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.



Blog by Associate Carol Lemelin, OPA

Two adages that I heard when I was about 7 or 8 advised: “Never make the same mistake twice, and “Always learn from your mistakes.”

Oh, how I wish I had been able to do that all the time!  Unfortunately, I have to say I probably scored 50 percent on those tests. But, I did learn one thing; I learned to forgive myself.

So often when people continue to fail at things, they often become depressed and begin to feel worthless. Most of the time it’s because they feel they are a disappointment; a disappointment to parents, teachers, peers or God.

What everyone needs to learn is that you can’t disappoint God. You are God’s very own special creation. God knows you inside and out. He knows what your weaknesses and your strengths are. God’s love is made to order just for you. Our failure to know and embrace this keeps us from forgiving ourselves for our mistakes. If God could be sad, which he can’t, this would do it.

Love, which is God’s other name, wants only our happiness. He conveyed that through the prophet Jeremiah; “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Remember that song which goes “Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Start all over again”?  That is pretty much what we are expected to do.

You always have God’s attention; but wait, that’s what you’re afraid of isn’t it? Then, think of God as your very best friend who will not criticize or mock, but just be in your corner all the time.

Remember the promise of Jesus; “Come to me all who are burdened and weary and I will give you rest”. His promises are real and can be trusted. So go ahead and live your life, mistakes and all. The One who loves you best, will be with you to help you pick yourself up.

Be good to yourself.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Friendships in Religious Life

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Last week, at the monthly Emmaus Discernment meeting for our discerners, some of them expressed their desire to know more about friendships in religious life. We all have a variety of different relationships:  with God, yourself, family, and friends, and co-workers. In this blog, I would like to share about relationships with friends when one of us joins religious life.

Before Vatican II, (1962-1965) when individuals entered religious life, they were not allowed to connect with friends or family for their first few years in the convent. Today, there are still some myths saying that sisters in religious life must cut all ties with family and friends. It is not true. Sisters value their relationships with families and friends and are encouraged to maintain them.

Religious life now is different. However, communities are different in their expectations regarding friend relationships. If you enter a cloistered community, you will not go out to see friends or family, instead, they may visit you. If you enter a monastic community, friendship and family connections are physically limited. If you enter an apostolic community, relationships with friends and family are more open; but it also depends on each community. Some communities do not allow members to go home during the formation program for at least three to five years. Most religious communities, on the other hand, like the Dominican Sisters of Peace, allow members to visit their families and friends more often. When you choose to enter a religious community, you should consider a community’s guidelines about relationships with family and friends.

Maintaining healthy relationships in our community is important because one of our commitments is hospitality and we value these relationships. Besides being members of a local community, sisters have wide relationships with family, including extended families, co-workers, sisters, priests, and friends. Some sisters still have friends from their elementary school years. For me, since I entered religious life, I have friends across religious communities and generations. My friends are religious sisters and priests from various religious communities, and people I studied and worked with ranging in age from the 30s to 90s years old.

Having entered religious life, I enjoy a deep level of friendship with many sisters because we share much in common, and we enrich each other through our visions, life experiences, and shared ministry. I also have friends from different religions, from the colleges I’ve attended, from churches where I have volunteered, and with co-workers. We go out to eat and engage in activities together. While my friends may share different perspectives on life, we have built friendships based on trust, understanding, and support of one another.

If you feel called to be a sister, or want to know more about religious life, feel free to move forward. You will be blessed with a big network of support. If you have any questions, please contact us and don’t let your questions/assumptions or your fears block your way. It is a blessed call to live.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Sisterhood is Powerful

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

Last week, the Leadership Team hosted the annual gathering of the Dominican Sisters Conference Leaders Meeting.  Each year, leaders from across the country come together to sharpen their vision of Dominican mission and life and share the companionship and sisterhood of those in service to the Gospel.

I love it. I could almost taste the energy and creativity in the room as we looked to the future. Of course, the shrinking number of sisters in the USA is sobering and we are facing a future that is smaller and leaner. But this group possesses the key skills and openness to grace that gives me confidence that God is working within us on the journey.

So many moments during this gathering were electric with the power of sisterhood. Sr. Dusty Farnan, OP (Adrian) was introduced as our new NGO Representative at the United Nations, and when that happened, Sr. Margaret Mayce, OP, (Amityville) her predecessor — and the newly elected International Coordinator of Dominican Sisters International — spontaneously leaped up and embraced Dusty in a moment of tremendous affection and sisterly connection. They were surrounded by our approving applause. I loved that too.

The best part of the meeting was the conversations we had with younger Dominican women who were invited to join us in imagining what the future might hold.  Clearly, our younger members need to build their relationship across congregational boundaries, since they will be more connected to their own age cohorts as time goes by.  In fact, many already have meaningful sisterly connections with Dominican sisters their own age in other congregations.  So there was much talk and speculation and indeed serious consideration of just what Dominican sisters might look like 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

The primary symbol of the DSC Leaders Meeting was the Visitation: the beautiful strength of family ties, of Mary and Elizabeth, women who love each other because they shared a common bond, a common mission, a shared hope for the world.

What struck me the most about our meeting, was the courage of the women there to face the future in faith and in hope.  Where does that courage come from? I ask myself that on days when I am not feeling so courageous and want to keep my head down and just do the work. Courage comes from the power of our sisterhood, the energy that women have together.  Courage is what helped women gain the right to vote and fueled the development of Catholic education and Catholic healthcare in the United States. Courage is what animated the development of retreat ministry and spiritual formation for women. Courage put women in outer space, in corporate board rooms, and public office. Courage makes immigration reform and human trafficking advocacy visible to the public at a time when many people would simply turn their heads and look away. And there are so many other spheres where the courage of women has shifted the arc of history toward justice.

Our sisterhood is powerful.  If you are feeling wimpy today, take your courage from your sisters. We have your back.

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

Trump: Pro-Life?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

In Mr. Trump’s 2019 State of the Union speech made last February, he stated, “Let us reaffirm a fundamental truth:  All children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God.”  I certainly agree with this statement although I question whether the president really believes it.  During Pro Life month, here is some evidence that he doesn’t really understand what this means.

Pulling U.S. troops out of Syria and knowing what the Turkish president had planned, the president definitely put Kurdish children at risk. At this writing (Friday), two children have been killed by the Turkish assault.  Two children made in the image of God are dead because of a campaign promise. (

From September 2018 to May 2019, six migrant children (three of them unaccompanied) died while in Customs and Border Patrol custody.  According to the ACLU, over 900 children have been separated from their parents since June 2018. This despite a federal court order to stop.  900 children made in the image of God jailed because they are poor and have brown skin. (

The administration has conducted an assault on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since the beginning of its tenure. The latest proposed rule change would continue to restrict eligibility resulting in the loss of benefits for 1.9 m children. 500,000 of these children would also lose access to free school meals.  Millions of children made in the image of God, going to bed hungry each night so that the rich can enjoy a tax cut.

In 2019 alone, 755 children have been killed and 2,170 injured by gun violence according to the Gun Violence Archive ( And yet, Mr. Trump refuses to put forward or support any gun safety legislation.  2,170 children made in the image of God, dead because legislators are too cowardly to go against a very, very small group of gun advocates.

According to the CDC, as many as 1,000 to 4,300 additional premature deaths will occur each year as a result of pollution if nothing is done to clean up the air.  Yet, the administration continues to gut restrictions on vehicle emissions and methane gas leaks.  1,000 unborn children made in the image of God dead so that companies can make more money.  (

So…. Mr. Trump, do you honestly believe that all children are made in God’s image?  If so, why don’t you practice what you preach and stop implementing the cruel actions that you are doing.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates 10-15-19

The US Department of Agriculture just proposed another rule that would cut SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan).It just another in a long string of efforts to hurt hungry households.  This time, $4.5 Billion over five years would be cut based on how states take household utility costs into account to determine SNAP benefits.  19% of SNAP households would get lower monthly benefits disproportionality impacting elderly people and people with disabilities. The administration continues to defy Congress who did not include these changes in the 2018 Farm Bill.  Tell the USDA that you think this change is wrong by commenting here. Comments must be made by December 2, 2019

The administration is planning to privatize housing for unaccompanied or separated migrant children. Here’s the latest action by the administration to get around rules associated with treatment of children.

For decades, the oceans have served as a crucial buffer against global warming, soaking up roughly a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans emit from power plants, factories and cars, and absorbing more than 90 percent of the excess heat trapped on Earth by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Without that protection, the land would be heating much more rapidly. Read more about a UN Report explaining how the oceans are in danger.

World Food Day is October 24th. Check out this webinar, “How Our Food Choices Can Save the Planet” presented by Catholic Climate Covenant.  Our food system is responsible for over a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. We can make food choices that are sustainable, less wasteful, and just.  The webinar is Thursday, October 24 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (eastern time).   To register click here.

Back in January and February and later in July, our sisters and associate traveled to El Paso, TX to work with asylum seekers at Annunciation House.  The difference between the first visits and later visits were dramatic largely due to the MPP – Migrant Protection Protocol – or Remain in Mexico program.  CBS News did a three-part series on the policy and its impact on thousands of asylum seekers.

Part 1. “Leave me in a cell”: The desperate pleas of asylum seekers inside El Paso’s immigration court.

Part 2. “I fear for our lives”: Asylum seekers forced to wait in Mexico face danger and desperation

Part 3. Advocates say “Remain in Mexico” policy turns migrants into a “marketable commodity”

The administration continues to make it hard for immigrants – both legal and undocumented by using executive orders and rule changes.  Here are two examples:

Restrictions have been placed on the Diversity Visa Lottery making it harder for low-income immigrants to apply.

Another rule change may result in immigrants who have work visas will have trouble getting green cards if they need assistance.


Robert Ellsberg speaks on whistleblowing, truth-telling and the Pentagon Papers

Farming is critical for providing the food we eat but it is also a huge cause of climate change.  Here are two films showing farmers trying to change their practices to mitigate the impact on climate.

Farmers Footprint (20 minutes) seeks to expose the science behind glyphosate’s (i.e. RoundUp Herbicide) impact on human and environment health through the lens of human stories that illuminate the impacts on farmers and their communities.

The Need To GROW (90 minutes) highlights the hearts and innovations of three very different leaders – an 8-year-old girl challenging the ethics of a beloved organization – a renegade farmer struggling to keep his land as he revolutionizes resource-efficient agriculture – and an accomplished visionary inventor facing catastrophe in the midst of developing a game-changing technology.

If you didn’t see this yesterday in OP Peace… The Catholic Action for Immigrant Children Campaign will hold its third protest to lift up concerns about the immigration system, access to asylum, and growing racism. They have protested in Washington, DC, Newark, NY and now in El Paso, TX. To support them, they have asked us to join the National Call-In Day, A Journey for Justice, on Tuesday, October 15.  Call the Department of Homeland Security to demand justice for immigrants.  The Operator Number is 202-282-8000.  The comment line is 202-282-8495.  Here’s a suggested script but try to use your own words:

Hello, my name is (insert name) from (Location: City, State, Zip Code). As a person of faith (and a Catholic sister/lay person), I am calling DHS to demand humane changes on immigration policies. As Catholic leaders we are asking the Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to honor the dignity and rights of all immigrants and to:

Recognize the sacred covenant, internationally recognized, legal right to seek a asylum, stop the Remain in Mexico Program, stop the use of the “metering list”, make Due Process the standard NOT the exception, collaborate with NGOs and local communities to support and expand humane services for Asylum Seekers, provide additional funding for immigration courts and asylum officers.

Thank you for your time and God bless you.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates