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.


 

Let’s Be the Community People Strive to Find

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

If you are like me, you’ve been to more than a few graduation and baccalaureate Masses this month. I have a confession to make:  I like commencement speeches and baccalaureate homilies. I could write a book entitled, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Commencements and Baccalaureates.”

This year’s baccalaureate homily at Albertus Magnus College, a liberal arts college founded by our sisters in 1925, provided more than a few points to include in such a book. Father Jordan Lenaghan, OP in his homily, focused on three points that I believe speak directly to those graduating and those discerning their life’s call.

The first was to seek and speak the truth—Veritas—one of our Dominican mottoes, even when it leads you to bold action (that makes you shake a little) or to speaking that which is not popular. Secondly, to seek and pursue a deeper meaning in your life. Then, to become the community people strive to find.

I’ve been pondering these words for the last few weeks and I am more convinced than ever that this is our quest. To become, more and more each day, that community of believers others strive to find. A community, yes, a family of faith, truth, and deep meaning.

St Dominic embarked on this quest over 800 years ago, as did the women who founded our congregations. Today, we stand on their shoulders with our eyes fixed on the future.

What is your truth? Your meaning? Where are you being called?

Are being called to learn more about our community?  Click here to contact us.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Letting Go

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

My husband and I just started an all-liquid diet that we will be on for at least six months.  It’s a medically supervised diet and, of course, it presents all the obvious challenges of hunger, temptation, and deprivation.  But, I’m approaching this diet as a spiritual exercise in learning to let go of what weighs me down and keeps me from being transformed into the person God calls me to be.

One attitude that I’m trying to let go of is anger.  When I harbor anger, I know I’m allowing this feeling to eat away at my ability to be at peace, to see things clearly, and to be open to God’s graces.  What I’m learning is that if I adopt an attitude of understanding, I can diffuse my anger and not let it control me.  When I allow understanding to be my focus, I can let go of my way of thinking about a person or situation and let God transform me into a more compassionate, peace-filled person.  I can practice being and building peace, which are two aspects of the mission of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates.

What attitude do you need to let go of and give over to God so that you can be transformed?

As I experience hunger pangs, I am aware that this will be only a temporary feeling for me.  While I’ve made the choice to follow this diet, there are many who experience hunger not by choice but by circumstance, often beyond their control.  Can I use this experience to increase my awareness of the plight of the impoverished or of those suffering from malnutrition?  I can let go of my need to consume and use the occasion to make a monetary contribution to a local food bank.

What is God calling you to sacrifice today for the good of others?

As I pass by a bowl of candies many times a day on my way to and from my office, I experience a gnawing temptation to satisfy my taste buds with this instant delight.  We all experience temptation because our desires for food, comfort, love, and so on, are part of being human.  These same desires, however, can become addictive with a must-have attitude. Understanding what we are seeking or desiring can help us overcome temptation and by refocusing our energies towards something else or remembering why we’re pursuing a particular goal can help us refrain from temptation.

What temptations keep you from staying on your path to becoming whole?

In the Gospel readings from Mark, Matthew, and Luke, we read about Jesus’s temptation at Gethsemane of not wanting to face the upcoming events that awaited him of being betrayed, mocked, scorned, beaten, and then crucified.  Prayer becomes Jesus consolation as he lets go of his desire to not suffer and prays to God, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42).

When I feel deprived upon seeing others enjoying a meal or a snack, I can remind myself again of this temporary state of dwelling and focus my attention on the need to be transformed physically and spiritually.  Scripture again tells us how Jesus dealt with deprivation when he was hungry during his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.  Confronted by Satan to provide food for himself miraculously, Jesus asserts “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus instead trusts God to provide for his needs.  Jesus’ dependence on God is an act of letting go and allowing God to be the center of his life.

What is your spiritual hunger?  What is your spiritual sustenance?  Are you able to let go of your desires and give your concerns to God, making God the center of your life?

Each of us is on a journey and faces different challenges.  We can lean on God through prayer and seek support from others around us for strength to accept or overcome these challenges.  God is with us and we need only let go to allow God to transform us into the person we are meant to be.

Are you meant to follow God’s will as a religious sister?  Are you ready to be transformed into the person God meant you to be?  Why not contact us to talk over where God might be leading you?

Posted in God Calling??, News

“Whoever Does God’s Will Is My Brother and Sister and Mother”

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Every Mother’s Day, we celebrate and show our gratitude for the love and sacrifices that our moms have made for us and the whole family. This year, on the morning of Mother’s Day, I listened to children from a radio channel reading their letters of gratitude for their moms. It was a touching moment. I wonder if every day when we wake up or before we sleep, if we appreciate the gifts of our moms and every woman who has touched our lives, then the world will be a more loving and nurturing world.

Yet, besides our biological mom, God continuously sends us maternal figures who impact our lives.  One of them is the Blessed Mother Mary.  She is considered our faith mother. As Jesus’ Mother, Mary did not know how the future would unfold. Like other mothers, Mary wanted the best for her child; but sometimes, she got confused and hurt by the way Jesus did His ministry or by His responses. However, by putting her life in God’s providence, Mary was able to accomplish her role as co-redemptorist with Jesus and played a necessary role in the birth of the early Christian church. Even today, Mary plays a role in our lives by inviting us to become bold like her.  Or, when God calls us to do something different, such as being a sister or to respond to the needs around us, Mary is an example to us of strength and courage in following God’s will. How much trust do you have in God’s providence about your future, especially when something happens that does not fulfill your expectations or is out of your control?

A second example of how God sends women into our lives to nurture us is the story told to me by a kind, handyman at our local house. He is so gracious, always does a good job, and bills us at a low cost. If one has a chance to talk to him, one would hear his sharing: “I just want to pay off to the Sisters for all they did for me. When I was a little boy, I was a slow learner and teachers did not want to teach me. School was hard for me, but Sister Sibyllina Mueller took me in and helped me to become who I am. I have never forgotten her.” He becomes a successful man because Sister Sibyllina went against the norm of the school to be a voice for this boy and was patient with him. I believe she did all of it because of her vows of obedience and celibacy to God, listening to the signs of time and responding to the needs around her without fear, but in love and compassion with the dignity of those whom she served. I feel a connection with this deceased sister and this man, helping me understand what Jesus said; “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)

Let’s look at another example of a woman who heard God’s call and seeks to make a difference in the life of her fellow sisters. This sister is in her 70s and has been influencing my life a lot. Every time I express my gratitude to her, she always replies, “You don’t need to do so. I too have had someone to help me. Now, I help you, then, in the future, you will help others, even more than how I have helped you.”  Later, at the wake of a sister in her 90s, this same sister, who has helped me, expressed her gratitude to this deceased sister for helping her become the person she is.  Hearing this sharing, I realized that blessings and life experiences were getting passed from one person to another across generations and cultures. These women besides my biological mother have taught me how to live out the Gospel message with love, confidence, vision and so much more. I thank God for this wonderful connection among women in my community of faith.

A religious call is not a life where you give up your family. This life gives you an opportunity to reach out beyond your biological family to value the gifts God gives to you to love and be loved, to share and to receive, and more. If you feel called to live this life helping those around you or want to explore more about the life of sister in a faith community, contact us.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Totally Unplanned and Totally Appreciated

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

I recently took my perpetual profession of vows. It was a very joyful celebration. As the ‘big day’ approached, I became more and more excited. I was filled with all the hyper-active energy the Spirit could provide. During the planning days, I was reminded many times, lightheartedly and at times even jokingly, to focus, and I’m sure they meant it. However, there was an unplanned happening during Mass which moved me a lot. I didn’t even need to be reminded to ‘focus’ at that time. It naturally came. This was an experience that I most likely have shared with many people in the chapel. Several sisters came to me after liturgy, expressing how grateful they were for ‘it’ and the entire celebration helped them feel like they were renewing their commitment to God within our community.

Before Mass, we told Fr. Mike Trainor, OP, our priest, that we would sing all three verses of the song: “How shall I sing to God” because we would sing it for meditation. After receiving communion, I usually start my prayer with: “Jesus, let your way be my way.” Choosing the song: “How shall I sing to God” by Brian Wren (text) and David Haas (tune) for meditation was very intentional, but it was the “it” that opened my heart and allowed me to let the Spirit work in me, tuning me into what I was about proclaim in song.

So, what was the ‘it’? What was that unexpected ‘thing’ that helped us be moved into a deeper meditation or helped to renew our vows? It was the pause and the waiting right before the song for meditation. It might seem subtle to anyone who wasn’t there, but the pause was so powerful. It was totally unplanned and totally appreciated. The pause was so perfectly timed, and it added a lot for me. I’m not talking about a usual pause between two songs. It was a pause, lasting until everyone, including extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and altar servers, would have the opportunity to sit down and tune into what we were about to sing and reflect on. That pause provided the prayerful environment to be able to allow God work in us and to be able to full-heartedly sing that song to God.

When we receive a news, whether it’s a joyful news, a sad news or a shocking news, we usually pause for a moment to let it sink in before we respond to the news. There were so much joys and emotions to handle during the celebration: professing my vows for my whole life, celebrating with so many sisters, family members, and all who have been journeying with me in faith, remembering our deceased loved ones, being inspired by the reflection of the Mass readings, receiving communion, the joyful music, the boost of the Easter joy, and the list could go on. The pause helped me to let all of these emotions sink in, and then it helped me to allow the Spirit to move in me to sing this song to God as my response to God’s call.

In the song, we sang that, whether life is filled with gladness or bleakness, either way, we would sing God’s song with love. Whether I just took my vows for my life, or the sisters who took their vows for life, or married couples who took their vows for life, or associates who took their commitments, or the women discerning vowed religious life; we all sang this song together, singing God’s love. In times of gladness, as well as in times of sufferings – we continue to proclaim God’s love until love conquers all. This is our response to God’s call in the various ministries we serve. It is a life-long commitment and a “thanksgiving sacrifice” as the psalmist writes in Psalm 116. Let me close this blog with the last line of each verse of this song: “This is my song, and I’ll sing it with love.”

If you are considering responding to God’s call as a vowed religious or as an associate, please contact us at vocations@oppeace.org.

Lyrics of the song:

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with gladness, loving and birth, wonder and worth?
I’ll sing from the heart, thankfully receiving, joyful in believing;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with bleakness, empty and chill, breaking my will?
I’ll sing through my pain, angrily or aching, crying or complaining;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God and tell my Savior’s story, Passover bread, life from the dead?
I’ll sing with my life: witnessing and giving, risking and forgiving;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary!

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

This morning, I awoke a little earlier than usual. As I lay there for a minute, half asleep and half awake, I became conscious of a song refrain going around in my head. It was the refrain of “Alleluias” heard from our previous Sunday Mass. However, this was four days later, at 5:00 in the morning.  I had at least another hour and a half before I needed to get up, and this “Alleluia” chorus kept going around in my head. “Is this the beginning of the blog I prayed for last night?”  Happily, it turned out that it was!

“Alleluia” is an expression of rejoicing, meaning “God be praised!”  As we continue to rejoice in the Risen Christ this Easter, the Dominican Sisters of Peace also thank and praise God as we celebrate our Tenth Anniversary!  Ten years ago on April 12, 2009, seven Dominican congregations united for the sake of the mission, forming a new congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Peace.  For several days in July 2019, during our annual Assembly, the congregation will celebrate together the new life created from this union. God be praised for “doing something new” in our lives of faith and commitment.

God be praised—for the lives of the six new women who felt called to join the Dominican Sisters of Peace as Candidates during the first ten years of our existence!  One of these women, Sister Bea Tiboldi, OP, recently professed her Perpetual Vows in April 2019, the month of our tenth anniversary. Sister Elizabeth Jackson, OP, professed Perpetual Vows in December 2018. Two others, Sister Ana Gonzalez, OP and Sister Margaret Uche, OP, professed Temporary Vows in July2018. Sister Phuong Vu is completing her Canonical year as novice in the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate and Candidate Ellen Coates is preparing to begin her novitiate year at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in August 2019.  The blessings continue, as the Congregation prepares to receive a new Candidate, Annie Killian, in July 2019.

Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP with Peace Sisters in Formation and Annie Killian, Candidate

God be praised—for the five women who were in temporary vows in several of the former congregations that united and were among the first to profess their Perpetual Vows in the Dominican Sisters of Peace! They are Sisters Hoa Nguyen, OP, Mai-Dung Nguyen, OP, Patricia Connick, OP, Mary Vuong, OP, and yours truly, Patricia Dual, OP.

God be praised—for several women who are in serious discernment with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the group of 14 plus women who are currently discerning a call to religious life with our vocation ministers!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!  The Dominican Sisters of Peace have much to praise God for as we celebrate this Tenth Anniversary!  All of the Sisters mentioned represent new life, a continuing of the Dominican heritage passed on by all of our current Sisters and all those who have gone before.  How appropriate to offer our praise and gratitude during the joy of this Easter season.

I invite you to join us in giving thanks by praying with us part of our Tenth Anniversary Prayer:

“Faithful God,
We give you thanks for
This grace-filled decade as
Dominican Sisters of Peace
And Associates…
Carry us Faithful God, into our future
Strengthen and lengthen our roots
Into a new growth of understanding.”

(The Anniversary Prayer)

Wondering if you might be called to religious life?  Call us, we can help!

Peace.

Posted in God Calling??, News