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.


 

“Whoever Does God’s Will Is My Brother and Sister and Mother”

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Every Mother’s Day, we celebrate and show our gratitude for the love and sacrifices that our moms have made for us and the whole family. This year, on the morning of Mother’s Day, I listened to children from a radio channel reading their letters of gratitude for their moms. It was a touching moment. I wonder if every day when we wake up or before we sleep, if we appreciate the gifts of our moms and every woman who has touched our lives, then the world will be a more loving and nurturing world.

Yet, besides our biological mom, God continuously sends us maternal figures who impact our lives.  One of them is the Blessed Mother Mary.  She is considered our faith mother. As Jesus’ Mother, Mary did not know how the future would unfold. Like other mothers, Mary wanted the best for her child; but sometimes, she got confused and hurt by the way Jesus did His ministry or by His responses. However, by putting her life in God’s providence, Mary was able to accomplish her role as co-redemptorist with Jesus and played a necessary role in the birth of the early Christian church. Even today, Mary plays a role in our lives by inviting us to become bold like her.  Or, when God calls us to do something different, such as being a sister or to respond to the needs around us, Mary is an example to us of strength and courage in following God’s will. How much trust do you have in God’s providence about your future, especially when something happens that does not fulfill your expectations or is out of your control?

A second example of how God sends women into our lives to nurture us is the story told to me by a kind, handyman at our local house. He is so gracious, always does a good job, and bills us at a low cost. If one has a chance to talk to him, one would hear his sharing: “I just want to pay off to the Sisters for all they did for me. When I was a little boy, I was a slow learner and teachers did not want to teach me. School was hard for me, but Sister Sibyllina Mueller took me in and helped me to become who I am. I have never forgotten her.” He becomes a successful man because Sister Sibyllina went against the norm of the school to be a voice for this boy and was patient with him. I believe she did all of it because of her vows of obedience and celibacy to God, listening to the signs of time and responding to the needs around her without fear, but in love and compassion with the dignity of those whom she served. I feel a connection with this deceased sister and this man, helping me understand what Jesus said; “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)

Let’s look at another example of a woman who heard God’s call and seeks to make a difference in the life of her fellow sisters. This sister is in her 70s and has been influencing my life a lot. Every time I express my gratitude to her, she always replies, “You don’t need to do so. I too have had someone to help me. Now, I help you, then, in the future, you will help others, even more than how I have helped you.”  Later, at the wake of a sister in her 90s, this same sister, who has helped me, expressed her gratitude to this deceased sister for helping her become the person she is.  Hearing this sharing, I realized that blessings and life experiences were getting passed from one person to another across generations and cultures. These women besides my biological mother have taught me how to live out the Gospel message with love, confidence, vision and so much more. I thank God for this wonderful connection among women in my community of faith.

A religious call is not a life where you give up your family. This life gives you an opportunity to reach out beyond your biological family to value the gifts God gives to you to love and be loved, to share and to receive, and more. If you feel called to live this life helping those around you or want to explore more about the life of sister in a faith community, contact us.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Totally Unplanned and Totally Appreciated

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

I recently took my perpetual profession of vows. It was a very joyful celebration. As the ‘big day’ approached, I became more and more excited. I was filled with all the hyper-active energy the Spirit could provide. During the planning days, I was reminded many times, lightheartedly and at times even jokingly, to focus, and I’m sure they meant it. However, there was an unplanned happening during Mass which moved me a lot. I didn’t even need to be reminded to ‘focus’ at that time. It naturally came. This was an experience that I most likely have shared with many people in the chapel. Several sisters came to me after liturgy, expressing how grateful they were for ‘it’ and the entire celebration helped them feel like they were renewing their commitment to God within our community.

Before Mass, we told Fr. Mike Trainor, OP, our priest, that we would sing all three verses of the song: “How shall I sing to God” because we would sing it for meditation. After receiving communion, I usually start my prayer with: “Jesus, let your way be my way.” Choosing the song: “How shall I sing to God” by Brian Wren (text) and David Haas (tune) for meditation was very intentional, but it was the “it” that opened my heart and allowed me to let the Spirit work in me, tuning me into what I was about proclaim in song.

So, what was the ‘it’? What was that unexpected ‘thing’ that helped us be moved into a deeper meditation or helped to renew our vows? It was the pause and the waiting right before the song for meditation. It might seem subtle to anyone who wasn’t there, but the pause was so powerful. It was totally unplanned and totally appreciated. The pause was so perfectly timed, and it added a lot for me. I’m not talking about a usual pause between two songs. It was a pause, lasting until everyone, including extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and altar servers, would have the opportunity to sit down and tune into what we were about to sing and reflect on. That pause provided the prayerful environment to be able to allow God work in us and to be able to full-heartedly sing that song to God.

When we receive a news, whether it’s a joyful news, a sad news or a shocking news, we usually pause for a moment to let it sink in before we respond to the news. There were so much joys and emotions to handle during the celebration: professing my vows for my whole life, celebrating with so many sisters, family members, and all who have been journeying with me in faith, remembering our deceased loved ones, being inspired by the reflection of the Mass readings, receiving communion, the joyful music, the boost of the Easter joy, and the list could go on. The pause helped me to let all of these emotions sink in, and then it helped me to allow the Spirit to move in me to sing this song to God as my response to God’s call.

In the song, we sang that, whether life is filled with gladness or bleakness, either way, we would sing God’s song with love. Whether I just took my vows for my life, or the sisters who took their vows for life, or married couples who took their vows for life, or associates who took their commitments, or the women discerning vowed religious life; we all sang this song together, singing God’s love. In times of gladness, as well as in times of sufferings – we continue to proclaim God’s love until love conquers all. This is our response to God’s call in the various ministries we serve. It is a life-long commitment and a “thanksgiving sacrifice” as the psalmist writes in Psalm 116. Let me close this blog with the last line of each verse of this song: “This is my song, and I’ll sing it with love.”

If you are considering responding to God’s call as a vowed religious or as an associate, please contact us at vocations@oppeace.org.

Lyrics of the song:

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with gladness, loving and birth, wonder and worth?
I’ll sing from the heart, thankfully receiving, joyful in believing;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with bleakness, empty and chill, breaking my will?
I’ll sing through my pain, angrily or aching, crying or complaining;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God and tell my Savior’s story, Passover bread, life from the dead?
I’ll sing with my life: witnessing and giving, risking and forgiving;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary!

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

This morning, I awoke a little earlier than usual. As I lay there for a minute, half asleep and half awake, I became conscious of a song refrain going around in my head. It was the refrain of “Alleluias” heard from our previous Sunday Mass. However, this was four days later, at 5:00 in the morning.  I had at least another hour and a half before I needed to get up, and this “Alleluia” chorus kept going around in my head. “Is this the beginning of the blog I prayed for last night?”  Happily, it turned out that it was!

“Alleluia” is an expression of rejoicing, meaning “God be praised!”  As we continue to rejoice in the Risen Christ this Easter, the Dominican Sisters of Peace also thank and praise God as we celebrate our Tenth Anniversary!  Ten years ago on April 12, 2009, seven Dominican congregations united for the sake of the mission, forming a new congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Peace.  For several days in July 2019, during our annual Assembly, the congregation will celebrate together the new life created from this union. God be praised for “doing something new” in our lives of faith and commitment.

God be praised—for the lives of the six new women who felt called to join the Dominican Sisters of Peace as Candidates during the first ten years of our existence!  One of these women, Sister Bea Tiboldi, OP, recently professed her Perpetual Vows in April 2019, the month of our tenth anniversary. Sister Elizabeth Jackson, OP, professed Perpetual Vows in December 2018. Two others, Sister Ana Gonzalez, OP and Sister Margaret Uche, OP, professed Temporary Vows in July2018. Sister Phuong Vu is completing her Canonical year as novice in the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate and Candidate Ellen Coates is preparing to begin her novitiate year at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in August 2019.  The blessings continue, as the Congregation prepares to receive a new Candidate, Annie Killian, in July 2019.

Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP with Peace Sisters in Formation and Annie Killian, Candidate

God be praised—for the five women who were in temporary vows in several of the former congregations that united and were among the first to profess their Perpetual Vows in the Dominican Sisters of Peace! They are Sisters Hoa Nguyen, OP, Mai-Dung Nguyen, OP, Patricia Connick, OP, Mary Vuong, OP, and yours truly, Patricia Dual, OP.

God be praised—for several women who are in serious discernment with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the group of 14 plus women who are currently discerning a call to religious life with our vocation ministers!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!  The Dominican Sisters of Peace have much to praise God for as we celebrate this Tenth Anniversary!  All of the Sisters mentioned represent new life, a continuing of the Dominican heritage passed on by all of our current Sisters and all those who have gone before.  How appropriate to offer our praise and gratitude during the joy of this Easter season.

I invite you to join us in giving thanks by praying with us part of our Tenth Anniversary Prayer:

“Faithful God,
We give you thanks for
This grace-filled decade as
Dominican Sisters of Peace
And Associates…
Carry us Faithful God, into our future
Strengthen and lengthen our roots
Into a new growth of understanding.”

(The Anniversary Prayer)

Wondering if you might be called to religious life?  Call us, we can help!

Peace.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Perpetual Profession

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

This weekend, we will celebrate the perpetual profession of our Sister Bea Tiboldi.  It is the final step in a long discernment and formation process.  During Mass, Bea will pronounce her vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience for LIFE.  Afterwards, we will gather to celebrate with sisters, family, friends and other religious.  In our congregation, and in religious life, it is a pretty big deal.

For each sister, whether finally or temporarily professed, it is a time to remember and renew our own commitment to these vows we made and re-make each day in the living out of our religious life.  For me, it brings back memories of my own perpetual profession almost 20 years ago and compels me to reflect on how these vows continue to empower me today.

When I live my vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in the spirit of the Gospel, I am freed to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly (Micah 6:8) with God and all of creation.  Embracing poverty, I have learned to share my gifts and to allow others to share their gifts for the common good.  I do not hold back out of fear of not having, but share in the faith that what is lacking God will provide.  At times, God’s overflowing love has come back to me through people I have rejected or with whom I have a broken relationship.  In my poverty, I am open to receive.

Living my vow of celibacy has opened me up to witness how God loves unconditionally.  When I betrayed the trust of a close friend, I thought I was never going to learn how to love in the way God wanted me to.  It was through that friendship that God showed me unconditional love—a love that is open, life giving and does not take away another’s freedom.

Obedire (ob=to; audire=listen) is the root of the word obedience, which means, “to listen.”  We are called to listen to God, to prayerfully reflect upon what we hear and to follow that guidance.   In learning discernment, I have had to develop the ear of my heart in order to truly listen, understand, and to follow the voice of God.  When I respond to God’s call in this way, I am living my vow of obedience.

On Sunday, this is what Sr. Bea will profess:

I, Sr. Bea Tiboldi, profess the vows of obedience, celibacy, and poverty
to God and in your hands, Sister Patricia Twohill, to be lived in the
light of the Gospel and according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the
Constitutions of this congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Peace,
for my whole life.

As Bea pronounces her vows, we are invited to reflect on and renew our own life commitments, whatever they may be.  Come, let us act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God as people of the Resurrected Christ.

We thank God for the Gift of Sister Bea’s YES and pray for all who are being called to explore life as a Dominican Sister of Peace.  If that person is you, contact us here to explore that call.

 

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

A Holy Week Reflection

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

As I reflect on what Jesus went through on Palm Sunday through Good Friday, I have a number of questions. What must it have been like for Jesus to go from being met with adoration on Palm Sunday to dying on the cross by Good Friday? How could he utter the words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” after he was nailed to the cross and in agony?

I wonder if Jesus recognized that the cross he was carrying on Good Friday was ultimately a gift he was giving to the world.  How often do we see that the cross we carry can also be a gift?  Life is full of paradoxes and parables.  By carrying his cross, Jesus shows us that suffering can be transformative and does not have a forever hold on us.  Jesus put his trust in God and his death teaches us to TRUST that God will be with us in our darkest hour. His resurrection teaches us to have FAITH that our lives have meaning and a purpose.

Jesus’ death and resurrection also encourages us to trust that there is always HOPE and newness after difficult times. Think about your life. What moments have you experienced where you rose from the ashes of desolation? How have your experiences moved you to a deeper sense of compassion for others?

May our questions lead us to seek a deeper understanding of Jesus’ life and bring us to a closer relationship with our loving God.

What cross do you bear?  What gift is embedded in the cross you carry?  Are you willing to take up your cross and share your gifts with others by serving God as a religious sister?  Are you ready to answer God’s call?  If so, contact one of our Vocation Ministers to begin the journey of becoming a Sister.

Posted in God Calling??, News