God Calling?

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.


 

Be Compassionate About Your Call

Blog by Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen

What do you expect when you plant a garden? To grow and harvest fresh fruit, fresh veggies, fresh flowers? But what if something happens beyond your expectations, then what will you do?  Like gardening, if God’s call is not what you dream about, then what will you do?  The process of vocation discernment in which God invites each of us to grow in compassion about our daily call is like the process I want to share with you about my compassion toward rabbits in my garden.

I planted sweet potatoes in our back yard, and as I did, I imagined eating delicious sweet potato leaves. Sweet potato leaves have healthy nutrients and provide physical healing.

One day I realized that some leaves were partially cut. The following day, more leaves were chopped off. It was the garden rabbits who ate these leaves, and I could not let the rabbits ruin my garden.

I fenced my garden with string. It did not work.  I used vinegar because rabbits do not like the smell of vinegar. Ironically, that night, the heavy rain washed away the scent of the vinegar.  I thought about buying a garden fence to protect my garden.  But then, I questioned doing this because the rabbits might be hungry and city rabbits have a tough time finding veggies. Instead of fencing, I began to plant more sweet potatoes for them. Now, I feel happy every time I water the garden because I know the rabbits will enjoy it. I did not expect garden rabbits to eat my sweet potato leaves, but I learned to make changes and to be at peace with them.

Sometimes, God’s call is not what you expect. You plan for your future, and suddenly, you hear God calling you to consider living in religious life or changing your ministry or your way of life to respond to the needs of our times. This call may disturb your dreams and settled life. However, like the rabbits who kept eating my veggies, no matter what I did to prevent it, God’s call is always there, nudging you and being persistent. When you experience this moment of God’s nudging, be attentive and trust that God will provide in abundance.

Thus, under God’s abundance, if today you feel or hear God’s voice, do not postpone or delay your discernment process. Take some concrete actions to allow your compassion about this call grow in you. Bring your concerns and feelings to God in your prayers, listen to your inner feelings, share with those whom you trust, especially your spiritual director, and contact our vocation team. We have a great discernment program for you to reflect on your vocation call. Once you follow how God is calling you, God will provide more than enough for you as you live this call, and you will find joy, peace, and fulfillment. Take a leap of faith and begin the journey.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Reach up!  Step out!  Take a Leap of Faith! 

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

That is exactly what Cathy Buchanan did on Saturday, August 8th when she entered the Dominican Sisters of Peace.  With local community gathered around her and an extended community of Sisters, family and friends zooming in from around the country, she reached up, stepped out and took a leap of faith.

Cathy will spend the next year, or so, as a Candidate in our Congregation.  During the rite of entrance, our Prioress, Sr. Pat Twohill, asked her, “Cathy, what is your desire?”  Cathy replied, “To live as a candidate with the Dominican Sisters of Peace, to learn what it is to be a Dominican, and to continue to answer God’s call.”  To this request, the Sisters affirmed that they were willing to welcome Cathy, support her with prayer, share their knowledge and experience with her and receive her gifts.  Indeed, we will welcome her gifts and encourage her to find new ones, to accompany her in challenging times, listen to her as she continues to discern God’s call and celebrate with her every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a powerful witness of the fact that God is calling people to radical witness and to courageous action. In these times of uncertainty, one thing is clear; God is with us in all of it.  We just need to listen, reach up, step out and take a leap of faith!

What is your desire?  If it is “To live as a Dominican Sister of Peace.” – Then contact us to begin the conversation.   Also, please consider attending our Virtual Discernment Retreat, September 11-13.  To register, click here, or to get more information, please call/text Sr. Bea Tiboldi at 614-400-1255 or e-mail btibodi@oppeace.org

It was my great honor to preach during Cathy’s Welcome Ceremony.  I offer that preaching to you here for your reflection.  Please pray for Cathy, and all people discerning their call.

Blessings,

Sr. June

p.s. stay tuned for a video of Cathy’s entrance ceremony.

Posted in God Calling?

Religious Communities as Constellations

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

When you gaze upon the stars, what do you see? Are you someone who is looking for a constellation, or someone who is wishing upon a star, or someone who is simply trying to ‘connect the dots?’

In the middle of July, during our monthly discernment gathering, as Sr. Pat Twohill OP was sharing about discernment, she suggested a few thoughts that might help discerning women to take a leap of faith in their journey. I decided to share a few of her thoughts with you, along with adding my thoughts as well. If you are a Sister or an Associate, or should I say, part of our “constellation,” I hope you find assurance and encouragement for the future as you reflect with these insights. If you are someone who is trying to decide between religious congregations, I hope you find this blog empowering to take the next step in your journey.

Photo Credit: László Tiboldi
“Hook your star to a constellation”

One of Sr. Pat’s suggestions was, “Hook your star to a constellation.” She shared this on July 10th. Little did I know that in just two weeks, we would see the Comet Neowise. As I gazed upon the sky, I remembered her voice, “Hook your star to a constellation.” How wise is that! Comet Neowise was cool, but it gave a temporary joy only. Constellations, that we might often recognize, shine brightly all the time – and when the clouds don’t hide them, we can see them.

Aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes in his book, The Little Prince, “For some who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others, they are no more than little things in the sky. For others who are scholars, they are problems. (…) You alone will have stars as no one else sees them.” In the Scriptures, we read: “[God] appoints every star and calls each one by name.” (Psalm 147:4) God calls us – each one of us by name. So, why not hook your star to a “constellation” or a community?

Finding the pattern that forms a recognizable image

A constellation is a group of stars when they form a pattern, like the Big Dipper or Gemini, etc. When looking at the various religious congregations, there are certain characteristics one might look for. You might want to look at how often Sisters pray together, how they live and preach the Gospel, what their congregation’s charism is, how they respond to societal needs, what their community life looks like, or whether this group has a future. These characteristics might form a pattern, which one might call a “constellation”, and that might help you find the “constellation” that fits you the best.

The joy we find in constellations

The Comet Neowise was cool to see, but we can no longer see it. However, we can still see other constellations – constellations that last. When you look at congregations, look at them in the present moment, but also whether they have a sense of future.

Putting energy into the sacrifice

Stars create and release energy. During our recent assembly, we were encouraged to continue to put energy into the sacrifice as we engage in our mission and respond to the emerging needs of the times. Whether you are a Sister, an Associate, or someone who is discerning religious life, I invite you to pray with these thoughts: what energizes you about our community and/or mission? How can you share that energy in a way that brings God’s light to others? In which community can you create and release energy in a way that it brings out your God-given best self? Some people look upon the stars on their birthday and make a wish. What is your wish for the future?

Sr. Pat Twohill reminded us that God guides us along the way. When she quoted Psalm 95, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart,” she then encouraged our discerning women, “Try it!” She reminded them to pay attention to their feelings, wherever their heart feels most at home might be the right place to live out God’s call.

In the Scriptures, we hear, “Stars of heaven, bless the Lord,” (Daniel 3:63) and “[God] appoints every star and calls each one by name.” (Psalm 147:4) To what is God calling you? What is one thing you will do to bless God today?

If you think you are called to be a vowed religious Sister or an Associate, contact us at vocations@oppeace.org. If you are a single, Catholic woman aged 18-45, and you if would like to participate in our 3-day virtual Discernment Retreat, click here for more information on our Facebook page, or see the flyer here.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Musings on Redeeming the Soul of a Country

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

On July 30, 2020, we laid to rest another giant of the Civil Rights Movement, Congressman John L. Lewis. Speaker after speaker revealed a life lived from an early age with a mission “to do something” about the injustice of racism.  He made this choice at age 15 because as he wrote in his final letter to the country, 14 year old “Emmitt Till was his George Floyd, his Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.”  He knew with great clarity “the potential brutality” that could be inflicted upon him and others who look like him for “no understandable reason.” For six decades, John Lewis took his own advice “to do something” in the struggle for peace and justice through his leadership in the Civil Rights movement. Even now in his death, he inspires a new generation, the Black Lives Matter movement, in its 21st century struggle against injustice.

As a 68-year-old Black woman raised in Virginia, I am very much aware of the struggle for racial equality and the civil rights movement. However, I must admit that the murder of George Floyd affected me more deeply than I am able to express in knowing that only the color of his skin gave “unspoken” permission for such brutality. How do you even process that kind of trauma?  I found that as much as I wanted to write to about what I was feeling—I could not.  The inspiration of hearing and reading about John Lewis’ life in recent days has contributed to helping me move further along in my own journey of “doing something” in the struggle to proclaim that Black lives matter!

In this June 7, 2020, photo provided by the Executive Office of District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, John Lewis looks over a section of 16th Street that’s been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington. The Washington Monument and the White House are visible in the distance. Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. He was 80. (Khalid Naji-Allah/Executive Office of the Mayor via AP)

Proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, in some ways, has become divisive. Some want to express their support of the statement that Black lives matter, but not the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) —associating it with violence, Marxist ideology or that it denigrates the traditional idea of family. Beyond the statement “Black Lives Matter,” I understand the principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, in essence as “promoting a world where every Black person has the social, economic and political power to thrive.  They promote freedom for all people regardless of race, gender identity, economic status, religion beliefs or not, and immigration status.”  What I have seen of legitimate leaders and followers of the BLM movement has been peaceful protests and the inclusion of all races and sexual orientations. Such inclusiveness might disturb some, but is that not part of what the Gospel is about—meeting people where they are without judgement of who they are.

I believe the Black Lives Matter movement has often been a target for disinformation.  Promoting disinformation has always been a strategy for discrediting anything or anyone that threatens the status quo and power structure. Openness to learning truth is the only way to combat disinformation.

Like Congressman John Lewis and leaders of the Civil Rights movement, I am inspired by this new, young, and diverse generation who continue “the good fight” proclaiming in the 21st century that Black lives do, indeed, matter!

I pray this time we are heard.

Pat Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?, News

What is God Asking of You During this Pandemic?

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

As this pandemic wears on, I’m beginning to feel restless and want it to be over.  I suspect I’m not alone in feeling this way.  On the positive side, maybe now is a good time to ask what lessons am I learning from this pandemic?  What is God asking of me, from me, at this time, in this moment? How can I use this time to deepen my relationship with God, with self, and with others?

Clearly, we are not living in contented times. I believe we are being called to go into the eye of the present storm, with God at our side and with faith in ourselves and each other, to address the many systemic problems of our times. We must listen to the still small voice within ourselves that calls us to dig deep to find ways to understand and respond to the issues that are before us. We have reached a pinnacle in either responding to or refraining from the problems that plague us.  Do we take a step forward or backwards?  Do we take a step into the arena or out of the arena?  Do we proceed with fear or with compassion?

Perhaps one lesson we can learn from this pandemic is to slow down and to be in communion with God in whatever way we find God and where God can find us. We need to nurture and ready ourselves for the journey ahead. Our mission now is to prepare ourselves to be peacemakers, to be truth-tellers (preachers), to be healers and messengers of hope, to be advocates who stand with the persecuted, marginalized, and those denied their full humanity and dignity as God’s creation.

Every generation has faced challenges, some more dire and pivotal than others.  What will be our response individually and communally? Will we be a force to be reckoned with in pursuing the truth and justice that has evaded the marginalized for years?  How do you see and hear God calling you amid the many issues before us?

Are you hearing a nudge from God to be part of a faith community that is devoted to fostering a deep relationship with God and that strives to respond to the needs of the times?  Do you want to dedicate your life to serving God’s people and to understanding and carrying out God’s will? If you feel called to explore life as a religious sister, we invite you to contact us to begin a conversation.

Posted in God Calling?, News