News

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.


 

Small Parishes, Big Ministries

St. Dominic’s Church in Garden City, KS, is like many other small-town churches in 2020 America. The 800-family, multi-cultural parish shares a priest with a nearby mission church, so much of the sacramental and administrative work falls to the staff…which in the case of St. Dominic’s, is a bundle of energy in wild socks, Sr.
Myra Arney.

Parishioner Jan Deal says that as the Director of Religious Education, Sr. Myra manages a thriving religious education program, with students from preschool through high school. She recruits volunteer teachers and office help, coordinates enrollment and tuition, creates the school calendar and schedules First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies.

Sr. Myra Arney, in blue, at a confirmation ceremony.

“RCIA is where I have gotten to know Sr. Myra best,” parishioner Jan says. “She is an inspiration to me and to my faith. It is easy to see her devotion to our church and to the people she serves.”

“I have known Sister Myra since 2012 when I began working at St. Dominic Parish,” says Matt Perez, Parish Administrative Assistant, Stewardship Director and Adult Formation Director. “Not only am I a beneficiary of the work that she has done in the parish, I am also a beneficiary of her friendship, grace, and partnership in ministry. Knowing Sister Myra Arney has been a blessing,” Matt said.

Sr. Myra is known for her wild socks.

Across the country, in Leetonia, OH, St.Patrick’s church is very different from St. Dominic’s. A small congregation of older families in a mainly white community, St. Patrick shares a priest with nearby St. Paul’s in Salem.

Sr. Barbara Rapp joined the parish as the Pastoral Administrator in 2018, and according to parishioner Mary Ann Greier, immediately began to learn names, faces and families. She also jumped into parish activities, volunteering at the Food Pantry, helping with the Parish pierogi sales, and ministering to the needs of
the congregation. She often meets with parishioners on the porch of the home that she shares with Sr. Rene Weeks.

Sr. Barb Rapp meets with a parishioner on her front porch.

When the church was closed this spring during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sr. Barbara put her many talents to work for the good of the parish, sewing and distributing masks, applying for grants for the church food pantry, and sending emails full of parish news and words of encouragement.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sister Barbara in the short time she’s been with us in little Leetonia,” Mary Ann said. “We’re lucky to have her. My faith remains steadfast. I think the stability of our church and having someone like Sister Barbara there to keep everything going helps.”

Sr. Rene Weeks works with Hispanic families in Salem, OH.

Sue DeJane, who runs the parish food pantry at St. Patrick’s Church, says that Sr. Barb and Sr. Rene Weeks, who serves the Latinx community at sister parish St. Paul’s, are active participants in all parish ministries.

They help unload and stock donations from Second Harvest, pick up items at local stores, and help box food for the pantry’s drivethrough distribution.

“Their participation has given us a closer bond with our Church as a whole. Their words of faith and encouragement have lifted our spirits,” Sue says. “We are proud to have the Sisters working beside us. This has brought them closer to the rest of our small community.”

Across the country, there are many stories of our sisters in parish ministry helping young and old prepare for the sacraments, providing a listening ear and prayerful counsel, and doing what they can to strengthen not just their church, but their community.

Click here to read the entire 2020 Annual Report.

Your donation supports our work in more than 30 parishes.

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Answering God’s Call – Virus pauses sister’s ministry to Columbus ‘street family’

By Tim Puet, Catholic Times Reporter

 

Sr. Nadine Buchanan, OP

Sister Nadine Buchanan, OP, can’t wait until she can hug people once more.

For the past 11 years, Sister Nadine has ministered in the Franklinton and Hilltop areas of Columbus’ west side to the homeless and to people exploited by human traffickers, bringing them bags filled with two days’ worth of sandwiches, sweets, water and juice.

She has been making the 10-mile drive to the west side from the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace on the city’s east side three or four times a week and has distributed tens of thousands of the bags during the years. In 2019 alone, she estimates that she handed out 2,500 bags, containing items she purchased or were donated. The sisters pay for her car and gas.

But because of the coronavirus pandemic, she hasn’t visited members of what she calls her “street family” since March. She has kept in touch with some of them through the agencies that serve them, but it’s not the same as looking them in the eyes and telling them God loves and cares for them.

“I talk with Ben Sears of the Mount Carmel Medicine Street outreach program and with the staff of Sanctuary Night and they tell me people are asking all the time, ‘Where’s Sister?’” she said. “I love being on the streets, giving and receiving hugs and listening to what people need to talk about. I long so much to be able to do that again once enough people are vaccinated against the virus that I can resume my ministry.

“There are so many good people on the streets who have been so traumatized because of drug use or human trafficking. I’ve gotten to know wonderful men and wonderful women who have been trapped by the circumstances of their lives and tell me, ‘I didn’t know I was good enough.’

“What they need most is to talk to people and be able to trust them. They don’t need preached to. They need love, compassion, care and non-judgment. I tell them, ‘I love you because I love you. You’re made in the image of God.’ Some haven’t heard anyone tell them that for a long time, and it brings reassurance,” Sister Nadine said.

Although she can’t currently visit the people she serves, she is putting together holiday bags to be distributed with the help of the Mount Carmel street outreach, Integrated Services and Sanctuary on Sullivant Avenue. The bags will include candy, peanut butter crackers, fruit snacks, socks, lip balm and McDonald’s gift certificates.

Sister Nadine’s street ministry began in 2009 while she was recovering from surgery. “During my recovery, I read a story online about people trying to help trafficking survivors and said, ‘I have to get involved with that,’” she said.

After receiving training in anti-human-trafficking programs from the Salvation Army in Columbus, she began working with Freedom a la Cart, a catering and meals-at-home company that trains human trafficking survivors for jobs in the food service industry, and with the Franklin County CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court, a specialized court founded by retired Franklin County Municipal Judge Paul Herbert in 2009. Its purpose is to help trafficking survivors recover through trauma-based counseling and drug and alcohol treatment. She continues to volunteer with Freedom a la Cart and is a member of the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless.

Sister Nadine and Freedom a la Cart staff member April Thacker, who died in May, got the Hyatt Regency Columbus hotel to donate sandwiches for holiday meals, which they delivered in 2009 to people on the west-

Sister Nadine Buchanan packs bags of food and supplies.

side streets. That spurred Sister Nadine to more action. “I realized those people are hungry every day,” she said. “So I began going out on my own to help them and just kept doing it.

“Even as a child, I always wanted to do something for God,” she said. “I was always attracted to helping the poor and those in need, especially people who had to beg for the necessities of life.”

Sister Nadine, 70, the youngest of four children, two of them deceased, spent the early years of her life on a small farm in Muskingum County before her family moved to Zanesville in 1955. “We moved because there was still anti-Catholic prejudice at that time,” she said. “The Ku Klux Klan wouldn’t let us ride a school bus. We moved to town so we could walk or take a city bus to school.

She attended Zanesville St. Thomas Aquinas School and Rosecrans High School, from which she graduated in 1968. When she was in fifth grade, her father, an Armco Steel employee for 40 years, suffered a massive heart attack and stroke and couldn’t go back to his job, so she began working as a baby sitter, serving as many as 15 families, and doing housekeeping chores.

At age 18, she worked for a year at the former Essex Wire Co. plant in Zanesville, making backup lights for Ford vehicles. “I was part of an all-woman crew with male supervisors,” she said. “These were the working poor. They had to work because they had kids to support.

Every day, I carried a crucifix in my pocket to help give me courage.

“When I left the plant, all the women on that crew gave me cards and presents. One of them told me, ‘It’s rare when someone comes into this job and walks out better than when she came in.’ I’ll never forget that,” she said.

She then attended Muskingum Area Technical College for two years, earning an associate degree in early childhood education. She had wanted since childhood to be a Dominican sister because she was taught by Dominicans in grade school, and in 1971, she entered the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

She made her first profession of vows in 1975 and her final profession in 1980, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in early and middle school education from Ohio Dominican College (now University). She later earned a master’s degree in educational theory and practice from Ohio State University and a chaplaincy certificate from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

Her first assignment as a sister was teaching 3- to 5-year-olds at the former St. Mary of the Springs Montessori School. In the Diocese of Columbus, she also taught at Columbus Holy Name School and Columbus Our Lady of Peace School. Her last teaching assignment was at Lancaster St. Mary School. Her career in education also included periods at schools in the Diocese of Steubenville and in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.

She has lived in Columbus since 1997, serving as a transcript evaluator at Ohio Dominican, in pastoral ministry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in hospice ministry with Mount Carmel Health and as a tutor at the Dominican Learning Center.

“One of my longest assignments as a teacher was at a school in Rye, New York,” Sister Nadine said. “Rye is one of the nation’s wealthiest communities, and when I started a Christmas collection asking the children if they could bring in some of their clothes and toys to give to the poor, it was a real challenge. The parents didn’t want their children to know about poor people.

“But after a while, things started to change. Parents started to realize that it was important for their children to appreciate how fortunate they were and to know how they could use their wealth to help others. When I left Rye, many parents thanked me for educating both them and their children about poverty. That meant a lot.”

Sister Nadine recognizes that she works in an area of Columbus where many people wouldn’t venture but says that doesn’t bother her.

“I don’t go out there with blinders on. I know the situations I could be walking into, but God in his grace has given me the ability to do this work,” she said. “I don’t feel afraid when I’m on the streets. People sense this, and that’s one reason they’re able to trust me, and I can form a bond with them. I hope I’ll be able to continue with this ministry for as long as I’m capable of doing the work.”

To read more about Sr. Nadine’s work, click the links below:

Gannett Newspapers, 2018

Side Effects Public Media 

To support the work of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, please click here.

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LiveWell, Finney County, KS, Establishes Sister Janice Thome Award

Dominican Sister of Peace Janice Thome Presented with First Annual Award created in her honor during LiveWell’s  20th Anniversary Event

Dominican Sister of Peace Janice Thome

GARDEN CITY, KS – LiveWell Finney County, a coalition of professionals from health, social service, education, and the broader community has established the “Sister Janice Thome” award in honor of Dominican Sister of Peace Sister Janice Thome, Garden City, KS. The creation of this award acknowledges Sr. Janice’s vast contributions to the community to elevate access to healthcare for families and individuals who need it most.

The award, which was presented recently at LiveWell’s virtual annual meeting and celebration of the organization’s 20th anniversary, will be given annually to an individual that exemplifies the group’s charter to improve the health, well-being, and safety of the people of Finney County by collaborating to build a better community.

“We are pleased to present this award to Sister Janice, as she has been instrumental in the founding and success of LiveWell Finney County and by her efforts, has helped those in need gain access to care and health equity, while also educating community members about how to live active and healthy lives,” said Callie Dyer, executive director of LiveWell Finney County. “We are grateful for all Sister Janice does within the community and look forward to presenting the award next year to someone that is committed to furthering her legacy for the people of Finney County.”

Dominican Sister of Peace Janice Thome serves with the Dominican Sisters Ministry of Presence in Garden City and as the Teen Parent Educator for Parents as Teachers for the School District.

In an interview with the Southwest Kansas Catholic, Sr. Janice shared a little about her life as a vowed Dominican:

“I was taught by Dominican Sisters in grade school at St. Peter, Schulte, and I had cousins who were members of the religious communities in Wichita that I visited at their motherhouses.  In eighth grade, the seven girls in our class went to the Dominican Motherhouse in Great Bend for a vocation day.

“The lightness and openness of the motherhouse impressed me.  My seventh and eighth-grade teacher, Sister Rosalia, was a happy woman, as were my cousins. I wanted to be that kind of a person if I was a religious.”

“I entered religious life because of the attraction it held as a very different lifestyle.  There was a curiosity as to how the Sisters I knew could be happy in such a life.  There was a sense that God might be calling me to this life, and I had to try it out in order to know if it was a fit for me.”

Sr. Janice entered religious life in 1961. She ministered as an educator for 26 years and served her Dominican community as a Council Member for eight years. She became part of the Dominican Sisters Ministry of Presence, a direct ministry with the economic poor, in Garden City in the fall of 1996, and has served in that capacity since then.

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How you Bless our Ministries

Julie McNamara, PhD, served at Albertus Magnus College.

Philanthropy is generosity in all forms…giving of time, talent, and treasure. The ministries of the Dominican Sisters of Peace are blessed with friends who are true philanthropists…who give generously of their time to volunteer, their talents to help us create new ways to serve the marginalized in our communities, and their
treasure to support the work that we do.

Julia McNamara, PhD, is an example of one such philanthropist. She will tell you that she has been associated with the Dominican Sisters of Peace for most of her life, attending our founded high school, Dominican Academy, in New York City, and Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.

She went on to earn a master’s in philosophy and a PhD in French Language and Literature. She contributed her time and talents to our work for most of her adult life, serving first as a visiting professor, later as Dean of Students, and from 1981 to 2016, as President of Albertus Magnus, our founded college in New Haven, CT.

“Albertus is a Dominican institution, and I really found my place working with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. It is such an important focus for me,” she said in a 2016 interview with the Hartford Courant.

“Organizations evolve,” said Julia, “to meet the needs of the time. We are required to participate in the work and the life of the church, and of one another. The Dominican Sisters of Peace do that through community, service to the Church, and through their ministries of ecology, education, health care and spiritual guidance. This why I supported the Congregation even before they became Peace and continue to do so today.”

William “Bill” Keck, of Dayton, OH, says that his support is a direct result of the fine education that he received from our Sisters who taught him while a student in Newark, OH.

“I attended Catholic school for all 12 grades, starting at Newark Blessed Sacrament, St. Francis High School, and Newark Catholic.” Bill chuckles as he says, “I needed a lot of encouragement from the Sisters. They were stern,
but they were good teachers.”

Bill remembers several of those teachers by name, but most important was Sr. Marie Bernard Kennedy,
OP, who taught Bill as a senior at Newark Catholic High School.

“She taught me geometry, physics, and advanced math, but the most important thing that Sr. Marie Bernard
taught me was that I was a better student that I thought I was. She inspired me to go from a C student to an A
student – she taught me that I could do that if I applied myself,” Bill recalls.

“I was lucky to have her as a teacher, even if for only one year. She had such a profound impact on my life…
her encouragement shaped the rest of my life.”

 

Bill studied accounting at the University of Dayton and has had a successful career as an accountant. He stayed in contact with Sr. Marie, visiting her at the Motherhouse even after she retired.

 

 

 

 

For Columbus, OH, resident Mary Rae Kelley, supporting Dominican Sisters is a family tradition. “My father was taught by Dominican Sisters at St. Francis on Buttles Avenue, I was educated by Sisters at St. James the Less and at St Francis DeSales.”

This affection for the Dominican order seems to be a family vocation as well. Her great Aunt was a Dominican, and she remembers trips to the Columbus Motherhouse and Mohun Health Care Center to visit her aunt and two second cousins who were Dominican Sisters of Hope. Many of Mary Rae’s donations have been earmarked for the care of our elderly Sisters.

Of her 24+ years of support of the Dominican Sisters, Mary Rae says “It’s just the right thing to do. I have spent my life around the Dominicans, and the Sisters taught us a lot.”

Julia, Bill and Mary Rae are just a few of the friends who have given so generously of their time, talent and treasure since we became Peace – and even in the years before. We are grateful to them – and to you – for your gifts that enrich our ministries at home and around the world.

Your year-end donation supports our ministries of education, justice, and service around the world.

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In the Words of Our Friends

As part of our Tenth Anniversary celebration, we sent prayer response cards to our friends and benefactors with our Catherine of Siena greeting. We asked that everyone tell us how they first became acquainted with the
Dominican Sisters of Peace, and for what about the congregation they were grateful.

We took these cards to our Tenth Anniversary Assembly in St. Louis, where we offered our prayers of gratitude for each one. As we have read them over these past months, spent away from those we serve, these little cards have been a blessing to all of us.

How did you get to know our Sisters?
Many of you remember our Sisters as teachers in your childhood school. You told us about the
values of love, caring and support that were imparted to you by a Sister, and how your Catholic education provided a strong academic and spiritual foundation for your life. In the words of one woman, “they insisted on clear, cogent learning…” a true Dominican value.

Several families remembered Sisters who served in their parish and helped to prepare them for the Sacraments. “She was so open about how we are all sinners seeking God’s grace,” said one mother describing a Sister who helped her son prepare for Confirmation. This work continues today as our Sisters serve as Pastoral Ministers,
RCIA instructors and Parish Administrators.

“They are my role models,” one card said.
Another woman recalled watching Sisters in Memphis march with Dr. Martin Luther King. Many spoke of how our Sisters care for the immigrant, the refugee, the prisoner and the poor without prejudice, acting in witness to
God’s love. Just as Christ commanded us to minister to the “least of these,” we have opened our hands and our hearts.

Other friends of the Congregation recounted how Sisters acted as spiritual counselors, guiding them through their darkest moments or when they felt adrift in their own spiritual lives.

There were wonderful stories about our retreat ministries and ecological ministries that create a space to enjoy God’s creation.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. As we celebrate 10 years as Peace, we too are grateful for the gifts that God has given us…the opportunity to share God’s love and preach the Gospel of Christ, and the love, friendship and support of you, our dear friends. We are blessed to work beside you to bring peace to our world, and blessed by your many gifts in our work.

Your year-end donation supports our ministries of education, justice, and service around the world.

 

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