Sister? Brother? Priest? Deacon? Hermit? Consecrated Virgin? Monk? Nun? God's on a recruiting mission and God wants YOU! National Vocation Awareness Week, November 2-8, 2014
We've all heard or seen the advertisements for the Dairy Industry that boldly ask, "Got Milk?" Floating above this question is usually a picture of someone with a "milk-mustache" smiling broadly and holding up a glass of milk. Now, think of Vocation advertisements. How do we represent Religious Life in advertisements? With a smiling person, seemingly well adjusted, happy, and prayerfully walking along a path, jumping with excitement, kneeling in prayer, or caught in the act of ministering. The caption boldly asks, "God calling?" How do you respond? Do you smile and turn the page or does it touch a chord in your heart causing you to pause and ask yourself, "Well, what if?"
Soon the unrelenting cacophony of political ads will end. More heat than light has come from this routine exercise. What is missing in debates, ads and stump speeches of politicians around the country?
One concern that never surfaces is a broken judicial system that continues to be racist. Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, is an important voice on the issue. He notes that 1 in 3 African American men in the United States are in jail, on probation or on parole. One in six Latino boys will be in prison. He further states that 14 states have no minimum age for trying a child as an adult and 10-year-olds are being prosecuted as adults. They are put in adult jails and many are raped or abused.
The chapel at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, WI, was filled almost to capacity with over 250 participants, Sisters and Associates, joined in a reflective workshop entitled “Called to Carry the Charism-Developing Associate Leadership.” It was a program designed by Marci Madary and Jeanne Connolly of the Midwest Kindred Spirits Associates regional group. In attendance were the Racine Dominican Sisters and Associates gathered for a fall meeting as well as participants in the annual meeting of national Associate Directors of Dominican congregations. Enthusiasm, energy and thoughtful pondering were hallmarks of the day.
It feels like, to me, such a while ago since our meeting together in San Antonio, TX. Living in Columbus, I have been witnessing the autumn leaves combust into various beautiful colors. All of this is such a fabulous grace and gift to us from God. Sometimes I/we may take for granted this blushing wonder. So too, our ministries, various Community activities, family and friends, fittingly encroach on our already rationed time. But I wish to prompt us to keep our Flames Afire time in our hearts and the core of our being; like a steady campfire which reflects our love for God as well as God’ love for us. We need to keep talking, to rehearse collaboration, even if it only begins in many smaller ways, until we can again forge ahead as Dominican Sisters Afire!
I present to you today the words of Fr. Don Snyder of St. Ladislas Parish in Westlake, OH. One of the permanent deacon candidates called it to my attention and it is too good to miss. Do see the exhibit of the St. John's Bible is you have the opportunity. The homily is shared with Dr. Don's gracious permission.
If you have noticed people wearing purple ribbons during October, they are working to bring awareness to domestic violence and all who suffer from its effects. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence initiated Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 1981, with a goal of connecting battered women’s advocates across the country who were working to end violence against women and their children. Programs mourned those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrated those who have survived and connected those who work to end violence. One of the most important actions coming in 1989 was establishing a toll-free hotline.
"I experience prayer in silence, in births, deaths, sickness, health, family, friends, nature, poetry, music, books, art, children, strangers, Taize, church, stars, mornings, sunsets, the moon, orchids." Associate Karen Raccuia – August 2011 Personal Commitment Form Statement
The Northeast Ohio Associates and Sisters gathered yesterday for the Second Annual Fall Festival luncheon. Initially the mood became somber as the word spread throughout the room that Associate Karen Raccuia had died the night before under hospice care. It was difficult to believe that Karen just one year ago had designed and implemented this successful social and fundraising event.
Now what does mentoring young women and men as leaders for PEACE have to do with fishing?
I am an unlikely one to ask or answer this question because I’m not much for catching fish—the kind found in ponds. I admire those who can do it, and I respect the connection they have with nature and the contemplative time they find in the process, but truth be told, it’s just too hard for me to bait a hook with a live worm, and then actually touch the fish once caught, not to mention scaling and filleting! (My apologies to all ‘fisher people’ out there--I am such a wimp!)
As by now, most Americans have seen coverage, extensive and from various angles of the events leading up to and after the death of Michael Brown. So I will not be blogging to the obvious, but what I would like to do is to take a look at this event from a different perspective.