Vocations Blog

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.


Every day a YES.

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

People often ask me if discernment in religious life ever ends.  My simple answer, is, “No, discernment about how I live my life, as a Dominican Sister, is an ongoing and daily practice.” Some days, it is an easy “Yes.” Other days, it’s not so clear. All of us undoubtedly have days when our decisions about life choices leave us with uncertainty, wondering if we are following the path God calls us to.

Take for example a day last week. I woke up, and said to myself, “I wonder if this will be the day–the day I decide that I no longer want to be a sister.” This unsettling feeling emerges when community living no longer appeals to me, or when I want more control over what I do, such as writing a check for myself, or when I desire more freedom about where I’m going. I struggle so to be a woman of peace. It can be so hard. What might be the tipping point in discerning the path to follow or not follow? Is this the day when I tell God, “Sorry, this life is not meant for me after all.”

As I contemplate these thoughts, I give an internal sigh and I recognize that my heart feels heavier. I reflect on the loss of being a ‘Sister’ and the connection and comfort that this title provides for some of the patients, families, and staff at the hospital where I minister. I name the many sisters who have been wisdom-women for me and greatly influenced my understanding of myself and of God. I smile as I think about the fun and funny experiences I’ve had in the community and with other sisters whom I care deeply about.  I relish the freedom that comes from simplifying my life. I count the many blessings and challenges I’ve experienced in my 20+ years as a Dominican Sister, especially as a Dominican Sister of Peace. I’ve grown in ways I never expected.

Some days, living this life as a religious sister is an easy, “Yes,” and other days, it’s not so clear.  Yet, as people of faith, uncertainty, and doubt are frequent companions for all of us. Yes, the God, who is faithful, loves us in our discernment and especially when we struggle.

“You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped” cries the prophet, Jeremiah. I feel like Jeremiah some days, crying out and asking, “Why, God, did you call me to a life I can’t possibly live?”  The answer comes in this same verse from Jeremiah 20:4, where Jeremiah proclaims, “the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion!”  Another sigh, and this time, I know that God is with me always and today will be the day I will affirm my vow again to live out my commitment to religious life–to these women, my sisters, and to God who will be with me this day and forever.

Clearly now, this is the life God meant for me, and today, I say “YES!” to this life as a religious sister that God has called me to.

If you are discerning whether God is calling you to live as a religious sister, we can help you with this discernment.  Just contact us and we will walk with you to hear where you are being called.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

“There is a future for people of peace.” Ps 37:37

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen, OP

“There is a future for people of peace.” Ps 37:37

This Bible quote resonated with in me when I saw it on our Mission for Peace flyer.  Yes!  Living in religious life as people of peace does have a future.  The future here is different from what the human eye typically sees.  Our peace is that which Jesus spoke of when he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The peace in religious life wells up within as we grow and are transformed into people of peace.  Then, we are called forth to share that peace with others in our lives and ministries as we build and make peace in the world around us.  When seven congregations of Dominican Sisters came together and we became the Dominican Sisters of Peace, the Holy Spirit inspired us to include “Peace,” in the name of our congregation.  Each member of the Dominican Sisters of Peace strives to live and promote peace in the world.  For us, it is as natural as breathing.  We breathe in the peace of God and we breathe it out to the world.  As we breathe it out, we make visible our Congregational motto, “Be Peace, Build Peace, and Preach Peace.” It has become our identity and our mission now and into the future.  “There is a future for a people of peace.”  Ps 37:37

Taking on this mission of peace and transformation, I see that the future of religious life is evolving.  Daily, I live into and embrace God’s declaration, “Behold I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5). It impels me to be open to this newness and allow God to lead me into the future God has promised.  Together, we are living and missioned in a world in motion.  Indeed, we know that religious life has already shifted many times since Vatican II.  The lives of religious sisters is now more collaborative than it has ever been.  Every year there are new joint projects among religious congregations and the lay faithful.  There are opportunities for younger religious women, such as through GivingVoice, to network across congregations to share vision, hope, and energy.  The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is another structure that creates opportunities for congregations of women religious to learn, explore, and collaborate to meet the emerging needs of the world.  All of these movements inspire me and give a skip to my step.

Yes, we are called to live and minister in the world – beyond the confines of our congregational footprint.  Jesus planted the seed of peace in our hearts, and he is sending us out, just as he promised when he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so also, I am sending you.” (Jn 20:21). We go forth in the spirit of our faith, support, harmony, respect, and competence. Sisters, young and old, across congregations and countries are equipped by a life full of prayer, experiences, and professional skills. We are grounded in theology, determination, perseverance, and a pioneering spirit with vision and passion for the Mission of God.  Younger sisters bring fresh energy, vision, and enthusiasm to the congregation, while elder sisters support, guide and share their experiences and pearls of wisdom. We pray for one another and we pick each other up when we falter.  It is a life of peace, inspiration, abundance, and hope. We truly believe and embrace, the words of the Psalmist, “There is a future for people of peace.” Ps 37:37

If you feel you’re being called to become a sister, be encouraged and listen to the words of God, “do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Curious?  Do you yearn to be an instrument of peace?  Visit our Becoming a Sister webpages or contact us, to begin a conversation.  If you are ready to visit us, consider attending our Come and See weekend retreat in Columbus OH March 15-17. Click here for information and to register.  The program is free, and we have some scholarship funds for travel assistance.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

A Reflection on Black History Month 2023

“We’ve got the responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us by doing all that we can do to help those who come after us.”    Michelle Obama


Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

I think all of us can appreciate those times when we are able to reflect on our individual heritage and honor our contributions to society. Each February, I look forward to celebrating Black History Month and honoring my African American heritage and its contributions.  Growing up in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, I remember the familiar names that were lifted up in February—such as Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Marian Anderson, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King. But it was during my college years in the 70’s, in my Black history courses, that I broadened my historical perspective of Black history and the contributions of African Americans to American history.  It is as the actor, Morgan Freeman once said, “Black history is American History.”

Since 1987, I have maintained a ritual of obtaining a copy of the African American History and Heritage Calendar published by the Josephite religious order. The Josephites are a religious order of priests and brothers committed to serving the African American community. The “Josephite calendar,” as it is commonly called, is printed as a resource, and distributed in December of each year in predominately African American Catholic parishes. The calendar features Black art, and each day lists names, significant dates, and accomplishments of African Americans. I would always get two calendars—one for home and one for my area at work.  I continue that practice today. Each year, I enjoy learning new facts from the Black Heritage Calendar.  This month, a couple of new facts I noted include learning about:  Charlotte Ray, 1st African American woman lawyer to graduate from Howard University Law School in 1872; Rebecca Lee Crumpler, 1st African American woman to receive an M.D. degree in 1864; and Debi Thomas, 1st African- American woman to win a medal (figure skating) at the Winter Olympics-1988 Calgary Canada.

Representation is important. It means a lot to be able to reflect on your heritage and to see “someone who looks like you” reflected in various roles in society. One of my favorite photographs of former President Barack Obama, captures the moment where he bends forward to allow a little Black child to touch his hair, “to see if it was like his hair.” Another inspirational story is that of Misty Copeland, the ballerina who in 2015, became the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.  Copeland has shared with other young Black girls and their parents, what it is like to be “on a journey as a dancer who is young, Black and different.”  Black representation in all walks of life is important. It helps to inspire the dreams of our younger generations. Representation was important to the discernment of my own vocation as a religious sister.  A picture of Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA, hung in my office along with my other religious and family mementos.  I was, also, deeply influenced by seeing and connecting with Black religious women through the National Black Sisters Conference (NBSC).

African American candidates for sainthood, from top left: Venerable Augustus Tolton, Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Servant of God Julia Greeley,
Second Row: Servant of God Thea Bowman, Venerable Mother Henriette Delille, Servant of God Mother Mary Lange.

Remembering the importance of representation, I am grateful to celebrate during Black History Month 2023, the six Black candidates for sainthood, Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA, Mother Mary Lange, OSP, Mother Henriette DeLille, SSF, Fr. Augustus Tolton, Julia Greeley and Pierre Toussaint. Their stories are compelling and their cause for sainthood is becoming more generally known within the Church and Catholic religious circles.  Albertus Magnus College, a sponsored ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, recently began a series about these six candidates called, Saints Among Us: The Road to Sainthood.  I invite you to click here to enjoy the first segment of the series presented by Dominican Sisters of Peace Candidate, Shingai Chigwedere.

I am grateful for another opportunity to celebrate Black History Month and the African American Heritage. For me, it is an inspiring time that also reminds me of God’s continued faithfulness.  I end with this hopeful quote from Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA:

“God’s Glory is revealed because we love one another across the barriers and boundaries of race, culture and class.”

May we always strive to reveal God’s glory in this way.


Pat Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

January Mission for Peace

Sr. Mai-dung Nguyen, OP

Our Mission for Peace event (January 13-15, 2023) took place via zoom and in person at two locations- Connecticut and Columbus. Our two Houses of Welcome Communities – in New Haven, CT and Columbus, OH offered great hospitality to the participants- four discerners stayed in New Haven, CT, and one stayed at the house in Columbus.  Another participant from Oregon joined us via zoom. Participants had opportunities to interact with local sisters, and through zoom, to connect with participants and sisters from other locations. Sisters in formation and sisters from various regions (Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, and Connecticut) were also involved during the weekend. Throughout the weekend, there were many joyful moments, much laughter, and deep conversation.

We structured the weekend around four of our Chapter Commitments. Every six years, after prayer and study, the Dominican Sisters of Peace commit themselves to a specific direction and focus.

On Friday, we focused on Love Impels Us to Treasure and Reverence Earth and on  Laudato si’ Implementation via a natural walking meditation. On Saturday morning, we focused on Love Impels Us to Foster & Create Cultures of Inclusion with some volunteer activities. In the afternoon, for Love Impels Us to Prophetic Preaching of the Gospel Message, we watched the presentation, “Mission Experience at the Texas Border.” Joining us for this were Sr. Imelda Schmidt and Sr. Mary Vuong, who volunteered at the Southern border with the immigrants. For the commitment, Love Impels Us to Foster Lives of Prayer and Contemplation, participants were encouraged to have personal prayer time and to reflect on the presentations and actions taken so far this weekend.

In the evening, we had three short sessions (~30 min per session). For each, two sisters zoomed in to share their experiences and answer questions. These sessions included: care for creation (Sr. Jane Balanger and candidate Terri Schell), peace and social justice (Sr. Gemma Dolls and Sr. Annie Killian) and what it’s like to be in formation (Sr. Cathy Buchanan, Sr. Tram Bui and candidate Shingai Chigwedere). Many other sisters – both those in the local communities and those in formation, were also involved.  We wrapped up the program with a ritual of blessing and commissioning on Sunday morning.

Besides the general sessions via zoom, we had various activities at the local level. In Columbus, we went to Shepherd’s Corner Ecology and the Motherhouse for Mass, and lunches and to volunteer with Sr. Caroline Castellini and Sr. Denise Bourgeois, who also taught us how to knit hats and pompoms. At the House of Welcome, we prayed with the community. Saturday dinner, we had a special treat with Vietnamese dishes prepared by the community and Sr. Tram Bui.

In Connecticut, the participants at our House of Welcome, gathered in the community room to watch the Zoom sessions.  In between times, we enjoyed time for walking meditation, casual conversation in the kitchen, and even watched a documentary on Dorothy Day.  We helped to prepare PBJ sandwiches and pack bag lunches for the homeless at a local drop-in center.  On Saturday evening, sisters living close by joined us for dinner and good conversation.  Sr. Phuong Vu shared the Italian dishes she learned to prepare from one of the tutors at our Springs Learning Center. Throughout the weekend we gathered with the local community for prayer and to attend Mass at St. Stanislaus Church.


One participant in Oregon joined us via zoom.  She may have been at a distance but, we felt her close to us in spirit as she entered into all of the activities both virtual and those she did in her own hometown.  She had her own time to meditate and take her own nature walk.  The volunteer activities involved picking up trash on the road and paying more attention to those in her neighborhood.

When asked what they liked about the program, one participant wrote; “this program was both casual and informative – good vibes and people… what a treat to engage deeply with our community.”  Another said she liked the morning and evening prayer times with the local community because it helped her “to connect with God during the day and night.”

When asked what they wanted to share about this program with others, one participant replied; “this program is a wonderful way to get to know sisters and experience what it’s like to live in religious community.”  When asked how this program helped her discernment, one person said; “It helps me to recognize which parts of the communal life I am naturally most and least inclined towards, respectively.”

Click here to watch the PowerPoint highlight video for this program

Our next vocation event is our Come and See Discernment Retreat (March 17-19) in Columbus, OH. Please spread the word about this free weekend for single Catholic women (18-45 yrs old). Click here for more information and to register. If you have any question or are curious about religious life, please contact us.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

A New Year of Our Sacred Journey of Life

Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.

Caroline Adams Miller

Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, I came across this wonderful quote. I thought it would be an excellent addition to our prayer for the recent gathering of all the women in formation for our congregation. During the year, as the Formation Coordinator, I often meet or have conversations with the women in formation individually, or with their sister mentors and their local communities. However, because of their full-time ministries, studies, and other factors, coming together as a group, occurs less frequently.   The January gathering seemed the perfect time to share with each other the blessings, hopes and challenges of their sacred journey during the previous year—while also looking forward to the new year. The quote by Caroline Miller, provided a prayerful gateway for sharing around the joys, learnings and questions encountered during their formation journey.

Sharing in the process of helping another person deepen their relationship with God, or seeking to understand God’s movement in their life, is really a privilege. Whether their discernment leads them to confirm their vocation call as a religious sister or leads them to their discovery of a different call, neither the time nor the journey is wasted. It is still, “a sacred journey…about change, growth, discovery, movement…and expanding the vision of what is possible.”

Discerning a call about religious life or discerning any significant decision about our path in life, requires some basic skills.  It requires understanding important things about yourself.  Additionally, since “discernment” involves making God an intentional part of the process—it requires understanding of your own relationship with God. It is also helpful to have someone you can talk honestly with, like a mentor. Understanding these basic principles and learning other discernment skills can be helpful in navigating the sacred journey of your life. Click here for some helpful ways to begin discerning.

I find it to be a wonderful experience to journey with those in the formation process, as Candidates, Novices and Temporary Professed sisters.  I am, indeed, grateful to continue this new year of discerning and companioning them on their journey into religious life. The current formation group of eight women—diverse in age, culture, race, and background—shared their hopes, dreams, and, yes, challenges experienced during this past year of their journey. However, gratitude and deep faith was also expressed and was evident in their sharing.  They expressed openness and hope for this new year of mystery and possibilities. I feel compelled to also acknowledge my own gratitude for being part of their sacred journey. In fact, who among us would not be grateful to witness the Spirit’s transformation at work in both their own lives and in the lives of others?

In this new year, I pray that each of us may know the truth of Miller’s words, “You are on the path, exactly where you are meant to be right now…From here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of healing…of courage…of beauty…of wisdom…of power…of dignity…and of love.”

If you feel you are being invited to explore the journey of becoming a Sister, contact us or give us a call. We have a number of ongoing virtual discernment groups and we you invite to consider attending our next Come and See Discernment Retreat, March 17-19, in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to register.

Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog