When was the last time you were in conflict with another person? How did you resolve the issue or did you?
The women in the Leadership for Peace project spent several hours on Saturday, April 5, practicing mediation skills of listening, reframing, identifying conflict issues in a situation, and helping those in conflict to come to some type of acceptable solutions. Even though role playing, the women could easily find themselves able to understand the emotions and walk in the shoes of the persons described in the case studies.
Leadership for Peace is a collaborative project of Dominican Sisters of Peace and Ohio Dominican University in which the students learn peace building skills related to interpersonal negotiation and mediation, addressing injustices, and forgiveness and reconciliation. Professor Julie Hart teaches the three hour credit class.
Recently I had the privilege of accompanying one of my Dominican Sisters of Peace to a family funeral. This Sister and I are an unlikely pair. She is over 90, wears the full Dominican Habit, grew up in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, is bi-lingual, and can read St. Theresa de Avila in the original language. I am in my 40s, usually wear pants or a skirt, grew up in Virginia, only know a little Spanish, and have a great love for Celtic Christian Spirituality. We have been sisters and friends for more than 23 years.
I am often amazed at what I take for granted in my daily life. Recently, I had the opportunity to see photos and hear experiences of one of our Sisters who traveled to Haiti. Sr. Marguerite Chandler, OP, volunteered for a week with a co-worker as part of a group called Functional Literacy Ministry of Haiti, a Christian nonprofit organization that "empowers Haitians through Christ with education, health care, and hope."
Sr. Marguerite talked about the young children and teens in the classes and how eager they were to learn even though they only have a minimum number of books and supplies. What she remembers more than the poverty is the commitment of children and adults to education as a way to a richer future for themselves, their land and their country.
As a Dominican Sister of Peace, I have celebrated the Chinese New Year and the Vietnamese celebration of TET; participated in Mardi Gras festivities spearheaded by our sisters from New Orleans, and witnessed a wonderful St. Patrick's Day celebration—complete with great food and fun! In addition, through our Martin De Porres Center, I have appreciated events that have highlighted the gifts of various cultures including African and African American. I am deeply convinced that religious life is enriched by the variety of cultural diversity among the women whom God has called to serve in the mission of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The lights dimmed, and the spotlight rested upon a woman at the podium. Sister Andrea Lee, IHM, President of St. Catherine University proclaimed: "Welcome to SisterStory; and National Catholic Sisters Week!" Applause echoed through the space as the musicians began to play and sing.
"Every long journey is made of small steps Is made of the courage the feeling you get When you know it’s been waiting, been waiting for you The journey’s the only thing you want to do." – "Every Long Journey" by Ann Reed
Yesterday we entered the holy season of Lent. I was traveling on Ash Wednesday and it was interesting to observe who at the airport had ashes and who didn't. A woman sat next to me on the plane and said, "I see your ashes. My son is a first grader at St. Paul's in Westerville and he is so excited today because his whole class is going to church for ashes." A man then took a seat near us, and a gentleman who seemed to know him said, "Well, I see you've been to Mass!" "Yes, I went with the kids this morning. They said, 'Dad, you've GOT to go!'"
Religious women have always been on the cutting edge of anticipating and answering the needs of society. Many religious have also embraced the challenge in Pope Francis that we should be "women and men who are able to wake up the world." And so the question becomes, "How do we nurture and engage the next generation of young women to "wake up the world" as vowed religious spreading the joy of the gospel?" On February 18-19, 2014, over 25 congregations gathered in Chicago, IL to brainstorm and share ideas around continuing the hope filled process of promoting religious life in the 21st century. The event was sponsored by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) which is an important partner in the ongoing work of supporting vocations in the Church.
The recent "Come and See Retreat" became for a few days, the "WAIT and SEE Retreat" as we wondered, "Would those who signed up to attend be able to make it to the Martin de Porres Center with such bad weather criss-crossing the nation?" Planes and busses were expected from Connecticut, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia and central Ohio, but in the end, with only one cancellation, we put on our Ruby Slippers and went forward.
"Follow your dreams and give yourself to your passion! Give yourself to something greater than yourself, the Gospel, and ask yourself, "Can I be myself without excessive anxiety, and can I be myself in the company of the Dominican Sisters of Peace?"" These were just a few of the challenges Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, shared as she led all more deeply into the theme, "Discovering Home: The Wizard of Oz and Discernment."
Do you love running, soccer, biking? Reading? Listening to music? Praying? Dabbling with paints or in photography? Studying? Dancing? Spending time with close friends? Making a difference through service?
Are you aware of the times in your life when you are fully engaged in the moment?
Are you aware of the times when you are wishing you were somewhere else or doing something else?