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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.


 

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 God Calling?, 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 God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

Reflection on John 8:1-11

Reflection by Sr. Theresa Fox, OP

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again, the Scribes and Pharisees are at it. They again try to trick Jesus. This time it is pitting the Jewish law against the Roman law. The woman apparently was guilty of adultery – an offense punishable by death according to the Jewish law. But Israel at the time was governed by Rome. The Roman law had control over who could be put to death and who not. So the Pharisees thought they had the perfect trick. Would Jesus let her go – following the Roman law upsetting those following him? Or would he be faithful to the Jewish law in which he was schooled and taught others to live?

Again, Jesus wouldn’t let himself get caught in the trap. Instead, he invited those standing around to search their own hearts. Who are they that they can make a life or death decision about someone else? They, like each of us, need first to examine our own hearts and intentions about our own actions, before we are qualified to make any judgments about the guilt or innocence of another.

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

How can I judge another to be guilty of a sin (whatever the sin might be), when I am guilty of that same infraction? That can apply to all of us in many different situations. It may not be a serious offense that has occurred, but it does call us to examine our own consciences before making judgments about others. If we would be slower in judging others their wrongs, what a more peaceful world we would live in.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

A Letter from Ukraine – March 29, 2022

Dear Family and Friends,

140 years ago today, Bl. Michael McGivney received the news that the Knights of Columbus were officially chartered and recognized by the Connecticut Legislature.  On this Founder’s Day, it gives me great joy to share with you several videos filmed by our brother Marcin and his team with us at the Polish-Ukraine border, and around the country as we assist the war refugees.

In founding the Knights, Bl. Michael McGivney foresaw the need for men to become active in their faith, and in that commitment to a fraternal charity that evangelizes, to assist especially the widow and the orphan.  In the course of my 18 days in Poland, the Knights of Columbus – through the generous assistance, financial support, and prayers of so many – are doing exactly this in Poland and Ukraine.

First, the K of C through its K of C Solidarity Fund – is able to continue to get humanitarian aid, food, medical supplies, (and even donated ambulances and fire trucks) directly to our brother Knights on the ground in Ukraine – who then distribute the aid around the country, where it is so desperately needed.  (Canned food is literally saving lives now for those in the bombed-out Eastern cities of Ukraine).

https://www.kofc.org/en/what-we-do/charity/ukraine.html

Second, the K of C runs two Mercy Centers at the Polish-Ukraine border crossings.  These are heated and provide warmth, a place to rest, diapers, clothing, toys, food, medicines, etc for those most vulnerable refugees – 90% women and children along with the elderly, who cannot make it further than the Polish border before stopping to rest and then go on further.  Our Mercy Centers also have a small chapel as a reminder that the Lord is present accompanying those carrying their crosses (often dragging only one single bag with them), under the cross and on the cross.  As you may know, all men 18-60 must stay in Ukraine to fight, and so truly once the women and children cross the border, they are de facto widows and orphans, at least for this time of separation.

The third phase of our work is the establishment and support of the K of C Mercy Centers at our Parishes to serve the longer-term needs of the refugees once they have made it to the cities and towns to which they have fled.  For example, Krakow, normally a city of 800,000

residents, is teeming with refugee women and children who now account for over 20% of the population.  For the most part, the war refugees are being taken in by Poles or family and friends that had already come from Ukraine.  This coming weekend  – on the 17th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II, we will launch the first of our Mercy Centers in the Redemptorist Parish in Warsaw, kicking things off with a Welcome BBQ for parishioners and refugees.  There are plans for a kids’ drop-in center during the day with Polish and Ukrainian classes, areas to play, etc. with a coffee house for the Moms to meet and network, while also having the chance to speak with counselors about their trauma, or work on a resume, wash clothes, etc.  Please pray for its success!  Plans are in the works for the future launch of other Mercy Centers where our K of C Chaplains and Pastors already are doing outstanding work in receiving and assisting war refugees throughout Poland.

On a final note, it was a tremendous privilege to participate in the Consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Friday – at the Budomierz border crossing!  Ours was the only Mass at the border that I am aware of that day.  The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy from Krakow (two of whom take turns staying at the border and serving the refugees) led the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  The local Pastor celebrated the Mass and offered the Polish Consecration Prayers.  Following Mass we had Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sisters led us in the Way of the Cross.  Afterward, a little past 5 pm, we began a Eucharistic Procession to the border.  Saints John Paul II and Faustina were present in their relics which were carried along with icons given from the local Greek Catholic Church.  The Polish border guards and officials allowed us to process to the border with the Lord Jesus in the Monstrance as we prayed the Rosary.  The Pastor had provided speakers and a sound system so that all around could join us in the prayers.  I blessed the border carrying our Lord and we made our way to the field between the countries where we could pray longer.  The Pastor had set up a second outdoor altar, as you might see at Corpus Christi.  This was located at the end of the “tent city” of the humanitarian border tents.  (We chose this particular border crossing because of its relatively smaller size, not wanting to take away from serving the refugees who may have been coming across at that time, but also recognizing that the Holy Father Pope Francis has asked the whole world to unite in prayer at that very moment for peace).  We finished the Rosary in Polish and Ukrainian at the second altar and then our Greek Catholic seminarian Taras led us in the Moleben Prayers/Hymn to the Mother of God.  Following this, I sang the English prayer of Consecration and then again gave the benediction towards Ukraine and Russia.  We processed back to the Mercy Center chapel for a final benediction and prayers as the 6 pm Angelus bells could be heard from the nearby village churches.  The international volunteers present (German EMS workers, French fire brigades, etc) as well as several refugees who were there at the time all stopped and respectfully watched as we went by.  When it was all over, the Germans took up an impromptu collection and gave me over $60 Euro for the refugees!

So, it is amazing work that continues and will be necessary to continue to support with your financial contributions, donations, and prayers.  I am back in the USA for a brief few days for some needed medical appointments, but my heart and my mind are in Poland and Ukraine.

God bless you.

Fr. Jon Kalisch, OP

Posted in News

To Praise – To Bless – To Preach

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

To Praise, to Bless, and to Preach is the Mission of the Dominican Order.  It is our mission as Dominicans of Peace to do so always and in all ways.

This mission resonated with my heart as I prayed to discern God’s call to religious life as a Dominican Sister.  I had no idea how I would live it out.  To be honest, I did not think I had the gifts to do it very well.  To my surprise, over the years God has drawn gifts out of me I did not know that I had which have been used to praise, bless, and preach.  As I reflect on each part of our mission, I invite you to consider how God may be calling you to embody this mission in some way – especially during Lent.

To Praise:  I discover God’s love through daily prayer and contemplation in Word and Sacrament.  This invites me to praise God through liturgical music, and the twice-daily singing of the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours.  Gathered with my Sisters, singing or praying the Psalms, I am united with all around the world who are praying these same psalms, canticles & readings.  Together, our praise rises like incense to God.  How will you praise today?

To Bless:  In recognizing our relationship with all peoples and all of creation – we affirm ALL as Holy and celebrate its blessedness through our prayer and reverent stewardship.  Recently, a discerner asked me, “Can anyone offer blessings for others?”  I replied, “Yes!  Every baptized person is called to be a blessing and to bless.”  Catechism #1669.  You can read more about that here.  In fact, I often close e-mails, texts, and letters with “Blessings,” which for me is a real prayer for blessings upon the person.  In your life, how do you bless?

To Preach:  To listen and to respond to God’s Spirit with zeal, compassion, and joy through preaching the liberating truth of the Gospel of Jesus.  This is my goal each day.  How do I live it?  I preach when speaking with a discerner who is struggling to hear God’s voice and I remind her to listen to the still small voice already in her heart.  I preach the good news of hope to one who has kissed a loved one goodbye for the last time and I sit by her as she cries.  To preach is to break open the redeeming Word of God and to spill out its blessing upon the world.  How is God calling you to preach through your life today?  Listen and respond.

If God is calling you to join in our mission, to praise, to bless, and to preach, reach out and begin a conversation or attend one of our upcoming programs, or our Mini-Retreat this Sunday, March 27 from 2-5 pm.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog