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.


 

What Does the Vocation Team of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Do?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Are you curious about what our Vocation team does? Let me share with you some of the vocation programs and outreach activities we are involved in.

For discerners, we offer the following programs to nurture the call to religious life and to help women with the discernment process:

  1. Come and See weekend retreat: this two-day program is usually in March and September. Our upcoming Come and See retreat is March 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio; and the September one will be Sept 11-13 in Akron, Ohio.
  2. Mission Immersion program: this five-day program involves service, reflection, visits, community time, fun, and prayer with local sisters. Our upcoming Mission Immersion is June 5-9 and will be in Wichita and Great Bend, Kansas.
  3. Monthly Emmaus group: this on-line zoom discernment program is held on the second Friday of each month (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST) for discerners around the country to study and discuss a discernment topic, pray together and receive peer support. Each time we meet, we have five to nine discerning women attending, in addition to the sisters.
  4. One-on-one conversations (by phone or zoom): we have phone calls or zoom conversations with discerners to assist them in learning more about religious life and prayerfully considering God’s call in their life.
  5. Discerner visitation: we host individual discerner from a few days to a week or longer at our Houses of Welcoming or Motherhouse, helping them experience real community living.

For vocation outreach and vocation promotion, we are involved in many activities:

  1. Give vocation talks, attend events, help give retreats at churches, universities, or schools, or hold vocation display tables at various conferences.
  2. Collaborate with our Communications department on our Vocation webpages, publications, and other communications
  3. Collaborate with vocation directors from other congregations on vocation outreach.
  4. Post to social media on our Vocations Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
  5. Write and send out weekly blogs and monthly e-newsletters to discerners.
  6. Involve sisters and associates in providing help with programs and outreach efforts.

For our team, we plan and implement events to fuel ourselves with energy, knowledge, and a spiritual focus for our mission by:

  1. Having weekly Vocations team meetings and regular meetings with our leadership liaison, who is the congregation’s Prioress.
  2. Holding team reflection days.
  3. Attending workshops or webinars to be updated and develop our own gifts/talents for the ministry.

Our religious life is so beautiful and filled with love, companionship, peace, and blessings. Our congregation mission is so vibrant and vital for the church and society. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Mt 5:14-16). Thus, we strongly believe and feel confident about greeting and encouraging others to join us as vowed members.

Sisters, associates, discerners, and friends, you can help us to be the hands, feet, voices, and hearts for our religious life and mission. Please help us spread the word about our upcoming events (see list below) wherever you can, including your churches, families, places of ministry, and by sharing our postings on your Facebook page. We appreciate all your help in bringing the light of our religious life and congregation’s mission to the world.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Sankofa—Learning from the Past to Build the Future

Sr. Pat Dual, OP, on San Antonio, TX Public Transit bus in seat dedicated to the memory of Rosa Parks

In a recent visit to San Antonio, Texas, a group of Sisters took a local bus to explore some of the sites in the city.  As I turned to look for a place to sit, a bright yellow seat in the front caught my eye.  Written on the seat were the words, “Dedicated to the memory of Rosa Parks.”  Of course, I had to sit there and take the opportunity for a photo-op—it was a time to remember.

February has been an important month of remembrance for me.  Ever since my early school days, I have recognized it as the month that celebrates the contributions of Black Americans in American History.  Black History is American History.  You might ask, “Why is there a need to celebrate Black History at a particular time? “  The short answer is that the contributions of Blacks in American society (except the select group we used to learn about in school) are largely ignored or unknown—even by many Blacks.  What we do not make an effort to acknowledge or celebrate, we forget.  There is great value in the act of remembrance.

The image of the mythical “Sankofa” bird perfectly symbolizes the reason Black History month continues to be important to celebrate.  Sankofa is an African word from the Akan people in West Africa that means, “Go back to get it.”  The concept is symbolized by a bird with its head turned backwards while its feet face forward, carrying an egg in its mouth-the future.  This symbol represents the wisdom of learning from the past to build the future.

While it is significant to Black History, “Sankofa” can also be relevant to other areas of society. I see it as a concept that is important to Dominican life, to the formation of women in the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and to vowed religious life in the 21st century.  The call to religious life remains a personal response of love and service to God and to the people of God.  But answering the needs of the times and building the Kingdom of God as vowed religious in the 21st century will require transformation and trust.  It will require change because we cannot continue the same pathway into the future.  It will require trust in the One Who Calls, knowing that the path will be made clearer during the journey.  It requires moving forward, but bringing wisdom from the past to build the future—Sankofa.

Perhaps, God is calling you to walk the path with us into the future as a Sister?

Peace.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Who Me? Called to be a Sister?

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Dear friends, I would like to share a blog I wrote 5 years ago that I think is as relevant today as it was then.  As I begin my 7th year in Vocation Ministry, I can say that God has indeed blessed me and continues to guide me each day of my life.  Peace, Sr. June

“Who, me?”

Hi, my name is Sister June Fitzgerald and I am a Dominican Sister of Peace.  I am new to this Ministry of WelcomeTeam (aka Vocation Ministry) and am excited to have the opportunity to invite women to consider Religious Life and to walk with them as they discern their call.  I am blessed, grateful, and amazed that God chose me to do this work – actually, I am amazed that God called me to be a sister in the first place.

You see, I was not very religious growing up.  Yes, we went to church and I had all of the sacraments but, that was basically it for me.  I prayed to God when I needed something or was really sorry about something and didn’t know how to fix the mess I was in.  I even read the Bible on occasion but had a difficult time getting past Genesis.  Ever have that experience?

Then, I went to a Catholic College in Philadelphia and I had my first Catholic friends.  These people knew all of the extra prayers in the back of the missal, had gone to catholic school and had attended something called a retreat!.  To be honest I felt a little “unholy” around them but soon realized that although they’d been there and done that, they were pretty much like me.  They too were trying to make it through college, have some fun, and see the world before we settled down.  Figuring out how God might be calling me to live my life was not in the picture.

In college, I learned most of the prayers in the back of the missal and developed a personal relationship with God.  I never thought ordinary people did such a thing!  I began to pray and attend mass more regularly but, I was still unaware of the adventure that was before me.

After college I had it all figured out.  I would get a job, live on my own, meet someone, get married and begin a family.  However, a funny thing happened on the way to that dream.  God began to interrupt my days, I began to wonder what my life was all about and I found myself going on a retreat.  A retreat at the Dominican Retreat in McLean, VA with the Dominican Sisters.  Then, I began to volunteer, attend more retreats, and even to show up at the house on weekdays to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and Mass with them before I went to work.  One day, my friend, Sr. Annette Lucero, asked me, “So when when are you going to join us?” . . . “Who, me?”

That little question began a whole new journey in my life.  I didn’t know where it would lead but I knew that I needed to listen, pray, and trust God as I tried out this strange new way of life.  If I didn’t try it, how would I ever know?

Some day, I’ll fill you in on the rest of this amazing journey.  For now, I leave you with a prayer from   Dag Hammarskjold, “For all that has been, Thanks. For all that will be, Yes!”

Addendum: 

Think that God may be calling you to consider such an adventure?  Contact us here to begin a conversation or join us on our Come and See Retreat, March 13 – 15, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio.  Click here for more information. 

Posted in God Calling?, News

Celebrate Catholic Sisters Week

Every Sister should join in this celebration of religious life! Here are some great ways to you can take part:

For Sisters:

Sister Shout-Outs
Invite associates and oblates, donors, benefactors, friends and family, parishioners, students or coworkers, to complete the phrase “Sisters are …”, written boldly on a sheet of paper. Photograph the person holding the paper ( cell phone pictures are fine) and send to srpeace@oppeace.org. The Communications team will use the photos on our social media sites.

Sister Storytelling Panel
Invite sisters to be on a panel and share their faith. Possible topics sisters could address:
• All Christians are called to follow Jesus but as a woman religious, I am called to…
• What I find most rewarding about religious life is…
• What I find most challenging about religious life is…
• Religious life is needed today because…

Photo Displays and Slideshows
Create a photo display in your local parish, school or ministry bulletin board or table highlighting sisters and their ministries. Additionally, create photo slideshows or videos for online sharing and send to srpeace@oppeace.org.

Ministry Recognition
Ask a Sister in a ministry other than your own to share her work at your parish.

Founding Sisters Stories
Interview older Sisters about the early days of their community and send to srpeace@oppeace.org. The Communications team can use these recordings to create podcasts and videos.

For Associates:

Bible Study, Prayer Service or Lunch/Dinner Discussion
Organize a special bible study or prayer service during Catholic Sisters Week or plan a lunch/dinner and discussion on campus, in the parish hall, your home or another gathering space.

Tour the Motherhouse
Ask if your group or class can tour the motherhouse nearest you, and ask a sister to highlight
important aspects of the community’s life, history and work. Be sure to photo-document the tour for
online sharing #catholicsistersweek.

Guest Speakers
Invite a sister who is comfortable with public speaking to address your class, campus or parish group. Be
sure to give her a topic that she is comfortable addressing and that will resonate with the audience.

Podcasts or Web Feature Stories
Interview sisters on topics of interest to your web and social media audience. Post a podcast or story each day during Catholic Sisters Week. For podcasts be sure to ask sisters who are articulate and comfortable with technology. Use #catholicsistersweek when posting.

Posted in God Calling?

How is God calling you to make this world a More Loving and Peaceful world?

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

“What do we tell these children about how to stay out of harm’s way when you can be at your own house, minding your own business, surrounded by your entire family, and they still put some murder on you that you ain’t do and send you to death row?” (a quote from Just Mercy movie) A teacher for nine years, behavior management was part of my ministry. Thus, when I heard this statement from the movie “Just Mercy,” I was speechless.

Based on a true story, “Just Mercy” addresses the racial bias and the inequality of our criminal justice system. It also raises awareness of the truth about incarcerated women and children, the concern for children being sent to life-imprisonment, and military veterans who don’t receive the care they need after their deployment. The movie follows the life of Mr. Walter McMillan and the work of Bryan Stevenson.

Walter McMillan was an innocent black man who was wrongly convicted of the murder of a white woman. Walter was sentenced to death because of racial bias for a crime he did not commit, which he understood as: “You’re guilty from the moment you’re born.” (Walter McMillan in Just Mercy)

Bryan Stevenson, a young civil rights defense attorney, decided to work for people who were sentenced to death row. He raised the awareness that “constantly being suspected, accused, watched, doubted, distrusted, presumed guilty, and even feared is a burden born by people of color that can’t be understood or confronted without a deeper conversation about our history of racial injustice.” So, Bryan set out to Alabama. His mother tried to protect him by saying: “Look, what you’re doing is going to make a lot of people upset.” But Bryan stayed committed to his plan: “But you always taught me to fight for the people who need the help most. (…) My job is not to make people happy. It’s to achieve justice for my client.”

Bryan’s quest is a movement, not just a book or movie. He continues to fight for justice and to help people recognize the dignity of each person. “We are all more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” he said. Read more about his ministry at Equal Justice Initiative, click on Our Work section.

Dominican Sister of Peace Kathy Broussard commented similarly in an interview when she was asked about her ministry with the inmates: “It’s not my job to ask people to excuse those who have committed capital crimes. It is my job to humanize my client to a jury. Many of my clients have grown up in terrible environments. They may be mentally or intellectually handicapped. One person is on death row for a crime that he did not even commit. More and more death row inmates are being exonerated.” Sr. Kathy continues working with inmates, families, parole officers and more to mitigate the death penalty one life at a time. To read more about Sr. Kathy’s ministry, click here.

There are other Sisters who serve the convicted. One way Sr. Rose Bowen, OP, lives out her call is by serving in prison retreat and visitation ministry. Another way is how Sr. Germaine Conroy, OP, continues to be a member of the Circles for Restorative Justice, a program which offers the opportunity for youth who have been arrested to come before a group to present and complete a plan, which will enable them to have their criminal record cleared. Another way Sisters and Associates are involved is to host a dialogue or prayer service bi-monthly through the “Building Racial Harmony series.” The goal of the ministry is to provide a safe space to dialogue about issues of race and racial justice and to establish the Motherhouse as a center of prayer around the issue of racial justice. The hope is that those who participate will be inspired, motivated, and equipped to work toward racial justice. How is God calling you to make this world a more peaceful and just place?

 

To see more about how the Dominican Sisters of Peace make the world a more peaceful place, check out our video premiere on Facebook, Wednesday, February 5, at 6 pm EST.

Posted in God Calling?