Vocations Blog

Every vocation story begins with a call – a call to share your gifts with others who want to make a difference in the world. If you believe that you’ve heard God’s call, and you want to write your own story with the Dominican Sisters of Peace, contact us to begin a conversation.


 

Starting Your Day Right

Blog by Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP

Have you ever heard that the way you start the day effects how your day will go? What gets you up in the morning? Do you have any morning routines you follow?

Do you start your day with…

… a smile?
… a prayer?
… a run or yoga?
… a cup of coffee?
… a grateful heart?
… a glass of water?
… a cup of “positivitea?”
… a fresh start and energy?
… thinking: “it’s my favorite day of the week?”

Pedro Arrupe, SJ writes about how love affects many aspects of our lives in his poem, Falling in Love:

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, we commemorate God’s love for humanity, Truly finding love, falling in love, and staying in love is a daily adventure that affects how we live and move through our days.

One meaningful way to start your day is to pray in the morning by using the practice of Lectio Divina with the daily Mass readings to set the tone for the day.

When Tram, our Candidate, moved in to our House of Welcome, I found her “writing” on her blanket in Vietnamese. I asked her what it meant. She translated it and explained that each morning when she makes her bed, she sends off a prayer to God by writing on her blanket (see photos below), and every time she enters her room, she sees the note to God, and it helps her think of God throughout the day. I thought this practice was a really neat idea.

Whether you are reading this blog to help you find your vocation, or you are reading this blog to deepen your relationship with God through daily discernment to discover where God wants you, I invite you to pray with these two questions:

What gets you up in the morning?
What helps you keep your heart tuned to God?

After all, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner)

If you would like to talk to a Sister about your vocation, contact us to begin a conversation.

Please show/teach me the way. Thank you, Tram.
May your love strengthen me and guide my feet. Thank you, Tram.

 

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Is it a hike or a pilgrimage?

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

On Saturday, as I packed my daypack and ran down the list of essentials for my hike, I realized the last two items on my list were not merely items . . .

  • Trail Map √
  • Hiking boots √
  • Hiking pole √
  • Snacks √
  • Water √
  • Sisters √
  • Discerners √

Yes, Sisters and Discerners!

One of our favorite things to do is to go for hikes.  Sometimes they are leisurely strolls and other times they are moderate to strenuous hikes.  Whatever the level of intensity, they always include bringing along one or two of our Sisters in community and often include friends, family, and discerning women.  It is the perfect way to spend time outdoors, enjoying nature, getting to know people, and sharing more of our life as Dominican Sisters.  Some of our favorite places to hike are Blendon Woods Park (OH), Lilinonah Trail (CT), Sleeping Giant State Park (CT), Cuyahoga Falls State Park (OH), Mohican State Park (OH), among others.

Discerning women often accompany us on our hikes and during of our journey, we talk about what is going on in life, prayer, discernment, or just share the experience of the hike.  Very often, we spend time just walking, reveling in the beauty of nature, and watching for glimpses of God on the way.  As I reflected on these hikes with our discerners and in planning my upcoming trip to walk part of the Camino de Santiago, I realized that I see all of these hikes and walks as pilgrimages.  A pilgrimage is different from a walk or a hike in the woods; it is a journey that involves not only an external trip from one place to another, but more importantly, it is an interior spiritual journey.  Ancient pilgrims walked to the Holy Land, along the Camino Way to Compostela in Spain or to other holy sites for many reasons, but most especially, because of their quest to grow spiritually.

In discernment, one is seeking to grow spiritually and to gain clarity as to God’s call for one’s life.  Just as with a pilgrimage, one must pack a sack with supplies, get a map, plan your route, and begin and end in prayer.  Similarly, women who are discerning a call to religious life need to have on hand such supplies as a Bible, rosary, and journal.  The map or plan for your route may come from meeting with a spiritual director or a vocation minister, who can help you learn more about religious life and accompany you on retreats and or visits to our convents and ministries.  Prayer always anchors discernment and pilgrimages.  As we begin our hikes with prayer, we are reminded of the traditional pilgrim prayer of the Camino de Santiago –

“O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldean’s, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name to Santiago de Compostela.
Be for us our companion on the walk,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our albergue on the Camino,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.
So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and sound at the end of the Road and enriched with grace and virtue we return safely to our homes filled with joy.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.
Apostle Santiago, pray for us.
Santa Maria, pray for us.

So, as you set out on your journey today, what are you taking in your pack?  What is your map or plan?  What is your prayer?

If you are discerning your vocation, give us a call, attend one of our upcoming programs such as our Mission for Peace beginning on June 13 or let us know when you would like to lace up the hiking boots or trail sneakers and hit the trail.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from some recent hikes.

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Join Us in Our Mission for Peace

Peace is more than an idea … it’s a way of life. If you want to be part of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and be part of our work to build peace, here is your opportunity.

If you believe that you are being called by God to serve and to build peace, please join us for a three-part, summer-long virtual retreat that will include real-life peacebuilding in your own community.

Do you Imagine Peace?

Sunday, June 13, 2021, 2 PM EDT – 5 PM EDT

How do you imagine peace? How does it feel? What does it look like? And what is your part in making peace a reality?

Explore these and other questions in our June session. During this event, you will be invited to find opportunities in your own community to build peach by preaching the love of Christ through your works… an important part of consecrated life as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

 

 

 

Do you want to Be the Change?

Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 2 PM EDT – 5 PM EDT

You are blessed to hear the call of God … but what’s next?

How do you walk more closely within your own life, and are you called to live a life of community, service, prayer, and study with the Dominican Sisters of Peace? Share your own thoughts with other women like you, and take time to serve those around you.

 

 

 

 

Do you want to Walk in Peace?

Sunday, August 15, 2021, at 2 PM EDT – 5 PM EDT

 

Your walk with God is a walk of peace. Join us as we share what we have learned about our faith and ourselves, and how we can continue to serve God in our communities.

 

This free, virtual program is open to women 18 – 45 years old. To learn more or to register, click here. 

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Encountering the Holy Spirit in Our Lives

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

This weekend we will celebrate the wonderful feast of Pentecost, recalling the coming of the Holy Spirit among us. Remembering God’s gift of the Holy Spirit within and among us is a source of renewal and hope in these uncertain times of 2021.  Recently, I found a prayer that Sr. Joan Chittister wrote about Pentecost.  I love what she said about the Holy Spirit in her prayer, that it “embodies the life force of the universe, the power of God, the animating energy present in all things, and captured by none.”  My imagination was captured by the phrase, “The Holy Spirit is the animating energy present in all things and captured by none.”  The phrase started me thinking about moments I became aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life in a particular situation or event.

I remember one such encounter that happened during the time that I was discerning religious life. I had been seriously discerning with the congregation’s vocation minister for several years.  But, even though things began to fall into place that would enable me to apply to the community, I started to rethink my decision.  Finally, I decided to end the discernment for religious life to look at another option I was exploring.  Before I officially called the vocation director to end the process with her, I was invited to a religious conference where different communities of Sisters had invited lay women to join them for a weekend of prayer and talks on various topics—including a panel talking about vocations. I made sure that I did not register for the vocation talk.

As you may have guessed, that was not the end of the story from God’s point of view. During the first day of the conference, I began feeling that I should attend—for one last time—the vocation talk. I spent the lunch hour that day asking God if I should go to the talk or not. I could not decide.  Finally, I said to God, if the door to the workshop was open, I would go in, but if it was closed, I would go to the workshop I signed up to attend.  When I approached the hallway where workshops were being held, I could see that all the other doors were open, but the room door for the vocation talk was closed. I thought, ok, problem solved! But just as I was passing the closed door, someone opened the door, smiled, and invited me in.

As I sat and listened to the Sisters on the panel, all from various communities, my mental self-talk began to list several reasons why religious life was a ridiculous idea for me. By the end of the presentation, I was sure I was not being called to religious life.  After the presentations, they asked if anyone had any questions.  A woman stood up and briefly shared her story and ended by saying that she was taking her first vows the following week.  This was a “Holy Spirit” moment for me because what she shared about herself were the exact same things—listed in the exact order—as my mental “elimination list” to God about religious life.  I was amazed.  Here was someone whose life circumstances were like mine, and she was accepted to make first vows. I literally felt that the Spirit was saying to me, “OK, now what other excuses do you have?”  That was quite a moment!  This took place in July 2002 and I entered the congregation as a Candidate in August 2005. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was operative within me and within Sr. Jackie Laster, RSM, the woman who shared her testimony that day.

All of us have had experiences of what I like to call “Holy Spirit” moments. Those times we become suddenly aware of the presence of the Spirit in our experience or within ourselves. Furthermore, as the congregation’s Coordinator of Formation, I have heard many stories about “Holy Spirit” moments from our women in formation.  As we approach Pentecost Sunday this weekend, I invite you to recall a few “Holy Spirit” moments from your own life.  How have you encountered the Holy Spirit lately?

If you feel the Spirit has been inviting you to consider becoming a Sister, give us a call.

Peace.

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Accepting Jesus’s Mission in the Eucharist

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Each time you receive the Eucharist, what do you feel or what is your experience?

At the Last Supper, after giving thanks, Jesus passed the consecrated bread and wine into the hands of his disciples. This act of Jesus giving bread and wine to the disciples has been known as the time that Jesus established the Eucharist, so that the disciples could receive Jesus’ body and blood for their spiritual nourishment. Jesus also told his disciples “Do this in remembrance of Me,” and in saying this, he entrusted his mission to all who followed him. For me, this invitation along with the command “take it” signifies Jesus’ desire for the disciples to claim his mission as their own mission and to see their essential roles in God’s missionary plan. From the moment the disciples took the bread and the chalice from Jesus’ hands, God’s earthly mission became both Jesus’ and disciples’ mission. This mission has been passed from generation to generation and continues with us — with you and me.

Every time I prepare myself to receive Communion, I reflect on these two questions: “Am I willing to accept Jesus’ invitation” and “What is Jesus inviting me to?” Sometimes, Jesus’ invitation is not what we expect.

What invitation might Jesus be offering to you?  Could Jesus be inviting you to a life as a religious sister or inviting you to a change in ministry or to a way of living that allows you to respond to the needs of our times? We may feel that we are not ready or well equipped for this invitation. Yet, if we trust in Jesus, we will have the courage to embrace his invitation with deep gratitude. We will also find ourselves becoming closer to Jesus with a generous spirit and with confidence to follow God’s will and God’s plan for us.

When I receive the Eucharist in my hands, it allows me to briefly look at the host and feel touched by Jesus. Then, with great gratitude, knowing that Jesus loves and trusts me, I humbly respond “Amen!” and accept Jesus in the Eucharist as well as the mission of Jesus and his will for me. When using my own hands to put the host into my mouth, I say to God and to myself that “With my full freedom, under your love and trust, I am willing to accept your Body/Blood along with your will and mission to proclaim the Good News on earth. Help me to find you in every step of my life.” This ritual keeps me reflecting on the needs and the signs of our time for the mission of serving God’s people.

Jesus is looking for people who are open to his call and willing to carry on his mission. Are you willing to be one of these people? If you hear or feel some echo of this invitation inside you, inviting you to do Jesus’ mission through your consecrated life, visit our vocation website, or contact us. And if you are already in the discernment process with us, what invitation do you hear from God at this time?

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog