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.


 

Soil for the Seed of a Vocation Call

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen, OP

Spring and summer are good times for gardening. In early Spring, I planted flowers. I also grew vegetable seeds in small pots. Every day, I searched for a bit of green showing up, then gradually, I saw young leaves. Later, I saw some of their roots at the bottom of the pots; I knew that these plants needed more space and soil to grow. When removing them from the tiny jars, I saw roots curling around the pot wall, which signifies that these little plants in small pots need more space to expand, grow, and bear fruit. I stirred the soil in my garden and put fertilizer in. Then, I transferred these plants to this soil and watered them. I hope that my garden this year will have a lot of garden veggies.

Gardening reminds me of my vocation call. When I was young, God planted a vocation seed into this small pot of a girl. This small pot helped germinate this call. With the basic faith foundation, the root of this call began to curl and form according to the shape of the small pot. Then, at a particular time, God invited me to consider joining a religious order. I heard the voice saying, “it is time for your encircled roots to expand and time for your call to grow and bear fruit.” Through a discernment process, I said “Yes” to let God transfer me from this small pot to the soil of the Dominican Sisters of Peace to fulfil what God said.

The fertile soil of the Dominican Sisters of Peace has given me space to grow. My roots begin to uncurl, daring to step out of my comfort zone to stretch out as far as possible. My leaves grow and absorb air, water, and elements from earth, allowing me to dance with the life around me.

Yes, this religious life opens my heart and mind, allowing me to touch the absolute love of God, both at personal and communal levels, helping me to be deeply rooted in my faith foundation and heritages. My community helps me to expand my knowledge and passion on mission and understanding in spirituality as I pursue higher education, which is important in my ministry.  In community, I also have opportunities to build different friendships and to be exposed to various ways of life through these connections and sharing.

Religious life teaches me how to use my time to reflect, to be mindful, and to integrate what I have received, shared, and been exposed to for the mission. Being touched by the interconnectedness of God’s creations on various levels, this life encourages me to trust in God’s providence, envision and embrace a future full of hope. Hope gives me the energy I need for the mission of God on earth.  I see religious life as a call to live a prophetic life. Within this lifestyle, we grow to know ourselves better, are encouraged to expand our roots in many directions and to see our interconnections with each other and God’s creations. We share life’s realities with love and compassion for one another and seek to be united in God with our mind, heart, and spirit. All that we do is done for the glory of God on earth and for God’s mission.

Religious life is beautiful and is worth exploring to see what might sprout, especially within the soil of the community of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. If you feel a call to expand your life or are curious about this life and want to explore this life, I invite you to participate in our Mission for Peace event on June 22-27 in Kansas. Please contact the vocation team for more information about religious life or this event.

Posted in News, Vocations Blog

The Eucharist as Extraordinary Fuel for Everyday Living

Blog by Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP

Just this past Wednesday, we heard Jesus saying in the Gospel:

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger (…)

  I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”

  (Jn 6:35 & Jn 6:38)

I believe most Christians are very familiar with this Scripture passage and many Catholics can even hum the song. However, what does it mean to us on an individual and also on a communal level?

During my novitiate year, we were asked to work on a collage that would help us reflect and express how our year was going on a personal level. One of my goals for the year was trying to figure out what receiving the Eucharist meant to me. And here I was, I was asked to make a collage out it? I wasn’t sure how I was to do that… However, I ran into a Snickers (chocolate bar) advertisement, that stated: “you are not you when you are hungry.” That really resonated with the line from John 6:35: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger.” So, that chocolate advertisement caught my attention, but then shortly after I read this: “extraordinary fuel for everyday adventures.” There is no way that God is like chocolate. No way. But, this advertisement and statement helped me find some words to describe how I would feel without the Eucharist: I would not be myself, and the Eucharist is indeed the extraordinary fuel for everyday life.

So, then the next question is, fuel for what?

PREPARING OURSELVES

Whether receiving God in the blessed sacrament or through people’s care, there is only one requirement: to be open and to be ready to receive. I love to pray with this song: Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary.

THE ENCOUNTER

The apostle, Thomas, used the words: “my Lord and my God.”

What does it feel like when you receive the Eucharist?

I love this other song: “I received the living God” Why? Because I feel recharged or re-energized to keep sharing God’s love, especially where it is most needed.

BEING TRANSFORMED

One of the daily reflections I used to receive in emails noted how in receiving the broken bread, we are united in the brokenness of Christ, and how we are transformed by that: “Recognizing our brokenness is what begins change within us. Accepting the blessing of our brokenness is what empowers the change. And offering our brokenness to the Lord – to be used in loving service for others, like Jesus – is what completes the transformation.”

I believe we are transformed by the paschal mystery, by the Eucharist, by the joys and the challenges of our lives, and by the joys and challenges of the lives around us and in the world. Receiving-and-then-being-Eucharist hasn’t been easy all the time but receiving the Eucharist with a spiritual intent can help us. The Eucharist is a source of strength each time we face a challenge.  Receiving the Eucharist encourages us to remain open to God and to let God use our challenges to transform us, and then to be used in loving service for others. A song that I love and resonates with being in loving service is the Servant Song by D. McGargill (What do you want of me Lord? Where do you want me to serve you…)?

LET YOUR WAY BE MY WAY

So, what do we do after receiving the Eucharist?

In an article from Our Sunday Visitor, we read about how God wants us to serve God:

“Christ has no interest in making us into mere consumers;

he means instead for us to become capable of loving him.”

We hear the answer clearly in the Mass reading from this Wednesday: “not to do my own will but the will of the one…” (Jn 6:38) Before each Mass, I never know what call or inspiration I might leave with. However, my prayer in the light of the daily reading or in the light of the needs of the times is: “Let your way be my way.” If we are truly open to God’s ways and tuned to God in our hearts, then God is there to show us the way to do God’s will.

BEING EUCHARIST

This poem by R. Voight was the first poem that helped me “translate” how I could be Eucharist, broken and shared with others in daily actions. Later, I fell in love with a song, because it really brings the living bread home to me: Holy and Living Bread by Thomas Aquinas and Owen Alstott. This song continues to strengthen me and encourage me each time I pray with it.

I invite you to pray this song together in Spirit. You can listen to the song here or you can read the lyrics below to pray with it.

Holy and Living Bread,

wondrous food from heaven sent,

God’s sacrifice foretold – now in our hands we hold.

Sign and reality,

challenge for us to be humble servants to all the poor.

 

God, holy Three-in-One,

through this off’ring of your Son, all now on earth can see,

what we are called to be:

Hope for a world in need,

signs that love can succeed

where true justice and peace endure.

I am reminded from Wednesday’s daily Mass reading: not to do my own will….but yours, God…. What are you being called to right now, in this moment?

If you are discerning God’s call to religious life and would like to explore ways of being Eucharist to others, we are offering a “Mission for Peace” experience June 22-27, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

Posted in News, Vocations Blog

A Letter From Ukraine, May 4, 2022

Jarosław Krawiec OP, (left) and a fellow priest in Borodyanka, Ukraine.

Dear sisters, dear brothers,

“Father, the air raid alarm has been going for over two hours. Are you in the shelter?” As I was beginning to write, I received this message from Vera, from the House of Saint Martin in Fastiv. Tonight, just like yesterday, the air raid was announced covering almost the whole country; the news reported multiple rocket attacks in different cities of Ukraine. Although the attacks are mostly aimed at railroads and strategic locations, we all know those rockets don’t always hit their targets. The day before my return to Kyiv, one of the rockets destroyed a newly finished apartment building in the vicinity of our priory. Father Peter, who was working in the garden at that moment, could clearly hear the sound of the missiles and then strong explosions. There was an attack on Fastiv at the same time. Luckily the rockets hit a little farther from their priory. “If the explosion had been a little bigger,” Father Misha said, “all the stained glass of the church windows would have certainly been destroyed.”

Seventy days of war have passed. This war turned many Ukrainian cities into ruins, made millions homeless, and stole the lives and health of thousands. Until recently, I would never have thought I would follow after the generation of my grandparents, who divided their time into “before the war” and “during the war”. One would like to write “after the war.”

I’m returning to writing letters from Ukraine after a long break. I was hesitating, unsure if it’s necessary or if we’re all already too tired of what’s happening here. However, many different people encouraged me to not give up writing. Although the situation is already much different than it was a month ago, the war is still going on and still surprising us, provoking reflection, prayer, help, or even being there for each other.

I returned to Ukraine on Friday. Crossing the border didn’t take much time. The traffic both ways is much lighter than it was before the war, except obviously for those who are using the opportunity provided by more lenient Ukrainian import codes to bring cars from Western Europe. Apparently, they wait on the Polish side for up to a couple of days. The tents that had been used very recently by volunteers to distribute food to the refugees were empty.

The trip from the Polish border to Fastiv takes the whole day because you have to drive almost 600 km. The traffic is lighter than it was before the war. The checkpoints, which until recently seriously slowed down driving in western Ukraine, have disappeared. If not for the military vehicles I passed from time to time, you might forget there is war. The most serious problem in traveling is caused by lack of fuel. As a result of war damage and cutting off deliveries from Russia and Belarus, filling the tank is a great feat nowadays. Most of the gas stations are closed. Some offer only one kind of fuel. And if you somehow manage to find the station that has what you need, you must wait in a long line for the possibility of purchasing 20 or sometimes only 10 liters of gas.

The last part of the way, I drove through areas that recently used to be occupied or targeted by the Russian army. It was dark, and everything seemed very empty. At times I had a strange, eerie feeling, especially while driving through the woods. They say that suspicious characters still wander among them. I’m lucky I didn’t have to stop and get out of the car, since when I was driving the same way yesterday, I drove past a group of army engineers checking the side of the road. Landmines are now a real curse for the inhabitants of villages and towns around Kyiv. These “souvenirs” left by the Russians have already deprived dozens of people of life.

I reached Fastiv past curfew. Luckily, the man guarding the entrance to the city showed full understanding, and after a proper admonishment that I shouldn’t be here at that time, they told me, “Keep going, Father; it’s not like you should wait here until morning.”

On Saturday, after prayer, breakfast, and the morning briefing at which Father Misha assigns duties to the volunteers, we took the humanitarian supplies to the villages north of Fastiv. Some of them had been under fire from the Russian army; some of them had been under occupation. Although it’s already been a month since the aggressors left, these places still look horrific. We visited villages where more than 70-80% of buildings were destroyed.

Some inhabitants who managed to escape are returning to their homes now. Obviously, if anything remains of them. Others never left. We stopped in Andriivka, a village on the road from Makariv to Borodyanka. Father Misha and his volunteers from Saint Martin’s have already been there multiple times before. We talked to Vitaly, who runs a kiosk that distributes humanitarian supplies. He told us what happened there a couple weeks ago. He pointed to the school building: “A dozen or so women with children were there. The Russians took them somewhere. We don’t know what happened to them and where they are now.” He told us that when the soldiers entered the village, they were searching houses door to door, looking for the Nazis and Banderites [members of a right-wing organization from the 1940s]. Other people who survived the occupation talk about this, too. Among them is Natalia, who now lives in our priory in Kyiv, along with her elderly, sick parents. Before she moved to us, she spent two weeks in a small village near Bucha that was under Russian control. “First, they were looking for the Nazis, and then the next came and stole our stuff. They would take food and anything they wanted. They stole my car parked in front of the house. They simply drove away.” All this time, I am trying to understand, how can these Russian soldiers actually believe they are liberating Ukraine from Nazism? Or maybe they are just justifying their own actions? I don’t know.

We went to another village. Novyi Korohod doesn’t look like it’s been seriously damaged. However, it has been occupied by the Russians. Father Misha distributed more humanitarian supplies. This village was established in 1986 for people who had to resettle from Chornobyl. The mayor of the city greeted us warmly. She told us about her son who wants to go to fight in the war. “But I need him here,” she says. “When the Russians were here, he helped so many of our people; he so often went from home to home whenever something needed to be done or whenever anyone needed anything.” She is right; fighting with a gun isn’t the only way to fight at war. When we asked what they need, she responded simply, “Peace and life.”

As we approached Borodyanka, we saw more destruction. In the neighboring village, Russian tanks used to stand between the houses. We went to one of the houses to bring some food. An elderly couple lives here. The old lady was away. Her husband is blind and has amputated legs. He recognized Father Misha and the volunteers by their voices. In the living room, in a little basket, he keeps tiny chickens. This is a new generation because Russians stole and ate the chickens the couple had before. The old man was very happy with the radio the volunteers had given him during the previous visit. It keeps playing the whole day. As we were leaving, we asked the traditional question of whether he needs anything. The old, sick man responded with a very serious face, “I don’t ask much; please bring me some cigarettes.” It was very moving; he was immediately handed the cigarettes.

We arrived in Borodyanka. This city that neighbors Hostomel, Bucha, and Irpin was almost completely destroyed. The whole world could see pictures of apartment buildings demolished by bombs. In front of one of them is a monument of Taras Shevchenko, one of the most important Ukrainian poets. The attacking forces couldn’t destroy the monument, although you can see the bullet holes in it. A sign is left over with a few lines from the poem written in prison:

Love your Ukraine.
Love her…
In ferocious times,
in the last difficult minute,
pray to the Lord
for her!
(translation by Yuri Zoria)

Next Saturday in Fastiv, Brother Igor Selishchev will be ordained to the priesthood. Igor is from Donetsk. He just finished his studies and formation in Krakow and came to Fastiv when the war started. Please pray for him. The gift of priesthood that he will receive in a time that is very testing, both for Ukraine and for all of us, is a true sign of hope.

I greet you very warmly and ask for your prayer.

Jarosław Krawiec OP,
Kyiv, Thursday, May 5, 12:30am

Posted in News

Chamber of Commerce honors local leaders, From the Springfield, KY Sun

Madison Briscoe Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 9:51 am

The 2022 Springfield Washington County Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner was Monday, April 25. The awards dinner recognized individuals and businesses who have contributed to the community. The awards for the night included Small Business Leader winner Anne Thomas Browell, owner of hair Boutique; Healthcare Leaders, awarded to the Sansbury Care Center nursing staff; Manufacturing Industry Leader, awarded to John Yates, owner of Innovative Tooling Solutions; Agricultural Leader winner Keith and Jillian Nash, owners of Nash Farms; Educator of the Year, Cassie Robinson; Above and Beyond Award winner, Taylora Schlosser with the Rae of Sunshine Foundation; and Citizen of the year, Alma Burton Edelen. All seven award winners, though very different from one another, strive to give back to the Springfield and Washington County community.

Browell, Small Business Leader of the year, took over The Hair Boutique from Tracy Wright who started and named the business. “This community has been incredibly supportive,” Browell said. “I never dreamed we would have a salon with five full-time cosmetologists that stays as busy as we do.”Citizen of the Year was presented by JT Burton, son of Alma Burton Edelen. “This award means so much to Mom and our family because it not only recognizes her 50 plus years of working in education with young kids, but serving this community,” Burton said. Edelen has worked in head-start since 1965 as well as served for several organizations including Progressive Homemakers, Democratic Women’s Committee, Business and Professional Women, and more.

Yates, owner of Innovative Tooling Solutions, started his welding business in his garage in 1999. Time has allowed Yates to grow and develop his business and his company now serves customers all over Kentucky, Tennessee, and southern Indiana. Yates said he now has 14 employees working with him. “I’m a leader by example,” he said, “all my employees have been with me since the beginning—I haven’t lost an employee in 23 years now”

Robinson, a teacher at St. Dominic School, began her teaching career in 1985. “If you know Cassie personally, then you know she does not have children of her own, however, the number of children that she has taught, tutored, mentored is too numerous to count,” said Rachel Fenwick, who presented Robinson with her award. Robinson stressed that her passion for working with students is what pushes her forward. “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life—your passion will drive you every day.”

Megan Finnie, administrator at Sansbury Care Center, presented the Healthcare Leaders of the Year award to the nursing staff at Sansbury. Finnie said Sansbury Care Center employs 105 individuals along with 25 contract employees.
“The caring employees of Sansbury have demonstrated patience, kindness, selflessness, mastery of their required skills, and commitment to excellence—especially during the challenging last two years,” Finnie said.

Nash Farms, Agricultural Leader of the Year, is a local family produce farm. The Nash family participates in farmers’ markets in Central Kentucky. Keith and Jillian both come from farm families and have worked in farms from a young age.
The Nash’s moved to Springfield and got a cattle farm, over time they decided to get into produce to provide quality farm fresh food to their customers.“We could not have done this without the continued support of the community,” Jillian said. “It’s helped me feel a part of the community again.”

Schlosser, the Above and Beyond Award winner, created the Rae of Sunshine Foundation to honor her daughter Taylor Rae Nolan who tragically passed away in 2019. The Rae of Sunshine Foundation works to bring awareness, eliminate the stigmas of mental health and create opportunities to spread positivity. Schlosser travels to high schools and colleges around the state to talk to students about suicide prevention with her presentation “A second chance to smile.”
The Rae of Sunshine Foundation awards scholarships to future mental health professionals. “In three years, we will have given $30,000— $2,000 each —to future mental health professionals.”

Photo by Madison Briscoe Chamber of Commerce award winners left to right; Keith and Jillian Nash with Nash Farms; John Yates with Innovative Tooling Solutions; Alma Burton Edelen; Anne Thomas Browell, of The Hair Boutique; Taylora Schlosser with the Rae of Sunshine Foundation; In front is Cassie Robinson. Not pictured is the Sansbury Care Center Nursing staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in News

Associates’ Blog

Blog by Karen Martens, OPA

The Bethany Mutualities, one of the oldest OPPeace Dominican groups, currently has 16 members. One of the members, Betty Schlotterer, recently shared the group’s history. In the early 1980s, Sr. Noreen Malone asked Betty and her husband George to serve on a committee charged with determining where God was leading the Dominicans and associated lay people in Columbus. The committee’s work led to a one year pilot program and the Bethany Mutualities was born with participants known as Affiliates.

In 2002, Betty wrote an article about the group’s history and Dominican Spirituality. In preparation for a Bethany Mutualities gathering, Betty read A Fresh Look at Dominican Spirituality by Donald Goergen, OP. While in prayerful reflection on the 4 pillars of Dominican life: prayer, study, ministry/preaching/service and community, she she found herself drawing an image of a tree. This gave her an insight about how these 4 elements are dynamic and grow together to form strong roots. These roots, she realized, are essential and enable branches of change, growth and possibility to open wide so as to stretch and feel God’s joy.

Through many years, Bethany Mutualities has also changed, grown and opened its arms wide to embrace new members. Currently, about half of the members are founding members. During the pandemic, the group met monthly on a Sunday afternoon using zoom. The format continues to be one of reflection and sharing. We take turns in leading the group in contemplative prayer by having a reading or reflection, often begun with a musical selection.

The most recent gathering was lead by Associate Marybeth Auletto who opened the session with a Sikh song called Peace. Together, we read reflections from Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions taken from Love Poems from God: 12 Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky. These diverse resources resulted in our usual deep and meaningful sharing which has kept this group vibrant, growing from its strong roots for so long.

The many years together have brought growth through change, yet stability. While we miss being able to meet in person, we remain thankful we have been able to be together using the Zoom technology through these challenging times.

Posted in Associate Blog, News