For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


The Best of Times: Girls for Peace

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

A wise writer once said “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Perhaps Charles Dickens was forecasting what the year 2017 might feel like when he wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859.

Many can resonate with the “worst of times” feeling with the frustrating battle over healthcare, overt acts of racism and bigotry, degradation and disregard for our Earth, incidents of violence, and an unwelcoming America to our immigrant sisters and brothers; it seems we are quickly sliding into a bleak season of darkness.

Yet, there is always hope waiting to be discovered. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with the Girls for Peace Summer Camp that took place in July at the Martin de Porres Center here in Columbus. I spoke to the girls about my work as the Justice Promoter, and we talked about issues that are important to our Sisters and Associates.

I was amazed by how articulate and passionate this group was. The girls were between 8-12 years old, yet despite their young age, they clearly cared about critical subjects. They shared with me some of their passions and issues of concern: animal cruelty, immigration, sexual abuse and harassment, equality, water security, poverty, and human trafficking, among many others.

Many of them shared their experiences traveling across the country and to Central and South America. They spoke about volunteer work they’ve participated in. They seemed to grasp the connection of service and social justice and were excited when we spoke about ways to take action such as identifying and learning about issues they are passionate about, donating to organizations and volunteering their time, writing letters to those in charge, and advocating and talking to others about the importance of their issue.

It was obvious the girls learned a lot during this camp and connected to the Sisters in a very impactful, meaningful, and beautiful way. After visiting with these young girls, I found hope in their energy, their passion, and their imagination. We may feel that we are dealing with the “worst of times,” but these young girls are working to ensure the “best of times” are right around the corner.

Attached photo – the girls created a month of actions.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Associate Ceremony Reflections

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

When I was invited to share some reflections with you tonight, I struggled with whether to accept this inaugural preaching moment.  Having wrestled with what it means to be a Dominican and an Associate, I questioned what salient words I could offer you.  How could I encourage you to continue your journey to walk humbly with God when I struggled to carry out the four Dominican pillars of prayer, ministry, study, and community.  Preaching, especially, is the least likely activity that I envisioned myself engaging in.  Yet, here I am – called to be the Holy Preaching.  May we all be open to those moments when God calls us to be a voice of hope, healing, and compassion to each other.

As we heard in tonight’s opening song, we are invited to be companions on the journey, boldy responding to God’s call to break bread with each other and to share with each other, in true Dominican fashion, the fruits of our contemplation.  As companions on the journey, who seek to live a life grounded in truth and faith, let us listen to how God wants to speak to us in this moment.

As I read over the selected Scripture reading for tonight from the Gospel of John, I was immediately comforted about preaching to you by the first words in this reading, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God.”  So I am entrusting my reflections to God and trusting that the Spirit will work through me to speak to you, to your heart, and to your circumstance wherever you are on your life’s journey.

Immediately, we hear the words “Trust in God” in this first verse in John’s Gospel reading.  These words can elicit many different thoughts and feelings in us, depending on our personal relationship with God and our experiences with others.  For some, trust may not come easily because our personal experiences with others may have led to disappointment, humiliation, or regret in entrusting our heartfelt feelings to another person.  Or, our trust in God, when in the throes of a crisis, may have left us wondering why suffering happens and wondering why waiting for God’s response seems to take forever.  On the other hand, trust may come easily for you because time has taught you that God is always present in our lives and that God can bring about good from difficult situations.

Trust can be a difficult virtue to nurture.  It requires letting go and giving over our fears and concerns to a God who asks us to faithfully believe that our prayers and our hopes will be fulfilled.  We know though from experience, from living a life of faith, that trust can ask much of us.  Trust may call us to be patient with God’s ways, to be open to new possibilities, to accept our limitations and to let God enfold God’s plan in God’s time and to trust in the truth of God’s promise to be with us always in life, in death, and eternally thereafter.

As you reflect on the difficult moments and positive memories from your own life’s experiences, I hope you can see God’s footprints imprinted on your path. We must hold onto this memory of God’s abiding presence in our lives when we hit the inevitable bumps in the road and find it difficult to trust or to believe that God is with us.  And, we must be beacons of hope to others, whose trust in God or in others may be clouded by darkness and despair.  By sharing the fruits of our prayer and our study with a broken world, we, as Dominican Sisters and Associates, can bring healing and light to others.  We need only to trust in God to provide what we need for the ministry we are about and we can find strength for the journey from being in community with each other as we go forth in our call to be disciples of Christ.

In the next verse from the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus declare to his disciples that there are many places where they can live in his Father’s house and that Jesus is preparing a place in his Father’s house for his disciples.  Being invited to someone’s dwelling place is a loving gesture that says I want to be with you, to share my life with you.  So, we hear in this verse Jesus’ desire to be with his disciples, to be with us, to get to know us and for us to get to know Him.  We are invited into a personal relationship with Jesus and told that he is preparing a welcoming place for us in God’s kingdom. Knowing that Jesus is preparing and has prepared a place for us with God should offer us comfort and reassurance that God provides for us.  What I hear also in this verse is the voice of hospitality, of being welcome to enter God’s kingdom as we are and no matter who we are. This message of being a welcoming community is certainly one our world needs to hear and where our advocacy for the marginalized is essential.  We are all welcome into God’s kingdom; there are no walls, no stipulations or conditions that we must satisfy to live in God’s dwelling place as Jesus tells us there are many places we can live in God’s kingdom.  We are blessed again, as Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace to have a statement in the 2015 Chapter Commitments about “creating welcoming communities, inviting others to join us as vowed members, associates, volunteers, and partners in our mission to be the Holy Preaching.”

The final verse that I want to reflect on briefly is Thomas’ question to Jesus when he asks “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus responds by assuring Thomas that he can always be found by saying, “I am the Way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  We are reminded that when we are struggling to find our way or the truth in life that we can turn to Jesus and through understanding Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that we can know God.

As I end my reflections, I invite you to consider how each of us can continue our journey through the words of this poem from St. Teresa of Avila, entitled Christ Has No Body.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

As Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace and as followers of Jesus’ teachings, we are called to be Christ’s hands and feet as we pray, study, minister, and live in community. We are here tonight to affirm our commitment or recommitment to preach a message of hope through our words and actions. We are here to proclaim that we are willing to be Christ’s hands and feet, so that all of God’s people may come to know and trust in God’s love for each person and to create a better world for everyone.  May God bless our paths as we continue our journey and may we trust in God’s providence to work in and through us for the greater good of all God’s people.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Can We Learn Peace from a Squirrel?

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen

How can a Dominican Sister of Peace find space in her daily life to BE PEACE, BUILD PEACE, and PREACH PEACE? There are many ways to live out this call. The story below is one example.

A sunny morning blessed with a gentle breeze beckoned me to take a short walk. Passing an apple tree, I felt something gently dropped onto my head.

“Oh, no! Is it poop from a bird?”  While scrubbing my hair to check, I looked around, up, and down. I saw apple pieces on the ground, and a squirrel in the apple tree biting an apple into small pieces and dropping them down.

“What a wasteful act! That’s why people don’t like you,” I said to the squirrel. However, I also paused to watch the squirrel enjoy its treat.  From my perspective, what the squirrel had been doing was wasteful; however, under the web of relationship in this small ecosphere, it might be an act of charity.  Many other creatures could not reach that apple – the squirrel was sharing the wealth with his less-agile neighbors.

Letting go of my prejudice towards his seemingly wasteful action, I felt freer to watch the squirrel enjoying the apple. I went on to work with a peaceful spirit and a deep appreciation of the web of relationships between all parts of nature, and toward God who creates this web.

Now, every time I pass this apple tree or see a squirrel, the memory above comes back, reminding me of the relationship that we are meant to share with those around us, just like my generous squirrel.

“Peace I give to you. My peace I have given to you.” God’s peace is overly abundant and comes in many forms, like in the story above. Our responsibilities are to recognize that peace, appreciate that peace, and share that peace with everyone we meet on a daily basis.

If you feel called to be God’s peace to the world or want to explore more about the life and mission of Dominican Sisters of Peace (, please contact our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling?, News

We Should Stop Praying for Peace

Blog by Associate Carol Lemelin, OPA

Why do I say that?  Is it because I don’t think God is listening?  Is it because I don’t think God cares?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s just that praying for peace won’t work because we think that’s all we have to do.  We think if we pray long enough and often enough that will do the trick.  We believe that God will bring the peace.  But peace doesn’t come.

 Jesus said:  My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John: 14-27)

But we are afraid.  We do not behave as those who trust in God.  We take a defensive position and arm ourselves both mentally and physically.  Jesus said that he bestowed on us His peace.  That didn’t mean that he was covering us in an impenetrable Invisibility Cloak like the one Harry Potter had.  He meant he was putting his peace in our hearts, but we don’t accept it.  We don’t live like people who are at peace.  The only way the world will know peace is when those of us who have been given Christ’s peace share it. To do that, we have to nurture that peace within us so that the peaceful response will be automatic. 

I don’t have my head buried in the sand. I know how violent this world is, but, I also know that peaceful solutions must be found.  Peaceful solutions must be spoken.   Take, for example, the issue of refugees.  Amid the turmoil caused in Europe of thousands of refugee pouring across borders, Pope Francis said that if every Christian Congregation in the world took in one family, there would be no refugees. 

We are not listening.  We have allowed the agents of fear and distrust to cloud our vision. When we read scripture, we see that Jesus was a victim of the violence of his world on purpose. He could have avoided it, but he chose not to. Was he naïve, or was he setting an example?

It seems to some of us that we would be more peaceful if we had a gun.  Violence is the easy answer.  Consider at the time of Jesus’ arrest.  Peter, who had walked beside Jesus for three years, tried to fight them off by grabbing a sword and cutting a man’s ear off.  Jesus quietly said, “No, Peter” and calmly re-attached the ear.  The words,  “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” must have rung in Peter’s head the rest of his life.

Don’t get me wrong; I know what courage it takes to be peaceful. Most people inherently know how dangerous the peaceful path is, but it is still the only way. 

The Dominican Sisters of Peace, with whom I am honored to be associated, have one message: Be Peace. Pray with them, that God will continually remind you that his Peace is within and you have the power to bring peace.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

What’s in your backyard?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

Have you ever found money in a pocket that you forgot was there?  Didn’t you feel great?  Even if it was just a little bit, it still felt like a windfall.  That’s the feeling I pick up in today’s gospel with the buried treasure and the pearl of great price. There’s an excitement and anticipation of wonderful things to come.  I felt like that recently when I read this quote by St. Thomas Aquinas from his Summa Contra Gentiles, “The role of the wise person is to meditate on the truth, especially the truth regarding the first principle and to discuss it with others.”  Does it sound familiar?

Later in the Summa Theologiae, Thomas would apply this concept to religious life saying, “the contemplative life is, absolutely speaking, more perfect than the active life, because the latter is taken up with bodily actions: yet that form of active life in which a [person], by preaching and teaching, delivers to others the fruits of his/[her] contemplation, is more perfect than the life that stops at contemplation, because such a life is built on an abundance of contemplation, and consequently such was the life chosen by Christ.” Thomas makes a case for the importance of contemplation but also how one should share the insights with others. “Contemplare et contemplata aliis trader” – to contemplate and hand on to others the fruits of contemplation.

I think of contemplation a little like searching for buried treasure. Most of the time when we meditate, nothing happens – there’s no treasure in the field. But every so often, we experience the gold of understanding, a pearl of wisdom or a diamond (with it’s many facts) of new insight.  Even if we don’t find anything, we empty our minds of our own thoughts and expectations and make it ready for God.  This openness may lead to a revelation when we least expect it.  When we do come across it, it’s marvelous, exciting, divine.

The importance of contemplation cannot be underestimated. In an address to the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2012, Archbishop Rowan Williams stated “[Contemplation] is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom…it is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world…To learn contemplative prayer is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly.” (Richard Rohr Meditation: Revolutionary Contemplation. July 11, 2017)

We are invited by our generous God to participate in this essential prayer and, as Dominicans, to share the fruits of that prayer with the world.  The Dominican charism compels us to share our fruits, which our ‘unreal and insane’ world desperately needs.

Mysterious yet generous God, lead us to your buried treasure. Give us the patience to wait and the tenacity to keep going.  Reward us with fruits of our contemplation and courage to share with others those fruits.

Posted in News, Weekly Word