who have influenced your life in some way?

In fact, maybe a Sister has even inspired you to think about the possibility of a call to religious life? Yes?  Call us, we can help.J

Peace.

Posted in God Calling??, News

A Daughter’s Reflection

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

As I write this blog, my Mom is in hospice care at my oldest sister’s place in Texas.  Since I can’t be there, I have pictures of my Mom on my computer screen to keep her close.  One of the pictures is a poignant one of Mom with my sister’s dog, Oreo, resting on her lap and her hand resting gently on his head.  Whenever my Mom visited my sister, Oreo served as a source of comfort to her.  How fitting that he lovingly provides comfort to her now.

I am mindful that in this Advent season of waiting, my Mom eagerly awaits being reunited with her Creator, with my Dad, and with all her loved ones who are with God already.  She has expressed her acceptance of these final days with us and her readiness to be with God.  She is a woman of great faith and trust in the Lord.  Her daily devotion of prayer for her family is something we will all miss and now becomes our gift to each other.  As the light goes out on my Mom’s earthly existence, I can feel God’s presence, knowing that this is a sacred time for our family of seven children.

Since writing the above two paragraphs, my Mom is now in heaven.  She joined the choir of angels on December 26 and her waiting fittingly came after the Advent season.  I can only imagine her joy at seeing my Dad and being in the loving embrace of her Creator.

The night before my Mom died, my oldest sister asked how I wanted to be informed of Mom’s passing—if I wanted to know as the time appeared closer or after she ascended into heaven. I told her I wanted to be notified when the time was close so I could light a candle for Mom.  Of course, when I received the call to light the candle, it was both a sacred and sorrowful moment.  Moments after the first phone call came my sister called again to tell me “Your Mom is in heaven now.”  With my husband at my side, we wept for our loss and yet felt a happiness for Mom that her prayers for a peaceful death happened.

Mom lived for 92 years, the same age that her mother passed away.  Us seven siblings and some of her grandchildren will be celebrating her life at her funeral Mass in Plano, Texas on January 25.  Mom was devoted to saying the rosary daily and to praying for the needs of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I had a ritual of having Sunday evening chats with Mom for many years and will miss having these chats and to hearing her voice, but she will always be in my heart.  So, it is with gratitude and love that I remember my Mom’s life.  We will laugh and we will cry during our celebration of her life, a life that we are memorializing in a video that all my siblings have contributed to from their collection of photos.

We pray for those who minister to the sick and dying in hospitals, in nursing homes, in private homes, and for those who are in hospice care.  As a community of believers in the resurrection of the body and in everlasting life, we offer our love and prayers to all who have lost loved ones, recently and some time ago.  May God’s mercy, love, and compassion bring us peace.

If you feel called to be a beacon of light, of peace, and of joy in a hurting world, maybe God is calling you to become a religious sister to minister to the needs of God’s people.  We are eager to hear your story and to help you discern God’s call in your life.  You can contact one of our Vocation Ministers by calling, texting, or emailing us.  We also have a Come and See retreat we will be hosting at our motherhouse in Akron, Ohio from March 15-17, 2019, where you can experience and explore community life, and so much more.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Do You Let the Star Lead You?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Have you ever had any conversation with God through the Star that led the Magi to the Baby Jesus? How did that conversation turn out for you?

The Christmas season always brings me back to a special moment of my discernment for religious life. Nineteen years ago, around this time, I was discerning a vocational call to religious life with Dominican Sisters. I lived in Boston with a friend of my family, and after work, I usually walked home from a train station. The city was crowded with people and full of Christmas decorations; but one night in that Advent, I felt so lonely in the middle of this busy city and the night seemed especially very dark. Suddenly, the image of the star leading the Magi to the Baby Jesus came to me. At that moment, I said to God; “I don’t know where I will live. If your Star could lead the Magi to the Baby Jesus, be with me at this moment to guide my steps into the future. You are my Star.” I hold the image of this Star so vividly that I gained courage to move forward with trust and inspiration to join the Dominican Sisters.

The Star is still alive within me and has never faded since then—one year, two years, three years, and even 19 years later. Indeed, it is the Star that has given me courage and enthusiasm to move forward, not only for my discernment year of religious life, but also for my whole life. As an itinerant Dominican, every moment of life is the moment of discernment to live God’s call based on the signs of our time. This Star has taken me to many places without fear and full of joy, hope, love, and peace.

Again, this new year, this Star will take me to another place to meet Jesus. I am leaving Louisville, Kentucky, where I have been living for 14 years, and moving to Wichita, Kansas. I am moving to live closer to my family to help my elderly parents and continue my vocation ministry from that area. Again, I strongly believe that this Star continues to direct me, and I am happy to follow its unfailing guidance.  With this Star and the Dominican charism, I step into this New Year full of enthusiasm, hope, peace, and insight. I hope that I can be God’s star to all those whom I meet. How about you?  Are you willing to let this Star lead you to the place where God is calling you to live without fear? In the year 2019, how much joy, peace, hope, and insight will you have when you let this Star lead you into this New Year?

Have you ever had a trust that the Star of God will lead you into a future full of hope, peace, and insight? Do you want to explore more on how to be itinerant for God’s mission—to be Peace, live Peace, and build Peace? If you do, please contact one of our Vocation Ministers. We also have a “Come and See” discernment retreat weekend March 15-17, 2019 in Akron, Ohio. We, Dominican Sisters of Peace, always welcome you.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Wait

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

Has anyone said to you? “Wait!”

Ironically, in the business world, holidays are rushed. We see holiday items in the stores two months before the actual holiday. Two weeks before the holiday, the items start to go on sale, and the day after the holiday, they need to be marked down because they are considered outdated.

In my daily life, at times, I catch myself rushing internally. Wait, what does that mean? I would catch myself rushing internally when I wished for a traffic light to change to green, or when I am in the doctors office, I like to be called in on time instead of waiting. Both are out of my control, and I just have to go with the flow.

As a discerner, I think waiting was one of the hardest tasks because my heart was on fire and my heart kept asking: “Are we there yet?” During this “waiting time,” I had the opportunity to explore and take the necessary “steps” of growing through prayer and reflection, processing what I was experiencing, becoming part of the community, and gaining a deeper sense of mission and ministry.

Waiting has its value of having time to evolve and to process.  While “advent” means “coming,” many people think of Advent as a season of waiting – waiting for Jesus’ second coming. We don’t just wait. We await Jesus’ second coming by preparing the way of the Lord.

How do you await in hope?

While you await, we invite you to pray Jan Richardson’s blessings with us for those in need.

Blessing for Waiting
Who wait for the night to end
bless them.

Who wait for the night to begin
bless them.

Who wait in the hospital room who wait in the cell
who wait, in prayer,
bless them.

Who wait for news
who wait for the phone call
who wait for a word
who wait for a job, a house, a child
bless them.

Who wait for one who will come home
who wait for one who will not come home
bless them.

Who wait with fear
who wait with joy
who wait with peace
who wait with rage
who wait for the end
who wait for the beginning
who wait alone
who wait together
bless them.

Who wait without knowing
what they wait for or why
bless them.

Who wait when they should not wait
who wait when they should be in motion
who wait when they need to rise
who wait when they need to set out
bless them.

Who wait for the end
of waiting who wait for the fullness of time
who wait emptied and open and ready
who wait for you,
o bless.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Parties in the Convent?

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Our “House of Welcome” community likes to have parties.  We look forward to gathering our sisters, friends, co-workers, and families to celebrate life whenever we can.  For example, each year we have a Kentucky Derby party.  This year it was a “Cinco de Derby” party, as the Derby just so happened to coincide with “Cinco de Mayo.” We created and wore festive “Derby” hats, sang “Our Old Kentucky Home,” had a festive meal and cheered for our horses as we watched the Kentucky Derby.  Later in the spring, we had a farewell party for Sr. Bea – where we enjoyed party games on the lawn, ate picnic food and laughed well into the evening.  Some would call us a “Party House.”  One way we build and celebrate community (which is one of the pillars of our Dominican Life) is through our celebrations.

Just last week, we had an “Ethnic Advent party,” where each person brought a dish that represented their ethnic/cultural origins and highlighted old family recipes.  We had tamales, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, Italian cookies and pastries, Mexican hot chocolate with chili, German mac’n cheese and a smorgasbord of other tasty offerings.  It mirrored the diversity of our community, anchored by our common bond of religious life and faith.  It began and ended with prayer and was sprinkled with laughter, song, and stories of life’s joys and challenges.

These parties remind me of the many parties Jesus and the disciples attended over the years of their ministry and lives.  Each of those gatherings mirrored the diversity of community and celebrated their common bonds of faith and hope.  Jesus ministered to and with the people around him in simple everyday kind of ways.  He gathered at tables, beside wells, and in places of worship.  This is what we do in our lives as disciples of Jesus. We do not have a party every day, but each day holds the potential for transformational encounters in the presence of our God who knew how to gather others at table and celebrate life.

When I first heard and began considering God’s call to religious life, I wondered if I would be lonely or if I would have to disappear into the “melting pot” of community.  My life as a Dominican Sister has been anything but lonely or melted into “sameness.”  In fact, I have been encouraged to become my best self as I grow into the unique person God created me to be.  I am amazed at the opportunities and challenges I have received in this life.  Thank you God for giving me the courage to say, “Yes” to your invitation.

In this season of Advent, take time to encounter the other – to be transformed – and to consider what God might be calling you to with your “One wild and precious life.”

Posted in God Calling??, News