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.
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.
"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit." - Wade Davis
As I watch the news these days, I am touched by the pain of so many in our country and in our world. Differences in perspectives and differences in realities can often lead to destructive and violent behaviors toward those who do not share the same model of reality. Even in my personal relationships, I can sometimes be less patient with those who share an opinion different from my own.
Sisters and Associates, are you willing to welcome our new candidate, Margaret, support her with prayer, share your knowledge and experience with her, and receive her gifts? Margaret, are you willing to participate in the prayer life of the Church with us?
Margaret, are you willing to enter into a study of Sacred Truth and our Dominican heritage?
Margaret, are you willing to share in the life of our community?
In the context of the Liturgy of the Hours these questions formed the basis of the agreement that our newest candidate, Margaret Uche, made with us and we with her. Her discernment continues as she now lives with us in community with three of our Sisters and another candidate.
At evening prayer today Dominicans (the Order of Preachers) all over the world will begin this year’s celebration of St. Dominic de Guzman founder of the order. Happy Feast Day
Two aspects of Dominic’s life stand out for me. First, he engaged the Word of God in the Scriptures with all that was happening in the lives of the people of his time. His willingness to leave the cathedral where he lived a more monastic life as a canon gave him the opportunities to see the struggles of the people of his time and to take direct actions to make a difference.
As I listened to Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, talk about how Jesus had invited some of his disciples to drop everything and follow Him (like Matthew the tax collector) and other disciples to change how they treated people in the places where they lived (like Zacchaeus), I realized this might be a good way to begin a vocation talk. Jesus needs both itinerant disciples and householder disciples. He himself had no place to call his own. He traveled with his band of followers, both men and women, but they relied on his householder disciples for places to lodge and likely, for food to eat.
Has anyone told you recently, "You are to die for?!"
Recently I heard Associate Larry Vuillemin, relay the words from a plaque on someone's desk which read, "I'm not perfect, but Jesus thinks I'm to die for." This phrase has stayed with me in the few weeks since, and I find myself asking, who or what am I willing to die for? Am I eagerly listening and looking for ways I can put love into action?
In the Gospel from John 15:12-17 for Friday, May 23, we hear Jesus tell his disciples that there is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. Am I willing to die for my friends? Am I willing to die for strangers who are victims of injustice and violence? The questions have definitely given me something to ponder.
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.
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.