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.


 

All You Who Are Thirsty

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

All you who are thirsty, come to the water.  Is 55:1

These words of God spoken through the Prophet Isaiah are both an invitation and a command.  Ever obedient (sic) I have accepted the invitation and O’ so willingly embraced the command.  Thus, I have come away on retreat this week to St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Retreat House in Cape May Point, NJ.  Before I totally unplug, I wanted to share some thoughts with you . . .

“Each sister makes an annual retreat.” Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters of Peace

My room is simple, ‘by design’ (so says the brochure on the small desk); with a bed, bureau, old clothes tree and a Morris chair facing an open window.  Through the window, I can see the Atlantic Ocean.  A strip of sand, protected by a sturdy sea wall, is all that lies between the house and the sea.  Ahh…to rest here in God’s love is a great privilege and joy.  Retreat is a time for me to renew my relationship with God, to recharge my spiritual batteries and to give thanks for all that has been and that will be.

Retreats by the sea hold a special place in my heart and in my vocation story.  One of the places I discerned my call to religious life was at the Jersey shore.  The year was 1988.  It was January and I was on retreat with some friends in Sea Isle City, NJ.  The other women, along with my friend Jean’s dog Trinity, and I had prayed Morning Office together and the scripture had been Isaiah 55:1, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water.”   Coincidental?  I do not think so.

So, later that morning, there I was walking along the beach asking, “Ok God, here I am, I’ve come to the water, now what?”

I listened.  The sea air buffeted me and the waves continued to move in and move out . . . nothing, no answer . . . then, it began.  I felt a warmth in the center of my chest growing and radiating out.  With it, a certainty that this light/warmth in my heart was God calling me to something more.  To embrace the call to religious life that I had been feeling for some time now.

“Yes!” I screamed into the wind.  “Yes!” I said to the women when I entered the house.  “Yes!” I said when I returned home and called my vocation director.

That was a few years ago.  This year, I am celebrating my 25th Jubilee as a Dominican Sister.  I continue to journey deeper into the heart of God – which is my center.  I continue to say, “Yes!”

Are you being called?  If you feel that God is calling you to religious life, contact us to begin the conversation.

You are in my prayers in a special way this week as I make my retreat and “come to the water.”

Posted in God Calling??, News

Openness

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

During a reflection day with the Vocations team, where we pondered what it means to be open, open to God, self, and others, I found myself writing a poem, which I’d like to share with you for your reflection.  Perhaps it will speak to you or elicit other meanings for you on being open.

What does it mean to be open
to be free,
free to be,
free to be as God wants me to be.

To be open is to
discover life anew,
be willing to change,
see life differently,
see with God’s eyes,
be God’s servant.

To be open is to
ponder God’s ways,
give ourselves back to God,
find a new beauty,
uncover a new path that unfolds in its own time and place.

To be open is to hear new sounds that fill us with God’s love
for the journey that awaits us.

To be open is to
listen to the voice within,
that stirs us into action,
from a life of complacency.

To be open is to
allow God to move us and to move in us
breathe in new hopes and dreams,
so that we can fulfill God’s ways through our works.,

To be open is to
place our trust and hopes in God,,
knowing we may not always walk a smooth path,
that we may have to walk up long hills
and run down steep curves to be transformed.

To be open we must
let God come and be with us,
be still,
listen,
respond and become a gift to each other.

Are you open to hearing God’s call to become a religious sister?  Why not spend some time reflecting on this question at our next Come and See retreat in the foothills of Kentucky.  Join us September 13-15, 2019 in St. Catharine, KY!  Or, if you just want to talk with someone about your vocation, contact one of our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Resistance or Restlessness in Prayer

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

What happens when we feel unsettled or resistant during prayer?

This question is one of the common questions that a retreat director asks a retreatant. One day, I brought this topic to my community as a spontaneous topic for conversation around the table during dinner time. Here is some of what we shared:

  • We don’t always have a smooth peaceful prayer, do we? Some people think that we don’t have struggles with prayer.
  • We do love prayer, but we have struggles sometimes because we are human beings.
  • Sometimes we run into a stumbling block of resistance, which makes us very uncomfortable and restless.
  • It is not important that we bump into resistance or have a restless experience. What is important is how to be aware of it, why it shows up, how to process it, and how to respond.

We began to list our potential or common causes of resistance or restlessness during prayer based on our own experiences or from other people’s experiences:

  • Sometimes because we are so anxious about something in our life, we cannot live fully in the moment with God and ourselves.
  • There can be too many noises in our heart and mind, and we cannot know how to start to be still.
  • It can be that we don’t like a particular way of prayer or don’t want to pray with this group or with a person in this group.
  • Resistance can be from being tired and needing more rest.
  • Our own stubbornness and wanting to control things can cause resistance in prayer too. It can block our openness to God’s working in us and our flexibility to change from what we hear in prayer. Our mind can think ‘I trust in God, I will let God do God’s will in me,’ but the reality is my heart is not open.
  • Sometimes the resistance is actually a nudging from God calling us to something, but we don’t have time to respond.
  • It can be a new invitation from God, and we don’t want to hear or accept this invitation. This invitation may interrupt our comfortable routine or interfere in planning for our future. This invitation can open a new horizon for us, but we won’t dare embrace it because it is not in our comfort zone. The more we want to avoid, the more restlessness we have.

So, you see, sisters often struggle with their prayer life.  We encounter resistance and restlessness and yet we persist in prayer.  We know that God is calling us to be faithful and to trust. To trust that God is with us even in the resistance and restlessness.

How about your prayer? Do you have any resistance or any restless moments in your prayer that you have experienced recently?  Have you paid attention to the underlying reason why these resistances and restlessness show up in your prayer? What do these experiences tell you?  Is it possible that you are resisting God calling you to discern your vocation to religious life?

God Calling??  Come and visit us. Check out our Vocations Facebook page, or one of our other discernment opportunities, including our Come and See Weekend Retreat (September 13-15 at St. Catharine, Kentucky), monthly Emmaus Discernment group (at our Motherhouse in Columbus or on-line–coming back this August), and more. Contact us for more information.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

What do Fortune Cookies have to do with one’s Vocation?

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

What is so special about fortune cookies that we can’t leave a Chinese restaurant before we receive one? A fortune cookie is not just a free dessert, and it’s not something that we crave for its taste, but we love them. Why? I think, we all have the answer. Have you ever tried to just put it in your pocket after receiving it? Friends around me would not let me alone until they heard my fortune message. Or, has it ever happened to you that nothing was inside? What does that mean, anyway?! It is indeed the message in the cookies that we can’t wait to read and share.

Most of them are either an advice or a ‘fortune’ statement: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Or, “Now is the time to try something new.” Some fortunes are funny: “If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.” Or, “The fortune you seek is in another cookie.”

But one, that I recently had that caught my attention: “Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow.” This is so true for vocations. When we do what we love, we can give our 100%. It is hard to give our best when we don’t like what we do. Frederick Buechner once said: “Vocation is the place where our greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” We are called to do what’s rooted in our heart’s desire. God calls us to love. Each of us is called to live out the mission of love, either as a vowed religious, as a single person, as an associate, or as a parent.

Many people spend a lot of time wrestling with God’s call. I know for myself, I let God keep nudging me until I gave it a try. Now, I know, and the fortune cookie also reminded me: “Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow.”

What is God calling you to? If you would like to talk about living out your call as a vowed religious sister, contact us at vocations@oppeace.org.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Embracing Imperfection

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

Yesterday we wrapped up our 2019 Mission Immersion week.  Five days of community, prayer, study and service with six women discerning their call to religious life.  They came from New Jersey, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  Each of them has a unique story of how God is calling them to something more.  Our Vocation team was honored and blessed to walk with them this week.  As we cleaned up the lake house, packed our supplies, locked the door and drove away, I was very aware of the many graces we experienced and shared over this brief time.  I’d like to share with you about the grace we all received – that of wabi-sabi.

What is wabi-sabi?  In traditional Japanese aesthetics, it is a stance centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.  Sister Anne Lythgoe, a potter, who led us in a time of prayer, reflection, and active creativity with clay, introduced us to this concept.  Each of us received a ball of soft clay to prayerfully create a pinch pot.   She encouraged us to center ourselves in God and allow God to work with us as we molded the clay.  In silence, we sat on lawn chairs in her back yard.  The breeze stirred the trees and we were surrounded by the sounds of wildlife as we prayed.  Anne encouraged us to accept whatever imperfections we found in the clay – to incorporate them into the whole and to reflect on what God might be saying to us through them.

This wabi-sabi was not easy for some – yet led to some profound reflections by the participants and vocation directors.

After praying with and molding our clay we regathered in the community room at the Sabbath House to share about the process we experienced and what we created.  It was a rich sharing of faith, trust, and a gentle embracing of our own imperfections.  One of the women created a pot in the shape of a heart – an open receptive vessel.  The heart, she said, was a symbol of her own heart being invited to accept God’s graces and healing and then to pour out those graces to others in her daily interactions.  Another discerner intentionally made a dent in the edge of the rim of her pot, symbolizing her brokenness and incompleteness.  As we shared, we felt God’s gentle presence with us, bonding us through this experience and our common journey of growing in relationship with God.  We all received the grace of wabi-sabi and grew in a Spirituality of Imperfection.

Ultimately, vocational discernment is a process that is different for each person.  It is not something we do perfectly – sometimes we need to step out in faith, trusting that the next right step is enough for now.  Then we take the next and the next.  We are imperfect beings and when we can accept and embrace the beauty found within our own imperfections, it is then that God can illumine our path and the light of Christ can shine through the cracks in our armor.

How is God inviting you to embrace your imperfections?  How will you practice wabi-sabi today?

God Calling??  Contact us here to being the conversation.

Posted in God Calling??, News