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.


 

Work as Purpose

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

Have you ever been unemployed?  Or, do you know someone who has experienced being unemployed?  Why is work or ministry so important to how we feel about ourselves? Beyond a paycheck, does work matter?

If you’ve ever experienced job loss, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, you know the accompanying feelings of doubt, despair, and loneliness that come from not working. Even when we are not occupationally employed, work of any kind matters to our sense of well-being, to our ability to interact and connect with others, and to contribute to our communities. Work gives us meaning and a purpose for our lives.

Having just celebrated Labor Day, I think it’s fitting to take a moment to reflect on the value of work. What does being able to work or not being able to work mean to you?  How does your work or ministry affect how you feel about yourself?  Do you take being able to work and to perform a job or task for granted?  What makes your work or ministry meaningful?  Is there some work you would never want to do?

What makes work meaningful to me is to see it in the context of ministry, that is, as a way of serving God and of using my gifts to help others. When I see my work as ministry, my work becomes more than a job or task to do.  By viewing work as having a spiritual or ministerial component, I find it easier to carry out whatever tasks I need to do and to see my work as having a deeper purpose and meaning. Thus, in my administrative role here with the vocations and formation teams, I see my work as a way of serving God, of using my gifts to help the Sisters in their ministry with women who are discerning religious life.

What I learned also from my years as a hospice caregiver is to appreciate that by simply being present to others and by listening to the women I visited, a reciprocal relationship of ministering to and being ministered to can happen.  Wanda, who was one of my hospice patients, for example, taught me to quilt and her gift has blessed me immensely.  So, when we adopt a service attitude and work from the heart, it  can change us and perhaps others. Through our work or our ministry, we can become the hands, the feet, the eyes, the ears that bring love, hope, peace, and healing to a broken world.

Work is an important part of who we are and gives us an opportunity to share our gifts, to be in community with others, and to contribute to some mission or to someone.  We are each called to be workers in the harvest of God’s kingdom.  Our work or ministry is also one of the tools God uses to transform us and to teach us life lessons.

As Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Or, another way to think about our calling in life is to recognize what Frederick Buechner once said, and that is, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”

There are many ways that our work, our ministry, our calling can be beneficial to ourselves, to others, and to our communities.  Perhaps you can think of ordinary people whose simple or extraordinary work has contributed to the well-being of others.

Work can be physical or intellectual, creative or mechanical, domestic or industrial. All work matters and has the potential of making someone else’s life better, bearable, or more enjoyable. For example, an athlete or musician can entertain us in different but joy-filled ways or a scientist can discover a life-altering cure, or an artist can help us see beauty around us, an electrician can assure that a building is wired properly, a housekeeper can make a nursing home patient feel special just by tidying her personal space.

Even if we have physical or intellectual disabilities, our “work” or “calling” can make a difference in the lives of others. Do you know of someone with physical or intellectual limitations whose simple presence brings you joy—a Down’s Syndrome person, a blind or deaf person, or some other person who has learned to use their gifts for the betterment of others?

Whatever work we do, how we do this work is important also.  Do we do our work with a cheerful heart or with drudgery?  Are we hospitable and compassionate when working with others?  Are we competitive or cooperative?

As God’s work of creation, we are each endowed with gifts given to us for a purpose. Our work matters to God and it is through our work that we can serve God and others.

What is the work you enjoy doing?  Are you being called to put your gifts at the service of others as a religious sister?  Come and be a part of our work and our mission to preach the Gospel in every season.  Begin the journey of discerning your calling by contacting one of our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Jubilee Gratitude

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

When I made my first profession of vows, I had no idea what adventures, blessings, challenges and changes I would experience.  I knew that God was calling me to embrace life as a vowed Dominican Sister and I sung my “Yes” with gusto.  Today, as I celebrate my 25th Jubilee (counting from my first profession), I am overwhelmed with wonder and gratitude for all that has been. God has been so good to me and has surrounded me with faithful companions on the journey to challenge me, support me, guide me, and accompany me while calling me to greater faithfulness. It is to these faithful companions that I dedicate this blog.

You see, we do not do this journey alone. The call I received was an individual call, but it was one to be lived in community. My community can be defined as being local, regional, and congregational and can consist of five, fifteen or four hundred and sixty-five sisters.  Always it has been intergenerational, and most of the time it has been multicultural, and on a few occasions, it has been inter-congregational (meaning several different congregations living together).  As I look back on the sisters I have lived with, what stands out the most is that we have been and are family.

2019 Jubilarians

When I was discerning religious life, one of the questions I faced was, “What would it be like not having a family of my own?” I never asked myself, “What would it be like to have a religious family of sisters?”  My vision was too small and I did not even know it.  This week, as I have been opening and reading my Jubilee cards from my sisters and friends, I have been reminded of the many women who have shared my life along the way–those I know well and those who I do not know well, but I love just the same.  The reading from Colossians comes to mind, “In my prayers I always thank God for you.” (paraphrase of Col 1:3a)

I am continuing to read my cards – alternating between laughter, tears, sweet memories, and longing for the presence of some who have passed onto God.  (Sr. Mary Carmel, I know you are dancing in heaven.) I am writing my thank you cards and with each one, I pause and say a prayer for that person.  Near or far, we are united in God.

Are you hearing a call to religious life?  Have you asked the question, “How will it be not to have a family of my own?”  Maybe the question really should be, “What will it be like to have a religious family of sisters?”  Come and See!  Consider attending our next discernment retreat here or contact one of us to begin the conversation.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Community Hive

Recently, I visited the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, OH.  Among the exhibitions, there is a hands-on, thought-provoking activity where the curators invite visitors to contribute to a “community hive.”

In the exhibit, they describe this activity in this way: “Each block features a word or icon that represents an aspect of community. Choose the blocks that you think are most important. Connect the blocks to build your ideal community. Think about how you can improve your community to reflect your ideals.” The picture represents what other visitors created. I invite you to look at each block on the picture of the community hive. Which one speaks to you? Which ones would you use to create your own? If you would add a tile, what would you write on it?

The community-hive activity made me think about: what makes a community? Because community is only as good as the members make it. Also, why would someone join a religious community? Is it seeking a deeper relationship with God? Is it praying in community? Is it the passion for the mission? Passion for justice and peace? Is it empowering the neglected? The little ‘wheels’ in my brain came up with more and more questions.

When I saw this ‘community hive,’ my thoughts went back to our most recent community gathering, where we revisited what has been in the last ten years, and we also had table discussions about what our hope for the future was. Those conversations at our Tenth Anniversary articulated some of the same ideas that the ‘community hive’ exhibit evoked in me: how our community reflects our ideals, our passion, and our mission. Sr. June Fitzgerald recently wrote a blog about community.

I am not here to tell you why someone would enter our congregation of Dominican Sisters of Peace. However, I invite you to pray with these thoughts:

  • If you are a Sister or an Associate, what were your reasons to live out God’s call with the Dominican Sisters of Peace; what ‘keeps’ you here; and what are ways we could ‘spice up’ our community to better reflect our Chapter Commitments?
  • If you are discerning living vowed religious life as a Sister or becoming an Associate, what are your motivations to join a religious community?

If you think you would like to talk to someone about your vocation or you would like to check out our community, contact us at vocations@oppeace.org, or join us for a ‘Come and See’ retreat in September.

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi
Posted in God Calling??, News

When the Well Runs Dry

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

Ever feel like your well has run dry?  Sometimes when it’s my turn to write this week’s blog, I struggle with coming up with meaningful topics to write or share about. This phrase, when the well runs dry, keeps popping up in my mind as a metaphorical awareness of where my life is at the moment and so it deserves some reflection.

I like to do Google searches on phrases to get ideas beyond my own to see what emerges. Quotes, a book, and two films are attributed to this phrase.  Let’s look at each of these findings to see what bubbles up.

Perhaps some of you are aware that Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying “When the well is dry, we know the value of water.”  Another way of interpreting this saying is that you never know what you have until it is gone.  A twist on this phrase is the expression, “You’ll never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry” by W.C. Handy.  Both expressions are a wake-up call to take time to cherish the people in our lives who mean so much to us and to be mindful of what we do have because it could be gone tomorrow.

When we dig deep into the well of our being, we can see also whether we are a glass-half-empty person or half-full person.  We can ask ourselves whether we hold onto a pessimistic or optimistic worldview and we can try to shift our perspective if we find ourselves needing to move from the negative to the positive.

The Jesuit priest, Thomas H. Green, wrote a book on prayer that holds this phrase and is entitled When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings. It’s sitting on my bookshelf at home and this may be a good time for me to reflect on his words and to quench my thirst on the wellspring of prayer.

A movie and a documentary film also hold this phrase as its title. One is a 2018 movie about two brothers who struggle with their relationship after the loss of their mother. I suspect that one takeaway from the movie is an understanding of the difficulty we all have to appreciate what we have while we still have it. Turning to a pragmatic understanding of what happens when a well runs dry, is a half-hour documentary film, produced in 2015, that portrays “the vital connection that rural Kansans have with water” and “the ongoing threats [ranchers, farmers, and residents] face to the availability of the water they depend on.”  This environmental threat to our water resources adds another layer of meaning not to be forgotten when pondering the literal impact of a well running dry.

In Scripture, there are many references to callings, conversions, and healings that take place at a well or some reservoir of water. The story of the woman at the well illustrates not only her conversion but also the unconditional love Jesus extends to her. On the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calls Peter and other fishermen to follow him.  Both of these scriptural examples highlight the transformative power and healing nature of water and that when our well runs dry, God is there with us.

When discerning what to do in a particular situation or what life choice to make, we may find the well runs dry.  But, I think when we examine what is happening inside ourselves and listen to what thoughts and feelings are surfacing, we are being called to a deeper awareness of God’s workings in our lives and a deeper relationship with God.

Do you hear or feel God’s presence nudging you to dig deeper and to respond to a call to explore life as a religious sister?  If so, contact us and begin the journey to discovering a wellspring of possibilities.

Posted in God Calling??

Formation Update

Congratulations to our Sisters in Formation

for taking the next step towards religious life!

 

Sr. Phuong Vu, bottom left, has completed the Canonical Year of her Novitiate at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, and will move to New Orleans to serve her Apostolic year at St. Mary Dominican High School.
Candidate Ellen Coates, center, was welcomed to the Novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace by Formation Minister Pat Dual, left, and Prioress Pat Twohill, right, on July 27, 2019.
Annie Killian, left, of Nashville, TN, and Vocations Minister Sr. June Fitzgerald wait outside of the Columbus Motherhouse Chapel before the ceremony welcoming Anne as a Candidate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace on July 6, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please pray for all of our Sisters in Formation: Sr. Margaret Uche, Temporary Professed; Sr. Ana Gonzalez, Temporary Professed; Sr. Phuong Vu, Apostolic Novice; Sr. Ellen Coates, Canonical Novice and Candidate Annie Killian. Please also offer your prayers for our Formation Minister, Sr. Pat Dual and Vocations Minister Sr. June Fitzgerald.
Posted in God Calling??, News