Praedicare is a blog about the many ways Dominicans preach with their lives, written by Adrian Dominican Sister Mary Jones, OP, who serves as the Congregation’s Promoter of Preaching. Please click the “Subscribe” button on the right column if you would like to receive it by email.
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
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In sincerity and solidarity,
The Metanoia Mission Group
Mary Jones, OP
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