Preaching


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.

 


Holy Thursday
Preaching by Sister Patricia Harvat, OP

April 1, 2021

The Gospels and letters of St. Paul are narratives of the life of Jesus and the life of disciples accompanying Jesus, learning what commitment to Him and his mission meant. This evening we enter into the narrative of the Last Supper as written by John. We remember how Jesus poured water over the disciple’s feet — pours water over our feet. Today that water has changed into tears. Today we look to our world asking us to embrace its pain, a pain of loss and suffering.

In the play Hamilton written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miranda sings, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” This evening let us enter a contemporary story of the Last Supper written by Madeline to her friend Taylor while at the border in 2021 with thousands of immigrant children. It is a story of love and friendship that has no boundaries nor borders. It is our faith in the Eucharist.

Dear Taylor,

This is my last day of volunteering at the border. There’s always a last time isn’t there? You and I never were good at saying good-bye, were we? Especially our last year in college. Our calendars were filled with a lot of last times! The day I left for the border I remember you saying, “Here you go again… your idealistic self, part delusional and part a fool for Christ’s sake. You always wanted to do more with your life, restless adventurer that you are. While I am quite content to live my uneventful rather limited life.”

I suppose you are right Taylor, but our friendship has been strong and true all these years. So let me tell you the story of my days here with the immigrant children.

Most of my days were filled with welcoming hundreds upon hundreds of children and washing their rough yet sweet touch of blistered, sweaty feet having walked the terrain of this earth for many miles. The faces of those children have left their imprint on my heart. Activities can vary day to day as we comfort some, play games with others, and help the social workers do an intake on each child. At night we bend over cot after cot tucking each child into their small space. This is my last night to do that and I wonder, how will I remember the life lessons I learned as I walked, worked, laughed, and cried with God’s little ones.

Now we sit at a very long wooden table waiting to eat what is my Last Supper with the children as I leave tomorrow. I cannot take my eyes off of these young faces… 

Some staring into space and silent, a few have tears running down their faces, others have eyes wide open but are sightless, lost in their own thoughts. Some are so tired their heads nod up and down. One child leans forward hands cupped under his chin staring at me. Their expressions are all variations of despair.

Our meals are simple. Tonight, we are having bread with butter before the volunteers bring the main plate of food to our table. Juan sitting next to me takes the bread out of the basket, breaks in in two and says, “Here Madeline, take and eat.” Dearest Taylor, the Eucharist, the gift of Christ’s body and blood to us will never be the same for me in the years to come. This is the celebration of the Last Supper. 

John Keats wrote, “I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections.” Jesus’ affection for the disciples, for you, for me, for these children is made real as I begin to understand those words of Jesus, “Do this in memory of me.” I now understand what the “this” means. 

I have learned much from the children. They have shown me what it means to be humble in weakness, to be confident in difficulties, and to accept hardships with love and in a mysterious way they have revealed the face of Jesus to me. I have been able to cross the language barrier, but we know that love and kindness need no language. However, I have been able to use my halting Spanish which has brought peals of laughter at times. So, Taylor, let me end this letter and say,

“Todos tenemos alguien por quien llorar. Todos tenemos alguien que recorder”
“Everyone has someone for whom they cry. Everyone has someone who they remember.”

These children, Clari, Yomaris, Joselito, Juan and the many other children are my someone.

Sending you warm greetings and wishing you peace Taylor.

Your friend forever, 
Madeline


Palm Sunday

Preaching by Sister Frances Nadolny, OP

March 28, 2021

Good morning. Today begins a week rich in liturgical significance. Participating in the re-enactment of Jesus processing into Jerusalem reminded me of recent pictures of Pope Francis entering into the holy cities of Iraq. People were so happy to see him, as they were so happy to see Jesus. But for Jesus, sentiments changed quickly.

In this long and complete passion narrative, Mark introduces, or reintroduces, us to a number of people: the woman anointing Jesus, the guests at the Passover celebration, the Garden of Gethsemane and those who fell asleep or the one who betrayed Jesus, or the young man who ran away without his clothes, Peter’s denial, Simon the Cyrene, the trial with Pilate and the Sanhedrin members, the crowds who chose Barabbas, the soldiers under the cross, Jesus seemingly abandoned on the cross, Jesus’ mother, the faithful women and Joseph of Aramathea.

In this strange year, at this beginning of Holy Week, with which of these people do you identify? May your answer be an opportunity for graced reflection during these next few days. 


St. Patrick's Day Homily, March 17, 2021

Sister Attracta Kelly, OPWritten by Sister Attracta Kelly, OP
Proclaimed by Prioress Patricia Siemen, OP

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh go léir! Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

And happy feast to all the Patrick(s), Patricia(s), the Patty(s), the Pat(s), the Patrice(s) among us.

I cannot think of any other national patron saint whose day is celebrated so widely or might I even say so wildly as that of St. Patrick. 

As you are probably aware Patrick, at about age 16, was kidnapped – today we would say trafficked – into slavery by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland where he lived as a slave, by himself, on a mountain, in County Antrim looking after sheep – no one to talk to, no one to care about him, far away from home.
 
During this past year as I’ve reflected on the effect COVID has had on all of us, some more confined, more isolated than others. I’ve thought quite a bit about Patrick, except for Patrick there was no Task Force, no secret Santas, no letters, no parodies, no visiting, no TV, no phone calls, no entertainment, no Fireside Chat! And his isolation lasted six years! 

So how did Patrick survive? Patrick, I believe, survived after a great period of alone-ness by finding God in creation around him. It took some time. Maybe it was in the sheep or the lambs or the sheep dog, or the bright starry night, or the morning sun, or eventually in the barren mountains, or the awesome beauty of the coastline, or the turning of the seasons. For whatever reason, Patrick learned to treasure the beauty of the land and all its creatures, and realize that God was very near. And then for Patrick, nature became the sacrament of God’s presence.

After six years, Patrick was able to escape back to his home in Britain. In his writings he tells us that a voice he believed to be from God, told him to leave Ireland. After his return to Britain another revelation told him to return to Ireland as a missionary.

Patrick tries his best to plead his way out of that call just like Peter in today’s reading pleads: “Depart from me for I am a sinner.” Patrick pleads: “I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful.” And just as Jesus assures Peter that he will indeed be able to respond to God’s call, Patrick is assured in a similar way. After some years of training, Patrick returns to Ireland to, as we prayed in our Responsorial Psalm, “Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds” to the Irish people.

So we might wonder how was Patrick able to proclaim the good news so successfully? Ireland, as Patrick had learned from his time as a slave, had a strong belief in many kinds of gods. Celtic peoples worshipped the sun with shrines. In the Celtic religion wells and rivers were associated with goddesses.

Patrick tapped into these beliefs and, using those Celtic symbols, taught the people about God. Patrick’s great shrine at Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, which is a great place of pilgrimage to this day, had previously been a shrine to Lugh, the god of the sun. 

The Celtic lighting of the Spring-fire on the Hill of Tara always performed by the Ard-Ri (the High King), became with Patrick the lighting of the Easter fire of Holy Saturday.  (Easter was always celebrated in Ireland on the first day of Spring from the time of Patrick until the Synod of Whitby in 665 decided Ireland needed to be more Roman). 

Patrick honored the culture of the people, and helped them to see God in all people, in all creatures, in all Creation. 

The shamrock was the sacred plant of the Celts and legend (some say it is true) tells us Patrick used it to teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Patrick baptized people in the holy wells, and there are many holy wells named after Patrick in Ireland today. Patrick superimposed a sun, a very important symbol in Celtic culture, on the Christian cross, creating what we now know as the Celtic cross.

In our reading today, Peter tells us: “Let your love for one another be intense … Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” 

Clearly Patrick’s love for the people of Ireland was intense. How else could he have the courage to return to the land where he had been a slave to bring the Mission of Christ to a people who had enslaved him? 

From the moment Patrick arose in the morning, he dedicated himself to the Holy One. And from that place of energy and belief he prayed that Christ would be his identity throughout the day: Christ above me, Christ below me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.

Patrick also clearly shows us that not only is God known through people, but God is also known through all of Creation. Patrick delights in all Creation around him: The starlit sky, the sun’s brightness, the moon, the power of lightening, the massive sea, the rocks, the singing of the birds and bleating of the sheep …  

Patrick prays that God’s voice is there in all: in the heart of everyone who thinks of us, the voice of everyone who speaks of us, in every eye that sees us, in every ear that hears us. 

So for all of us, on this feast of St. Patrick, no matter our ancestry, let us pray for each other so that, like Patrick, we may recognize in our lives the presence, the power and the light of Christ. May we realize we are never alone, for Christ is always with us.

“And so for all of us, until we meet again, may our God hold each one of us in the palm of God’s hand!” 


2nd Sunday in Lent - February 28, 2021
Preaching by Elise D. García, OP

Elise D. García, OP

Scripture Readings:
Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Romans 8:31b-34
Mark 9:2-10

In this Second Sunday in Lent as we make our journey toward the Passion of Christ, we, along with three of the disciples, climb Mount Tabor and are given a glimpse, a foreshadowing, of the Resurrected Christ – a dazzling vision of Jesus transfigured. 

The disciples are awestruck, terrified and confused. Probably as each one of us would be in the face of such a startling vision. 

On either side of Jesus are two significant figures in God’s journey with the Jewish people: Moses, who led his enslaved people to freedom and received the Commandments; and Elijah, a revered prophet whose return foretold the coming of the Messiah. As Peter speaks of constructing a tent for each of them, a cloud descends, obscuring the dazzling vision and a voice declares, “This is my beloved son, listen to him!”

Only Jesus emerges when the cloud lifts. The mystical moment gone. 

As they climb down the mountain, the disciples know that something extraordinary has just happened but Jesus orders them to say nothing about it, until “the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” And that language, about rising from the dead, only confuses them further.

Two images come to me as I have been sitting with this passage. 

The first is an image of Teilhard de Chardin, writing poignantly in the last year of his life, about having been dazzled by insights on what he came to call Christogenesis and the Divine Milieu and the radiance of love drawing us forward in evolutionary time – toward the Omega. 

Teilhard wrote of this “wonderful ‘Diaphany’ [a diaphanous epiphany] that transfigured everything for me.” And he expressed his hope that a “re-born” Christianity would provide the driving force in evolution “through the double power, at last fully understood, of its Cross and Resurrection.” 1

The double power – at last fully understood – of the Cross and Resurrection.

I got a glimpse of that double power through a second image that has been with me. It comes from an old video interview I recently watched of Dr. Howard Thurman. In the interview, Dr. Thurman, a leading 20th century African-American religious leader and mystic who inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others, tells the story of being invited to meet with Mohandas Gandhi in the mid-1930s when he and his wife and two other African-American couples from his church were visiting India. This was at the height of Jim Crow in the United States. 2

When the car in which Dr. Thurman was driven pulled up to Gandhi’s abode – a bungalow tent in a large open field – the Mahatma came out to greet Dr. Thurman. Gandhi’s secretary was astonished. The Mahatma never came out to greet visitors; he waited for them to come greet him. 

The next unusual thing was that Gandhi spent the three hours of their meeting asking Dr. Thurman questions. Usually, it was the visitors who asked the Mahatma all the questions. Finally, as the time was drawing to an end, Gandhi apologized for being the one to ask all the questions and invited Dr. Thurman to ask any he might have. Dr. Thurman inquired about nonviolence and nonviolent resistance and they spoke of that for a while. 

As the conversation drew to an end, Gandhi said, “Before you go, I want to ask you to do me a favor.” Dr. Thurman said, “Oh, anything.” 

“Will you sing a song?” Gandhi said. Dr. Thurman confessed that he didn’t sing, but he would try if he knew the song. He then turned to one of his companions saying she was a musician and could probably do it.  

Gandhi said, “It’s one of your own songs.” 

Dr. Thurman said, “Which one is it?” 

Gandhi said, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” 

That song, Gandhi said to Thurman, “in essence provides the meeting place where all of human suffering and misery is touched by something that lifts it and redeems it and makes it whole.” 

 “So, we stood in this bungalow tent in a large field,” Dr. Thurman said, “and we sang this song while Gandhiji and his little group sat in prayer like this [bowing his head with palms in prayer].”  

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

“When it was over,” Dr. Thurman said, “there was a long silence, seemed like a thousand years. And then he gave a prayer in his own language and we were readied to go.” 

The double power – at last fully understood – of the Cross and Resurrection. 

On our Lenten journey toward the Passion of Christ, we are given a glimpse today of the radiance of divine love, ever-present, ever-near, lifting us up out of the deepest anguish, making us whole. 

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1 https://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~alfar2/Christic.htm
2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvJVxsezAwc at 43:00. 
 


Fran Nadolny, OPMartin Luther King, Jr. Day
Preaching by Fran Nadolny, OP

January 18, 2021

This is such a rich day to preach. This is the first day of the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is the federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., which is designated as a national day of service for the betterment of our communities. It is the beginning of the congregation’s honoring and learning about influential black Catholic leaders—our first being Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first black American priest who was never accepted into a U.S. seminary, so he had to study in Rome. Today begins a week of Inauguration events and a national acknowledgement of our sufferings caused by the coronavirus. So where do I begin, where do we conclude?

Based on the richness of today, our Liturgical Ministries department selected the readings and paralleled Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and Dr. King’s last speech entitled “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Jesus’ presentation on a little hill was at the beginning of his public ministry. In reality, he was laying out the plan, informing those who were inclined to follow him that these are the guidelines; if you cannot follow them, then this is not the way for you. And we all continue to do our best to follow this way.

Dr. King’s speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” was given the day before he was assassinated and was in support of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike that highlighted the abuse and disregard of black employees. Dr. King encouraged unity and non-violent protests of the injustices. Fifty-three years later the goal continues to lie before us:  unity and non-violence.

So, on this day, in this historic week, I propose this Sermon in St. Catherine Chapel:

  • Blessed are you who have been ignored and degraded because of the color of your skin; may you experience our acceptance.
  • Blessed are you who mourn loved ones taken or affected by COVID; may you experience our cooperation with difficult protocols. 
  • Blessed are you who patiently wait in lines for healthcare, for food supplies, for unemployment checks, for access to good schools; may you experience our advocacy for true equity.
  • Blessed are you who engage in theological dialogue and disputatio; may you experience our appreciation of the richness and fullness of your beliefs.
  • Blessed are you who proclaim and practice non-violence; may you experience our own practice of it as the norm and not the exception.
  • Blessed are you who have not been welcomed in our neighborhoods, in our gatherings, at our borders; may you experience our deep desire to be open and accepting. 
  • Blessed are you who seek truth, make peace, reverence life; may you experience transformation within yourselves through your prayer and/or your actions.

As St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just…keep on doing what you have learned and received.”

 


Reflection by Sister Marg Heinz, OP

Jubilee Mass for Holy Rosary Chapter
November 4, 2020

Sister Marg Heinz, OP

You are the salt of the earth
You are light of the world

These gospel words we just heard have truly been lived out in the lives of our Jubilarians.

They offer much for our reflection today, but as I prepared this homily the only words that filled my mind were

We’ll get through this together
do not be afraid

The pandemic has changed everything.

Just look at our celebration. Here I am behind the plexiglas speaking to a few masked people in Chapel and you are listening to me from your rooms or apartments. 

Yes, the pandemic has changed everything but deep down and in our hearts, we know we will get through this together.

And haven’t our Jubilarians made these same words the mantra of their life journey? Just think about some of their challenges and how they met every one. They met every challenge! They got through it together!

Most of our Jubilarians were born in the mid-1920’s and early 30’s, the children of the Great Depression. They grew up when bread was 9 cents a loaf, eggs 14 cents a dozen, and gasoline 12 cents a gallon. The monthly rent for an apartment was $20.00 and many couldn’t afford even that. They remember farm foreclosures, cardboard in your shoes, soup lines and sometimes want around their own kitchen table, but they sang along when the radio played “The Best Things In Life Are Free!” They hoped it was true and got through it together.

Jubilarians remember the attack on Pearl Harbor that sucked the U.S. into World War II. They remember the men and boys leaving home to fight and the women taking their places in the factories of the nation. They remember ration books, Victory gardens, war bonds, USO’s and long lines at the butcher shop hoping there’d be something left when it was your turn. They remember a gold star in a neighbor’s window meant a soldier would never be coming home. They got through it together.

Jubilarians remember the joy of their call to religious life even though it came with tears and goodbyes to home and family. They came by train, bus and car to the doors of the Adrian novitiate where after months of study, discipline and prayer they knelt in the quiet beauty of Holy Rosary Chapel and pronounced their first vows. To this day they cherish the friendships forged there and the laughter that got them through the ups and downs of formation days. They got through it together. 

Jubilarians were sent out across the country and beyond. With youthful vigor they staffed crowded classrooms, taught catechism, took the census, served as school administrators and along the way earned advanced degrees in the midst of summer school heat.

These were the days of starched head bands and long white habits that needed scrubbing with felsnapha soap on Friday nights. They rose at dawn to chant the office in Latin and were in bed by 9:00pm when the lights went out. They balanced a medieval life style against the growing needs of the time and got through it together.

When Vatican II threw open the church windows calling for Renewal, Jubilarians responded with courage and faith. They studied the documents, read the contemporary theologians and examined every aspect of vowed life in the light of the times and the needs of God’s people. They expanded their horizons beyond the classroom to embrace the marginalized and underserved all around them. When this required a change in life style and dress they were willing to pay the price. Change was not easy – harder for some- and when sister-friends discovered in the freedom of change that vowed life was no longer their chosen path, Jubilarians grieved their leaving but got through it together. 

As the years passed, the nation’s growing division filled the nightly news. Jubilarians remember the protests against the Viet Nam war and the violence that spread across our college campuses. They remember the increasing cries for racial equality that led to “sit ins” in the south and voting rights rally’s across the country. They remember the police brutality on the bridge and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and they remember exactly where they were when Walter Cronkite told us that President Kennedy was dead. They got through it together.

Midst turmoil and grief, Jubilarians continued their efforts to achieve peaceful school integration and to stem the ride of “white flight” to the suburbs. They remained an oasis of calm in the face of the riots that scarred the nation after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and when the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center and 9/11 plunged the country into fear and grief, they stood ready to comfort and calm the people of God.

But even as they reached out to others, they struggled with their own anger, pain and disillusionment over the scandal of pedophile priests and the Church’s cover up at the highest levels of leadership. Jubilarians grieved, they prayed and they got through it together.

Today their steps may have slowed and time and illness taken their toll but our Jubilarians continue to raise their voices in defense of women’s rights, racial equality, economic justice and care of the earth. Long before the virus claimed it first victim they had been living into the 21st Century with the same courage and faith that had always marked their life journey.

As we celebrate these women today we cannot help but feel wonder at such steadfast faith. I think, long ago, when they heard the first whisper of God’s call, they also heard the word we find in Isaiah – they not only heard – they believed.

    Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you,
        I have called you by your name, you are mine.
    Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you,
       Or through rivers, they will not swallow you up,    
    Should you walk through fire, you will not be 
        Scorched, and the flames will not burn you
    For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel
        Your Savior
    Because you are honored and I love you, because
        You are precious in my eyes,
    Do not be afraid for I am with you

One day, down the road, we know not the day or the hour, our Jubilarians will hear those words again “Do not be afraid, I have called you by your name, you are mine” and like all Depression kids who played in the streets after supper, they will remember that it’s time to go Home when the street lights come on and they will not be afraid. 
 

 


Homiletic Reflection by Jamie T. Phelps, OP

Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:
1 Corinthians 8:1B-7, 11-13
Psalm 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 23-24
Luke 6:27-38

 

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OPOur Context: Raging fires in the U.S. and in migrant camps in Greece and weather on the West Coast; the coronavirus pandemic, which according to Harvard University research is fatally impacting Black and Latino citizens and immigrants in Northern Virginia, Washington DC and other states; the rise of Black deaths at the hands of policemen; the hopeful response of the multi-racial Black Lives Matter marches challenging racial and class domination and mistreatment of  Blacks and other oppressed groups (poor whites, Hispanics, Asians) duplicated contextually across the world.

 

I must recognize every person I meet as my sister and brother created by God. When I sin against my brothers and sisters and wound their consciences, weak as they are, I am sinning against Christ.

 

I must love my enemies and do good to them and lend expecting nothing back; I will be a child of the Most High. God is merciful and is kind to me even when I am ungrateful. God just asks that I stop judging and condemning. God asks that I be merciful. God asks that I recognize myself and my enemy as children of God. God will continue to help me and all who love our neighbors as ourselves to faithfully embody divine, universal, merciful, and forgiving love to each person without exception.

 

God, my Father and Mother, by your indwelling presence empower me to love those who see or treat me as enemy. Help me to love them with the forgiving love that you show me. Help me be merciful to those who show me no mercy. Help me to recognize that I have no enemies, but only estranged sisters and brothers who fail to recognize the existential truth that all human beings are sisters and brothers created by your loving will. Help me cease judging and condemning those who judge and condemn me. Help me love and forgive all my sisters and brothers and enable all my sisters and brothers to forgive me.   

 

LET US PRAY: (a paraphrase of Psalm 139)

O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;

you know when I sit and when I stand;

you understand my thoughts from afar.

My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,

with all my ways you are familiar.

Truly you have formed my inmost being;

you knit me in my mother’s womb.

I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;

wonderful are your works…

Probe me, O God, and know my heart;

try me, and know my thoughts.

See if my way is crooked,

and lead me in the way of old.


 


Feast of St. Dominic Preaching by Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress

Sister Patricia Siemen, OPCelebrated on August 9, 2020

Continued Happy Feast Day, Sisters and all who are joining in with us today. We celebrate with all who live the Dominican charism: our Dominican Sisters and Brothers, friars, nuns, apostolic sisters, associates and laity across the world, all our co-workers, partners, family and benefactors. Dominic’s genius lay in bringing together women and men to preach joyfully the Good News of the Gospel within their multiple cultural contexts. Today we are particularly mindful of our own Sisters in the Philippines, in the Dominican Republic – and of our special relationship with our Sisters in Iraq.

On this feast day, I want to remember the lineage of Dominican women who are our foremothers. From the valley of Prouilhe, France where the first Dominican women gathered in 1206; from the women of Holy Cross Convent in Ratisbon/Regensburg, Germany in 1233; from the women of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, founded on Second Street, New York in 1859 - we became Edmonds and Adrian Dominicans and later Our Lady of Remedies Dominicans. May their lineage live on in us into the future.

It seems likely that Dominic never dreamed of the Order’s resiliency over the centuries. Like Elijah in the first reading today, Dominic learned how to listen for God’s voice, discerning God’s presence in the wind, the earthquake, the fire – and finally - finding God in a quiet whispering sound. Over the years, Dominic learned the lessons of discernment. He learned to recognize the pattern and movement of an inner energy moving within him. He gifts us today with a legacy of trusting our own inner voice and knowing it as the voice of the Holy One.

It is probable that like most of us, Dominic did not immediately know his purpose in life. With his mother, Joan of Aza’s, insistence he studied at Palencia, Spain; he was an avid learner yet early on, he sold his precious books to give the money to the poor who were starving. He became a diocesan priest, a “canon-regular” and lived in a community life of sorts for a few years at the Cathedral of Osma, Spain. He accompanied his bishop, Diego, on a diplomatic marriage mission of the King of Spain to Germany and back, several times. It was during those long journeys that Diego, not Dominic, first had the inspiration of forming an itinerant group of preachers because he saw the need for authentic preaching of the gospel.

Then just as Diego’s idea was taking shape, he died, leaving Dominic on his own. Dominic could not abandon this idea of itinerant preachers as he served as pastor of a rural parish in Fanjeaux, southern France.

Fanjeaux is located in the heartland of Carthar country. The Cathars were a sect of people who believed that all material matter was evil, including the human body. They lived very austerely. Dominic longed to show them a God who loved all of Creation; a God who incarnated God’s Spirit into matter; a God for whom all matter and spirit was sacred. Dominic believed in what we would today call the sacramental and incarnational goodness of creation. He knew that God could reside within the hidden crevices of the natural world and that it was possible to find God in a small whisper - and in the searching hearts and minds of others. He would believe in a God who could walk on waters as he heard in today’s Gospel as well as remove fear from peoples’ lives.

We know that Dominic did not leave much in writing for his sons and daughters: rather he was a preacher. He preached foremost by his life of authentic simplicity and humility. He was a gifted preacher in being able to explain the gospels to others. Dominic’s lifestyle and values are our greatest inheritance. He desired his followers to know the freedom that simplicity and humility offers. His experience of the Holy One, the Divine Whisperer in his life, directed all his life choices. He longed for all people to know the mercy and compassion of God. Today he would no doubt be praying - IS praying - for all the wounded ones of today’s world. He would bring to prayer those suffering from Covid -19 and their loved ones, those who are on the frontlines as health care providers and first responders and all essential workers. He would also be praying for all those who refuse to wear facemasks in the midst of the pandemic. He would be praying a conversion of heart for those who insist their individual “rights” take precedence over the common good. He would be praying for all those whose hearts are hardened and will not listen to the voice of the Divine within themselves – or listen to others.

Dominic would be praying long into the night for the “sinners” of today who are self-righteous and causing horrific harm to innocent ones – as well as for all the healthcare providers and first responders. Dominic would be praying for us – sinners and saints alike. He would be preaching through example and from church and public square alike of the need for humility, repentance, the common good, and the mercy of God for all of us.

May we have the same inner conviction that God is working in and through us, despite setbacks and disappointments. Dominic knew about prolonged disappointments; he experienced years of failure while pastoring in Fanjeaux where after 10 years of preaching there were a mere six Albigensian – Cathar women who converted. These women remained under Dominic’s protection in Prouilhe and became the foundation of the Order over 800 years ago – and remain so today.

May we have similar trust in God’s working in and among us in the world today. May we too come to know the world as both sacramental and incarnational, recognizing God’s presence infused in all of creation.

So while Dominic left no written directions for us he did leave us:

  • a love of learning and exploration
  • a joyful spirit,
  • an inner freedom and
  • a trust in God’s work in and through us into the future.

Dominic left us the desire to pursue and lift up the truths embedded within today’s realities some of which are hidden within scientific and technology advancements. He left us the capacity to reveal corruption and suffering; he left us the desire to set people free.

As we do these works – and as we pray in support of those who are able to do this actively – (not unlike the first women of Prouilhe) then we too become the joyful preachers living out the promise of an unfolding future filled with hope.

Father Dominic, pray for us.



Jubilee Mass Preaching by Patricia Siemen, OP

Sister Patricia Siemen, OPJune 28, 2020

Dear Jubilarians,

In the name of all your Sisters and Associates from across the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and the United States, we joyfully wish you, our Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilarians, abundant blessings and creative ways of celebrating in this extraordinary year of 2020! The Gospel today concludes with a promise of “never losing your (Godly) reward.” Well, these exceptional days of a global pandemic might not feel like a reward!! But we do rejoice because not one of you, our dear Jubilarians, have contracted the coronavirus. You have remained safe and healthy these 100 + days of Covid-19. Therefore, there is additional cause to rejoice with each of you.

Today we offer festive prayer and honoring of our Silver Jubilarian, Eneida Santiago who celebrates her Silver Jubilee in Bani, Dominican Republic, and our Golden Jubilarian, Zenaida Nacpil, who continues to celebrate her Jubilee in Bodo, Norway. They both had planned to be here with us today, as did each of you, our dear Diamond Jubilarians. It’s not the same, but we are Indeed anticipating celebrating with you in person in 2021.

In today’s gospel, Jesus promises, “whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Losing one’s life is seldom easy for our egos love to carve out the pathways we think are best for us. Yet God often writes straight with crooked lines. “Finding our lives” coincides with discovering our authentic Self and the fullness of God’s life within us. Finding our lives is not just at the end of our lives; rather it is the promise of the hundredfold right here among us, now.

Given the combined 1,995 years of service our Jubilarians have offered, (without including the years of service of our deceased Jubilarians) that’s a lot of grace that’s been flowing through you to all those you love, serve and are neighbors to. You have given over the years the proverbial, actual “cup of water” to those who thirst: to those who thirst for social, racial and economic justice; to those who thirst for spiritual and physical healing; to those who thirst for solid theological foundations and spiritual depth in life; to those who thirst for quality education and agency in their lives; to those who thirst for mercy - and for Earth’s healing; and most especially for those who thirst for truth. You have been offering the hundredfold, God’s fullness and grace, to others all these years.

Jubilee is a special time of giving thanks and for remembering your first response to your call as a Dominican Sister: a Dominican Sister of Edmonds, a Dominican Sister of Our Lady of Remedies, and a Dominican Sister of Adrian. This response, in trust and faith, has led each of you to giving 25, 50 and 60 years to God in living your call as a Dominican woman within our widened and richly blessed Adrian Dominican Community.

Each of you have blessed – and been blessed by  so many people, cultures and places with your individual and communal “yes” these past 25, 50 and 60 years. You have ministered among many peoples and in many countries. In addition to urban and rural ministries in the United States you have let God work in you among peoples in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Kenya, Norway, and Mexico, among others.

You have poured out your love and artistry among children and adults in schools, literacy centers, and universities helping them to grow not only intellectually but also emotionally and spiritually.

You have poured out your love on parishioners and youth seeking to deepen their faith life.

You have poured out your love among those who are suffering physically, emotionally or psychologically.  

You have poured out your love on those who are materially poor, without secure homes, employment and are in search of inner freedom as well.

You have poured out your love among migrants and refugees; among those hungering for God’s justice, welcome, and acceptance.

You have poured out your love in expanding environmental care and deepening a spirituality of creation.

You have poured out your love among your very Sisters, caring for them as a Congregational servant leader and providing administrative support to them.

Let us remember that God is never outdone in generosity and continues to pour out God’s love and presence upon you; whether you are aware of it or not!

Jesus’ reminds us in the Gospel today that whoever welcomes him into their lives, are welcomed by the One who sent him. Therefore we know that God welcomes each of you with open and loving arms – and share the hundredfold with you now and through the year until we can hopefully meet to celebrate together next year.

I want to close with a paraphrase of St. Paul’s prayer to the Philippians:

We give thanks to God every time we think of you: Eneida, Zenaida, Maurine, Pat, Mary, Anita, Maryetta, and June Mary.

We rejoice at the way you have continually promoted the Gospel from the very first day of profession: Mary Ann, Mary Kay, Kathy, Pat, Juliann, Janet, Pat and Betty.

We know that God who began this good work in you will carry it through to completion: Grace, Mary Kay, Helene, Jean Marie, Carleen, Annice and Cathy.

May your love more and more abound in your understanding and experience of God: Joanne, Jamie, Diane, Joann, Ann Rena, Mary Helen and Joan.

May you be found rich in the harvest of justice: Joan, Kathleen, Joanne and Kathleen.

So as we celebrate you today – we remember not only you but all those who have companioned and befriended you along your journey. Whether living or dead, these dear friends still accompany you.

During your Jubilee may you experience God to be as close as your breath. The words from our Adrian Dominican Constitution remind us of the heritage we bear as Dominican women in carrying forth the mission of Jesus to all peoples – and to Earth herself. This we can do joyfully when we are the breath of God.

May your hearts and breath be filled and overflowing with the grace, blessings – and surprises – of living the hundredfold this Jubilee year!


 


Easter Sunday Preaching by Patricia Harvat, OP

Sister Patty Harvat, OPApril 12, 2020

Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-9

It was Easter 2023 – three years had passed since the devasting coronavirus ravaged this world leaving behind children with no parents, friends without friends, spouses and significant others, alone on this planet. Such was the case of Tanya, an aunt to Elizabeth, 7 years old, Charlie, 8 years old and Ruby, 10 years old. Their mother had been a nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, and worked 12-hour shifts with the coronavirus patients when she herself contracted the virus and died. She was a single mom and her sister Tanya had taken in the three children to raise them in the post coronavirus era. Though they were not infected they remained afflicted by the virus. This was their third Easter together and as usual Tanya gathered Elizabeth, Charlie and Ruby on the couch to tell them the Resurrection story. The children so liked hearing it as their mother would read the story from the Bible. But Tanya would make the narrative a real story reading it through the eyes of Mary of Magdala. And so Tanya began…..

It was some 20 years since Mary of Magdala went to the tomb to discover the stone was removed from where her Beloved was laid to rest after a brutal crucifixion. Each year as the spring flowers would begin to nudge their colorful crown heads from the darkened earth, Mary would gather the women in her village to tell them the story of how their God/Jesus was risen from the dead. “I can still see the rough yet sweet touch of a blood-stained sweaty face, leaving its imprint on my heart,” she says. Those distant memories of people, places and life lessons learned in the years I walked, laughed and cried with Jesus and the disciples.

As I arrived at the tomb early in the morning, I said to myself, “Maybe death is not the end. Maybe love goes on and on. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said he would rise on the third day. However, it was just a fleeting thought.” I arrived at the tomb weeping, feeling something deep inside of me was shattered. Longing to hear his voice and experience what once was in my life.

To experience his love again. But the emptiness inside of me matched the emptiness of the tomb. The huge stone was rolled away. Someone took my Beloved’s body. I traveled the hidden and secret passageways of my heart, climbed the rocks and cliffs of my memory. I stood before the dark and empty cave of my own life. That’s when I realized that in looking for my Beloved, my Beloved found me…. Found me in the place I was least likely to look – within myself.

It was the realization of being human, of being alive and being loved. The tomb that once smelled of death and destruction now was a witness to the surprising restoration life, of sweetness, of hope. This was the way the women of the village remembered to remember.

And is this not what we do now? Just like Tanya and the children, who needed to remember what it was like when their mother read them the Easter story.

We today gather to tell the story to one another.

  • It doesn’t take away the pain or vulnerability we experience in this life.
  • It doesn’t take away the loss of a young mother.
  • But it does let us say I love you while still walking through the vale of tears and valley of death.

Because we believe. We believe in a God who tells us, “We need to love bigger and care bigger,” as the one of the caretakers said as she took a break between her shifts as the hospital.

We believe in a God who, as Martin Sheen, the actor, once said, “God dwells where we would least likely look, within the depths of our own being, our own shallowness, our own darkness, our own humanity.”

The shadows of terror in this life will break forth into beauty. The awful beauty of so many stories…stories like that of Laura whose mother died on one floor of the hospital and her father died on the floor above her mother within hours of each other. “I want to remember their love story,” she said.

Today, we need to remember our love story with our resurrected God and with one another.
Because we do believe 
and we place all our hope each day
that the burial cloths are laid aside
knowing that love does go on and on.




 

LINKS

word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page

Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters



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