This weekend I will have the opportunity to participate with all those who come for the Come and See weekend in Columbus, Ohio. I have been asked to give a personal witness on prayer, especially Dominican prayer as a vehicle for communion with God and neighbor. As I prayed about this talk and worked through the flow of what I hope to share, I also went back to a presentation I had in one of my ForMission (Religious Formation Conference program for persons working in formation ministry in religious congregations) sessions in January of this year. Sr. Colleen Mallon, OP, Ph.D, from Mission San Jose, presented on the topic of Communion/Communal life: Perspectives from Theology and Ecclesiology.
With the end of February 2015 upon us, the celebration of National Black History Month for 2015 is also drawing to a close. The celebration of Black History Month this year provided me with opportunities to discuss with others the difficult topic of "race" in peaceful dialogue. While undeniable progress has been made in the decades since the civil rights movement, regrettably, the racial divide in America is still quite real. Having open and meaningful dialogue around this concern is essential to understanding each perspective and moving toward peaceful unity. Dialogue is a bridge that can lead to peace and unity.
Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of Lent. As a cross of ash was traced on our forehead we heard the sobering words, "Remember, you are dust and unto dust you shall return."
Lent invites us to turn towards God again - taking stock of our lives - checking the coordinates on our life's GPS. Are we blindly following Siri or the voice of Google Maps? Now is the time to get out the "real map" and double check our direction in light of our ultimate end.
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 the Religious Life as a Dominican Sister. I had no idea how it would be played out in my life. To be honest, I didn't think I had the gifts to do it very well. However, over the years God has drawn gifts out of me I did not know that I had in order to praise, bless, and preach. As I reflect on each of these admonitions, I invite you to consider how God may be calling you to embody this mission in some way - especially during Lent.
On the morning of the "big storm" which recently visited the East coast, one of the Sisters with whom I live overslept. While she and I were taking delight in the fact that she had caught a few extra zzzzz's, we realized that she had slept so soundly because it was so QUIET around us. The soft, wet snow had blanketed the Earth, and our yard not only was covered in an ermine cloak of beauty, but also with effective SOUNDPROOFING. The peaceful silence was most welcome.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate via Facetime in a talk presented at our Martin de Porres Center in Columbus. Sr. Lisa Marie Belz, Ursuline Sister from Cleveland spoke on the topic, Growing our Capacity for God: Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross in Prayer.
This week the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was invited to be the guest speaker for a service honoring Dr. King held at The Community of Holy Rosary St. John Catholic Church in Columbus, OH on January 19, 2015. It was a great privilege for me to take part in this event. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the text of my talk for the occasion (click here).
As a novice, I was often found devouring books from the convent library in my quest to learn all I could about Religious Life, Sisters, and how to emulate the one's I knew and admired. One such book, From Nuns to Sisters by Sr. Maria Augusta Neal, SNDdeN was one I remember well and delighted in discussing with my sisters. This book and many others written by Sisters after Vatican II have influenced my understanding of and growth in Religious Life.
"Show me your friends, and I'll tell you who you are!" My mother was a treasure trove of such sayings, and while I cannot remember the particular circumstances that prompted her proclaiming this one to me, it obviously made an impression. Kids have a new "best friend" every week to be sure, and parents fear their kids will fall in with the "wrong crowd." Perhaps that's why my mom was exhorting me. I find that my mom's 'sayings' still influence my life and ministry and come back to me when I least expect them. I can’t call them up cold, but they pop into my head at opportune times, and this saying is on my mind today. There is something true in it - our friends do reveal something about us—something about who we are at our core, and about what we value.