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.


 

Message in a bottle…. I mean around the chocolate

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

Have you ever found a message in a bottle that was floating in a river or ocean? Naturally, people are curious, and a message in the bottle allows us to peek into other’s thoughts that they wish to communicate. Just a few days ago, I was munching on chocolates on my way to a meeting in Cleveland. Each chocolate was wrapped in a message. After a few pieces, I caught myself realizing that while I loved the creaminess and smoothness of the chocolate, I was eager to open the next one because I was curious about the message that it contained.

The first message I read was: “Compliment someone…” (LindseyL., Indiana) Rather than complimenting one or two people, I choose dedicate this blog to all Sisters around the world on the occasion of Catholic Sisters Week.

“Smile, someone is thinking of you.” (Sherry A., Iowa)

Yes, if you are a Sister, know that we are thinking of you and praying for you, especially during this week.

“Be fearlessly authentic.” (Sotiria S, New Jersey)

Every six years, Sisters and Associates come together to prayerfully study and evaluate the needs of our times. Then, together, we create ways we would (fearlessly) respond to those needs, even if it requires us to take risks (i.e. founding the Peace Center in New Orleans just a few years ago.)

“Throw kindness around like confetti!” (Molly B., Kansas)

Above the door at the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus, it is written: “Peace to all who enter.” This message of peace is extended to all of our motherhouses, convents and communities. No matter which part of the congregation I visit, Sisters always radiate God’s peace, kindness and care.

“Dare to cross the line.” (Dove)

Sisters are mission-driven. It is about making God’s love known as we build the kingdom of God. At times, we dare to cross the line – in persevering to push for more just laws, making this world a more peaceful place, or going out to help the sick and those in need. Sisters, thank you for your witness of faith.

“Always time for love.” (Shannon B., Washington)

One of our Sisters in New Orleans always had boxes of twinkies in the trunk of her car – for the times when she encountered homeless people. Or, another example, our Candidate, Annie, who ministers full time as a professor of English, also found time to volunteer at the YWCA on a regular basis. I have learned from our Sisters’ example of faith that there is “always time for love.”

“Be with people who make you laugh.” (Lucy K., California)

I consider myself as playful and someone who has a sense of humor. When I looked at congregations to enter, I knew the congregation I chose would have to have a sense of humor as well. I certainly found that in my Sisters; our community life reflects this with many moments of joy, laughter, and companionship.

The message I chose to send you off with is: “It’s your call.” (Jenna L, New York)

Is it? It’s your call whether you just munch on chocolates, or whether you are open to the message that these Dove chocolates offer to be communicated. Similar to God’s call, we can only feel or hear God’s nudging, if we are open to it. A vocation to religious life comes from God, but certainly, it’s our choice whether we respond to it.

Sisters, thank you for your Yes! to God’s call and your witness of faith, and I’m raising my glass to toast you and our collective future full of hope.

 

Posted in God Calling?, News

From a Bible to an Album: Mission Continues

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Last week, while searching for one of my resource books on the Bible, I found an album that I created in 2008 after my involvement in the congregation’s “Ministry of Presence” in New Orleans during the Katrina recovery. Even after three years of this hurricane, there was still a much-needed ministry. I was grateful for the opportunity to participate in this ministry with Dominican Sisters in the summer 2008.

As I paged through the album, I still felt strongly the Dominican spirit of preaching, itinerancy, pioneering in these sisters. Among seven Sisters of Peace who participated, one is already united with God, another moved to a health care facility, and the rest are scattered around the country in New Orleans, Akron, Columbus, Wichita, and Great Bend.  My album of pictures for 2008 also reminded me of our January 2020 Mission Immersion experience in New Orleans that I was involved in. During this most recent trip, we shared with the discerners about Katrina and how the Sisters responded to the needs of the people in New Orleans and how they helped to rebuild their lives in the city. Reflecting on these two events, I see the continuity of our ministry and mission extending from the past to the present.

Sometimes, God leads us in a different direction than what we expect. Like me, I did not find the Bible resource that I was searching for. Instead, I found this album. In finding the album, I enjoyed reflecting on our mission work in the past and in the present. I hope that our mission for peace and the pioneering spirit of Dominicans will continue to flourish, not only in the present time, but also into the future. For this to happen, I invite you, sisters, associates, friends, and discerners, to reflect on these questions:

  • How can we pass our charism, our spirit, and mission on to the next generation?
  • How do we inspire each other to be pioneers for a mission of peace?
  • How do we encourage each other to think outside the box so the pioneering and itinerant spirit can grow in us and in future generations?

If you are alive with the desire to further our congregation’s mission of peace, we invite you to help us to promote vocations among young people and let others know what our lives and mission represent.

If you want to explore more about the Dominican Sisters of Peace, please visit our website or contact our vocation team.

Consider attending Come and See retreat March 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio for Catholic single women, ages from 18 to 45 years-old. Come and be peace with us and let God lead you into the future.

 

Posted in God Calling?, News

Becoming a Compassionate Presence Through Change and Acceptance

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

I’ve been thinking lately about change and acceptance, how hard it is to change my habits, my way of thinking and to accept that I need to change not only for the sake of my relationships with others but also for my own well-being.

Accepting that change takes time and requires patience with self and others is like waiting for a flower to blossom.  As we all know, a flower can only grow when planted in fertile soil and is nourished with water and sunshine to reach its full fruition. A flower, of course, starts out as a seed and as it grows roots, it begins to take shape and develops into a beautiful creation.

If I carry this flower analogy to myself, I see that my roots need to be grounded in God, and that prayer becomes the seed to nourishing my being.  Prayer becomes the bedrock and sustenance for changing and accepting whatever life presents.

What started me thinking about change and acceptance is an encounter I had with someone that I was afraid to enter into dialogue with for fear of making matters worse.  I was filled with much anxiety and was avoiding this crucial conversation because I did not want to be vulnerable.  Fear was becoming my enemy and I was starting to regress into silence and recoiling in anger.  It was time for me to embrace a more loving attitude towards myself and the other person. In the end, we both received the blessing of understanding and a better awareness of building rapport between us.  What made this understanding possible for me was changing my attitude from being hurt to being receptive to new possibilities for compassion to grow.

In Joyce Rupp’s book, Boundless Compassion, she writes that “Compassion is a way of life-an inner posture of how to be with suffering, both our own and others, and a desire to move that attitude into action.”  She explores three essential components to becoming compassionate—awareness, attitude, and action.  The first step in changing ourselves and adopting a compassionate response is to be aware of such attitudes as judgment, intolerance, or impatience.  In so doing, Rupp notes that “With our awareness of suffering, and an attitude of wanting to alleviate it, we [can] then choose to act in a positive way for the benefit of all beings.”

Cultivating compassion, of course, is not easy.  Instead, as Nouwen states “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish.”  Compassion can be learned though and Joyce Rupp seeks to provide her readers with the tools for being “a compassionate presence” and “to nudge, encourage, and inspire each reader to be a beloved, Christlike presence.”

Practicing compassion with ourselves and with others, as a way of life, has the potential to change us and how we respond to others.  When we can come to an awareness that, as Nouwen asserts, “nobody escapes being wounded,” then we can accept that we can be “wounded healers,” extending compassion both to ourselves and others.

So, let us pray for the gift of compassion, to be rooted in God’s love that we may be “a compassionate presence for all who struggle with life’s pain” and hurts.

If you want to be a compassionate presence with God’s people, responding to each person’s joys and sorrows, we invite you to contact us about exploring religious life.  We are holding a Come and See retreat at our Columbus Motherhouse, March 13-15, 2020.  You can learn more about this retreat here.

 

Posted in God Calling?, News

What Does the Vocation Team of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Do?

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Are you curious about what our Vocation team does? Let me share with you some of the vocation programs and outreach activities we are involved in.

For discerners, we offer the following programs to nurture the call to religious life and to help women with the discernment process:

  1. Come and See weekend retreat: this two-day program is usually in March and September. Our upcoming Come and See retreat is March 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio; and the September one will be Sept 11-13 in Akron, Ohio.
  2. Mission Immersion program: this five-day program involves service, reflection, visits, community time, fun, and prayer with local sisters. Our upcoming Mission Immersion is June 5-9 and will be in Wichita and Great Bend, Kansas.
  3. Monthly Emmaus group: this on-line zoom discernment program is held on the second Friday of each month (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST) for discerners around the country to study and discuss a discernment topic, pray together and receive peer support. Each time we meet, we have five to nine discerning women attending, in addition to the sisters.
  4. One-on-one conversations (by phone or zoom): we have phone calls or zoom conversations with discerners to assist them in learning more about religious life and prayerfully considering God’s call in their life.
  5. Discerner visitation: we host individual discerner from a few days to a week or longer at our Houses of Welcoming or Motherhouse, helping them experience real community living.

For vocation outreach and vocation promotion, we are involved in many activities:

  1. Give vocation talks, attend events, help give retreats at churches, universities, or schools, or hold vocation display tables at various conferences.
  2. Collaborate with our Communications department on our Vocation webpages, publications, and other communications
  3. Collaborate with vocation directors from other congregations on vocation outreach.
  4. Post to social media on our Vocations Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
  5. Write and send out weekly blogs and monthly e-newsletters to discerners.
  6. Involve sisters and associates in providing help with programs and outreach efforts.

For our team, we plan and implement events to fuel ourselves with energy, knowledge, and a spiritual focus for our mission by:

  1. Having weekly Vocations team meetings and regular meetings with our leadership liaison, who is the congregation’s Prioress.
  2. Holding team reflection days.
  3. Attending workshops or webinars to be updated and develop our own gifts/talents for the ministry.

Our religious life is so beautiful and filled with love, companionship, peace, and blessings. Our congregation mission is so vibrant and vital for the church and society. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Mt 5:14-16). Thus, we strongly believe and feel confident about greeting and encouraging others to join us as vowed members.

Sisters, associates, discerners, and friends, you can help us to be the hands, feet, voices, and hearts for our religious life and mission. Please help us spread the word about our upcoming events (see list below) wherever you can, including your churches, families, places of ministry, and by sharing our postings on your Facebook page. We appreciate all your help in bringing the light of our religious life and congregation’s mission to the world.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Sankofa—Learning from the Past to Build the Future

Sr. Pat Dual, OP, on San Antonio, TX Public Transit bus in seat dedicated to the memory of Rosa Parks

In a recent visit to San Antonio, Texas, a group of Sisters took a local bus to explore some of the sites in the city.  As I turned to look for a place to sit, a bright yellow seat in the front caught my eye.  Written on the seat were the words, “Dedicated to the memory of Rosa Parks.”  Of course, I had to sit there and take the opportunity for a photo-op—it was a time to remember.

February has been an important month of remembrance for me.  Ever since my early school days, I have recognized it as the month that celebrates the contributions of Black Americans in American History.  Black History is American History.  You might ask, “Why is there a need to celebrate Black History at a particular time? “  The short answer is that the contributions of Blacks in American society (except the select group we used to learn about in school) are largely ignored or unknown—even by many Blacks.  What we do not make an effort to acknowledge or celebrate, we forget.  There is great value in the act of remembrance.

The image of the mythical “Sankofa” bird perfectly symbolizes the reason Black History month continues to be important to celebrate.  Sankofa is an African word from the Akan people in West Africa that means, “Go back to get it.”  The concept is symbolized by a bird with its head turned backwards while its feet face forward, carrying an egg in its mouth-the future.  This symbol represents the wisdom of learning from the past to build the future.

While it is significant to Black History, “Sankofa” can also be relevant to other areas of society. I see it as a concept that is important to Dominican life, to the formation of women in the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and to vowed religious life in the 21st century.  The call to religious life remains a personal response of love and service to God and to the people of God.  But answering the needs of the times and building the Kingdom of God as vowed religious in the 21st century will require transformation and trust.  It will require change because we cannot continue the same pathway into the future.  It will require trust in the One Who Calls, knowing that the path will be made clearer during the journey.  It requires moving forward, but bringing wisdom from the past to build the future—Sankofa.

Perhaps, God is calling you to walk the path with us into the future as a Sister?

Peace.

Posted in God Calling?, News