This week we began the O Antiphons (today, O Root of Jesse!), and they remind us we are getting close to the celebration of Christmas! There is so much anticipation, waiting, excitement, and hope associated with this glorious Advent season.
Sister Nancy Schreck, OSF, used this question - the same one God had spoken to the man and woman in the garden in Genesis - "Where are you?" to challenge those of us present at the Religious Formation Conference Congress in St. Louis, MO, November 14-17, 2013.
Where are you?
Are you in the Philippines helping to relieve the suffering of the people after the typhoon? Are you in your neighborhood working to help eliminate violence of all kinds? Are you teaching? Are you caring for the sick or the poor or the elderly? Are you spending time in contemplation for the healing of yourself and the world? Are you in the struggle and in the dialogue within the Church and with those in society who continue to deny the gifts of women.
In much of the world, the beautiful season of Advent is buried amid the constant clamor of commercialism that precedes Christmas. In many circles, hardly a thought is given to the real reason for our hope in a world that can seem to be overrun by the effects of power, greed, war and poverty, not to mention the havoc created by natural disasters. We have only to look at our local, national and international headlines to confirm the truth of this statement.
And then along comes Advent. It’s the beginning of the new Church year that reminds us of the eternal hope and light that came into the world over 2000 years ago, in the person of Jesus Christ. This is the hype we should believe in! May each of us continue to live this new spiritual year in Advent hope.
We received a great response to the last two videos we posted that featured our stars Sr. Terry Wasinger and Sr. Rosemary Loomis. Today for your viewing pleasure, we have two more to share with Sr. Susan Leslie and Sr. Martina Stegman. Stay tuned, because in the very near future we also hope to showcase Sr. Connie Schoen and Sr. Barbara Kane. When "Oscar" nominations are made this year, I know our "stars" will be in the running! We owe a debt of gratitude to these Sisters, and to all who helped to produce these clips. As our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, know that the Ministry of Welcome gives thanks for each of them and for you!
Promoting vowed religious life and a life of service to God and the people of God continues to be important to the life to the Church. As a Vocation Minister, it is deeply gratifying when others assist in promoting consecrated life as a viable life choice for young people of the 21st century. On November 5, 2013, Black Catholic Ministries of Columbus and the Diocese of Columbus Office of Vocations sponsored, "In God’s Service," a vocation event for students in the diocesan high schools and held at Christ the King Church in Columbus, OH. The program offered information and helpful discernment materials, while also allowing personal interaction with people in vowed and ordained ministry. An important part of the program focused on four participants who shared their unique call and journey into serving God as an associate, a sister, a deacon and a priest.
As Dominican Sisters and Associates, preaching is our charism – the gift that we receive and the gift we are called to share. Yet, often I find it challenging to 'preach' about my faith in public circles and prefer sharing quietly how God is active in my life and in the lives of those I love, a way of preaching that each of us often does on a daily basis.
A recent example of how I witnessed God acting in my life and in the lives of others was at the Leadership for Peace orientation weekend in October. Women from Ohio Dominican University who were recommended to participate in this program openly shared how God and their faith have blessed them with strength and guidance. Their willingness to share added depth and meaning to the gathering and became a preaching to me, and I think to the others present, too.
"Pictures speak louder than words" so they say, and pictures with words are even more engaging! Hoping to convey to others more about who we are as "Dominicans Sisters of Peace: Sisters and Associates in Mission," we are proud to share with you some short video clips featuring Srs. Barbara Kane, Susan Leslie, Martina Stegman, Terry Wasinger and Rosemary Loomis.
As the eleventh child in a family of thirteen children, I had many opportunities to practice peace-building skills. Looking back, though, I likely used the "fight-or-flight" or other conflict-avoidance methods rather than any of the active nonviolent techniques that are being taught in peace-building seminars and classes today. But I guess we did pretty well as a family, since we are still very caring and supportive of each other today - a great gift to have and for which I am very grateful.
There are vocations which manifest themselves. They must be fostered. There are vocations which are not conscious of themselves. They must be awakened. There are vocations which are in fear of being lost. They must be renewed.