Catherine of Siena called the terrible, terrible, and the ungodly, ungodly, and in that act, she is calling all of us – yet, still and always – to do the same. Indeed Catherine of Siena is not an event; Catherine of Siena is a sign of what we all must go on being….Her teaching was from the Holy Spirit. She went into the heart of God to see the world as God saw the world, and she spoke from the perspective of what was right, rather than what was legal, normal, or 'necessary.'
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from her acceptance speech for the St. Catherine of Siena Award April 1992, St. Catharine, Kentucky
It had already been a long day of difficult eye surgery. The next patient was prepped but was moving around and would not stop talking. A bit fatigued, I pleaded, “Mohamed, please ask this patient to stop talking. I am about to begin his eye surgery but he is moving around too much with all of his talking.” “Doc, wait a minute. He is telling us a story that you need to understand. This man has lived in a poor, desolate shelter for blind people, most of his life. He met a blind woman there, got married and they had a blind baby boy. Six months ago you did cataract surgery on this man’s first eye. Since regaining his sight he has been able to get a job and move his family out of the blind shelter and into their own private home. Today you are doing surgery on his second eye.
How often have you thought of something really important to you and wished you could "shout it from the rooftops?" Dominican Associates, as followers of Christ Jesus and St. Dominic, are called to be preachers of Christ's Good News, the Word of God, from the pulpit of our lives, and from other pulpits according to our gifts and life circumstances. Associate Lucy Strohl of Great Bend, Kansas, shares her experiences of preachings from the "pulpit" of the phone, giving a glimpse of her connections across the miles with home-bound Associates of Peace:
"Do we have the capacity to find the Word of God in the story of each day?"
Veteran's Day is a "celebration to honor all of America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good." In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" (source: Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs).
Preaching the Gospel as Dominican Associates of Peace takes many forms. This week, we're delighted to share blurbs from two of our Associates on their retreat ministries, in Michigan and Kansas respectively.
Michigan Associates in Retreat Ministry with Dominican Sisters of Peace by Associate Ann Vlk, OPA
I am grateful for the opportunity to write about the Associates' roles here in Michigan, in particular in Association with St. Mary's Retreat House (SMRH) in Oxford, one of the seven retreat houses sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace (DSP).
Our recent Midwest Mission Group Meeting – a regional meeting of area Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace for governance, study, prayer, and socializing – was a perfect time to gather with those from nearby and also those we don't see often.
The weekend gathering started on Friday night with a social and a rousing rendition of "When the Saints Come Marching In," complete with feathered masks and a mini-parade. It was good to have the opportunity to just be with one another and celebrate life.
North East Ohio Associates pulled it off grandly! Thanks to the hard work and hours spent on the phone and on the road by Associate Karen Raccuia, plus the time of several other volunteer helpers, all was organized and ready when the doors of Our Lady of the Elms High School in Akron, Ohio, opened at 3pm Sunday, October 13, for the Associates' first Fall Festival Fundraiser.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace Associates Leadership Network has the goal of growing leadership in the Associates community. In support of that goal, this past weekend, Associate Council member Jan Wilson, OPA, represented the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace at the Tri-State Conference of Associate Leadership. The group met at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati and included two Sisters and ten Associates representing eight congregations: the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville; the Ursulines of Brown County; the Mt. St. Joseph Ursulines; the South Central Community of the Sisters of Mercy; the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati; the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg; the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery, Kentucky; and the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
These words by Dominican Sisters of Peace Prioress Margaret Ormond, OP, during the recent Leadership Team webcast remained with me as I moved through the next day's paperwork, phone calls, and national updates from cable news and Pope Francis Chronicles from NCR (National Catholic Reporter). And, I asked myself, who am I called to make peace with?
Recently I had read the following analysis and it compels me and I know many Dominican Sisters and Associates to commit to our ministries to underserved communities: