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.


 

Unexpected Joys of Religious Life

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

One of the supreme joys of religious life is the opportunity to engage in ministries that you might never have expected.  If someone told me five years ago that I’d be working in a hospital, I would have told them that they were crazy. I was a teacher. Hospitals made me uncomfortable.  But God has a sense of humor and the phrase from Jeremiah, Chapter 20 “You duped me, oh Lord” comes to mind when I think about how I became an Emergency Room Chaplain. I guess my chaplaincy calling started when the call came to accompany sisters from our skilled care center, Mohun Health Care Center, when they had to go to the hospital. I signed up, and during these experiences, I met some amazing sisters and heard their problems, their stories, their fears.

At around the same time, my Spiritual Director suggested that I take a unit of CPE. CPE is Clinical Pastoral Education and it’s a training program for chaplains, but it’s also a tool for ministers of all types and religions to come to grips with their feelings and the feelings of others. It’s a program about listening – to one’s own heart and to the fears of others. I was very hesitant, but after many months of reflection, I attended the program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  And yes, it did change my life!

Three years ago, I had an opportunity to move to New Haven, Connecticut and to enter the CPE program at Yale New Haven Hospital, where I took three more units of study. Each unit was about 100 hours of classroom work and 300 hours of clinical work in the hospital under the supervision of a certified chaplain.  It was challenging, but at the same time a blessing, as I learned more about my own biases, fears, and strengths – some I didn’t even know I had.  I was hired by the hospital during my fourth unit to be a casual chaplain and work weekends and overnights. I had the added advantage of being able to take Holy Communion to the many Catholics in the hospital. Mostly, I listened and affirmed the vulnerable patients and comforted families when their loved ones died.

About a year ago, I was hired as an Emergency Department (ED) Chaplain. There’s a sense of urgency and intimacy in the ED that comes from the trauma that impacts patients, their families, and also the staff.  The trauma of COVID still lingers and there is a brittleness in us all as we seek to care for all those affected by the effects of this pandemic.

Indeed, my ministry as a chaplain has been a blessing and one that would never, ever have happened had I not entered religious life.

If you want to explore religious life as a Dominican Sister of Peace, please contact us. We are here to help you with your discernment.
Also, you might want to join us for our March 2023 Come and See Retreat.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

Plea for the Leaders of North America

Plea for the Leaders of North America: Trudeau, Biden and Obrador

We condemn President Biden’s decision to continue Title 42, which former President Trump initiated to ban asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico in order to prevent spread of Covid.  Biden promised a more humane treatment of migrants but that seems like empty words.  These current immigration policies separate families, cause unacceptable trauma, and threaten the lives of thousands of children and parents.  As a country, we are shirking our moral duty by acting contrary to Gospel values and slamming the door on families fleeing for their lives.  Just last month, we celebrated the Holy Family who were forced to flee to a foreign country to save their baby’s life.

Migrants have a human right to migrate. This right is balanced with a country’s right to uphold its national border. But it is against International Law and our own moral code to send the weak and vulnerable into sure danger when we have resources that could protect life.  Rather than adding to a climate of fear and life-threatening barriers, let us as Americans put energy and resources into addressing the root causes of migration.

I ask you to write President Biden to reverse Title 42 and work for a total reform of US Immigration Policy for  more just and humane treatment of migrants.  Our Chapter Commitments call us to create a culture of inclusion and take action to eradicate racism and exclusion.  While the leaders of North America meet, let us pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe to guide Trudeau, Biden, and Obrador to take responsibility for just treatment of migrants.  This time is too urgent for empty words while lives are threatened, and suffering continues.

Here are three ways to contact President Biden:

By USPS:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

By phone:
202-456-1111

By email form: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Seeing the Divine Within the Diversity

Blog by Candidate Terri Schell

I fell in love with a wetland last summer.

I had a hankering to explore, so I strapped on my TEVA sandals, grabbed my journal and watercolor set, and headed down the road to catch the morning sun at the nearby wetland. The midsummer heat was already rising as I walked through the tall grasses to stumble upon the edge of an ephemeral pond still wet with the morning dew and bursting with life and activity. Birds of all shapes and sounds were calling, feeding, flying. Insects were zipping about and frogs, startled by my presence, yelped, and leapt underwater. I was drunk with the vibrancy and beauty of this place and taken with knowledge that God’s presence was glimmering all around me. I guess more accurately, I did not fall in love with the wetland, but deeper in love with God, who just can’t help but to brim and spill over with creative life.

Through moments like this I have come to understand more clearly the relationship we are invited into with God and the earth, not just as a steward (as if God was absent) but as a responsible part of Earth community. I’ve heard the role likened to a custodian who works with God and our animate and inanimate neighbors to collaborate and sustain diversity and balance. We are to embody this peaceful, non-violent, regenerative, existence in every aspect of our lives, in an integral way, like Pope Francis encourages us to do in Laudato Si’.

As a candidate, I get to see with new eyes the Dominican Sisters of Peace’s commitment to integral ecology lived out concretely. One way is through our current wetland construction project at Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center here in Blacklick, Ohio.

I was surprised to learn that prior to the 1800s, over half of the lands that make up the state of Ohio were wetlands. White colonial settlers perpetuated a disordered understanding of our relationship to the creator and the created, and thus these wetlands were considered unproductive, smelly, unnavigable, and useful only when eliminated. Today, over 90 percent of all of Ohio’s wetlands have been drained and developed. This makes me wonder, where else in our society do we adopt the “throwaway culture,” Pope Francis alludes to, failing to see the beauty in diversity, in the things that take a bit more work to love?

Since the 1980s we are slowly realizing what amazing and critical ecosystems wetlands are. Wetlands help us correct our mistakes: they naturally filter water, sequester carbon, refill groundwater stores, and create buffers for flooding events that are becoming more frequent. They also allow us to be good neighbors: wetlands are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, creating a home for flora and fauna throughout all stages of life.  And ironically, they have the highest productivity, turning sunlight into living matter faster and more efficiently, than any other ecosystem on Earth. The wetland at Shepherd’s Corner will also be space for education and contemplation, inviting others to see the divine within the diversity.

I’m proud of the congregation’s long history and invigorated commitment to listening to the voice of the voiceless and honoring the land’s inherent value, not for the usefulness of her ability to provide for humans, but for all of earth community. May we continue on this journey towards integral ecology which, according to Pope Francis, includes: “taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us, whose presence ‘must not be contrived but found, uncovered’.”

References

Pope Francis. 2015. Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home [Encyclical].

About Us. Ohio Wetlands Association. 2022. https://www.ohwetlands.org/about-us.html

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

New Year, New Commitment, New Attitude

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen, OP

During the Christmas break, I was busy with preparations for two events—vocation outreach at the FOCUS #SEEK23 conference in St. Louis and our mid-January Mission for Peace event. Instead of a time of rest, I quickly found myself feeling like a working bee running from one place to another place. Then, on New Year’s Day, I traveled to St. Louis for the #SEEK23 conference that focuses on inspiring college students “to dive deeper into the Gospel and discover how to answer Jesus’ call to leadership, relationship and discipleship.”

Driving from Great Bend to Wichita, Kansas to catch my flight to St. Louis on the first day of the New Year, I felt a little resistance inside me about attending this conference. I wanted to stay at home, to rest and to enjoy this New Year.

Luckily, driving alone, I had a chance to settle myself interiorly. I was suddenly aware that I was not ready to welcome the year 2023. Because of my busyness at the end of the year, I felt that 2022 left me before I was ready, like lightning that happens so quickly and is over. I felt an emptiness and shock at the arrival of the new year 2023. I wished I had more time to reflect and close out the year of 2022.

As I was driving, a Bible quote spoke to me, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (Act 1:11) A scripture passage we usually hear on the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord in the Easter season. This question invites us to ponder how we intend to live our faith in the moment. This question brought me back to the reality of life.

As I was staring into the sky while driving, I knew I had to let go of what I wished happened at the end of 2022 and focus on embracing this coming of the year 2023. So, I found myself asking “How should I live and what can I do better in my life for this coming year?” Listening to my deepest desire, the word “mindfulness” came to me, something I wanted to practice more. So, I refocused my energies and decided that during this two-hour drive, I would pay more attention to what I was seeing in the moment.

I became immersed in the beauty of the natural world around me, giving me moments of awe! I marveled at the many distinct shades of blue in the sky, and the subtle shades of brown – from the deep brown of the recently turned earth to the soft mocha of the fur on the cows.  I marveled at the flying formations of different groups of birds as they flew in harmony. There were two times when I wanted to stop off the highway to observe these formations, making me say “WOW!” and praise God for the magnificence that my dancing heart was feeling.

I praised God, blessed God, and gave thanks to God for giving these beautiful gifts to me for this New Year Day. As I travelled through the flat plains in Kansas, I was grateful for the wide-open scenery that cleared a path for me to see the beauty of God’s creation around me. The different major landforms–mountains, hills, valleys, desert, plains—of Mother Earth can reveal the beauty of the creation. The grace of God is everywhere and can be seen when we change our attitude and are more attentive to what is around us.

Now that the new year is here, how are you welcoming this new year? Are you ready to look beyond the sky and explore what God’s call is for your life?  How might you respond to your call with a new perspective and new attitude for the year 2023?

One way you can explore the call to religious life in 2023 is to join us for our January Mission for Peace program or our March Come and See retreat. Or, visit our vocation website to learn more about religious life, more about the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and about entering a process of discernment …  of determining God’s desire for your life. Contact us to walk this journey with you.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog