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The OP after our names stands for “Order of Preachers,” the formal name of the religious order founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. As Dominicans, we preach with our lives—in both word and deed—guided by a search for truth (veritas) and a commitment to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation (contemplate et aliis tradere).
Our Dominican lives are shaped by the interconnecting movements of study, prayer, communal life, and ministry.
Dominic so firmly believed in the importance of study to the preaching mission that he provided a rule of “dispensation” from other responsibilities in the event they interfered with study. We are women committed to study. Through prayer and contemplation we interiorize our learnings and enter into communion with the Source of all truth. Our communal life orients us to the common good of the whole Earth community. And in ministry, our preaching takes effect.
As women of the Gospel, our preaching is also expressed in word. Read reflections on the Word of God posted by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates on the Praedicare Blog below.
April 9, 2020
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Back in February when we selected which homily we were to prepare, I was so happy as this day is such a special one with rich meaning and beautiful readings. That is still the case, but the greater context is so much more daunting than I ever could have imagined back when the snow was on the ground.
The Passover narrative describes the tenth plague visited upon the Egyptians and from which the community of Israel was spared. In these days of pandemic, there are no doorposts to be marked. But the doorposts of our souls may indicate something from which we would like to be freed. What is the freedom you would like to request from the Divine?
Paul recounts the very familiar story of Jesus and the sharing of Eucharist while at table with his friends. In these days of pandemic, our sharing of Eucharist with one another is so limited. Each day that we are without the Eucharist we value that gift given to us tonight. But our tradition of setting aside a special place for the Eucharist to be reposed is not permitted this evening.
Where in your heart will Jesus repose between now and Easter? What gift do you request from the Divine in order to have a suitable resting place for your God?
During the Passover supper, Jesus became a servant washing the feet of his followers. Think of our Co-workers serving us just as they have done day in and day out for many years. Why does their service seem so different to us now? Why are we so much more appreciative? Why do the simple acts of helping one another by way of a note, a phone call, a virtual hug, seem so huge to us? In these days of pandemic, everyone in every country is touched in some way by the virus, by the seeming inconvenience, by the magnitudes of its impact. Where is the Divine leading you tonight?
On this night of Passover, Eucharist, servanthood, may the Divine be ever-present to us.
April 5, 2020
Matthew 26: 14-27:66
Today marks the beginning of Holy Week, a time of remembering the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus though sacred rituals, readings from Scripture and shared prayer. This year we will journey through Holy Week in a much different way because of the “social distancing“ that is necessary to turn the tide of the spread of the coronavirus in our world. Instead of gathering together as a faith community in a church or chapel on these sacred days, we will spend Holy Week on our designated floors, in our rooms or in our homes. In these places, many of us will able to connect with each other through technology for these liturgical celebrations and prayer. However, we come together, we are and remain a community of faith joined by our shared belief in the Risen Christ.
With the start each year of Holy Week, we turn intently toward Jesus. We are not just remembering an historical event that happened over two thousand years ago. We are celebrating and taking part in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as it happens today to us and for us.
The blessing of this week is that it calls us to look carefully at Jesus. We watch, not just to admire, but also to learn, to penetrate the mind, the thinking, the attitudes and the values of Jesus so that we, in the very different circumstances of our own lives, may walk in his footsteps. In a way the real key to Holy Week is given in today’s Second Reading, which seems to be a hymn, incorporated by Paul in his letter to the Christians at Philippi. It expresses the “mind,” the thinking of Jesus, a “mind” which Paul urges us to have also if we want to identify fully with Jesus as disciples. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”
Elisabeth Johnson in her commentary on this passage writes, “Paul envisions the life of the community being formed by the mind of Christ – by a spirit of humility and loving service to one another rather than competition and grasping for power and control.” On this Sunday marking Jesus' passion, we are called to reflect on what it means to bear this name above all other names. Does our life together reflect "the same mind that was in Christ Jesus"? Are we looking to the interests of others rather than our own interests? Are humility and servanthood evident among us?
Having the mind of Christ ought to shape not only the internal life of a congregation, but its relationship with its community and the world. By following Jesus in identifying with the lowly and giving ourselves away in humble service to a suffering world, we honor "the name that is above every name."
If we are to be Jesus’ disciples, we are invited us to walk in his way, to share his sufferings, to imitate his attitudes, to “empty” ourselves, to live in service of others – in short, to love others as he loves us. This is not at all a call to a life of pain and misery. Quite the contrary, it is an invitation to a life of deep freedom, peace and happiness. If it were anything else, it would not be worth considering.
Let this week give us divine hope. No hardship, no burden, no cross not even the Coronavirus can conquer us if we remain steadfast in Christ Jesus, letting Him transform all we endure in life by His glorious embrace of His own Cross.
Preaching in the present. How often do we take the opportunity to share faith and life when the chance presents itself? Do we recognize the gift of the moment or do we let it pass us by? This past fall our Sister Mary Keefe responded to just such an opportunity when during our Dominican Experience, a time when the freshmen from Siena Heights University come to our Motherhouse to learn about the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Mary was sharing with our freshmen how the Sisters use their ability to knit and crochet to help the poor of the community. A couple of students mentioned to her, “I sure wish I knew how to crochet!” and Sister Mary not missing a beat, said, “I’d be happy to teach you.”
So they set a date and time to meet over at the Siena Heights University Center across from my office. Now having spent a few years living with Sister Mary in New Orleans, I knew that this would be no ordinary crochet class. These two students have come over every week but sometimes the crochet needles never leave their knitting bags. Instead, they spend time sharing with one another. Lexi and Taylor are learning more than just how to crochet and Sister Mary is learning about what the hopes and dreams of the latest generation are. A nice trade-off, I’d say. What a beautiful example of preaching in the present!
Sharing prayer, faith, and life with others is about listening as preaching. As Dominicans who embrace contemplative life, we spend a good portion of our lives listening to God and others.
I can think of a recent example of “listening as preaching” with our New Orleans community. Sisters Pat Harvat, Judy Zynda, and Kitty Bethea hosted students and campus ministers from Siena Heights University and Barry University as part of their “alternative spring break.” The group worked with St. Bernard Project, helping to rebuild New Orleans.
Our Sisters shared a meal and prayer with the young people, and most importantly, listened. Listened to what it was like to see the devastation that still remains 10 years after Katrina, to meeting the unique people of New Orleans, and the how it felt to make a difference. Listening was an important preaching that day – one our students will not soon forget.
word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page
Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters