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.


 

Stony Heart

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Prayer, both liturgical and private is an integral part of my daily life as a Dominican Sister of Peace.  As I have grown in prayer, I have found Lectio Divina – holy reading and reflection upon the scripture – to be a particularly fruitful one for me.  Here I would like to share my reflection upon today’s first reading.

~~~

“I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.”  Ezekiel 36:26

When I have read and prayed with this scripture, I have felt God touching my heart and softening it, making it less stony and more natural or new.  One such time, I was praying to forgive someone who had wounded me deeply when I felt God asking me, “Why are you holding onto your stony heart so tightly when I want to give you a new one?”  I replied, “Because…my stony heart can’t feel the hurt as much and I don’t really want to feel the pain.”  I was surprised at my answer that had risen from within me without my conscious effort.  It made me take a deep breath and then I heard God say to me, “Keep breathing and when you are ready, I will be with you.”

I wasn’t ready that day to let go of my pain, but as I prayed each day, I felt a gradual loosening of my grip upon my stony heart…until one day I realized that I was no longer holding onto it.  I don’t remember letting go of it, but I had.  Then, God was able to lift this old heavy heart from me and gave me a new one.

Yes, this new heart feels more pain than my stony one did.  It also feels joy, love, and peace more deeply.  I didn’t realize how much I was missing.  Thank you God for loving me and waiting for me to be ready to let go.

 

“I will put my spirit within you and make you live. . .” Ez 36:27

What is keeping you from letting go of your stony heart?

Bring it to God . . . let God lift it from you . . . when you are ready.

Come close to God and God will come close to you.

~~~~~

“To contemplate and to share with others the fruits of our contemplation” is one of our Dominican mottos.  In community, we often take time for Lectio Divina and the sharing of the fruits of our prayer with each other.  When we are together in this way, it is then that I feel the profound grace and depth of life in community.  What a blessing it is to live as a religious sister – as a Dominican Sister of Peace.  I give thanks to God that I was called and that I said “Yes!”

If you would like to know more about becoming a Dominican Sister of Peace, please contact one of our vocation ministers or consider attending our Come and See Retreat next month in St. Catharine, KY.

Posted in God Calling??, News

New Beginnings

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to share in the new beginning for our Dominican Novices at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN) in St. Louis, MO.  This year the CDN community welcomed Sr. Phuong Vu (Dominican Sisters of Peace), Sr. Maria Kieu (Mission San Jose) and Sr. Rolande (Maryknoll).  I was grateful to be able to share this sacred time as each Novice started this new beginning in their journey of becoming Dominican!


L-R: Sisters Kieu (Mission San Jose), Phuong (Dominican Sisters of Peace) and Rolande (Maryknoll)

 

New Co- directors, Sisters Cathy Arnold, OP (Peace) and Lorraine Reaume, OP (Adrian) led us in a prayer ritual that was filled with meaning and symbolism for our new CDN community.   Each Novice was asked to bring a small bag of soil from the grounds of their Motherhouse.   During the ritual they would each mingle their soil together and plant three different plants (symbolic of their particular Congregation) into one large planter to form together a living symbol of this new beginning for the present CDN community.  To conclude the ritual, the three Formation Ministers  for the Novices watered this new living symbol. As I participated in this part of the ritual, the watering of the plants symbolized, for me, each Congregation’s willingness to provide nourishing support and love for this grace-filled new beginning for our combined futures.

Mingling the soil of our Motherhouses

In sharing a few pictures from this inspiring moment, I hope that you, too, will experience some of the grace and hope that I felt in being part of this new beginning.  I was grateful to witness the continued growth of our Dominican family through these faith-filled women. Please remember them all this year in your prayers.

Perhaps God is inviting you to consider a “new beginning” as a religious Sister? Consider attending our next “Come and See” Retreat on September 7-9, in St. Catharine, KY. See our flyer for more details. You may also call our Vocation minister for more information about discernment and religious life.

Posted in God Calling??, News

How I said ‘Yes’ to the Lord!

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

“God is good, all the time.”

“All the time, God is good.”

“I say Yes to the Lord; Yes, I say Yes to the Lord”

These words are often chanted and sung by teens and young people. All of us know God is good all the time and it may be easy to say “I say Yes to the Lord,” but doing what this “Yes” requires is not easy, especially when God’s plan is not on our own agenda and God’s way is not our way.

A long time ago, I passed a vocation booth and the Sisters there at that booth stopped me. I wanted to move on but they invited me to come to their booth. Reluctantly, I entered and sat down with them. They began to introduce me to their community. I did not pay attention to what they said because I did not want to enter any religious order at that time. After a few minutes, they asked me for my contact information and I hesitantly wrote down my name and address for them.

As I left, one Sister said, “Please take time to read these materials” while another Sister handed me information about her community.

“OK!” I replied and put the information in my bag.

After going home, I took out the free items I collected from different booths and went through the Sisters’ community materials because I was curious about what I might learn. There was one article written by a new member, sharing her experiences in living with the Sisters. Another article encouraged people to explore religious life. Hesitantly, I emailed the Vocation Director to see if I could meet with her without knowing if it was the right decision or not.

After having a few conversations with the Vocation Director, listening to her challenging and encouraging words, I said to myself; “If I can spend many years studying, why not spend one or two years exploring religious life, about which I know little. Maybe my idea of religious life is different from the reality of this life. If I don’t like it, I can leave, but what I will gain from this experience may benefit me, especially in strengthening my faith.” Finally, I said “Yes to the Lord” and entered religious life.

Now, having lived  with Sisters in community, learning how good God is and how to say Yes to God in a profound way, I can really appreciate the moment the Sisters stopped me and encouraged me to consider religious life. Twenty years later, I can honestly say that religious life is much more than what I had imagined and it is where I have found great joy.

Religious life is a beautiful life. However, it is often hidden or overlooked in the midst of other calls, and many hold inaccurate assumptions about this life. Even though the call to religious life may not appeal to you at this time, you may want to take time to consider what this life offers. If you can say; “God is good, all the time,” “All the time, God is good,” or “I say Yes to the Lord,” then you may want to take another step towards discerning whether God is calling you to religious life.  Our Vocation Ministers can help you with this discernment.  We also have a “Come and See” weekend on September 7-9 this year at St. Catharine, KY, which will give you an opportunity to explore what religious life is about. To register, please click here.

Posted in God Calling??, News

The Life-Giving Gift of Quilting

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Quilting has become my avocation and passion; it all began with a gift given to me by a hospice patient.  Wanda was my first “client” when I started serving as a hospice caregiver.  She loved to quilt and being terminally ill with COPD was not going to stop her from enjoying this life-giving hobby.  Not knowing anything about quilting, she invited me to learn alongside her, even hiring a teacher to work with us in her home.

Every week we would work together on individual projects, exchanging ideas about what fabric colors to select or what designs to complete.  We would have “show and tell” sessions to share what we were working on or completed.  Oftentimes during my visits, she would have to stop and do breathing treatments, and then she would continue talking about quilts and offer encouragement with the projects I was working on.  (Her family told me that they felt her quilting interests gave her life in the midst of her dying.)

Wanda’s projects were dedicated to family and friends, wanting to leave them with a remembrance of her love and care for them.  We enjoyed our quilting adventures for almost three years before Wanda met her Creator.

Before Wanda died, she talked about how lap quilts would provide warmth and comfort to other hospice patients.  Taking this suggestion to heart, I started a quilters group called Wings and Prayers in her honor and memory.  Her idea of providing for others gave birth to the making of almost 200 quilts over the years our group was together.  With each knot that we tied to secure the quilt, we said a prayer and a prayer card of comfort was pinned to each quilt.

What Wanda taught me was far more than quilting.  She taught me to always embrace the moment, to give joy to others, and that creative expressions can be a way of sowing seeds of delight for both the giver and the receiver.  And so I’ve found that God can use me through my quilting to bring joy and comfort to others.  Quilting is a way for me to co-create with the Creator, connecting my creative gifts with the creative genius of God, whose own creativity led to the design of each of us and all that exists in this world.

What are your gifts?  What life-giving gifts can you share with others to make a difference?  Could being a religious sister be your calling and way to be present to others?  If so, take the next step and contact one of our Vocation Ministers.  Let God use you to fulfill the Gospel message of love to all people.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Building Peace, One Bead at a Time

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

“Build PEACE . . . “

A simple phrase.

A powerful phrase.

A lifetime commitment . . .

We are making rosary bracelets to promote peace.  Our Sister Mai-Dung Nguyen had the idea to create these rosaries to share with the people we will meet at the Marian Days Festival in Carthage, Missouri next week.  We will use them also in our ongoing vocation outreach ministry.

Each rosary contains a message in 10 letters – just the right number to create a one decade rosary bracelet.  The messages are; Build Peace, Live 4 Peace, I Love Peace. etc and are spelled out with small white letter beads.  The bracelets include a Cross and a medal of the Blessed Mother.

Many people (sisters, associates, volunteers) have helped create more than 600 of these rosaries. A group of our retired sisters spent several hours inserting them into small bags with a card that suggests how to pray for peace.  We don’t know how many hands have touched these bracelets already nor how many more will be touched by them.  What we do know is that they have already had an impact on those who’ve touched them.

Sr. Catherine Malya, OP puts Peace Rosary Bracelet in bag with the card insert.

When helping to make these rosaries, I discovered that it was a contemplative experience – albeit, I must admit that, at first, I was more frustrated (with my clumsy fingers) than contemplative.  However, as I strung the beads and reflected on the message, I realized that to build peace doesn’t always involve grand gestures or actions. Peace is more often built one bead, one prayer, one smile and one invitation at a time.

Last week, as six or seven of us Sisters were gathered around a small table in the dormitory, where we were staying for the Assembly, we laughed as much as we prayed while assembling the rosaries, correcting misspellings, and putting the finishing touches on each one.  It was an experience of the living communion of saints here on earth.  No, we are not all Saints – but we are all on “the narrow way” as one of our Sisters likes to remind us.  We spoke about how we build peace and of how we are challenged by those who are more intent to build division and un-peace.

Prayer Card Insert

Today as I wear my rosary bracelet, I have been approached by several people asking about my “pretty bracelet.”  When I shared the story of this Peace Rosary and the significance of it to me, I realized that in the simple act of wearing it, I was building peace.

How will you build peace today?

Learn how God is calling you to build peace with your life by attending our next Come and See Discernment Retreat in September.  For more information about this retreat or to speak to one of our vocation ministers, click here.

 

 

 

Posted in God Calling??, News