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.


 

Valuing Catholic Education

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

This week is National Catholic Schools Week (CSW), celebrating Catholic education in parishes and communities; celebrating the students, families, faculty, staff, and volunteers, and recognizing the value of Catholic education. There is a daily theme for each. On our Facebook page, each day we shared something about our schools. Check it out here.

During CSW, today, Thursday, the theme is vocations (how fitting that I’m writing this blog today!) Therefore, I decided to dedicate this blog to Catholic education, since it was the experience at a Catholic school where God’s call was reignited in my heart and started to nudge me.”

Let’s travel back in time to summer of 2006. After finishing my Master’s Degree, I was ready to jump into the field of education. I interviewed for two jobs, then I went on for a vacation to San Francisco. One morning, when I woke up, I saw two voicemails—both messages were about offering me a job. One was in my (middle-class) neighborhood, and the other one was 35 miles away, but it was a Catholic school in an impoverished area. I was blaming God: “Really? Now I need to choose.” I chose to teach at the Catholic school.

Little did I know how that choice would change me. It unfolded day-by-day. The school’s theme was about living the beatitudes for all five years while I was teaching there. I challenged myself not only to expect students to live the beatitudes, but also myself. In the evenings, I prayed the examination of conscience with the beatitudes. However, praying with this prayer and living the Beatitudes more intentionally, I started to long for more: for a deeper relationship with God. At the same time, the recession hit our country and it especially hit the area where I was teaching. Many people lost their jobs and several became homeless as well. The combination of my being hungry for a deeper relationship with God and for being involved with social justice concerns reignited God’s call for vowed religious life that had been present for a long while. God ‘kept tapping on the door of my heart’ until one day while listening to a song by ABBA (Take a chance on me), I decided to give religious life a try. Being a Dominican, I learned how to use my voice for the voiceless. I’m proud to say, that using one’s voice is taught and encouraged in our schools.

When parents visit schools and try to narrow down which school to choose, they look at the school’s academic performance, its spiritual life, its mission and how it is lived out, and they look at the school’s sense of community. Sounds like the four pillars of Dominican life (prayer, study, community and ministry.)

Catholic Schools don’t just educate. They educate for life. Students study current events and learn to speak up for a more just world. The school community witnesses what following God and sharing in Jesus’ mission is about. That witness speaks louder than any teaching. It doesn’t just educate the mind but it leaves its mark on the heart. It is then no wonder that it was through Catholic education where God’s call for me was reignited.

If you attended a Catholic school, what are you most grateful for? If you wish you would have attended a Catholic school, what is it that you long for and how can those needs be met?

Whether you attended Catholic school or not, perhaps you are searching for something more in your life and are experiencing a call to vowed religious life.  One way you can check out this call is to participate in our free Come and See retreat that we are hosting at our Akron Motherhouse, March 15-17, 2019.  The retreat is really an excellent way to learn about religious life and to meet our sisters by joining us for prayer, meals and conversation.  For details about this retreat, please contact me at btiboldi@oppeace.org. Or, if you would like to talk with one of our Vocation Ministers to help you discern whether God may be calling you to be a religious sister, please click here for our contact information.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

An Interview

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

You do not leave your family behind when you enter the convent.

Recently, I was interviewed about my discernment and life as a Dominican Sister of Peace.  Here is a small part of that interview.  As you will see, we do not leave our family behind when we enter the convent.

  1. Who was most supportive of your becoming a sister? Did anyone try to convince you to take another path?

My sister Amy’s support for my vocation never waved – she was always happy for me and supported my decision to enter religious life. My parents were apprehensive at first, because they wanted me to be happy. They were not familiar with consecrated religious life either and they were concerned that I would be cloistered, away from my family and friends, and lonely.  However, as my discernment and formation continued, and they became familiar with community life, their fears were dispelled and today they support my decision 100%.

In fact, my father recently visited our sisters in Kentucky – and I was not even with him!  These days he knows he is welcome wherever our sisters are.  He is part of the family.

  1. What attracted you to the Dominican order?

Definitely the preaching. I had never seen women preach when I was in college, and honestly, I was a little unsure about it.  However, watching how the Sisters studied scripture, discussed it and broke open the Word from a feminine perspective – it just made me feel alive.

What attracted me to the Dominican Sisters of Peace was their connection to the world – their concern for and involvement in the issues of the day. Their desire to sow peace and encourage justice, in the way that Christ did.

  1. What do you like about being a religious sister?

Being part of something larger than myself. As a Dominican Sister of Peace, I am one of a network of Dominicans and religious around the world. This network of Sisters may not be politically powerful, but we are powerfully persuasive when we join together to take action. As an individual I may feel very small, but with religious Sisters and Brothers around the world, I am part of a mighty voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless.

To be continued . . .

If you have any questions for us that you would like us to answer, please send them to us at vocations@oppeace.org

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

An Influential Moment in My Vocation Journey

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, I read an article by Global Sister’s report where several religious sisters offered reflections about Sisters who had influenced their vocation.  Most of us have memories of people who have inspired us or have been influential in our lives.  When I think of my own life, there are several people who have been significant in my journey into religious life.  There is one Sister in particular though who helped me fully realize the desire and possibility of such a call in my own life.

Some years before I decided seriously to discern a call to religious life, I met my first Dominican Sister. I had met many other religious women, a couple of them I knew fairly well, but I had never met a Dominican.  During the time I met this Sister, I had been secretly pondering the unlikely idea of religious life.   I will never forget the event, the room and the conversation where this Sister, unwittingly, brought this idea about religious life out of the shadows and into the forefront of my thinking.

I met this Sister for the first time during a meeting of a group where I was one of the newest members. The Sister was a returning member, but this was our first time being present together in the group.  As people were milling around, greeting each other before the start of our gathering, I remember noticing the new member as she greeted people, moving around talking, smiling and laughing.  I remember thinking there was something different about her.  Then, when I heard someone call her “Sister”—that really got my attention!  I remember thinking, “She’s a Sister?” I made a mental note to talk to her to find out what religious order she belonged to.  However, as it turned out, she found her way to me first!

The conversation started out as quite ordinary.  We exchanged pleasantries and she complimented me on the prayer service that I had just led with the group. I, in turn, thanked her and asked about where she lived and about her ministry.  I also asked about her community and specifically, if there were any African-Americans in her community.  Now, I was asking that question, simply, as a way to continue the conversation.   But, I will never forget the smile and cheery tone when she responded, “No, but you could be the first!”  Caught off guard, I started laughing, and said, “Oh no, Sister, not me!”  I suddenly found myself asking quite seriously, “Do you think I might have a vocation?”  She looked me in the eye and responded without hesitation, “Yes, I do.”

I never forgot that conversation.  While I was not ready to think about discernment at that time, future conversations, interactions and invitations to visit the community, helped me to eventually discern to say “yes” to the possibility of religious life.   I view that conversation as watering the seed that had already been planted.  It helped inspire the journey that eventually led me to become a Dominican Sister.  There were other Sisters (some from different congregations) and other moments that were inspiring or influential in my journey.  But it was the first Dominican Sister whom I met and our inspired conversation that became an influential moment in my vocation journey.

How about you?  Are there any Sisters who have influenced your life in some way?

In fact, maybe a Sister has even inspired you to think about the possibility of a call to religious life? Yes?  Call us, we can help.J

Peace.

Posted in God Calling??, News

A Daughter’s Reflection

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

As I write this blog, my Mom is in hospice care at my oldest sister’s place in Texas.  Since I can’t be there, I have pictures of my Mom on my computer screen to keep her close.  One of the pictures is a poignant one of Mom with my sister’s dog, Oreo, resting on her lap and her hand resting gently on his head.  Whenever my Mom visited my sister, Oreo served as a source of comfort to her.  How fitting that he lovingly provides comfort to her now.

I am mindful that in this Advent season of waiting, my Mom eagerly awaits being reunited with her Creator, with my Dad, and with all her loved ones who are with God already.  She has expressed her acceptance of these final days with us and her readiness to be with God.  She is a woman of great faith and trust in the Lord.  Her daily devotion of prayer for her family is something we will all miss and now becomes our gift to each other.  As the light goes out on my Mom’s earthly existence, I can feel God’s presence, knowing that this is a sacred time for our family of seven children.

Since writing the above two paragraphs, my Mom is now in heaven.  She joined the choir of angels on December 26 and her waiting fittingly came after the Advent season.  I can only imagine her joy at seeing my Dad and being in the loving embrace of her Creator.

The night before my Mom died, my oldest sister asked how I wanted to be informed of Mom’s passing—if I wanted to know as the time appeared closer or after she ascended into heaven. I told her I wanted to be notified when the time was close so I could light a candle for Mom.  Of course, when I received the call to light the candle, it was both a sacred and sorrowful moment.  Moments after the first phone call came my sister called again to tell me “Your Mom is in heaven now.”  With my husband at my side, we wept for our loss and yet felt a happiness for Mom that her prayers for a peaceful death happened.

Mom lived for 92 years, the same age that her mother passed away.  Us seven siblings and some of her grandchildren will be celebrating her life at her funeral Mass in Plano, Texas on January 25.  Mom was devoted to saying the rosary daily and to praying for the needs of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I had a ritual of having Sunday evening chats with Mom for many years and will miss having these chats and to hearing her voice, but she will always be in my heart.  So, it is with gratitude and love that I remember my Mom’s life.  We will laugh and we will cry during our celebration of her life, a life that we are memorializing in a video that all my siblings have contributed to from their collection of photos.

We pray for those who minister to the sick and dying in hospitals, in nursing homes, in private homes, and for those who are in hospice care.  As a community of believers in the resurrection of the body and in everlasting life, we offer our love and prayers to all who have lost loved ones, recently and some time ago.  May God’s mercy, love, and compassion bring us peace.

If you feel called to be a beacon of light, of peace, and of joy in a hurting world, maybe God is calling you to become a religious sister to minister to the needs of God’s people.  We are eager to hear your story and to help you discern God’s call in your life.  You can contact one of our Vocation Ministers by calling, texting, or emailing us.  We also have a Come and See retreat we will be hosting at our motherhouse in Akron, Ohio from March 15-17, 2019, where you can experience and explore community life, and so much more.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Do You Let the Star Lead You?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Have you ever had any conversation with God through the Star that led the Magi to the Baby Jesus? How did that conversation turn out for you?

The Christmas season always brings me back to a special moment of my discernment for religious life. Nineteen years ago, around this time, I was discerning a vocational call to religious life with Dominican Sisters. I lived in Boston with a friend of my family, and after work, I usually walked home from a train station. The city was crowded with people and full of Christmas decorations; but one night in that Advent, I felt so lonely in the middle of this busy city and the night seemed especially very dark. Suddenly, the image of the star leading the Magi to the Baby Jesus came to me. At that moment, I said to God; “I don’t know where I will live. If your Star could lead the Magi to the Baby Jesus, be with me at this moment to guide my steps into the future. You are my Star.” I hold the image of this Star so vividly that I gained courage to move forward with trust and inspiration to join the Dominican Sisters.

The Star is still alive within me and has never faded since then—one year, two years, three years, and even 19 years later. Indeed, it is the Star that has given me courage and enthusiasm to move forward, not only for my discernment year of religious life, but also for my whole life. As an itinerant Dominican, every moment of life is the moment of discernment to live God’s call based on the signs of our time. This Star has taken me to many places without fear and full of joy, hope, love, and peace.

Again, this new year, this Star will take me to another place to meet Jesus. I am leaving Louisville, Kentucky, where I have been living for 14 years, and moving to Wichita, Kansas. I am moving to live closer to my family to help my elderly parents and continue my vocation ministry from that area. Again, I strongly believe that this Star continues to direct me, and I am happy to follow its unfailing guidance.  With this Star and the Dominican charism, I step into this New Year full of enthusiasm, hope, peace, and insight. I hope that I can be God’s star to all those whom I meet. How about you?  Are you willing to let this Star lead you to the place where God is calling you to live without fear? In the year 2019, how much joy, peace, hope, and insight will you have when you let this Star lead you into this New Year?

Have you ever had a trust that the Star of God will lead you into a future full of hope, peace, and insight? Do you want to explore more on how to be itinerant for God’s mission—to be Peace, live Peace, and build Peace? If you do, please contact one of our Vocation Ministers. We also have a “Come and See” discernment retreat weekend March 15-17, 2019 in Akron, Ohio. We, Dominican Sisters of Peace, always welcome you.

Posted in God Calling??, News