March 21, 2016, Miami Shores, Florida – Barry University students Alana Hardy, Selena Pierre Jacques, and Sha’novia Warren recently went out of their way to be kind to others on campus and in the wider community. Each wanted to be “a model of ethical behavior, integrity, and good citizenship.”
The three students had taken a Peace Pledge. At the start of Barry’s 40 Days of Peace observance, each student pledged “to treat others with the respect with which I wish to be treated…and to contribute in any way I can to create the ‘beloved community’ envisioned by Dr. [Martin Luther] King,” the late civil rights leader.
Among the dozens of students who took the pledge, six stood out: Alana, Selena, and Sha’novia; two other Barry students, Paola Montenegro and Quayneshia Smith; and Jessica Darring, a St. Thomas University student. They each performed an act of peace every day for 40 days, documenting what they did and how they felt. A psychology major at St. Thomas, Jessica got involved after Christian Mesa, a Barry Service Corps fellow, shared the opportunity with her.
“It’s a good thing Christian made me sign up so I could be part of this event,” Jessica said. “I look forward to participating in future…initiatives. I love what you are all doing and the fact that I can be a community member and don’t have to be a Barry student to participate.”
All six students received certificates and souvenirs from the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) during the closing ceremony of 40 Days of Peace, held at the Peace Pole in front of the Cor Jesu Chapel on Barry’s main campus in Miami Shores.
Those in attendance heard event organizer Andres Quevedo thank the students for living up to the pledge. A CCSI program coordinator, Andres also urged the students to maintain their commitment to peace and to remain good role models even after they graduate.
Barry University observed 40 Days of Peace from January 18, 2016, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, to February 26. Students were encouraged to sign the Peace Pledge and to perform daily acts of peace recommended by Service for Peace, a national organization that has played a leadership role in promoting Dr. King’s vision of the “beloved community.”
On the list were the following acts of peace: “cease all negative words about or towards other people”; “honestly and genuinely compliment two strangers”; “say thank you to at least two people”; and “take a deep breath if you’re angry, and wait to speak more peacefully.” Also on the list were these three suggestions: “perform one random act of kindness”; “help a stranger in need”; and “let go of a grudge.”
– Submitted by Barry University from the March 14, 2016 CCSI Newsletter
March 19, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – As March 19, the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, approaches, Dominican Sisters, Associates, and Friars in the United States are reminding the world of the suffering of the people of Iraq, including members of the Dominican family now displaced in Northern Iraq.
The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Iraq – along with tens of thousands of Iraq Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities – have been living in exile in the Kurdish region of Iraq since August 6, 2014, when they were forced to hurriedly evacuate the villages of the Nineveh Plain to escape the persecution of ISIS. Facing the same displacement as their fellow refugees, the Sisters have sought to offer comfort and hope, providing schooling to young children, opening two healthcare clinics, and offering pastoral care.
Dominicans throughout the United States are marking the 13th anniversary of the US invasion by drawing attention to the continuing struggles of the people of Iraq. Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates are posting photos on Facebook and other social media holding signs that proclaim, “I have family in Iraq” and “We have not forgotten.” See more photos on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Facebook page.
Dominican artists have been creating artwork to support the ministerial efforts of the Adrian Dominican Sisters on behalf of the exiled and displaced people of Iraq. Initiated by Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, the project involves painting 1,000 cranes and donating the work as a benefit (see www.1000cranesforiraq.org). The net proceeds of their work is used to help support the relief efforts of the Iraqi Dominican Sisters.
An ancient Japanese tradition of folding 1,000 cranes to have a wish fulfilled was popularized by a Japanese girl, exposed at the age of two to the radiation of the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima. Although she died of leukemia at the age of 12 before she could finish folding 1,000 paper cranes, her classmates completed the project for her.
The Dominican Sisters of Adrian have a special relationship with the Dominican Sisters of Iraq, as several young Iraqi Sisters lived, ministered, and studied with the Michigan-based community from 2005 to May 2015, when the last Iraqi Sister completed her training as a physician’s assistant and returned to Iraq to serve her people.