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.

 


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.



Easter Vigil Preaching by Patricia Siemen, OP April 11, 2020

Sister Patricia Siemen, OPApril 11, 2020

Genesis 1:1-5
Baruch 3:14-15; 38-14:1-2
Dialogues of St. Catherine, Chapter 11 
Jeremiah 29:11-15
Romans 6:3-4
Matthew 28:1-30
The Fawn by Mary Oliver

My dear Sisters, friends and loved ones, on behalf of the members of the Leadership Council gathered here tonight, I wish you a blessed Easter during this most unusual and transformative time!

The readings from our prayer service tonight remind us to “Awake; be not afraid. The One you seek is not here. Go and tell the other disciples, that Jesus goes before you into Galilee. It is there that you will find him.”

Despite Matthew’s directive, we cannot actually “go” to Galilee these days. Indeed, we cannot go anywhere. Instead, we remain in place as an Easter people. Our going to “Galilee” is one of being confined to our rooms, apartments, houses. We find Jesus in our closest neighbor; the persons bringing meals and mail to our rooms; the technology folks who help us connect via livestream with others. Our going into Galilee is our staying in place, distancing ourselves for the sake of protecting ourselves, and others, and not burdening an already overstretched health care system. Our witnessing to the good news is expressed through our prayer and experience of community; our connection to the wider world comes through the amazing gifts of internet and web streaming. This year we go into Galilee through technology rather than on foot or by car.

Matthew’s Gospel this Easter vigil tells us that Jesus is not here. He is not where we expected: he is no longer in the tomb, nor in our emptied chapels and churches. The Risen One goes before us disguised in many forms and faces. We find him in the Galilees where health care workers, who are severely stressed and endangered, are found. He is among those bringing comfort, care and supplies to those suffering from the Covid-19 virus. He is found among the scientific researchers and those who are coordinating medical and financial relief for those in dire need. He is found in the fields where farmworkers are picking tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce so grocery stores can provide healthy food. He is found among the truck drivers bringing needed food and medical supplies to population centers around the world.

The Risen One is found in the Galilees of our homes, apartments, hospitals, and nursing homes where people are caring for one another. The Risen One is found among the artists, poets and musicians who find ways to soothe our hearts and feed our souls. And, the Risen One is found in the quiet simplicity of our hearts; hearts that long to know and cling to Holy Mystery, to Eternal Truth.

The One whom the two Marys seek at the tomb is not there. The stone in front of the tomb is pushed aside; the tomb is empty. As they leave dismayed and confused, Jesus appears to them. He tells them “Do not be afraid. Tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee where they will find me.”

It is in the many Galilees of today’s world, not hiding in a tomb, that we will meet the disgraced one; the one who overcomes death. The Risen One, through the friendship and accompaniment of others, rolls back the boulders that keep us hidden in the tombs of our lives. The stones that once weighed us down and blocked us from inner freedom are removed. The stones that blind us to the sea-change in consciousness needed in order for us to love each other and to heal Earth – these stones are being been rolled away. Covid-19 has helped us to see anew what is important. Becoming a beloved community, a global community united in one mind and heart, as Jesus prayed during his final supper with his friends, is what is important as we go towards the Galilees in our lives.

Today we move as an Easter people into the midst of a pandemic that is causing global suffering, death and grieving. We place our hope in the Risen One, in the deep sea of Eternal Truth. As we heard tonight, Catherine of Siena prays, “You, oh eternal Truth, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek; …the Soul continually hungers after You. Clothe me with You, Oh Eternal Truth.”

As a beloved community we swim and live in the deep sea of God who embraces and sustains us. We head towards Galilee with hope and expectation, showing everyone along the way, by our acts of compassion and mercy, that the Spirit of God indeed lives among us. Indeed, the whole Earth is our Galilee; all of creation is the Body of Christ; this is where we find the Risen One.

Ilia Delio tells us, “Every act done in love gives glory to God: a pause of thanksgiving, a laugh, a gaze at the sun, or just raising a toast to your friends on your Zoom screen. The Good news? He is not here! Christ is everywhere and Love will make us whole." Let us head towards Galilee.

 


Good Friday Preaching by Elise D. García, OP 

Sister Elise Garcia, OPApril 10, 2020

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1 – 19:42


And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

We have reached the barren hour in the Passion of Christ. The cross – a crucible of suffering and love – is laid bare. Like the three Marys, we stand at its foot, barely able to absorb the horror of its brutality – and seeming finality.

As we enter our fourth week of sheltering in place, our entire world has become a crucible of suffering and love. More than a million people around the globe have contracted the coronavirus, roughly half of those in the United States. The death toll has reached 100,000 worldwide, including many women and men who contracted the virus as they provided loving care to sick patients.

While the numbers are numbing, the anguish is intimate:

A beloved grandfather dying alone in a hospital. A nurse staying away from home to protect her children. An undocumented migrant fearful of seeking needed medical attention. A Latina with diabetes and her African-American friend who suffers from hypertension, among the many people of color disproportionately impacted by the virus – as the pandemic exploits the vulnerabilities wrought by epidemics of racism.

This barren hour will extend for days to come. Bodies are being piled in freezer trucks, too many to lay in a tomb.

Like the three Marys, we stand at the foot of the cross, barely able to absorb the horror of this global crucible of suffering and love.

Like the three Marys, we remain, accompanying in our hearts and prayer the crucified ones and all those who daily risk their lives, providing healthcare, food, sanitation and other essential services to us all.

And like the three Marys, may we rise in the fullness of time to anoint the bodies and tend to the new life that will emerge. A new life where we are able – perhaps as never before – to preach that ancient truth: We are all One body, held in Divine Love.

“We are caught…” Dr. Martin Luther King wrote years ago from a jail in Birmingham: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

In this epic crucible of suffering and loss, may we each enter into a new depth dimension, feeling ourselves cloaked in the single garment of the whole Earth community – and held in the saving embrace of Love incarnate.

 


Holy Thursday Preaching by Frances Nadolny, OP 

Sister Fran Nadolny, OPApril 9, 2020

Exodus 12:1-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15


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.

 


Palm Sunday Preaching by Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP

Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, OPApril 5, 2020

Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
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.



Please enjoy this video from Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP, who recently interviewed Sister Janice Brown, OP, about study — one of the four pillars of Dominican life.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fz1umxCqQo


Image purchased from Shutterstock / PinataAt this time of year, many cultures have unique traditions that help them to celebrate the meaning of Jesus’ birth. One such tradition in Latin American countries and among the Hispanic culture in the United States is the Posada.

Posadas are a novena procession and drama, re-enacting the story of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem. The word posada means shelter. 

The tradition originated in Spain and was brought by the Spanish missionaries to help teach the story of Jesus’ birth. Celebrated from December 16 through Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), the procession is led by persons dressed as Mary and Joseph, accompanied by others who may be dressed as angels and shepherds. The participants sing the traditional song, asking for shelter, in front of a number of houses. The verses go back and forth, with the people in the procession asking for permission to enter and the people in the home refusing admission. The procession goes from house to house until a selected family opens their door to Mary and Joseph. The people in the procession enter the welcoming house, where the whole group prays, sings traditional songs, and tell part of the nativity story.

Sister Kitty Bethea, OP
Adrian, Michigan

 

Image purchased from Shutterstock


Sister Patricia Harvat, OP, offers a reflection (in English and Spanish) on Our Lady of Guadalupe in the latest Praedicare video by Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weh_F33bnq8


Sister Elise García, OP, offers an Advent reflection in the latest Praedicare video by Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN0IEZ7lAq0



 

LINKS

word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page

Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters



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