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.


 

Time for Rethinking What’s Important

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Every Sunday, I look forward to receiving an e-newsletter from Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper in my email account.  I enjoy these weekly positive perspectives and reflections on life.  Maria’s messages focus on providing “hope for the path ahead” and features news stories about individuals who are doing their part to make a difference in people’s lives.  I find these stories uplifting, engaging, and sometimes challenging nudges to consider other viewpoints and one story that gave me pause for thought was entitled “This Is the Time to Rethink What We Know.”

In this reflection, Maria challenges her readers “to rethink how we are working, how we are learning, how we are consuming our food, our energy, and our time. It’s a great time to rethink our lives and how we are living.” As Dominicans, we value taking time “to contemplate the truth and to share the fruits of this contemplation with others.” It’s always good to step back from any life moment to look anew at where we are so we can gain new insights and perspectives on what to do in any given circumstance.  As Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, we are committed to being “radically open to ongoing conversion into the peace of Christ,” and to making changes in ourselves and in our world in many ways, three of which are stated in the congregation’s Chapter commitments:

  • Create environments of peace by promoting non-violence, unity in diversity, and reconciliation among ourselves, in the Church and throughout the world.
  • Promote justice through solidarity with those who are marginalized, especially women and children, and work with others to identify and transform oppressive systems.
  • Foster God’s web of life personally, communally and ministerially by advocating and supporting just policies and decisions to reduce the impact of global climate change.

We have many societal issues that beg us to rethink how we are responding to the needs of others, from healthcare to our political and economic systems, to name just a few.  In her story, Maria challenges us to rethink many personal ideas and public systems.  She asks some tough questions, such as “Are we passive bystanders who watch videos while laughing? Do we know more about Rob Kardashian than we do about our state reps? Are we part of the problem, or are we offering up solutions to help us move forward in a more unified and united way?”

So if you need a prescription for hope or inspiration for the journey, you may find Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper just what your soul needs.  And, many times you will be challenged to rethink what’s important or what to do to become a change agent for the common good.

Do you know a Sister whose life has spoken to you of God’s grace and love for you, calling you to explore a life worth fully living as a religious sister?  Then, contact one of our Vocation Ministers to discern God’s call in your life.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Wisdom Figures for Peace

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Who would think a health care place would not be a place for finding peace? I must say, at our Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, Kentucky, peace and inspiration are always present and spreading out endlessly.

I am not the only person who shares this feeling at this place. One time, I took my confirmation students to Sansbury where they learned much about the Sister’s stories as well as received the wisdom and faithfulness of our Sisters.  Most importantly, the students felt at peace with the Sisters. Some even shared in letters to the Archbishop of Louisville that this experience with our Sisters was their favorite memory from the confirmation class.

Recently, while sitting in front of Sansbury, I saw two Sisters going outside in their electric wheelchairs.  Both are 99 years old with 80 years each in religious life. They sat in the sunlight facing each other.  From afar, I could see their smiling faces as they shared a peaceful, joyful moment. The beautiful landscape and nice weather added to their peaceful presence and made me feel a touch of heaven right here on earth.

“You are really Dominican Sisters of Peace!” I said as I approached them.

“Yes, we are. We are really at peace.” They replied with beautiful smiles.

Sr. Columba Casey OP (left) and Sr. Paschala Noonan OP (right) enjoy a moment of sunlight and conversation in front of Sansbury Healthcare Center in St. Catharine, KY.

This is exactly what being a Dominican Sister of Peace is about. We strive to bring peace to every moment we live, regardless of any physical limitation or age. These two Sisters did not know how much peace and inspiration they brought to me on that day. When I shared this moment with an Ursuline Sister, she said, “They are wisdom figures.”

Because the world we are living in is so violent in so many ways, we need more wisdom figures for peace like these Sisters at the Sansbury Care Center. That is why our mission to BE PEACE, BUILD PEACE, and PREACH PEACE is so precious and wonderful.  It responds to the needs of our world.  In this inspired mood, I heard a challenging invitation inside me; “Would you and your congregation call yourselves together as a whole to discuss deeply this ongoing peace mission?”  Would you consider this invitation to be a peacemaker too?

For women under 50, who feel called to live and build God’s peace, we encourage you to discern your call in religious life with the Dominican Sisters of Peace by contacting one of our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling??

A song of peace for their land and for mine…

Tuesday evening as I gathered with those in my house to watch the fireworks, we agreed that they seemed like a fitting conclusion for our trip to Mexico City for the Inside Mexico experience and for our return to the Akron motherhouse community for a couple of days. Filled to the brim with the study of language, culture, and human rights situations, what also touched me was the community at Casa Xitla led by Pablo Romo Cedano, Martha Elena Welsh Herrera, and the wonderful administrator, Sandra, and all the staff. I could visibly see the love and care they have for each other and for those who come for peace building strategies, retreats, or other experiences, especially as we celebrated Sandra’s birthday with song and dance one of the evenings. Their eyes shone with delight as they laughed and affirmed each other.

I could not help but think of them on July 4th during our celebration of the Eucharist in Akron as we sang, “This is my Song”. The lyrics reminded me of how each person, each community in all parts of the world simply wants to live in love and peace, meeting the needs of family and community, and having opportunities to grow. I invite you to take a moment to read the lyrics below and listen to the words of this song on YouTube by clicking here.

“This is my song, O God of all the nations
A song of peace for lands afar and mine
This is my home, the country where my heart is
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine
But other lands have sunlight too and clover
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations
A song of peace for their land and for mine”

As I return to my work, I am well aware that the experience in Mexico didn’t end the day I returned, rather, I am called and challenged to continue to work for justice and peace here and to help strengthen connections with those I met and to share their stories.

And if you are discerning vowed life, married life, single life…, consider calling one of our vocation ministers. They are excellent at walking with women who are exploring how they are being called to live their lives to the fullest potential as followers of Christ.

Posted in God Calling??, News

God Calling: Mission in Mexico

Members of the Mission of Welcome team and novices at the Inside Mexico Immersion Program.

Several members of the Ministry of Welcome team, our novices and our candidates are attending the Inside Mexico Immersion Program in Mexico City. Sr. June Fitzgerald has been chronicling their experiences on Facebook; here is one of her posts about why our Congregation has chosen to attend this program.

We are overjoyed to begin our second week here in Mexico City, attending the Inside Mexico immersion program at Casa Xitla.

We have had some questions about why we chose to bring our Sisters to this program, and I hope that I can answer them here.

The Inside Mexico program is truly an immersion experience. While here, our sisters are learning to speak Spanish, studying Mexican history & culture, and being introduced to the social justice, environmental and human rights issues at the forefront in Mexico today.

We are present here for several reasons:

First, we believe that it is important for our sisters to have a global understanding of Church and issues that affect all of us. This cross-cultural experience is an important educational opportunity for our sisters in various stages of initial formation.

Second, we believe that we must grow and change in response to changes in the Church. Hispanic Youth are the fastest-growing membership group in the Church in America. This immersion language program will help us learn to communicate with this important population in the Church and to preach the Gospel in the language in which they are most comfortable.

Third, in order for us to, in the words of the Holy Father, build bridges of communication with our most populous neighbor, we must understand their history and culture. Understanding is the first step to peace.

Finally, as Dominican Sisters of Peace, we are committed to building, preaching and embodying peace. By immersing ourselves in the social justice, environmental and human rights issues in Mexico, we can partner wth them in transformative dialog, breaking barriers and realizing a world without borders.

Click here to see photos of their travels.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Finding Inspiration

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

How do you find inspiration when you need to uplift your spirits? Do you listen to music, read a book, take a walk in a nearby park, create artwork, do journal writing, cook, or indulge in some other activity?  My three favorite ways of finding inspiration are music, writing, and reading.  I’d love to hear what your source of inspiration is for weathering the peaks and valleys in life.  But, for now, let’s explore some author names and book titles that you might add to your collection of inspirational works.

A Google search for “inspirational authors” will give you such focused lists such as:

I was pleased to see that these lists identified both male and female authors who are from different cultures, ethnicities, and generations.  During my growing up years, male authors dominated the readership of inspirational works from Dale Carnegie to Norman Vincent Peale and from Og Mandino to  Zig Ziglar.  Several of Og Mandino’s fictional works top my list of favorite inspirational readings—The God Memorandum, The Greatest Miracle in the World, and The Return of the Ragpicker.  Mandino’s storytelling style leaves you wondering if his characters are fictional or real as he takes you on a journey of discovery about the meaning of life and hope.

If you’re looking for contemporary authors who write inspirational fiction or poetry, you can turn to works by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Maya Angelou, Stephen Covey, Toni Morrison, and Anthony Robbins, to name just a few.  Or, check out this link to 23 Contemporary Writers You Should Have Read by Now or click here to browse through a list of popular inspirational books.  Among some of the popular inspirational titles are Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, The Help by Katherine Stockett, Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss,  Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, and more.

If you’ve read any of these popular works, you’ll recognize that inspirational works appear in children’s and adult books from picture books to biographies, memoirs, and fiction and nonfiction writings.  You’ll read about light-hearted stories to stories about despair to overcoming hardships and positive thinking.  Inspiration can come from many sources and can transport us to many places and unfamiliar worlds.  Often inspirational works are transforming, expanding the lens by which we view the world, increasing our understanding of other perspectives and beliefs, and making positive changes in our own lives.

So, who are the authors whose works have inspired you and touched a deep place in your heart?  What life lessons have you learned from reading books?

Many life lessons appear in one of the most ancient of books, the Bible, and in the teachings of Jesus.  Have you been transformed by your reading of biblical passages?  Do you want to be immersed in a community whose life flows from contemplation and is embodied in a life of prayer, study, community, and ministry?  If so, contact one of our Vocation Ministers to learn more about discerning religious life with the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Posted in God Calling??, News