Friday, April 28, 2017

Spring Highlights

As we begin this edition of our blog, where we highlight special happenings throughout our Spring, we want to begin by wishing all Dominicans, Preachers, Truth Seekers, Catherine's and our very own Katherine a very Happy Feast of Catherine of Siena!
In addition to the Dominican Feast, we are continuing the celebration of Easter. On behalf of the CDN, receive our warmest wishes!  May the HOPE of the Resurrection be with you always! 
Christ is Risen, Truly He is Risen Indeed! 

We had the grand delight gained from the deep insight attained from our Dominican Family during our conversation regarding the vow of poverty! Our gratitude is extended to Father Don Goergen, O.P and Brother Vincent Davila, O.P., as well as Dominican Sisters of Springfield Beth Murphy, O.P, Loyola Miller, O.P and Sister Habiba Bihnam Toma, O.P. Dominican Sisters of Catherine of Siena in Iraq. 

Our Easter Triduum was very special with our Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. The serenity and peace of The Mound, created the perfect spiritual atmosphere to contemplate on The Paschal Mystery and the passion and joy shared by the Dominicans Sisters was contagious and lead to an exciting celebration of The Resurrection! Thank you Sisters for your warm welcome and amazing hospitality! You made our Triduum an unforgettable one. 

We had a dynamic group of Dominicans join us for a candid discussion on the vow of obedience. From the bottom of our hearts, we are very grateful to Father Greg Heille, O.P., Br. Samuel Hakeem, O.P., Sr.Sr. Susan Leslie, O.P.(Dominican Sisters of Peace), Sr. Kathleen Tuite, O.P. (Dominican Sisters of Caldwell) and Sr. Mary Jones, O.P. (Adrian Dominican Sisters.) Thank you for your time, sharing and insight on the vow!

One week, over 3,000 miles, and countless memories! We had a wonderful experience visiting the various Dominican Sisters in the East Coast! Following is a video with our scrapbook from our journey. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Jesus Is Still Feeding Us Today

An Easter Message from the Collaborate Dominican Novitiate. Please let me know what you think in the comment section!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Discipleship: Fan into a Flame, don’t Blow it out

Blog by Margaret Uche
We just had a workshop at our intercommunity novitiate on the theology of mission with Tony Gittins, CSSp.
We spent two days learning about discipleship. We were asked the question of the meaning of discipleship. I learned that discipleship is God’s mission shared with Jesus Christ as His follower. In order to be a disciple I have to first encounter or be called by God. And I can not love until that encounter and then I have to answer the call. The aim, he said, is to become a teacher for others.

I was reminded that I must listen and learn God’s words. I must be willing to be out of place, to be different, to be out of my comfort-zone, to become a stranger because Jesus was treated the same way. There is a disturbing quality about the urgency of Jesus call to be His disciple, it shakes the foundation, that one called who wants a quiet life is bound to resist. I learned mission has me not the other way around. I will find myself where I will not want to go, but it is not my control, it blows me where it will.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means encountering others. It is through the Power of the Holy Spirit that I can go out there encounter others not by coercion or force but my own willingness to be servant to others and thereby announce the Good News of Jesus Christ to the community.

I was reminded of my ministry experience at a school where I encounter adolescent youths of different ages
and backgrounds. It has been such a rewarding experience to be of service to them during my weekly
ministry. I have been encouraged to discover the qualities and witness to the gifts each brings. I feel that the students appreciate my presence and the help I provide. Just being there for them and doing whatever I can to help them has been a joy for me.

In second Timothy (2 Tim 1:6), we hear St. Paul say that discipleship comes with hardships but I must stir into flame that gift God has given me. Jesus is telling me that to be His disciple, I must do it with courage, crossing the boundaries, taking risk, and touching others life. As one in religious life, I am to be a witness to the Risen Christ in the world.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Journey of Faith

Blog by Margaret Uche
We novices have just returned from our Dominican Spring Break tour of Dominican congregations in Akron, Ohio, Caldwell, NJ, Amityville, NY, New Haven, CT, A day at United Nations side events, Cloister convent in Guildford, CT, Hope, Maryknoll, Blauvelt, Sparkill, and Adrian, Michigan.
What an enlightening and inspiring experience. I have gained more knowledge and better understanding of the rich Dominican heritage. I was touched by the warm welcome, generosity, and hospitality extended to us by our Sisters we visited. I had the opportunity to learn more deeply about the history of each congregation, enjoyed meals, prayers, and conversations with members of our Dominican family.

I was challenged by the Sisters who were so brave and courageous to set out in faith from various countries to answer God’s call to minister and educate the children, and to care for the suffering and the marginalized with such love and compassion. These brave Sisters sacrificed everything and answered the call faithfully and tended to the needs of the church. They faced all kinds of difficulties, yet they did not let it stop them, instead they trusted in Divine Providence and came together as a family. These Sisters have encouraged and inspired me in my own journey to religious life. I am very grateful to all our Dominican Sisters! I am very proud and happy to be part of the Dominican family.

 This week the church honors St. Joseph who also answered the call of God with courage, sacrifice, and love. He was chosen by God to be the protector and supporter of Jesus and Mary. He safe guarded the honor of Mary. He teaches me how to dedicate myself and to respond to the Will of God and that God will be with me through all the trials and challenges. Although he suffered in several ways, he responded faithfully and did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him as we hear in the Gospels of Matthew.
He suffered and faced difficulties when the Angel warned him to flee to Egypt because of the threat of King Herod and he obeyed and protected Mary and Jesus. After Mary, it was St. Joseph who suffered most for Jesus when they lost him in the temple for three days.
His life was continues act of faith, humility, and obedience.
As a novice in my own journey to religious life, I was inspired by the stories of our brave Dominican Sisters who listened to the Holy Spirit and answered the call.
St. Joseph also reminds me to be open to God’s call to use me to do His Will.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Living into Lent

Our chapel has been decorated beautifully for Lent.
            With the arrival of Lent, I’ve had the invitation to ask how this season is a time to deepen my relationship with God and with my community. On Friday, during our day of reflection, we were each given clay and the instructions to play and to see what the clay itself might be asking to make. I found myself building up a clay pot and reflecting on how I was creating a vessel that was waiting to be filled, and how that is an appropriate image with which to begin Lent. During this time, we’re asked to empty ourselves of distractions and bad habits, little and big things, in order to create more room for God to fill the spaces within us. My pot isn’t perfect, but then again neither am I, and the lumps and fingerprints are part of the creation process that remind me that I am still being shaped by God’s fingers.

            We had the opportunity to share our creations that night by candlelight. As a community, we decided to set aside a Friday evening when we’d fast from electricity, so we wouldn’t be using lights or other electronic devises. We sat around the living room, and I felt in awe of the beauty of that moment. During that gathering, the details were hard to make out, and we had to improvise by shining a flashlight on our creations like a spotlight. When we were finished, we sat talking in the candlelight catching up with one another. The evening was a reminder to me about how meaningful it is to have a discussion face to face without distractions of television or other devices.

            I love electricity as much as the next person, but I gained by letting go of it for a night. Like the pot I had made earlier, I had created a hollow space in me that is normally filled by doing work on my computer or reading a book. And God reached in and filled the space.

The pot I made for our day of reflection.
            On the Third Sunday of Lent, Gospel is the story of the Woman at the Well, whom Jesus meets in Samaria. The Samaritan woman desperately wanted to be filled up, and has looked all over to find ways to fill up that space, only to be left still filling empty. When Jesus declares that he will give the Samaritan woman Living Water, that he is in fact the Living Water, the woman immediately responds, knowing that she is gaining something she has desired about for a very long time: that the vessel created by God will finally be filled with God. As I move forward into Lent, and learn to live more deeply during this Lenten season, I find myself longing for Living Water that will fill up the space within my created being. I may have strange lumps, and I certainly have the marks of God’s fingerprints all over me, but when I am filled with Living Water, then all of my being takes on beauty and meaning. I will be living out the life I have been created to embrace.

Friday, February 24, 2017

February Highlights

February is officially coming to its end! This year it started with the threat from Punxsutawney Phil of six more weeks of cold weather.  In the lovely city of St. Louis, the month of February concludes with the initial sights of spring, the blooming of beautiful flowers like jonquils and crocuses and the last day of month ends with the festive Mardi Gras.

During the shortest month of the year, we experienced amazing insight regarding our vows of celibacy, poverty and psychosexual development. It has been an intense month with various invitations to go within and continue our spiritual and personal growth.

Following are some of the highlights of the month! 

We had the great opportunity to enjoy a delightful meal and intimate conversation with members of our Dominican family! We are very grateful to Br. Charlie Bouchard and Br. Carl Joseph Paustian along with the dynamic insight of Dominican Sisters of Sparkill Sr. Paulette Patritti and Sr. Mary Jane Bookstaver. 

February provided some very intense ICN speakers and insights! While the majority of our time was focused on our internal work, we did have a few moments to celebrate our comradery and friendship. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Invitation for Lent

Blog by Margaret Uche
As Lent approaches I have been reflecting on what is God inviting me to change that can help me into the season with a sense of purpose and opportunity to grow in my relationship with God. I know Lent is a time of prayer, penances, and sacrifices.
How do I open my mind and heart to carry my cross and follow Jesus this Lent?

I was reminded of Pope John Paul 11 words in his book Agenda for the Third Millennium where he said Christ suffering and cross is a message of salvation and light to all. I learned that suffering is Good News because I can be transformed by it. It is through Christ suffering that I can obtain hope and it gives meaning to all human suffering because if I share in Christ suffering I can also look forward to sharing in his resurrection. “If then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Roman 6:8).

This semester at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, we are discussing the book written by Fr. Paul Murray called The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality.
I learned that Father Dominic and his early Friars preached the truth and preached it by Joy. His face was always radiant with Joy except when he was moved by compassion for his neighbor in trouble. I learned that their life was far from being easy or full of good times. They faced all kinds of suffering in their work of preaching the Good News, sacrifices, and following in Jesus footsteps. They believed and trusted in Divine Providence and were able to persevere through these things and bore it with patience.

In the Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew (5:1-12), Jesus reminds us of the blessings and reward for those who persevered through difficult times. I am called to bear all suffering with Joy and rejoicing because Jesus alone can deliver me from my difficulties and can give internal life if I remain faithful and persevere to the end.

What is Jesus inviting you to change this Lent that will help deepen your relationship with him? How might it shine the glory of God for others?