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.


Blessing of Memorial to Enslaved Persons, A Reflection on John 16:12-13

Reflection by Elaine Riley, OPA

When the Spirit of Truth comes, the Spirit will guide you to all truth. John 16:13

As I reflect upon this memorial dedication to the enslaved, I’m reminded how this dedication’s origin was really formed at the reconciliation service held in Bardstown, KY, in 2000.

Little could have anyone ever imagined that this reconciliation service would be the key element used in calling forth the Spirit of Truth, as Sr. Joan Scanlon, then piesident of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, formally acknowledgd and
ask forgiveness for the owning slaves.

As the Sisters took this first crucial step, it would require profound courage in acknowledging the truth, to apologize and ask forgiveness for the truth, and to take ownership of the truth. Once this acknowledgement was spoken, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH emerged. This was our first encounter of witnessing the SPIRIT OF TRUTH challenging the Order who preached the Truth, to tell the Truth. Because for many years this “Unspoken Truth” was allowed to lie dormant within the Dominican Family’s historical archives.

But just as there’s an appointed time for everything, the Spirit of Truth would have to wait patiently before guiding
the Sisters to the “I WAS HERE” presentation on October 2, 2022. At this remembrance and blessing ceremony, the Sisters recognized and honored the contributions of the Enslaved. We also learned, through the research of Catholic Historian Walker Gollar, the first names of the very first women and men enslaved at St. Catharine.

And just when we felt that the Spirit Of Truth had nothing more to say, the “spirit” would once again emerge, taking the
spotlight, as Sr. Rosemary Rule summarized that St. Catharine’s Motherhouse was a place of injustice and pain for the enslaved persons who helped build it in 1822. Painfully, this was another “Unspoken Truth” now spoken.

Clearly, it was the pursuit of telling the Truth which has brought us to assemble here for this memorial dedication
honoring the Enslaved who once walked these sacred grounds. This monument is a true testament to how the lives of the Dominican Sisters and the lives of the Enslaved are inseparable.

So, it is only fitting that the Enslaved spirits of Grace, Lucy, Milla, George, Leanard, Robert, and the names unknown, take their rightful place here in this cemetery alongside their Dominican Family.

For this monument will always be a constant reminder that the Enslaved were here, when they journeyed to St. Catharine’s with the Founding Women who joined the order.

YOU were here working the fields, tending the livestock, and performing other domestic duties to Sisters, who may or may not have known your names.

YOU were here, at times broken and wounded in spirit, as a result of the oppressive injustices thrust upon you.

And yes, YOU were here, sometimes seen or unseen working among and alongside  of the First Dominican· Sisters of the United States.

To the Enslaved persons who once walked these sacred grounds of St. Cathaiine’s, may your eternal spirits rest peacefully with the Dominican Siste of Peace. And hopefully in time your “SPIRITS” will no longer feel like a MOTHERLESS CHILD, because the SPIRIT OF TRUTH HAS SPOKEN.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Dominican Sisters of Peace Erect Monument to Honor Enslaved Persons

Cloudy skies and afternoon tornado warnings could not keep Sisters, Associates, and friends from gathering in the cemetery at St. Catharine, Kentucky on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to bless a Memorial Monument remembering the enslaved men and women that were brought by the young women who answered the call to begin the first congregation of Dominican Sisters in the United States.

Although it is not a proud moment in the history of St. Catharine’s or the Dominican Sisterhood, it is a reality that there were slaves brought with the founding members of the congregation (1822-1865), while in other cases, wealthy supporters and relatives of the nuns donated enslaved people to the convents. These enslaved men and women were instrumental in the building of the original community in Siena Vale (the valley) and in assisting the young pioneer Sisters in their mission to teach the children of the frontier families.

Sister Barbara Sullivan welcomed all who were present to honor these men and women who worked alongside these pioneer women 200 years ago.  The service began with the recording of the song, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” sung by Michael Preacely.

Associate Elaine Riley shared a reflection on John 16:12-13. 

In 2000, the Spirit of Truth opened the door to forgiveness for the sin of slavery within the reconciliation service hosted by the Dominican Sisters, Sisters of Charity, and the Sisters of Loretto at St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Kentucky.  This same Spirit of Truth brought us to this moment of recognizing those men and women, named and unnamed.  Their collective spirits were present.  This same Spirit will lead us into the future with hope and truth.

Fr. Kevin McGrath, Pastor of St. Rose Church, blessed the memorial monument.  Sister Blaise Flynn led everyone in a final prayer reminding us that “In All That We Do, We Will Remember Them.”

The prayer service ended with those present joining in singing “Down to the River to Pray.”

Following the service, all were invited to attend a reception in the Motherhouse dining room.

To view more photos of this event, please click here. 

Posted in Celebrating 200 Years, News

St. Mary’s Dominican High School Juniors Honored

Fourteen St. Mary’s Dominican High School juniors were presented Book Awards from universities and colleges to celebrate achievement of the Junior Class. The annual Book Awards are in recognition of academic excellence, strong character, and commitment to community service. School counselors, teachers, and administrators nominate the student or students they feel best embody the criteria set by each college or university.  Book Awards recipients (from left): Isabella Sachitano, Tamia Williams, Reese Macicek, Mia Reyes, Meredith Kononchek, Krystal Fernandes, Eliza Christovich, Camille Truxillo, Tess Baker, Kathryn Fine, Rachel Haase, Josie Sanders, Samantha Wild, and Sophia Sherwood.

Awards presented:  Reese Macicek – Brandeis University Book Award given to a student who demonstrates commitment to civic engagement, community service, political activism, social justice or volunteer work.

Mia Reyes and Josie Sanders – Clarkson University High School Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding leadership qualities and academic promise. Recipients contribute positively to our school community. They will qualify for either a $100,000 or $80,000 scholarship if they apply and are admitted to Clarkson University.

Katherine Fine – Dartmouth Club of the Gulf Coast Award to a student that excels academically, demonstrates strong character, and has made a positive impact on her school community.

Tamia Williams – Lasell University Book Award to a student that embodies the Lasell University motto, “Repulsae Nescia” – “Ignorant of Defeat.” This student actively participates in their school community and excels academically. She will also have the opportunity to receive a $1,000 scholarship/year upon acceptance into Lasell.

Book Awards recipients (from left): Isabella Sachitano, Tamia Williams, Reese Macicek, Mia Reyes, Meredith Kononchek, Krystal Fernandes, Eliza Christovich, Camille Truxillo, Tess Baker, Kathryn Fine, Rachel Haase, Josie Sanders, Samantha Wild, and Sophia Sherwood.
Posted in News

Do Not Let Your Heart…

Blog by Associate Merrylou Windhorst

Do not let your heart be troubled, have faith in me.

The Gospel tells us, have faith in me. Thomas doubts again …”Master, we do not know where you are going?” Perhaps we too are like Thomas sometimes, asking Jesus for reassurance, thinking that we are left alone, on our own to work things out. We know that we need to listen to the Lord’s promises, to accept his assurance, to allow him to remove our troubles from our hearts, or at least provide an option. And yet, we must realize, that the Lord is in “the driver’s seat” only if we let Him take the wheel!  Fear removal requires Faith!

“Fear not” appears in the Bible 365 times! These words are a gift. With FAITH in HIM, we have the deepest personal security in life, knowing that all can be found in him, in faith, in our church, in our community, in prayer, and in each other!

Fear IS a four-letter word, but so are HOPE , LOVE, , READ, CARE, GOOD and HELP!

Posted in Associate Blog, News

The Bee and the Flower

Blog by Sr. Pat Connick, OP

Last summer, I noticed the Easter lilies and bees in a small garden on my way to church where I walk every weekday.  I first observed how all the bees were hovering over a bunch of blossoms.  Next, a single bee’s flight to the flower attracted my attention with so much curiosity that I caught myself only inches away from the pair!  When I realized how focused the bee was on the flower itself, and was not going to come in my direction, I relaxed, looked carefully, and saw how the bee stopped in the middle of the flower and then disappeared into its body, resurfacing a few moments later.

I lingered longer and leaned in even closer to see where the disappearing bee had gone.  To my great surprise and delight, I saw the bee drop from the middle of the flower upside down to the bottom of the flower, ever so gently.  When the bee reached the bottom, it began to roll back and forth, like a dog on its back in the middle of a plush plot of grass…to collect some of the pollen that had gathered there! Afterward, the bee slowly and somewhat “drunkenly” climbed up the middle of the flower (pollinating it in the process).  Then the bee staggered on to the next flower to continue its encounter with another flower.

Recalling this memory about the flower and the bee reminds me to live in the moment.  As Meister Eckhart notes, “There exists only the present instant…a Now which always and without end is itself new.  There is no yesterday not any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence,” and again, “The most significant person is precisely the one sitting across from you right now.  The most necessary work is love.”

I have been reminded of the importance of “being in the moment” by the flower and the bee in so many other moments over the course of my sabbatical.  I hope to carry this incredible gift back with me as I transition back to a “regular” ministry in the years to come!

Pope Francis has often written about these moments of “encounter” and encourages us to develop the capacity for them.  He wrote about a “culture of encounter” in his morning meditation of Tuesday, September 13, 2016:

An invitation to work for “the culture of encounter,” in a simple way, “as Jesus did”: not just seeing, but looking; not just hearing, but listening; not just passing people by, but stopping with them; not just saying “what a shame, poor people!,” but allowing yourself to be moved with compassion; “and then to draw near, to touch and to say: ‘Do not weep’ and to give at least a drop of life.”

If you’re curious about how to look at the world differently, through the eyes and ears of a contemplative encounter, just stop and look around you.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  Just be!

Interested in learning more about religious life?  Consider talking with one of our vocation ministers, who are here to walk with you to help you discover how God is calling you in your life.  You’re also invited to check out our upcoming Vocation programs, such as the Mission for Peace – Mission and Service Program, June 2-6, 2023 in Akron, Ohio.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog