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.


 

Dominican Sisters of Peace Help Build “Bridge to Hope”

St. Catharine Motherhouse in St. Catharine, KY.

Religious Sisters have a history of offering sanctuary to those in need – those fleeing persecution, those needing medical assistance – the St. Catharine Motherhouse even hosted soldiers from both sides of the Civil War.

In today’s world, there is a whole new group of refugees seeking sanctuary at the door of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine Motherhouse in Bardstown, KY – women who are seeking a safe place to escape the dangerous world of drug use and abuse.

Kentucky has the third highest rates of opioid overdoses in the nation; the state lost nearly 1500 lives to overdoses from fentanyl, heroin and other opioid drugs in 2017. But Kentucky’s rural environment makes overdose treatment and recovery services hard to find. While the government is investing heavily in treatment facilities, little is being done to support newly-sober people after they leave rehab.

In the true tradition of Dominican women, the Dominican Sisters of Peace are responding to this very modern need with an answer born of Christ’s love and informed by study and service. Beginning in 2019, in cooperation with the Hope Network, a group of pastors and lay persons of central Kentucky religious congregations, the St. Catharine Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace will become home to ten women recovering from the effects of opioid abuse.

Aptly named “One Bridge to Hope,” this new ministry is not a drug “treatment,” but rather, a much-needed “next step” for women who have been released from the nearby Marion County Detention Center.

“By the time these women come to us, they will have already completed the hard work of detox,” said Sr. Terry Wasinger, OP, one of the team that initiated support for the transitional housing concept for the St. Catharine Motherhouse. “What they need at this point in time is a secure, peaceful, and temptation-free environment in which to heal and regain their strength. They need a safe bridge to their new, drug-free life – and St. Catharine can be that bridge.”

Representatives from the Hope Network and The Dominican Sisters of Peace display the “lease payment” for the “One Bridge to Hope” space in Bertrand Hall.

“St. Catharine is blessed with an important resource – space,” says Sr. Barbara Sullivan, also part of the planning team. “We will be using the Bertrand Hall space previously used to house students from St. Catharine College for women learning a new lesson – how to live drug-free.”

The new facility will include a comfortable kitchen and living room for residents to share, as well as several meeting rooms. The women in the One Bridge to Hope program will take part in group and individual counseling to treat their addiction, family counseling, and training in life skills, parenting skills, and job skills, as well as daily Bible study and prayer groups.

“The goal is to help these women learn how to reintegrate into their families and support themselves emotionally, spiritually, and financially,” explains Sr. Terry. “We want them to be ready to succeed when they move on.”

While the initial “class” is expected to be about 10 women, renovations to Bertrand Hall could help the facility house as many as 40 women in the future.

“Renovations of Bertrand Hall are already underway,” says Sr. Barbara. “We are building out the first floor now, and with God’s grace, we will welcome our first women early in the new year.”

The Dominican Sisters of Peace respond to the needs of today’s broken world with love, hope, and peace. You can help us build a new bridge to hope for women in Kentucky by donating today.

Posted in News

Parties in the Convent?

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

Our “House of Welcome” community likes to have parties.  We look forward to gathering our sisters, friends, co-workers, and families to celebrate life whenever we can.  For example, each year we have a Kentucky Derby party.  This year it was a “Cinco de Derby” party, as the Derby just so happened to coincide with “Cinco de Mayo.” We created and wore festive “Derby” hats, sang “Our Old Kentucky Home,” had a festive meal and cheered for our horses as we watched the Kentucky Derby.  Later in the spring, we had a farewell party for Sr. Bea – where we enjoyed party games on the lawn, ate picnic food and laughed well into the evening.  Some would call us a “Party House.”  One way we build and celebrate community (which is one of the pillars of our Dominican Life) is through our celebrations.

Just last week, we had an “Ethnic Advent party,” where each person brought a dish that represented their ethnic/cultural origins and highlighted old family recipes.  We had tamales, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, Italian cookies and pastries, Mexican hot chocolate with chili, German mac’n cheese and a smorgasbord of other tasty offerings.  It mirrored the diversity of our community, anchored by our common bond of religious life and faith.  It began and ended with prayer and was sprinkled with laughter, song, and stories of life’s joys and challenges.

These parties remind me of the many parties Jesus and the disciples attended over the years of their ministry and lives.  Each of those gatherings mirrored the diversity of community and celebrated their common bonds of faith and hope.  Jesus ministered to and with the people around him in simple everyday kind of ways.  He gathered at tables, beside wells, and in places of worship.  This is what we do in our lives as disciples of Jesus. We do not have a party every day, but each day holds the potential for transformational encounters in the presence of our God who knew how to gather others at table and celebrate life.

When I first heard and began considering God’s call to religious life, I wondered if I would be lonely or if I would have to disappear into the “melting pot” of community.  My life as a Dominican Sister has been anything but lonely or melted into “sameness.”  In fact, I have been encouraged to become my best self as I grow into the unique person God created me to be.  I am amazed at the opportunities and challenges I have received in this life.  Thank you God for giving me the courage to say, “Yes” to your invitation.

In this season of Advent, take time to encounter the other – to be transformed – and to consider what God might be calling you to with your “One wild and precious life.”

Posted in God Calling??, News

Nuestra señora de Guadalupe

Blog by Lisset Mendoza, Director of the Dominican Learning Center.

She is more than just the mother of Jesus – she is the mother of all Mexicans and part of our Mexican national identity.

I can recall my early childhood years: our family and church community praying the rosary for 12 days before her feast day, going on pilgrimages, dressing up in traditional Mexican indigenous attire, waking up in the early morning hours to visit her and serenade her with songs. All of these memories are near and dear to my heart. My entire family has a strong devotion to our Lady – both Catholic and non-Catholic believers.

Thanks to God and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I became a mother. Two doctors told me that chances of becoming pregnant were 10%. I prayed to our Lady for months and asked her if it was in God’s will to make me a mother, to allow for it to happen. If it were not God’s will, I would learn to live with His plan for me.

After only two months of prayer, I started to have odd symptoms and took a pregnancy test. Then I took another and another!

I called my doctor right away and again she said there was no way, the test must be wrong. She sent me to a lab where they ran a blood test. Sure enough, a day and a half later, she called and officially told me I was pregnant.

My son is truly our miracle child. As my husband and I considered names for our coming child, the name MATEO, which means Gift of God, was our first choice. Our Mateo was born on December 11th,  just hours before the Feast of our Lady. I know this is no coincidence.

Lisset Mendoza and her husband with a statue of our Lady.

I urge you to believe in her magical being and to enjoy one of my favorite songs to her.

¡Feliz día de la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Posted in Just Reflecting, News

Advent: Seeing Promise in the Meanwhile

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

An amazingly long time ago, in high school, I began learning guitar. For us starry-eyed “boomers”  there were a number of folk songs that were relatively simple chord-wise so could be learned quickly—and had social messages: “ Where have all the flowers gone,” “Blowing in the wind.” One I loved playing (three easy chords) was ”I can see a new day, a new day soon to be/where the storm clouds are all past/ and the sun shines on a world that is free…”

It was, like our Advent scriptures, a presentation of a vision. And the Hebrew scriptures, especially the prophets and the psalms, are replete with hopes rendered in concrete images. The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb—or as the painter Rousseau rendered the Peaceable Kingdom—a host of God’s creatures, predator and prey,  lying serenely together, surrounded by verdant jungle. More images: valleys made high and mountains made low, the crooked ways straight. The people streaming from East and West to God’s holy mountain, the shining city and the bountiful feast of rich foods and choice wines.

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see….many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:24)

Sometimes, in the increasing toxicity of the world we inhabit today, we’re tempted to close our eyes to all but the small safe havens we’ve built for ourselves, or to surrender to the endless battering from a world of troubles, and view the future as threatening darkness and use the present for simmering in resentment;  abandon our capacity for envisioning  peace and reconciliation, or the coming together of enemies—sheep and wolves, Palestinians and Israelis, Saudis and Yemenis, Republicans and Democrats….

But the truth is, we can and must see.  Our widening, deepening vision is a gift and task of our Baptism and our Dominican profession.  We see the weapons, the rubble, the starvation, the pollution and ruination of earth. But our Christian vision allows us the perspective of hope, that capacity to see beyond, to see more deeply, and recognize that even now, as we wait, Christ comes to us, among us, through us, in simple shimmerings of Incarnation and Redemption—small graces in words and actions of love and mercy, everyday kindnesses, contrition and forgiveness, a bandaid, a kleenex.  We view life with “gospel-tinted lenses.”  And we announce the Good News.

Advent is longing and yearning, hunger and thirst, darkness expecting sunrise, the mystery of “already and not yet.”  A Holy Interim between the First Pentecost and Last Advent, the dawning of creation and the dawning of New Creation. Advent bids us to preach God’s promised future, and to bring hope and joy to voice, even as we contemplate our own weak faith and eroding patience. Advent bids us not to turn away from the world but to trust that light can be found there, and to stand firm in our common human struggle for truth, take it to heart, and preach it from the housetops.

 Come Lord Jesus, come Compassionate Lover, come, Spirit who makes all things new. Come, be incarnate in us, among us and through us, stir up our hearts, prepare the feast, sing the song of salvation, and  shine through our expectant faces as we wait the day when “kindness and truth shall meet, justice and peace will kiss.”  When sorrow’s chains are broken, and the sun shines on a world that is free.

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

Peace & Justice Blog

Blog by Associate Mary Beth Auletto

This morning I reluctantly watched the video on child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo on last week’s OP Peace News. Tears came to my eyes as a watched the interview of an 11-year-old boy who just wants to go to school, but he has to make money for his family.  He works in cobalt mines; this part of the child trafficking that is rampant in the county.

As Sr.Barb pointed out, the DRC’s situation is dire.

And yet…

There is some light, both there and in our country. (watch the video to see the Sisters who with their school are making a difference!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_EKsjRcqf4&feature=youtu.be )

Today I write about the light of Freedom House Detroit.  Freedom House states their mission as follows:

“… a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to uphold a fundamental American principle, one inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, providing safety for those “yearning to breathe free.” In 2012 we became a formal partner in the Northern Tier Anti-Trafficking Consortium servicing victims of human trafficking. “ (retrieved 12/9/18)

Freedom House offers comprehensive free services to survivors, including legal counsel and English learning.  They have an extremely high success rate in helping their residents gain asylum in the United States.  Columbus has a nonprofit organization called Community Refugee and Immigrant Services that provides similar services.

At the Mid-West Fall Mission Group, four residents and the executive director of Freedom House came to present to us.  We were witness to the story of a young Congolese Woman refugee who was sexually assaulted before fleeing from the DRC.  Her pain, fear, and trauma were apparent as she haltingly shared with us her story.  Deb the executive director and other Freedom House Community Members lovingly placed a hand on her shoulder; many of us who listened breathed out compassion and support in the patient silence and rapt attention accentuated with subdued sniffles indictive of tears.  Today, I pray for this young woman and all women and children of the DRC.  I am glad that in addition to praying, our community is supporting places like Freedom House financially.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog