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.
Please click the “Subscribe” button on the right column if you would like to receive these blogs by email.
At 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
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.
Sister Elise García, OP, offers an Advent reflection in the latest Praedicare video by Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP.
Please enjoy this video from Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP, who recently interviewed Sister Mary Jones, OP, about the Dominican Pillar of Study.
If you search the Internet for Marian feast days, you will find a calendar celebrating Mary every day of the year. How can a woman whose words were so sparsely captured in the New Testament be so spectacularly honored? I suggest three endearing qualities: faithful humility, simple obedience, and complete trust. Mary was a young girl of 13 when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. With faithful humility, simple obedience and complete trust in the divine, she gave her fiat to be the Mother of our Lord. She was a faithful Jewish girl who had learned her faith well, she was obedient to the inclinations of the spiritual, and obedient to her God. From her haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth to the birth of her Son, to the flight into Egypt and to the walk down Calvary, she remained what she always was: faithfully humble, simply obedient, and completely trusting in God’s divine plan. We would be well served to model ourselves after her.
The Vatican has approved 16 Marian apparitions as authentic; thousands more are under consideration. Mary’s urgent message is nearly always the same: pray (the rosary), fast, and do penance, as she can no longer hold back the arm of her Son.
A renewed return to the rosary or even the Hail Mary will remind us that it is Mary, our Mother and God’s Mother, who is praying for us. I can’t imagine a better prayer warrior “now and at the hour of our death."
Please enjoy this video from Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP, who recently interviewed Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, about St. Dominic and why he is important to her personally and to the Dominican Order.
Hello, I am Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP, and I am delighted to be coordinating the Praedicare blog. I am inviting Sisters and Associates to write a short reflection or record a video reflection, and possibly do a podcast on topics related to the liturgical year, Dominican charism, or current concerns. I hope that the items chosen will enliven, challenge, and possibly transform one’s understanding of faith and action.
For more information, contact me at email@example.com.
Please enjoy the following reflection from Sister Patricia McDonald, OP.
The Intersection of Scripture and Study
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, of God.
2 Timothy 3:16
Scripture gives rise to new thinking. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 implies … we read, study, ponder, reflect and pray about the deeper meaning of words, thoughts, message, gestures, implications, and corresponding actions.
We are challenged to make the Scriptural messages come alive! We reflect on our faith and think about what this means personally, professionally, societally, and realistically.
A definition of faith that I reflect upon:
FAITH: Finding Alternative Insight Through Hope (SIFT, McDonald, www.trafford.com, 2004)
In this definition I focus on hope. How do we help others to see, believe, and participate in human togetherness when hopelessness is prevalent in their reality?
What must we do to equalize opportunities for all persons? Scriptures command that we construct acts, actions, rules, regulations, and laws for the betterment of all humanity. By engaging in the art form of study we go to the basics of life for all persons and impart knowledge so as to assist in the creation of equal opportunity for all.
Scripture is designed, taught, and spread to internalize the messages so all have opportunity for growth and development. Through educating others by thought, word, deed, and action we come to new awakenings to make the sacred words come alive. Scripture is designed to be transformative in life, living, and outcome.
STOP, LOOK, LISTEN! “Love God, love your neighbor.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. TAG, you’re it!
Contemplate and give to others the fruits of your contemplation!
Sister Patricia McDonald, OP
(Jeremiah 31:1-7; Responsorial: Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12AB, 13; Matthew 15:21-28)
Today’s readings are fitting as we celebrate the Feast of our Joyful Friar, St. Dominic because they capture both his spirit and his mission.
The first reading calls us to rejoice with festive tambourines and dancing as we celebrate God’s promise of restoration of the people of Israel and, by extension, of the people of Earth today. We can find much darkness and many reasons for concern, but we are called to trust in the God who keeps promises and who will – with our help – restore the fortunes of the people. Dominic dealt with a difficult ministry and powerful heresies, but he remained joyful as he proclaimed the truth of God’s love. We, too, must deal with the challenges of our times and, with the joy of Dominic, dispel the heresies, proclaiming God’s love.
The Gospel reminds us that we are also called to preach through our actions, by bringing healing to the people we encounter. Jesus seems reluctant to cast the demon from the Canaanite woman’s daughter, but the mother gently but cleverly helped him to see that she, too, was worthy of at least the scraps of healing. As Dominicans, we are called to extend healing and compassion to people on the margins – whether they’re immigrants seeking safety in the United States or local people who suffer from poverty or rejection. Let us, like Jesus and like Dominic, sow compassion and service to all who are in need.
Sister Barbara Kelley, OP
P.S. Stay tuned! We will be releasing reflections on St. Dominic throughout the month of August.
As my final installment of the Praedicare, I share this offering from Sister Suzanne Schreiber, OP one of our Sister artists who is the Coordinator of the recently reopened INAI: A Space Apart, a place adjacent to Weber Center for quiet and meditation, which includes an art gallery. It has been my pleasure to serve as the Preaching Promoter for the last two-and-a-half years and I look forward to seeing where our preaching will take us in the future.
Sister Mary Jones, OP
Not all preaching has words. At the INAI art gallery in Adrian, artists preach with paintings, photographs, prints, digital art, ceramics, sculpture, weavings, and fabric art. Sisters, Associates, and artists from southeast Michigan and beyond are invited to show their work; exhibits change every four months.
In her quilting and weaving Sister Nancyann Turner, OP, brings together many pieces and many threads. “I have enjoyed creating in various media,” Nancyann said, “but working with fiber and cloth seems to be my home. Experience with both processes speak to my soul of integration and creation, unity out of diversity.”
Gerene Starratt, an Adrian Dominican Associate, exhibited her mini-quilt made of patch pieces. “The diversity of fabric,” she says, “which shows through the cathedral window pattern, embodies the Dominican Enactment, ‘… rooted in the joy of the Gospel, we will embrace and nurture our rich diversity…’ ”
For Sister Janice Holkup, OP, “being an artist is a way of seeing and being in the world. It’s about perception, a way of knowing, and then giving expression to what is perceived.” Art, she says, “often makes visible the invisible realities of our lives. In and through images we can know and grasp the meaning of experiences that might otherwise be missed.” Sister Janice works in mixed media and photography.
As part of the Dominican contemplative tradition, INAI offers a silence and quiet feel within the various spaces: the reading room, meditation space, and art gallery. Visitors come from near and far seeking a time of stillness, away from the busyness and noise of everyday life.
INAI: A Space Apart is part of Weber Retreat and Conference Center.
The Vision of INAI
This space is dedicated to the creative spirit of Sisters Barbara Chenicek, OP, and Rita Schiltz, OP, who, for 43 years, on this site created “sacred space,” designing chapels and churches that invited contemplation, reflection, and response to the presence of the Spirit in today’s world.
History of INAI
For more than 40 years INAI has stood as a center for exploration, for contemplation, for the experience of the sacred. In 1973, INAI opened eyes to the power of sacred space, the clarity of light, and the unanticipated beauty of nature.
In the words of its founders, Sisters Barbara and Rita:
INAI attempts to illuminate, to bring light, to be a quiet but real testimony to the presence of realities beyond our sight, to be a place where our restlessness can, for a moment, come to rest.
INAI attempts to heal and restore our capacity for immediate personal experience and reawaken the reflective possibilities inherent within us: for hope, for meaning, for God.
In 2018, INAI continues with renewed vitality, embodying the original mission of offering a sacred space for reflection, meditation, and art.
Sister Suzanne Schreiber, OP
Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, OP, sits second from left.
One of the greatest gifts our Sisters who have “retired” from active ministry is the vital work of what we call the ministry of “Prayer and Presence.” Sisters devote time to pray for the needs of the world and specific requests that come from the Office of Development, friends, family, former colleagues, and even complete strangers. Many times, Sisters are asked to share their wisdom from many years of service and leadership with those who are entering into leadership, learning their faith, or who may be struggling. Sometimes people just want to be in the presence of our Sisters.
One of our Sisters, Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, is one of many Sisters who minister in prayer and presence. She has been an Adrian Dominican Sister for 73 years, with more than 20 years as President of Barry University in Florida, and many years of serving in Congregation leadership. Sister Jeanne is often asked to share her wisdom on mission, leadership, faith, and life. People at Siena Heights University enjoy taking advantage of Sister Jeanne’s many visits to Michigan. Referred to as “Fireside chats with Sister Jeanne,” she takes time to visit with different departments at Siena Heights University, helping them recognize how each person is called to live the university’s mission in their own unique way.
The transition to a ministry of prayer and presence is sometimes a challenge for our very active Sisters; however, the gift of this ministry is beyond measure, and for those of us on the receiving end, we can only say, “thank you.”
Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP
Subscribe for Updates
word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page