Praedicare is a blog about the many ways Dominicans preach with their lives, coordinated by Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP, who serves as the Coordinator of Online Preaching for the Congregation. In addition to written blogs, we will be using a multi-media approach to preaching.
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By Sister Pat Benson, OP
Oh God, Creator of the Universe,
You who energized the flowing forth of all that we know,
Giver of the waters of life,
hear the silent cry of your water through this voice.
Thank you for the process of evolution that emerged water on Earth.
Thank you for the emergence of life in the waters and its crawling onto land.
Thank you for emerging human consciousness and creativity.
Thank you for millennia of mutually enhancing relationship
with the rest of creation, our sister and brother creatures.
Now, we, your people, use our intelligence creatively but often blindly.
We cause all bodies of water to cry out in anguish.
We deprive people and animals of clean life-giving water.
Because of our disconnected lifestyle we are complicit in this agony.
Aquifers, underground seas of pure water,
once deep and full, now suffering from human plunder,
Their empty voices cry out due to our technological expertise.
Rivers and the tumbling streams that feed them,
flowing clean and sparkling clear for eons,
carving incredibly deep gorges or meandering in meadows,
bring hydration to all creatures living near.
Rivers now drained for human use along the way,
raise their dry voice before they reach the sea.
Lakes, expanses of water shimmering in the sun,
Frozen in the cold, sooth the spirit in a gaze.
Watching civilization grow cities on their shores,
and providing millions with water,
lakes now raise their crusty voices
polluted with chemicals, drugs, and waste debris.
Lakes, our agricultural endeavors drinking their water for growth,
pay the price of our unthinking practices
as excess fertilizer and pathogens flow back.
Their bountiful capacity overdrawn for our wants,
lakes speak with cracked voices from their dry beds,
a fraction of their former selves.
Glaciers, shimmering sheer cliffs of blue-white ice, frozen for centuries,
(with ice caps, 98% of Earth’s fresh water)
now victims of anthropogenic global warming, calve or melt.
Their voices roar as they crack and fall, or slip silently into oblivion.
Seas, salty water encircling the globe,
house abundant ecosystems of life.
Seas suffer as human beings deplete them of their bounty,
Employ practices that harm their inhabitants,
And pollute their waters with waste.
Their rolling cry brushes all shores.
Creator God, help us!
Help your human children emerge into new awareness
of our responsibility for our “home”.
Foster in us the “reverence for all” that Jesus modeled.
Help us to raise our voices to protect our waters,
and all who depend on them, especially those who are poor,
for their own sake and for future generations.
You are the Source of all that is.
Your creative Spirit is ever-present with us, desiring to lead and guide us.
Help us open our hearts and minds to your invitations
always trusting that You will show us the way.
By Sister Susie Kresse, OP
O my soul, I cry unto God,
Absent from my being.
Grieve for the violence
And suffering of the world
Affecting so many marginalized
And hurting people.
O absent God,
Show your mercy and compassion.
Provide shelter for the homeless,
Food for the hungry,
Health for the sick,
Peace for the dying.
Show us ways to provide for those in need.
Help our government:
Congress and Supreme Court.
Help President Trump be open to your grace;
Give him humility and appreciation for the gifts of others.
Preserve us from fear and anxiety….
Let us see your face.
By Sister Marilyn Barnett, OP
Polar caps that vanish and melt,
Great oceans rise and creep.
African cracked and barren lands,
Our golf links green and neat.
Global warming cynics dismiss,
Reality’s urgent prayer
Religious leaders weep and mourn
their unoccupied churches bare.
Racial skirmishes erupt and grow
Reasonable dialogue lost.
Schisms deepen, lies, deceit
hope wanes at great cost.
Darken prison bars conceal
the young and old who wait
Judicial systems clogged with tape,
appeals that decide their fate.
Why oh God are you in hiding?
Why can’t we see your face?
When will your justice rule and guide
over our human race.
You are our hope in times of trouble
You, the savior of all.
Give us the strength to trust in you
When all else seems to fall.
Why I Weep: A Lament
Election Day 2016
By Sister Kathryn Cliatt, OP
The people have spoken
and their words are filled with venom and hate.
The people have spoken
and neighbors tremble in their homes
in fear of being driven from the land.
The people have spoken
and lovers of earth
are terrified that treasures of the “Beautiful Blue Planet”
will be sold to the highest bidder.
The people have spoken
and the poor and vulnerable
anticipate the loss of access to health care
are crippled by the certainty of being trapped in slums of poverty
dread friends and loved ones being needlessly murdered in the streets.
The people have spoken
and women experience the oppression of the glass ceiling being lowered
of all claims to equality being lost,
of being owned again.
The people have spoken
and African Americans reel from flashbacks of history
of physical, mental and spiritual abuse
of life having no value
My God, my God, how can you forgive us?
Our loving God waits patiently for us to turn our hearts and minds to the Divine loving touch of healing, transforming – so that
our hatred becomes love
our vengeance becomes forgiveness
our enemy becomes our friend
our Earth becomes our Mother
all creatures become our brothers/sisters of creation.
Our God will never abandon us.
Lent is a time in the church calendar where we are called to take time to look into our souls, into our hearts and find opportunities to deepen our relationship with God. During this Lenten season several of our Sisters use the age-old form of lamentation, offering their thoughts, feelings, and hopes for our world. So come to this page each Wednesday during the Lenten season to experience the wonderful gift of preaching through lamentation. If you feel called to add your words to theirs you may send your offering to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Sister Mary Jones, OP
Why I Grieve
The first weekend of November, 10 friends (in what we call a Mission Group) met. During the time of our deep personal sharing we discovered that each of us was profoundly sad because of the state of our country and our world.
At each of our meetings we set aside time to discuss an article or book that we have been studying. At this meeting we were talking about Walter Brueggemann’s book, Reality, Grief, Hope (Walter Brueggemann, Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014). We all have been taught and try to practice being positive, looking for the good in others and situations, not dwelling on negatives. But at this time we all confessed how sad we were and how helpless we felt. Walter Brueggemann helped us to make sense of this and gave us direction how to recognize and put to good use this sadness, this grief.
Brueggemann believes that the crisis of 9/11 amounted to the same kind of defining dislocation in our society as did the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. Further, “that U.S. society is deeply committed, as was ancient Israel to an ideology of exceptionalism” and that “we are a country in denial and the purpose of this denial is to maintain old privilege and entitlement and to fend off the reality of the world.” As a people we are in denial that the American Dream no longer is available to everyone who would earnestly pursue it. We are in denial that our planet can no longer support our lifestyle and military budget. Brueggemann says, “The prophetic task, amid a culture of denial, is to embrace, model, and practice grief, in order that the real losses in our lives can be acknowledged.”
These last words struck us profoundly and we felt impelled to respond in some way. What we have chosen to do is to write and to invite others to write lamentations that reflect our pain and sadness. Perhaps our words will strike a note in you and will help you with your grief. If so, we invite you to write a lamentation and email it to email@example.com.
In sincerity and solidarity,
The Metanoia Mission Group
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!
Sister Heather Stiverson came to the Dominican Literacy Center in Detroit as a volunteer and soon became an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor with students from Bangladesh and Yemen. The men had lost their jobs because of changes in the company and needed to aim toward new employment. Because their facility with the English language was limited, Sister Heather formed a class that meets regularly for reading comprehension, grammar, and conversation.
Sister Heather also serves as student success assistant. She enjoys contact with new students and tutors as she strives to match them with desired times and learning goals. Often a student works, attends to family members or has difficulty with transportation. “The bus,” she says, “may take an hour, and in the winter when it’s dark, this can be a problem.” Many tutors are available in the evenings, but students may not want to come at that time. “Matching student times and needs for reading, math, or both with tutor schedules can take several phone calls and some negotiation,” says Sister Heather.
God works in surprising ways! As her ministry unfolded Sister Heather trusted the skills she learned through experience in education and business. This challenge has taken her beyond her comfort zone into a ministry that serves others and is a source of unexpected delight.
Article and photos by Sue Schreiber, OP
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.
Where do Dominicans preach? Where don’t they preach!
This is the anthem of the Order of Preachers, the Dominican Order founded by Dominic de Guzman over 800 years ago. In this space, we the Adrian Dominican Promoter of Preaching team will share how our Sisters, Associates, and companions on the journey are preaching with their lives. So check out this space for the latest preaching news!
The week of August 26 saw the arrival of the new students to the Adrian campus of Siena Heights University. Sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Siena Heights welcomed more than 300 freshmen to campus. Among the many welcoming activities was the trip to our Adrian Dominican Motherhouse campus next door.
It began with a little history given by yours truly, Sister Mary Jones, OP, sharing the connection of the University’s mission with the mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and an explanation of the Order of Preachers. The students were then organized into six groups of 50 and went off to rotate among six stations across the Motherhouse campus, each featuring a different form of preaching.
The students learned about the stained glass windows, mosaic and the history of Holy Rosary and St. Dominic Chapels; the importance of care for Earth at our Permaculture site; peace and justice; and the unique experience of studying at a Dominican University. They also took time out to play bingo with the Sisters at the Dominican Life Center, and met some of our Sisters who preach through the arts.
This orientation allowed the students to get to know the Motherhouse campus and to meet some of the Sisters. Students commented on the beauty of the campus, especially the chapels, wondered at the many books written by the Sisters, and expressed their desire to return to the Motherhouse.
The Sisters, too, enjoyed the experience. “These students were a delight,” one Sister said. “I’d be happy to participate in this event again.”
So where do Dominicans preach? In the classroom, with music, with clay, and with a pen – in short, everywhere! ...
Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP
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