Spiritually Nourished by Associate Marybeth Auletto, OPA Forty-seven Sisters and Associates attended this year's Advent service in Columbus, OH, prepared by new Associates Kathy Kehnast and Rose Deffet. In keeping with the liturgical theme, we prayed, sang, and reflected on readings that spoke of Jesus' coming...and coming again. Each time I attend one of these events, I come away more relaxed and spiritually nourished. I also enjoy meeting and reconnecting with Associates and Sisters. We are blessed to be in a community that values spirituality through small group study and reflection. Thank you again to all who planned and participated in this peaceful event.
"Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him,'What do you want me to do for you?' He replied, 'Lord, please let me see.' Jesus told him, 'Have sight; your faith has saved you.'" - Luke 18:35-43
This morning I woke to the first full snow fall of 2014. I was surprised at the wave of joy that overtook me when I opened the blinds and saw trees draped in their finest white; a blackbird burrowed in its self made snow fortress waiting for the wind to blow the last piece of seed from the feeder; an upended basketball hoop once an eyesore now a layered sculpture witness to the silenced memories of piercing screams of joy and defeat.
Participation in the School of the Americas Watch is all about truth - veritas - that most fundamental of values at the core of Dominican spirituality. First comes the recognition of the truth, hard as it may appear and grievously as it may hurt; that, through our taxes, we have been supporting the School of the Americas (SOA). This is the institution that trained the military men who led the murders of Archbishop Romero, the Jesuit martyrs, their housekeeper and her daughter, the four American churchwomen who were raped and killed, and the killings, the disappearances, and the torture of hundreds of thousands of poor and often nameless men, women, and children in Latin America.
As I was listening to music this morning, a song came on with heavy lyrics about the cross. I clicked ahead, saying to myself, "This is almost Advent – they'll be time for that during Lent." However, for many, this will not be a season of joy:
"I admit, this is the time of year I used to love. Snuggling with my boys under blankets on the couch while we watched holiday movies, baking gingerbread cookies, and hoping for snow. Now, I approach this time of year with a level of dread."
Each year for the past 50-60 years, as hunters head to Kansas for the opening of Pheasant Season on the second Saturday of November, other cars head to the Great Bend Dominican Motherhouse for our Annual Mission Bazaar. Throughout the year across the country Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace, many of their family members, and friends work on colorful and creative handmade items to be sold there to benefit our Daughter Congregation--the Nigerian Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine, and their missions, as well as to assist persons in need among us here at home.
The day unfolds: We have all heard and reflected on the story of Moses and the burning bush. My short hand version of the story goes something like this…Moses saw a burning bush, was amazed, questioned, heard the voice of God and experienced connection. My question for myself as I reflected on the story today: If I take off my shoes what will I experience? What are my shoes a protection from? A barrier to? If I take off my shoes, what of my own biases and prejudices will I have to confront? What past learnings may I need to shed? And what connections will I be invited to create? If the ground I walk on is holy, what new part of the holy will I experience if I am actually flesh to ground? For someone who leaves her shoes at the door when she enters here home, this is will be a frequent reflection.
"O God, let something essential continue to happen to us, the Dominican Associates of Peace, as we imagine and continue to plan our lives in mission with the Dominican Sisters of Peace, something essential, more than interesting or pleasant or thoughtful. Let something essential continue to happen to us, something awesome, something real. Speak to us somewhere inside where it matters, a change that will burn and tremble and heal and explode us into tears, or laughter, or love. Let something essential continue to happen to us as we join the Sisters in prayer, study, community and ministry." Adapted from a prayer by Ted Loder in Guerrillas of Grace (1981)
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.
"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.
Scripture, Vatican II and Bruno Cadore, OP issued the call and challenge.
"I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." - Joel 3:1
"The laity live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life. They are there called by God, that by exercising their proper functions and led by the spirit of the Gospel, they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven." - Lumen Gentium, 31