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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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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