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.


 

Finding Revealing Messages

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

As I was browsing through my email messages, two subject lines immediately caught my attention:  “Because TWO are better than ONE!” and “It’s time to cross this road.” Then there was a third one, “Looking for Something?”  Hmmm.  Messages can appear at the unseemliest time and place. Yet, if we are open to seeing them, these messages can illuminate our path and serve as a call along our path to God.

What strikes me about the first message, “Because TWO are better than ONE” is how we are invited into relationship with others and with our God. Certainly, we are familiar with the Scripture passage from Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” What a powerful reminder that God is always present to us in each other!  We are not alone; we are called to be with each other, to be helpmates—this is part of our makeup, being called into union with one another.

The second message, “It’s time to cross this road,” conjures up images of initial resistance, then surrendering and moving forward, taking that first step, a step of trust and faith in the unknown.  Just as Jesus knew it was time to take up his cross to Calvary, he knew that this step was necessary to fulfill his mission in life of sacrificing his life for the good of all humankind. Even in this moment of suffering, Jesus is befriended by Simon of Cyrene who helps Jesus carry his cross.  Who are the people who help you carry your cross?  Who are the people whose cross you help carry? We do not have to cross the road of difficulty or possibility alone. We are invited to be in community and to walk in solidarity with one another.

The third message, “Looking for Something?” speaks to me of a lifelong quest to find one’s essence, to find one’s calling, and to follow where that essence and calling invites us.  When we’re looking for something, like lost keys, when we pause long enough to examine where we’ve been, and where God is calling us, we can often find what is missing.  So too with our spiritual quest to know ourselves and our Creator, when we pause in prayer or take time to be with our God, in whatever ways God speaks to us, we often find that what we are missing is a connection with ourselves, with each other, and with our God. What we are looking for is within us and around us. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see and be aware of God’s presence. But, we get lost in our own darkness, and that’s when we need to be reminded of yet another familiar Scripture passage from Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” It is in the searching, in the seeking, in the opening of doors that we will find what we are looking for.

Looking at these three messages together: “Because TWO are better than ONE!,”  “It’s time to cross this road,” and “Looking for Something?,” are all part of the same message of seeking and finding God in our midst.  These messages are also about recognizing how we are connected to each other and are called to be there for each other, mending broken hearts, working in solidarity with others, bringing about peace and justice, being the Light in someone’s darkness, bringing hope to the downtrodden. We know these messages. We need reminders though that we may need help from others, and we need God’s help to walk across the road as we seek to live out and bring the Gospel message of love and peace to others.

If you are ready to cross the road and to find out whether God is calling to religious life, we invite you to contact us.  Together, we will journey with you as you seek to find your heart’s desire and God’s desire for you.  Better yet, take the leap and meet us in person at our Mission For Peace program, June 22 – 27 in Kansas.  Along with other women in discernment, spend a few days in prayer, community, and service while exploring the possibility of vowed religious life.

Posted in News, Vocations Blog

Dominican Receives Catholic Identity Award at NCEA

St. Mary’s Dominican High School Principal and Vice President, Instructional Area Carolyn Favre holds the Sadlier Catholic Identity Award that was presented at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) conference. From left are: Dr. RaeNell Houston, Superintendent of Catholic Schools and Executive Director of the Department of Catholic Education and Faith Formation in the New Orleans Archdiocese; Ray Fagan, President and Chief Executive Officer of William H. Stadlier, Inc.; Shannon Hauler, St. Mary’s Dominican High School Assistant Principal, Academics; Dr. Cynthia A. Thomas, St. Mary’s Dominican High School President; and New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond.

 

St. Mary’s Dominican High School received the prestigious Sadlier Catholic Identity Award at the 2022 National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) conference held in New Orleans April 19-21, with Willian H. Sadlier, Inc. and the Archdiocese of New Orleans recognizing Dominican for shaping Catholic identity in the school’s life, faith, and mission through the various ministries of Catholic education.

First presented in 1998, the award honors a school or parish that demonstrates effectively and clearly our identity as a Catholic people. Recipients are identified by the host diocese of the NCEA convention. For nearly 200 years, William H. Sadlier, Inc. has been forming K–12 students in the Catholic faith and preparing them for academic success by offering a variety of educational materials in print and digital formats.

Posted in News

In the Steps of St. Dominic: The Founding of Dominican Women in the United States

Articles by Marilyn Rhodes, OPA

This article is the first of in a series of twelve, one per month, celebrating the Bicentennial of Dominican Women in the United States.

St. Dominic was a traveling friar who shared his deep contemplation of the Gospel with others through his preaching. His Order of Preachers (OP) was formally designated by Pope Honorius III in 1218. Dominic wanted the friars, and soon the sisters of the order, to preach the truth of the Catholic faith. By his example, men and women Dominicans live in community and preach through their active involvement with others.

Angela Sansbury, the first elected Dominican Prioress in the United States

In the early years of our nation, many Catholic families migrated to Kentucky from Maryland in the late 1700s, and most settled in areas where they could continue to practice their faith. Central Kentucky became known as the new Holy Land as Catholic monasteries, convents, and schools sprang up around the area. By 1798, the little log church of St. Ann in Washington County was established. The parish quickly grew too large for this building, and on Christmas Day 1809, Dominican Fathers Fenwick, Wilson, and Tuite, blessed and opened a much larger brick church, St. Rose of Lima, just two miles away.

St. Rose of Lima provided spiritual care for twenty-three hundred souls and became the cradle for Dominican Friars in the United States. These friars founded the first seminary in the United States, a school for boys, the first Catholic college west of the Alleghenies, then turned to women to join the mission of the Dominicans.

In February 1822, Father Wilson invited young women to form a community of Dominican Sisters; nine women became candidates. On Easter Sunday, 1822, seven of these women, including Mariah Sansbury, who took the religious name Angela, were formally received into the Order of Preachers. Angela Sansbury was the first woman in the United States to receive the habit, and she, like those others who entered religious life that day, was part of a group unique in the Dominican order. These Nuns were not cloistered behind convent walls like their Sisters in Europe but called to lead active lives in their community and share the mission of the Dominican Friars – to respond to the needs of the world and the time.

In August, six more women joined the order. Their first mission would be to follow the prayer schedule of the friars and instruct girls. These pioneer women began their lives as Dominican Sisters in a log cabin named Bethany on the grounds of the Saint Rose Farm belonging to the Friars. This new community took the name of the Convent of St. Mary Magdalen, and Father Wilson appointed Judith McMan, a married woman from Cork, Ireland, as superior over the first candidates.

It was soon after that the Sisters moved to the Sienna Vale, near Cartwright Creek. Angela Sansbury and her blood sister Elizabeth, who entered religious life with the name  Benven, were the beneficiaries of their mother’s estate, which of course was passed on to the Community. These assets included land, a large log cabin, a still house, and farm animals, which the Sisters raised to help support the fledgling Congregation.

On January 6, 1823, Sister Angela Sansbury became the first woman in the United States to receive the habit as a Sister of the Dominican Order. Six months later, she was installed as the constitutionally elected Prioress of the Dominican Sisters in the United States.

 

 

Posted in News, Seasonal Observances

Holy Curiosity: A Gift for Discernment

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen, OP

“Why is the water of that lake blue?”

“Why is the bread called Jesus’ body?”

My nephew kept asking me many questions like these above. Sometimes, I found it hard to explain to him. At the same time, I am happy to see that he is using the gift of holy curiosity to learn about life and about God.

Holy curiosity is a gift from God to us as human beings, to search for God, to be intimate with God, and to be inspired by God’s mission. Holy curiosity urges us to raise questions and to take quiet time to grasp the mystical meaning of God revealed to us through creation, life, and our call. Holy curiosity, without quiet reflection, will lead us nowhere. Quiet time allows us to listen effectively, to reflect, to integrate what God reveals to us daily, and to respond to God’s personal call to us and to the needs of our time.

My vocation call came from the holy curiosity of my childhood. After reading many saints’ stories, I asked many questions too: “why can only dead people become saints? Why can’t I or other people who are still alive be saints?” Searching for answers, I learned that all of us are called to be holy as God is Holy. That sounded wonderful, but how? This “how” urged me to search more, which required more quiet time to reflect.

Later on, when I was participating in the discernment process for religious life, holy curiosity helped me raise questions with the mindset of “freedom for inquiry,” which gave me the latitude to search for clarification of my call from many perspectives. My holy curiosity helped me to look at my call through my faith, traditions, culture, history, and the signs of times. I realized that my consecrated call was not purely to say “Yes” to religious life, just once, but an ongoing call to continuously search for God, to grasp and practice how to live a prophetic life. Of course, living a prophetic life is a process of letting go so we can grow, be transformed, and do God’s mission. God is present in these processes, and holy curiosity motivates me to recognize God’s works in the diversity of life, even beyond human beings.

Throughout human history, God has granted individuals and the church the gift of holy curiosity and the desire for contemplation. Indeed, this curiosity, when practiced in quiet time, is really the quintessential experience of a believer, from Augustine’s “restless heart” to Catherine de Siena’s “The Dialogue” to what we are reading from more contemporary voices like Dorothy Day, Richard Rohr, Brian Massingale, Joyce Rupp, or Wendell Berry. As we journey together as people of faith on earth, you and I may ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. How can we use this gift of holy curiosity to search for deeper meaning in living our faith and how can our actions be for the common good?
  2. How can we utilize our freedom for inquiry to raise questions, to challenge the status quo, and to respond to God and to the needs around us with more positive energy and vision?

For those who may be hearing the still small voice of God nudging you to think about being a sister, I would like to invite you to search for the meaning of this and other voices with the gift of holy curiosity. Take time to reflect and to explore openly what is being revealed to you. Here are some other ways you can satisfy your curiosity about religious life and about us:

  • Visit our congregation website to get to know the life of our sisters and our mission.
  • Check out our vocation website where you can find lots of information and resources to begin discovering your vocation.
  • Contact our vocation team to talk about your call.
  • Participate in our summer in-person Mission for Peace program, June 22-27 in Wichita and Great Bend, Kansas. Click here for more information about this event and to register.

Posted in News, Vocations Blog

Is it a Job or a Ministry?

Recently, during one of our discernment sessions, someone asked:

“Can you tell me what’s the difference between a job and a ministry?”

I’m going to dedicate this blog to this question, because we have encountered this question quite a few times. I’m going to highlight some of the differences from five different angles: motive or reason, purpose, drive, competency, and contemplation.

Motive or Reason

Many people would think that the difference between a job and ministry is whether it is a paid or an unpaid one. In reality though, ministry has nothing to do with money. Ministry is a call. The Encyclopedia of Christianity defines ministry as “carrying forth Christ’s mission in the world.” Each Christian is called to know God, love God, and serve God by glorifying God through our lives. Through our baptismal call, we are called to share God’s love in everything we say and do.

Purpose

If we want to play with words, one could say that every job can be a ministry, but no ministry is ‘just’ a job. In short, if you do something because it needs to be done, that’s a job. However, if you do it because you feel called or compelled by God to do it, then God is calling and missioning you to share God’s love through a specific task, and therefore, it’s a ministry.

Drive

In many jobs, employees are driven by goals to satisfy personal interests or needs or driven by comparing themselves to their peers. On the contrary, ministry is driven by the desire to do God’s work. Ministry is about having a heart of service, and it is about living “in a manner worthy of the call we have received.” (Ephesians 4:1)

Competency

You need specific skills to apply for a job and need to demonstrate a level of competency to perform a job. However, if God is moving you to fulfill a certain ministry, God will equip you with what you need to carry out God’s mission and to be an instrument of God’s love. We hear this assurance that God will be with us in Philippians 4:19, “God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with God’s glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Contemplation

When doing a job, we may just go about doing our work without seeking God’s guidance or prayerfully contemplating what God might want of us. Having a heart of ministry, we are mindful of doing God’s work and seek to be open to God’s ways through prayer and contemplation.

Through the Dominican Lens

Dominicans are called to be Holy Preaching. We praise and bless God, and through our ministry, we help people know God as we let God work in us, with us, and through us.

In this Lenten Season

During each Lenten season, we are reminded that being a vessel of God’s love sometimes means sacrifice and calls us to a deeper faith in the one who created us.  Jesus lived his faith by example, through his empathy and compassion for those in need, and through his actions, ultimately, giving his life in sacrifice for the sins of the world.

I offer you two questions about Jesus’ life for your reflection:

  • What is in Jesus’ example are you called to follow or share with others?
  • At this very time, what does the life of Jesus compel you to do?

Looking ahead

If you are discerning God’s call to religious life and would like to explore a week of ministry to others, we are offering a “Mission for Peace” experience June 22-27, 2022. Click here for more information.

Posted in News, Vocations Blog