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.


Witnessing for the Both And…

Blog by Marybeth Auletto, OPA, Columbus, OH.

One of the reasons I embrace being a Dominican is our call to study. Long before I became an associate, I was drawn to spiritual and social justice readings and have been blessed with friends who have turned me on to authors such as Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister, and Ann LaMotte. I do not think it a coincidence that these friends are also now Dominicans and together our study has expanded to include Sr. Diana Culbertson, OP, John Dear, and Pope Francis, to name a few.

Often, the most challenging part of study is when you finish it and say, after prayerful contemplation as an individual and as a group, “Ok,  how does what I read fit into my ministry…my faith life…my prayer life…the other parts of the Dominican Charism?” Laudato Si provided a powerful opportunity to grow in how we lived out our mission of caring for the earth.

A few weeks ago, I attended a local gathering/march in honor of Earth Day.  Earth Day events have been happening for years, but I believe this was likely the best-attended event of late, due to the “Science” theme that drew not only environmentalists but teachers, doctors, grandparents – all who believe in “science, not silence!”

There was a sign-making table and I had noticed that unlike most previous marches/gatherings I have attended, there seemed to be a lack of signs that were faith-based.

I am not an artist but managed to come up with what I thought was a meaningful slogan and added some symbols…and then anxiously waded back into the crowd.  I began to feel self-conscious…will the younger people think me weird? Was this sign even appropriate? After several minutes of scanning the signs, I was relieved to see another person of my generation with a sign similar to mine. At the end of the march, a man who looked to be in the millennial age bracket came up to me and told me he liked my sign. I hoped my smile and sincere thanks expressed the gratitude I felt from his affirmation!


Posted in Associate Blog

Am I toxic and/or part of a toxic religion?

Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

Recently I was in Denver for the Dominican Sisters of Peace West Mission Group meeting.  Sisters Pat Dual, June Fitzgerald and I presented a session on intercultural living to our Sisters there.  Since we had an extra day on Sunday, Pat and I went with Sister Adeline for a drive in the mountains where we also stopped to eat at a locally owned restaurant.  As we entered the restaurant, the owner came over to greet us at our table, curious to know who we were since the restaurant is off the beaten path and his most frequent customers were likely the folks in the area plus motorcycle riders out for a Sunday ride.  When Pat told him that we were Catholic Sisters, he said, “I am non-religious, but I try to watch people, see what they need and treat them well. “  He said again, “I try to treat people well.  The only problem I have is with toxic religions which damage people.”  We talked a little more with him and then as he left our table, he asked the waitress to give us soup and salad on the house.

His words stayed with me.  Am I toxic in my zeal to preach the living and loving God?  Do I offer to others the love, mercy, and forgiveness which I hope to receive from God and from others?  Am I part of a religion which is toxic to certain groups of people, divorced and remarried Catholics, women, LGBTQ+, Blacks, Muslims, those economically challenged?  Some of our teachings ostracize people, some of our practices keep people from sharing their gifts and talents to their full potential, some of our practices keep people at a distance because of how they look, and sometimes, issues like racism are not treated with the urgency required at this time.

And while, as a religious group Catholic Christians are some of the most generous, work consistently for justice, work to break down walls, and help to provide economic opportunities for those living in poverty, we have to continue to grow in our understanding of people who are different from ourselves and what we have always known and believed.  We are challenged to listen anew to the many different needs of the many different people in our world so that we are not toxic to anyone in our teachings and practices.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, we heard the story of the martyrdom of Stephen in our liturgy.  Stephen proclaimed Jesus as the Son of Man who was seated at the right hand of God.  Stephen, like the One he followed, died for his proclamation and beliefs.  The people covered their ears and rushed upon him to throw him out of the city and to stone him.  How often do I close my ears and try to shut out what is challenging to my beliefs, practices, and values?  How open am I to hear the new, to look for the true bread that gives life to the world, true bread which might take the form of a restaurant owner in the Rockies?

We are reminded in our Easter season readings that Jesus is our Bread of Life.  In Jesus we will never hunger or thirst, but will be given what we need to live in love.  As we become bread of life with Christ and with each other – willing to be blessed and broken—may we, too, become true bread for the life of the world.  May the Holy Spirit lead and guide us.

If you are interested in pondering questions related to mission, service, prayer, and justice, you might want to check out the opportunity “Pray, Serve, Reflect” from May 18-21, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio with our vocations team.  Click here for more information and to register.

Click here for a few photos of the Rocky foothills close to Denver!

Posted in God Calling??

Watching and waiting…

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of watching and waiting over the past few months.  Watching and waiting for dear, dear friends to return to their loving God…. for April the giraffe to bring her beautiful little (yes, 129 pounds is little in the giraffe world!) son into the world ….for Lent to be over and Easter to arrive.  I’ve even spent some time waiting for paint to dry… on some gorgeous alcohol ink Easter eggs.  Watching and waiting …. very much like Mary Magdalene did before the Resurrection.

These opportunities to watch and wait have given me a chance to reflect on the idea of kenosis… emptying our own will so that we can receive God’s divine will.  We know that Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” and that he “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death.” (Philippians 2: 6-8)  St. Paul reminds us to take on that same attitude. So we empty our expectations of time… like how long it takes for paint to dry.  We empty our expectations of effort… like how much work it takes for a giraffe to have a baby.  We empty our expectations of control… like how little we can control the loss of a loved one.   We empty our expectations of our own importance and, like Jesus, humble ourselves.

These watching and waiting opportunities have also reminded me of the need for more contemplative time.  Time to gently let my thoughts go. to slow down and empty the myriad of thoughts in my crowded brain.  When I’m faithful to my meditation, I find that I’m more patient… more calm…. more open…. more accepting.

Easter season is a good time to celebrate and continue our kenosis- our watching and waiting.  We remember that after the dying, even dying on a cross, came the Resurrection.  We know our friends are in God’s loving embrace.  We applaud that an adorable little giraffe is standing on his own.  We enjoy brilliantly colored eggs.  With just a month until Pentecost, I hope you’ll join me as I continue my kenosis so that we can be ready to receive the Holy Spirit and open to allow our generous God to fill us with love.

Posted in Wednesday's Word

World Press Freedom Day: Advancing Truth and Promoting Justice

Blog by Justice Promoter Kelly Litt

Back when I was in college, I lived in Washington, DC for a semester as I completed an internship. While there, I tried to soak up the life and culture of DC, often attending events, trying new food, and visiting as many museums as I could squeeze in.

One of the most impactful experiences during my time in DC was when I spent a Sunday afternoon in the Newseum, a museum that “promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.” Located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House, this museum speaks to the core values and principles that our nation was founded on.

While there, I recall spending time in the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery where I saw, experienced, and mourned Kevin Carter’s photo, “The vulture and the little girl.” This photo, taken in 1993, showed a collapsed and starving Sudanese toddler and a vulture standing in the background presumably waiting for her death. This picture shook me to my core and changed me deeply. My spark for justice was fanned from this experience as I decided I needed to work to create systemic change so that children, individuals, and families don’t have to experience the pain and suffering I witnessed through that picture.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, and the theme this year is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.” The press has a critical job in communicating to the public what is happening at all levels of government, in our communities, and around the world. Without this freedom, I may never have seen that photograph which could easily have been censored as inappropriate. Without this freedom, we wouldn’t have journalists who dedicate their time, and sometimes their lives, to exercising this right and to working toward truth and justice.

In this “post-truth era” that we continually hear about, it is crucial that we continue supporting freedom of the press and ensuring that the truth is always heard.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Dominican Kentucky Experience Extravaganza

Madison Wells, sophomore at Ohio Dominican University & member of the Dominican Young Adult Group

Truthfully, I never thought that April would come. We scheduled the trip for our Dominican Kentucky Experience Extravaganza in the fall and so much life happened in between the planning and the doing. Alas, the day finally came and all seven of us – three Sisters, two students, one Priest, and one Justice Promoter – squeezed into a van and hit the road. We were finally Kentucky-bound. We had our fair share of bathroom breaks and snack stops before we reached our first destination: The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. We toured the guest chapel and bookshop before heading in the main chapel to devote a half an hour of Vesper’s prayer with the monks. What a truly wonderful way to begin our trip by talking with our Lord in His House! I didn’t realize the power of taking 30 minutes to talk with God, especially when it’s difficult to find 10 minutes. It was truly a blessing. Afterwards, with it being a Lenten Friday, we found our way to a church with two great pastimes: bingo and a fish fry. (If you’re ever hankering for some quality bean soup, that church has it.) Finally, we made it to the St. Catharine Motherhouse. Continue reading →

Posted in Just Reflecting