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.


 

Can Nature heal a Broken Heart?

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, shown in her pottery studio

Recently, my sister experienced one of the most devastating losses a mother could know, when her 40-something daughter, Chris, died of a drug overdose. Anyone who has experienced the same horrendous loss knows this pain. It’s not possible to describe it adequately and my sister has been almost inconsolable. This is difficult on so many levels: emotionally, spiritually, psychically, and physically.

Addiction is a hideous, cunning, mean, and pernicious disease that impacts everyone around it — well beyond the person trapped in its clutches. I have struggled to find ways to comfort and support my sister who lives quite a distance away —it’s not like I can stop over for a cup a tea.

A few days ago, we talked on the phone. “I just can’t stop crying,” she said. “I think about Chris all the time.”

“I know, I just want to hold your hand. Tears are like medicine, it’s okay, I just want to hold your hand.”

We talked about when our brother, Paul died at 36, and when our sister, Chris died at 55. We thought there would be no end to our grief – those were impossible times then. Nothing helped. No one helped soothe the pain. But these — like other deaths that were expected — we could see their deaths coming after long illnesses and we could somehow prepare ourselves for loss. But this was sudden, like a crack of thunder. Even after years of struggle and darkness and the long-lasting ache of helplessness, the lightning strike came out of nowhere. Despite my thinking that someday we would get that phone call, it still stunned.

Marge sat on the back porch of her house while we talked. She noticed that the weather outside was beautiful: blue sky, cool breeze, the trees were blowing in the wind. Here too, it was a beautiful day: clear skies, dry and breezy. It was as if we shared the same space and time even though we were miles apart. The birds, the sun and sway of trees opened a portal so that we could sit on the same porch, smell the same air. We talked about how amazing the birds are as hundreds of them swarm in the sky all together. How is it that these tiny speedy creatures don’t crash into one another? We sat amazed at the mystery of nature. We saw the same trees swaying, the same blue sky with clouds floating by.

And for one silent, precious instance, there was peace.

Can nature heal a broken heart? I think so, I hope so. I pray for more moments when my sister can simply see God in the sway of trees and the sound of birds. I pray that what is most fearful and broken in her can rest and come to peace.

I Go Among trees, Wendell Berry

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their place
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes.
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Marian Days- Cultural Immersion and Vocation Outreach

Blog by Sr. Maidung Nguyen, OP

Last week, August 3-7, six of us—Sisters Ana Gonzalez, June Fitzgerald, Mai-Dung Nguyen, Patricia Connick, Phuong Vu, and Tram Bui—packed a van and a car full of vocation materials then headed to Carthage, Missouri for the 43rd Vietnamese Marian Days Festival. This event began in 1977, when Vietnamese people gathered here to honor Our Lady and to thank her for help in reaching freedom. It has also been and continues to be a time for the Vietnamese faithful to be immersed in their culture and prayers, to attend workshops, prayer services and Mass in Vietnamese. For us, this event is a great opportunity to be present to these Vietnamese Catholics, to promote vocations to religious life, and to have an experience of cultural immersion. This event also helps us see how people from different ethnic groups live out their faith. Even though some of us did not know Vietnamese, we ate Vietnamese food, praised God and gave thanks to our Mother with one heart of faith and love. It was a very enriching experience.

Our Kentucky community has participated in this event since the 1990s with a vocation booth. When we became Dominican Sisters of Peace, we continued the tradition to attend every other year. This year, even though we were soaked with sweat under the extremely hot weather, six of us took turns to be at the booth and interact with people, to listen and share stories, and to pray with them. Sr. Ana Gonzalez was also one of the panelists for the youth session. Each day, we participated in a solemn Mass and procession with all in attendance.

At our vocation booth, we gave out tote bags, backpacks, and fans, all free of charge.  We also gave away Be Peace silicon bracelets, peace rosary bracelets, missionary rosaries, Be Peace pins, and many other vocation prayer cards and promotional materials. All of these items were imprinted with the words “Be Peace,” reminding people that each of us has a responsibility to “be, build, live and preach” peace.

We also had Pope Francis with us (as a standup cardboard poster), wearing a traditional Vietnamese hat called “nón lá.” Our Pope became a drawing card for many people who stopped to have their picture taken with him.  Sr. Ana served as our official photographer.  Before taking a picture, she would say, “We are the Dominican Sisters of Peace, so I would like to invite all of you to say PEACE (not CHEESE) when I take the picture.” They all happily said PEACE with beautiful smiles.

During this weekend, we interacted with thousands of people from many places, including the young, old, women and men, different ethnic groups, religious sisters, brothers, and priests from various congregations and dioceses. We were also happy to connect with sisters, brothers, and friends, especially sisters from different congregations whose members have stayed with us during their studies here in the U.S.

Our presence and participation, along with many other religious, gave people the chance to get to know something about religious life.

Over the years, several of our Sisters first met us at our Vocation Booth during Marian Days. Sr. Mary Vuong is one example. Her father came to our booth in 1996, had some conversations with our sisters, then picked up our vocation material, bringing the material home, and giving these materials to his daughter, Mary.  He encouraged her to write a letter to the vocation director who was Sr. Mary Ortho at that time; and finally, Mary ended up becoming a Dominican Sister, who is now living in South Bend, Indiana.  In 1999, Sr. Maidung met the sisters at the vocation booth also. After having a conversation with them, going home, and reading their vocation materials, she contacted the vocation director (Sr. Binh Nguyen) and entered as a discerner in 2000. Recently, in 2019, Sr. Tram Bui, volunteered with us at the vocation booth and in conversation with Sr. June Fitzgerald, she decided to discern her vocation with us again, after a few years of pause.

There are many ways God reaches out to you to invite you to consider a call to religious life.  Perhaps this call has come to you through an invitation to have your picture taken with the Pope, to scan the QR code, or to read a rack card, newsletter, retreat invitation, personal conversation, or through a friend who brings these materials home to you.  Whether or not you feel a call to religious life, we invite you to take time to read our vocation materials or visit our website so that you can learn more about religious life and our mission. The more you explore and open your heart, the more you can begin to hear the voice of God calling you to consider discerning and entering religious life.  To explore this life, visit our vocation website, contact us, or register for our hybrid Come and See Discernment retreat September 23-25 in Akron, OH.

Click here for photos.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

Dominican Sisters of Peace Install New Leadership Team

The new Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters of Peace was elected at the Third General Chapter and installed on August 7, 2022. Standing left to right: Fourth Councilor Sr. Susan Leslie, OP, Prioress Patricia Twohill, OP, and Third Councilor Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP. Seated, from left, First Councilor Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, and Second Councilor Carol Davis, OP.

 

 

 

The Dominican Sisters of Peace formally installed their Third Leadership team in a ceremony on Sunday, August 7, 2022, at the Martin de Porres Center in Columbus, OH. The team was elected at the Congregation’s Third General Chapter in April, 2022.

Sr. Pat Twohill, OP, was elected for a second term as Prioress. Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, was elected for a second term as First Councilor. Sr.  Carol Davis, OP, as Second Councilor, Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP, as Third Councilor, and Sr. Susan Leslie, OP, as Fourth Councilor.

Prioress Pat Twohill, OP, served as the Prioress of the Congregation from 2015-2022. Prior to her leadership position with Peace, Sr. Pat also served in Vocation and Formation Ministry, in parish ministry, campus ministry, and as an educator.

First Councilor Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, will enter her second term of Congregational leadership with Peace. Presently, she is also President of the Dominican Sisters Conference (DSC) and served six years as President of the Dominican Leadership Conference (DLC). Sr. Anne has worked in retreat ministry and as a communicator.

Second Councilor Sr. Carol Davis, OP, has extensive experience in spiritual direction and counseling, and has ministered as a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor. She has also held leadership positions with US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking and the Interfaith Community of Schenectady, NY.

Third Councilor Cathy Arnold, OP, has ministered in Vocations and Formation for many years, most recently as Co-Director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate. Sr. Cathy has also served as an educator and as a program coordinator for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Fourth Councilor Sr. Susan M. Leslie, OP has served most recently as Mission Group Coordinator of Sansbury Care Center, the Congregation’s licensed long-term care facility in St. Catharine, KY.  Sr. Susan has also served as a physical therapist, a hospital Vice-President of System Mission, a missionary in Peru, and in parish, prison, and retreat ministry.

“This new team brings a wide range of experience and talent to the ministry of leadership,” says Sr. Pat Twohill, Prioress. “We look forward to working with our entire Congregation to continue to preach Christ’s Gospel of peace through our words, deeds, and ministries. We also feel blessed to welcome new Sisters and Associates who embrace our mission.”

“We are all so grateful for the service of Sr. Gemma Doll, OP, Sr. Therese Leckert, OP, and Sr. Gene Poore, OP,” added Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP. “These spirit-filled women were part of the team that led our Congregation through the challenges of the pandemic in 2020 and extended their leadership term for the good of the Congregation. We have been graced by their service.”

The mission of the Dominican Sisters of Peace is to bring the Gospel to the world by being peace, building peace, and preaching peace. They number more than 350 Sisters and many Associates. They minister in 22 states, 29 Catholic Dioceses and in Nigeria, serving God’s people in ministerial areas including education, health care, spirituality, pastoral care, prison ministry, and care of creation.

 

 

 

Posted in News

Climate Change and Our Pets

Blog by Associate Judy Hardy

Next Wednesday we celebrate the Feast of St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs. So today seems like a good time to look at how we can protect our canine and feline friend by doing our part to prevent climate change.

We may not consider this, but climate change affects our pets.  Our pets will endure the same hotter weather, hurricanes, and floods that afflict humans. In addition, there are unseen dangers, like parasites and diseases, that climate change can make worse.

The evidence about parasites becoming more dangerous is real:

These pests are on the move because of warmer and wetter weather. Current climate conditions are now more favorable than ever for these parasites to be infective for longer times. In fact, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) released a report stating that climate change has a direct impact on the life cycle of ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, and intestinal and respiratory parasites.

Often, the pet-loving public and even veterinarians aren’t aware that certain parasitic diseases — like heartworm or Lyme disease — have invaded their region. As a result, many pets don’t get any or adequate prevention, particularly when a parasite is new to the neighborhood.

Climate change is putting our pets at higher risk for: heartworm; tick-borne diseases; flea infestations and associated diseases; and GI and respiratory parasitic disease

Fleas have always been a problem since they can survive indoors. Many parts of the country with cold winters could treat their pets in the warm “flea season.” Warmer temps in the fall and spring, however, means year-round flea treatment is necessary.

Being aware of how climate change affects pets means you’ll know what parasitic diseases to watch out for. And then you can help protect your pets before they become sick.

Recent extreme weather events is another reason to be aware of how climate change affects our pets. The destruction of homes and displacement of families affect pets’ well-being. While pets can be lost or killed in a severe hurricane, storm, flood, or fire, they may also become homeless.

Create an evacuation plan that considers your pet’s needs as well as your own in the case of an impending severe weather event.

Our pets are the source of much joy in our lies.  Being aware of the possible effects of climate change on pets can help us be prepared to protect them.

Source: Petful,  Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMDcontributor

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Celebrate the Feast of St. Dominic With the Dominican Sisters of Peace

Dear friends…

In the opening verses of the book of Ephesians, St. Paul tells the members of this new church,

In God we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of God’s will.

This verse has particular meaning to the Dominican Sisters of Peace in this year of celebration. As we look back on two hundred years of Dominican women religious in the United States, we know that when Fr. Samuel Thomas Wilson, OP, asked parishioners at Sr. Rose Church in Springfield, KY, to become members of the Dominican Order, not only were the nine women who responded choosing God, but God was choosing them to help accomplish God’s intentions in the newly formed United States.

And what a two hundred years it has been.

From nine women in a tiny cabin on the banks of Cartwright Creek in Kentucky to an entire order of women – teaching children, caring for the sick and the aged, opening the doors of education for women and immigrants, being a refuge for families in need and an advocate for God’s beloved creation, Earth.

Like our patron, Dominic and our beloved sister, St. Catherine of Siena, we still strive to meet the people of God where they are…on the frontier, on their sickbeds, at the border, or in the church. And like our Order’s co-patroness, St. Mary Magdalene, we bring the Gospel of Christ’s Peace with us.

On this feast of St. Dominic, we are choosing to look not backward at the worthy work in our past, but forward to what we believe will be a bright and joyous future – a future where, with your love, your prayers, and your financial support, the Dominican Sisters of Peace may continue to accomplish God’s will.

  • In April, the Dominican Sisters of Peace held their Third General Chapter. Over these four days, we adopted a series of Direction Statement to guide us for the next six years, including a commitment to inclusion, a pledge to care for Earth, a commitment to prayer, contemplation and preaching, and dedication to fostering the future of active Dominican life. We also elected a new leadership team to help shepherd our Congregation into this future.
  • We are proud to share that as of July 2022, 606 acres of St. Catharine Farm in Kentucky has been placed into trust with the Bluegrass Land Conservancy, a nationally accredited, community supported trust that encourages the preservation of land. We are blessed to safeguard this precious space where Dominican Sisterhood began for future generations.
  • Between 2021 and 2023, 14 of our ministries have celebrated major anniversaries. We are celebrating more than 550 years of nurturing and teaching the children of our church, 110 years of higher education, 100 years of care to the elderly and those in poverty, 50 years of education and assistance to those new to our country, 110 years of offering spiritual care to God’s people through our retreat ministries, and 295 years of preserving God’s precious creation, Earth. These and our other ministries continue to preach peace through our service to God’s people.
  • In 2022, we have welcomed four new women to the Congregation as candidates. In the past year, two Sisters have made final vows and two have become temporarily professed. Through the grace of God, and the joyful ministry of our Sisters, our Congregation continues to grow and to prepare for a future of service to God’s people.

Just as our foremothers faced the challenges of their day, we look with hope and faith to the challenges now: a divided nation; Gun violence; Hunger in our cities; Continued devastation of our planet; Lack of compassion for refugees and the marginalized. These are the work that God intends us to do, and with your prayers, your support, and your financial donations, we are ready and able to do God’s will… to, in the spirit of our founder, Dominic de Guzman, to do everything – even the smallest things – to the glory of God.

We are each called and chosen by God to accomplish God’s will – to bring peace to the world. We are blessed to walk together with you in this work.

With a grateful heart,

Sr. Patricia A. Twohill, OP
Prioress, Dominican Sisters of Peace

Celebrate the Feast of St. Dominic with a special prayer service! Click to download your copy here.

Click here to assist us in our on-going ministry to preach Christ’s peace.

Posted in News, Seasonal Observances