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
"I was once approached by a man and asked if I would take his picture, so that someone would have proof that he had lived." "A Record of My Being – Images and Imaginings" by Dave Ruddock (2014 MyPublisher)
Recently I was given a book entitled "A Record of My Being-Images and Imaginings" by Dave Ruddock. This book was a gift in several ways. Now, the Oxford definition of "gift" gives several meanings: 1)an act of giving someone a present; 2)a natural ability or talent; and 3) an 'unmissable' opportunity. With Dave’s book, I was gifted with a collection of photographs with reflections; the opportunity to view his photographic talent and imaginings; and inherent in this gift, I received an 'unmissable' opportunity to accept a challenge.
"Each day I take time to sit in the silence of the present moment in the presence of God. I breathe in the spirit of peace. I imagine sitting beside God and I listen for God’s word of peace." - LIVING PEACE, John Dear
The Connecticut Dominican Associates of Peace gathered at the Caritas Center in Hamden, CT, to take time 'to sit in the silence of the present moment' for their annual day of reflection. The theme of the day was "Becoming Peace/Continuing to Become Peace" and the group of 14 Associates with the Associates Co-Directors joined in prayer, reflection, song and sharing throughout the day.
I just spent the weekend immersed in Dominican life in Memphis Tennessee. My first activity was to meet several current Memphis Associates – Lynn Lofton, Nancy Ganz, JoAnn Lynn, Amy Moody, Julia Schuster, Gretchen Kirk, Tine Williams, Libba Nance and JoAnne O'Brien-Scott. We gathered in small groups for informal conversations on why they initially committed, have remained Dominican Associates of Peace and what being an Associate means to them.