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.


 

And the Walls Come Tumbling

Janet Schlichting, OP

I was in western Massachusetts this past week, visiting my brother and his wife for family time and the expected splash of the wondrous fall color. They had not had rain for a month; the trees weren’t producing the color that is the pride of the Northeast states. And as we traveled, what I did notice was the presence of stone walls. Old walls, still holding after more than a century of wind and water.  If there is one crop that never fails it is the rocky soil of New England. My brother has reaped enough sizeable rocks on his property to circle seven garden spots and line a woodland trail.

I remember Robert Frost’s famous poem “Mending Wall” in which he wryly details the spring ritual with his neighbor on the other side of the wall, each picking up stones on his side and replacing them where they had slipped or fallen.  He begins ”Something there is that does not love a wall.”

Bonds, not boundaries

God, Jesus, Spirit—the Trinitarian authors and sharers of a bond of peace and love that cannot be sundered. There is in God no wall, no desire for a wall, no need for a wall. For us Christians, it is a constant learning that God is one huge “Something”who does not love a wall.  How could the unconfined Creator of the universe, the Incarnate one who kept breaking boundaries and, the ever-free and unpredictable Spirit of transformation at loose in the world, have anything to do with walls?

In one sense, God dwells but does not settle.  And Jesus offers us the Way. The Spirit is the Wind. God’s ever expanding, welcoming holiness is a gift for every age and every people of the world. It moves and circles and enfolds ceaselessly. In another sense, God sees no need for walls, to keep people in, or keep people out, but delights in that daring divine invitation, “Y’all come!”

 “Good walls make good neighbors?”

That’s what Frost’s neighbor heard from his father. Not so. A wall is a human construct, not born of our desire to be good neighbors, but of our fears and our stony hearts. The barbed wire keeps being strung. Today we witness nations like ours pulling into themselves, seeking purification,  “ the nation we used to be,” fed by hatred, justified by  claims that “THEY”—those from outside our borders–are to blame for our social unrest, rampant crime, and loss of jobs.

Whether or not we have joined those voices, we in our best efforts to be faithful still have our limits. Being human, and dwelling in human communities, we have set up, consciously or not, barriers to offer protection from whatever threats we believe might make fearsome demands on us or push us out of our present comforts. Too many churches over the ages have claimed theirs as the only truth, kept their sheep within the fold–and the goats outside—with strict limits and penalties and ultimately, the threat of death or hell.

Come One, Come All

But the God of Christ Jesus calls us from that Banquet To Come and challenges us to grow beyond our limits, to join the waves of people from north, south, east and west streaming toward Jerusalem,  where God through the prophet Zechariah has pledged “I  will be an encircling wall of fire, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

Robert Frost muses that wall-builders should “Know what you are walling in and what you are walling out.”

We know. We learn. By God’s grace we grow in holy Shalom, wholeness and hospitality. Good fences are those being dismantled by good neighbors.

Posted in News

Let’s Justify Peace, Not Death

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

Many recognize the pain, destruction, and loss of life caused by war. Numerous are fearful about the death and devastation that could be caused by North Korea’s possession of a nuclear weapon. We rally to end violence, end hatred, end bigotry in order to save lives. Our world is hurting, damaged, divided. There is already so much death and killing around us and across the globe, why do we continue to “justify” killing in our criminal justice system?

Two months ago I wrote a blog about the death penalty, and since then five more men have been executed on death row. In that same time, Harvard’s Fair Punishment Project came out with a report specifically on prisoners on Ohio’s execution list and how they are impaired and traumatized. Click here for the report (please note, the report contains graphic information).

The Fair Punishment Project examined 26 men on Ohio’s death row and found that they “are among the most impaired and traumatized among us – a pattern replicated across America’s death rows.” These individuals have been affected by childhood trauma, physical and sexual abuse, and often suffer from a mental illness or intellectual disability. Some were under the age of 21 when they committed the crime that led to their sentence, yet scholars argue a brain at such a young age is still underdeveloped.

The Eight Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment, specifically for those most vulnerable in capital punishment cases such as the mentally ill, and the Gospel gives a clear directive to love rather than retaliate: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43-44). When will our world know peace? When will we come together to work toward conversion and rehabilitation rather than an eye for an eye?

The Catholic Church believes that the death penalty is an unnecessary and systemically flawed form of punishment. Please pray for an end to the death penalty, for the families of the victims, for those involved in carrying out the executions, and for those on death row. May our prayers and our actions toward peace continue to challenge the status quo and encourage others to live lives of peace rooted in the Gospel.

Today is the World Day Against the Death Penalty. For more information about the death penalty, see this fact sheet. Please pray for those scheduled to be executed this year. Click here for a list.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Spread a Little Sunshine

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I have a confession to make: I watch reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I am disclosing that because I woke up Sunday morning with an earworm (you know, when a song or tune gets stuck in your head and you can’t get it out).

Well, the melody in my head was sung by Andy and Barney, characters on the situation comedy:

“Spread a little sunshine every day.

Spread a little sunshine every day.

Help someone along life’s way.

Spread a little sunshine every day!”

Crazy, right?

I thought so at first. And then I tried to figure out why Andy and Barney kept singing in my head.

I concluded that my earworm was triggered by all of the stories that have been shared over the past couple of months about people who have given of themselves to help others in devastating situations. I consider those people bright spots in darkness – people who spread a little sunshine to help others along life’s way.

People like Victoria White, a university admissions counselor, who lifted the spirits of Hurricane Harvey evacuees at a Texas shelter by singing gospel music about hope and perseverance and who encouraged her fans to serve people impacted by the storm.

People like Sister Margaret Ann, a Carmelite nun and 30-year education veteran, who used a chainsaw to clear branches from a fallen tree that blocked a road in Florida, after Hurricane Irma hit. She said she was following the example of what she teaches her students: “Do what you can to help.”

People like the random, unnamed guy who gave the shirt off his back to be used as a makeshift tourniquet on a teenage girl who was wounded in the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

People like Lin-Manuel Miranda, a playwright and the creator of the hit musical “Hamilton,” who enlisted salsa legends and pop artists to collaborate on a benefit song for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico. Proceeds from the track — “Almost Like Praying” — will go toward the Hispanic Federation’s hurricane relief fund for Puerto Rico.

During a television interview, Miranda said of the song title, “Thoughts and prayers are great, but thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

My translation: Continue to keep those in need in your thoughts and prayers, but don’t stop there.

Do Something!

Give of yourself – your time, talent and/or treasure — to spread a little sunshine everyday by helping someone along life’s way.

In case you want to hear Andy and Barney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUHU6JWm4bc

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Sister JoAnn Lamantia, OP

Sr. JoAnn Lamantia, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace JoAnn (Alexia) Lamantia, OP (76) died at the Mohun Health Care Center on September 26, 2017. She was born in 1941 to Elizabeth (Berarducci) and Philip Lamantia in Toronto, OH. She entered Dominican life in 1959 at the convent of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and was devoted to her consecrated life for 55 years.

Sr. JoAnn held a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio Dominican University, and a Master of Science in Education, specializing in Reading, from Marygrove College in Michigan. She continued her studies in Microcomputing Technology at Columbus State in Columbus OH.

Sr. JoAnn shared her love of learning and of her Lord as a teacher for more than 30 years, teaching elementary school in Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. She took special joy in instilling in her pupils a love of reading, and in preparing them to receive the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. Sister Anne Kilbride who taught with JoAnn at St. Jane de Chantal in Chicago, described her as a “Pied Piper, leading her second graders around the playground.”

As her teaching ministry drew to a close, she continued to provide child care at Holy Family in Wheeling, WV. Upon her return to Columbus, OH, she served as a receptionist at Windsong Village, and later as a tutor at the Salesian Center and the Dominican Learning Center. Of her work with these adult learners, Sr. JoAnn said, “It is truly a wonderful experience getting to know these people, and their gratitude to the Sisters is boundless. It is humbling to see how very grateful they are.”

Sr. JoAnn was also devoted to her family. As the eldest of 6 siblings, she thought and prayed for her family daily. In her reflection at Sr. JoAnn’s funeral, Sr. Joan Franks, OP, said “I would recognize her family, as well as their children, from pictures. She was always sharing her love for them.”

Sr. JoAnn Lamantia was preceded in death by her parents, Phillip and Elizabeth (Berarducci) Lamantia, and her brother, Phillip Jr. She is survived by her brothers Anthony, Paul, and James; her sister, Elizabeth Miser, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A Vigil of Remembrance was held on Thursday, September 28 at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel in Columbus, OH. The Mass of Christian Burial Sister was held on Friday, September 29, and Sr.  JoAnn was interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Columbus.

Memorial gifts in Sr. JoAnn’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to:

Dominican Sisters of Peace
Office of Mission Advancement
2320 Airport Drive
Columbus, OH 43219

Posted in Obituaries

I have no words O God . . . Praying when words are not enough.

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a hard time finding the words to pray.

This has happened before.  It’s usually when the issues and circumstances before me are too overwhelming and confusing.

What to pray for when it seems as if all is lost – like in the case of the recent hurricanes or the indiscriminant shooting of innocent people attending a concert.

Why O God?

I turned to the Psalms and found many that expressed my concern, anguish, anger and faith in the love of God.

Here’s one:
Psalm 77

I cry aloud to You, O God,
to the Eternal Listener,
that
I might be heard.
In the day of trouble I seek the Beloved;
in the night my hand is stretched out in prayer;
my soul yearns to be comforted.* 

The phrase “my hand is stretched out in prayer;” reminds me of a prayer I wrote as a novice and hold in my heart at times like this . . .“with fingers of faith, I hold onto God’s hand in the dark.”  It comforts me know that I can hold God’s hand and be steadied…to be comforted.

Yes, I know God’s hands are only tangible in the person of a friend, a sister, a stranger – like the woman who held the dying man’s hand in Las Vegas or the rescuer who held the hand of the girl until they were able to free her from the rubble of the school in Mexico.

Those are God’s hands.

Those are our hands.

Reach out.

Be the hands, heart and voice of our God who is ever beside us.

With fingers of faith, hold onto God’s hand in the dark.

Peace.

*from Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill, (2005, Continuum, New York, NY)

Posted in God Calling??, News