Congratulations to our Sisters in Formation
for taking the next step towards religious life!
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.
Here we are at Jubilee, rejoicing and marveling at 10 years, and 25 years, and 50 years, and God’s boundless faithfulness. I’ve been thinking about vocation, and call and response, so here are some stories, of us and of God, that might plumb the mystery, which of course does not promise us more clarity….
A friend of mine, young in religious life and struggling with community and her ministry, came home from teaching Saturday catechism class and was dutifully attending to her charge, the community bathroom. She was putting newspaper down on the floor, and the page opened to the wedding section. She immediately recognized a friend from high school, looking beautiful in her bridal finery, walking out of the chapel at West Point arm in arm with her spouse splendid in his dress uniform, under an arch of swords. And she said to herself, “I really blew it.”
Much later in life, she had a chance to see two old friends, long separated by time and space, and my friend told them this story.
They all had a good laugh, and one of them said, “O My! Well wait till you hear this!
It was four years into our marriage, and life was so hard. My husband lost his job, we had 3 children under 4, and bills were piling up, we were falling behind in our mortgage payments, and I was totally a quivering mess. One evening the parish had a potluck supper in the grade school cafeteria, with all the kids and the noise, and the metal chairs scraping, and I glanced over and in a room off to the side I saw the sisters from the grade school around their table, and they were talking and laughing and enjoying their meal and one another, and I said to myself, “Oh, I really blew it!”
Would this possibly resonate at all with you, in various moments of your Dominican life? Moments when your heart was just not so set on “Be it done unto me…”?
Have you said to yourself or a friend or an (often) shrouded or opaque God, after making a tough decision, or a loss, or changing a ministry, or losing your “cool” in a meeting, or saying something hurtful to someone dear—
“Oh, did I blow it!?”
In these dark and confusing times when the country and the world are beset by hatreds and wars and so many little ones are suffering, and –well, you know the never-ending litany of woes—when we see how we have despoiled and poisoned Earth our Mother in this time being called the “sixth extinction;” when we see genocide and forced migration, and we are outraged and saddened and feeling both guilty and helpless amid this oh so huge and daily and casual evil – we can yield to cynicism and the temptation to withdraw from the words and actions of protest and healing.
When it is so obvious that humanity has blown it—we start asking ourselves about the best way to be faithful to our Dominican charism, and wonder whether we’re choosing the right path as witnesses, as women and men of right action and truth-speaking, and ask again the nagging question: “Are we truly faithful individually and corporately, or have we missed something crucial somewhere along the line? Have we blown it?
Are we responding to the dual call of our OP roots and the call of the future?”
These are all moments of our vocation, an ongoing medley of call and response—God’s call to us, ours toward God, God toward us— and we learn (again and again!) that whatever surety we thought we had—however confident we are that God agrees with us– eventually get blown!
But our wrong turns and illusions are themselves paths to growth, however painful.
I did say growth.
And here is the reason: We blow it and GOD BLOWS BACK!
As Isaiah 55 puts it: God’s word is faithful. “It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I sent it to do.”
And the breath of God—Spirit, Ruah—still hovers over the deepness, the darkness, the unknowns—some 13 billion years since the exploding of creation. And the Spirit continues to breathe life and promise and memory and strength and the fire of love.
The Spirit: who is still Sophia, Wisdom, playing before God in creation, and who is still and always a surprise, and provides another learning for us that “God’s ways are not our ways” and that we are painfully prone to keeping God at our size and manageable or agreeable to our dictates.
We have the Word, the Breath, breezing among us, and steadily growing us, enlarging our hearts, making of every ”We really blew it” a profound occasion for becoming what we receive—Words of God— very human, very flawed, but more and more identifiable with and hospitable to every human being who like us, “Blows it”–.
Becoming, each of us, a breath of the Spirit– imperfect Words, incomplete Love, yes, but through whom Christ never ceases to pour himself out, and in whom the Spirit never ceases to simmer.
And we are Words of memory and promise that God is faithful, and as Catherine of Siena wrote,” Mad with love for your creatures.” All this as we go on blowing it and giving God great delight in blowing back, blowing holes in our hearts, making space in our lives even as we might be mourning our failure, our confusion, our barrenness.
Here is the Mystery: that in our turns and tumbles, massive and minor, we are actually helping God form us in “The breadth and the length and the height and the depth of the Love of Christ which is beyond all understanding that we may be filled with the utter fullness of God.”
And in ways we don’t understand or notice, become preachers, become lovers, become Living Words.
So we gather as we grow, and celebrate together in wisdom and grace and joy and jubilation because as we “blow it”
God’s breath, Ruah, Spirit blows back –and in and around and among and through us, blowing all God’s people toward unity in love.
GLORY to God whose power/love/breath/ Peace
working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine
This Thursday, we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Mary into heaven. She is the only human that we know of whose resurrected body was united with God. The rest of us must wait until the end times or second coming for this to happen. Why was this incredible honor given to her?
It was certainly her radical YES to God’s request to become the mother of Jesus. An unmarried teenage girl trusted God enough to agree to this request. But it didn’t stop there. Wasn’t it also all the other yesses she said during her lifeline? Consider these examples.
Mary said yes when she joined Joseph as they were forced to flee their homes to escape to Egypt when violence threatened the safety of their child. Despite the incredibly hard journey and their desperate poverty, they went.
Mary said yes when she realized the Jesus wasn’t with Joseph on the journey back home from Jerusalem. Jesus was back in the temple learning from the elders. Imagine the fear Mary felt at this separation. Yet Jesus had to ‘go about His Father’s business” alone.
Mary said yes when she stood at the foot of the cross. She watched as her innocent child was executed by government forces and by hate for what he preached.
Mary said yes in all her experiences especially those that were the most painful. She is a model for the many mothers seeking safety and survival for their children. She is the model for mothers whose children have been separated from them. She is the model for the mothers of the executed. She is a model for each of us letting us know what we can say yes in the most sorrowful and fearful times in our lives.
Thank you, gracious God, for giving us this loving model of YES.
Why aren’t more Catholics demanding gun safety legislation? Michael J. O’Laughlin of American Magazine thinks they can make a difference. He describes it in this article “How the Catholic Church could help lead a gun control movement.
Mass shootings are becoming more and more numerous. Our prayers are important but they are not enough. Several bills, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R.8) which prohibits most person to person and gun show firearms transfers without a background check and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 1112) that would require a waiting period of at least 10 days for a completed background check before firearms dealers could proceed with a sale (up from the current 3 days) have been passed in the House of Representatives but are held up in the Senate. Sign this petition from Faithful America to tell Mitch McConnell to stop abusing his power and that “We’ll take care of the prayers. You take care of the laws.”
Many of us are feeling overwhelmed by all the mass shootings. Fr. Tom Reese writes that we can’t let it stop us from acting. “Enough is enough. We must demand that our government do something about mass shootings and other forms of gun violence.”
Did you know that this administration has quietly used regulation to expand gun access? I didn’t. Here’s what they have been doing. Politico fills us in.
One quarter of the world faces a water crisis. Is there a solution? Somini Sengupta and Weiyi CaiAug of the NY Times tell us that city officials can plug leaks in the water distribution systems and recycle wastewater. Rain can be harvested and saved for lean times. Lakes and wetlands can be cleaned up and old wells restored. Farmers can switch from water-intensive crops to less thirsty crops. Here’s what’s happening.
This article in Global Sisters Report describes the work of the Guardian Angel Sisters who are caring for migrants coming through Mexico. Please keep them and all who are helping those seeking asylum in your prayers.
We must pass H.R. 1945 Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. Call your representatives today. Please see this letter from Sr. Anne who is the justice coordinator for the LCWR and was part of the Interfaith Mission to Honduras last spring. Sr. Doris Regan also attended and can fill you in on what they discovered.
On the evening of August 6, police in Honduras attacked public bus for no apparent reason. The bus was filled with students from the University in San Pedro Sula leaving their night classes and heading home to El Progreso. The police threw tear gas into the bus and there was no way to get out except climb out the windows. One of the students on that bus was the sister of teacher we met while we were in Progreso this spring.
The repression of the corrupt and unconstitutional government of Juan Orlando Hernández continues. It is well past time for our government to withdraw its support and stop arming the military and security forces. Ask your members of Congress to support H.R. 1945 Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. The act would suspend United States security assistance to Honduras until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.
Our friends in Honduras have asked us to shine a light on the horrors being perpetrated by the Honduran government on its people. Please share this information widely and make sure your members of Congress know that you care about the people of Honduras. I’ve posted this info on my personal Facebook page as well as on the JCWR page and have tweeted it from @lcwrjpic. Feel free to chare and retweet.
In spite of the increased knowledge of human trafficking, children’s trafficking and exploitation continues. This is a widespread phenomenon that causes enormous suffering throughout the world. It can be forced labor, sexual exploitation and child begging. Read more from CommonDreams.org.
Please take a moment and pray this litany for our ability to end gun violence by Sr. Julia Walsh. Maybe it will give you some energy to act.
Milestone anniversaries call us to look both ways – backward at what we have experienced, and forward at what is still to come. This is exactly what happened at the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, held July 26-28 in St. Louis, MO.
The Anniversary Event opened with a ceremony celebrating the coming together of eight congregations to form the congregation that is the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Eight leaves displayed on a tree were symbolic of the seed planted, growing together and of the growing works of the Congregation. The flowing water used by the Congregation at its founding in 2009 was featured in a procession of movement and joy. The opening address by Prioress Pat Twohill spoke of gratitude for all that has been accomplished in our ministries and our eagerness for the work to come.
Friday’s program featured Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK – Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and an original founder of Nuns on the Bus. Sr. Simone addressed the social and economic inequities that have become commonplace in our nation today and facilitated a discussion of how the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates could reexamine and re-focus their commitment to social justice.
The Congregation’s Leadership team addressed the Assembly participants on Saturday, using a metaphor shared by Pope Francis at the end of his reflection on the Synod with Youth: the image of a canoe, in which the elders help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead. This metaphor of traveling across the water was the theme for the afternoon’s activities of visioning for the future.
Since becoming Dominican is a life-long, communal venture, the 25 and 50-year Jubilarians were honored in a Mass celebrated with a friend and brother, Father Ed Ruane, OP, and followed by an evening of shared memories by friends of the Jubilarians. The Congregation’s 2019 Jubilarians include: 25 years: Sisters Kathy Broussard and June Fitzgerald; 50 years: Sisters Harriet Agnew, Christine Connolly, Arleen Kisiel, Roberta Miller, Judy Morris, and Janet Schlichting.
In honor of the Dominican Sisters of Peace’s commitment to peace, the Congregation closed the assembly by presenting a Promoter of Peace award to the Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association. The Promoter of Peace award was created to honor organizations that demonstrate a commitment to peacemaking and reflect the values of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, especially their commitment to women and children.
The Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association, located in Lame Deer, MT, is a coalition of 12 churches from seven faith groups: Baptist, Mennonite, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Pentecostal, whose aim is to build unity among the Christian churches serving the Cheyenne people.
The Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association received a $5,000 donation from the Congregation, as well as a custom-designed tile and plaque designed by Sr. Anne Lythgoe and staff member Ashley Apollonio.
Also honored were:
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexican dancers, a ministry of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in St. Louis, provided entertainment for the event. The ministry’s mission is to promote acceptance and hope through Mexican cultural dances and education.