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Winter 2012

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Vol. 12, No. 1

Deepening Renewal B Y S ISTER K ATHLYN M ULCAHY, OP “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE • Falling Upward • Going Green At The Motherhouse • Unfolding In God’s Time

ive hundred years ago the first Dominicans came to the Americas, landing on the island of La Española (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Arriving just 18 years after Christopher Columbus, they came upon the “Conquest of the Indies” already in its devastating and destructive full swing. True to their Dominican heritage as contemplative preachers, they spent much of that first year in their adopted homeland contemplating the horrifying reality unfolding around them. Margaret Wheatley writes, “Contemplation happens anytime we get a glimpse of the truth.”1 The long, loving look, filtered through the contemplative eyes, ears, hands and hearts of those first Dominicans, gave them more than just a glimpse of the truth of the dignity and interdependence of all people. It filled them with passion and prophetic courage to speak out and challenge racist attitudes and practices already becoming institutionalized in the Conquest. According to Father Brian Pierce, “Put quite simply, those first Dominicans opened their eyes and their

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ears; they saw and they listened, they touched and they were touched – by the Word which is life. They were vulnerable enough to be transformed by the suffering and violence being inflicted on the island’s indigenous peoples.”2 Committed to preaching the gospel, the Dominicans chose to testify to what they were seeing, hearing and touching with their hands. Their testimony took the concrete form of communal preaching. Signed by the entire community and spoken by one member, Antonio de Montesinos, OP, the message was based on the prophetic preaching of John the Baptist: I am the voice of Christ crying out in the desert of this island… With what right and by which justice do you hold these Indians in such horrible servitude? ... Are these not human beings? ... Are you not obliged to love them as yourselves? Do you not understand this? Do you not feel this? 3 Five hundred years later, the Springfield Dominican Anti-Racism Team (SDART) continues to study and contemplate the reality of racial injustice evident in the systemic power that privileges a select group (whites) over other groups (persons of color). Our communal preaching today involves on-going efforts to live into a new Continued on page 4

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Just WORDS/Winter 2012

CONTEXT

Mission Statement: Called by God into right relationship with all creation

The Context

and graced by Dominican life and mission, we compassionately preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dear Readers, Winter teaches us about loss leading to growth, invites us to embrace darkness that yearns for light, challenges us to go deeper, reclaim balance, renew perspective. How simply, yet profoundly the authors of this issue of Just WORDS invite us into “deepening” within all aspects of right relationship. We go deeper, says Sister Kathlyn Mulcahy, when we embrace the dignity and interdependence of all people, a stance which requires a mutual accountability to make our preaching credible. We go deeper, says Sister Regina Marie Bernet, when we allow creative gifts within each of us to bring light to the dark points we all face in some way, and in a respectful exchange begin to forgive and move toward healing and insight. We go deeper, says Sister Linda Hayes, when we take seriously the moral imperative we proclaim to do our part locally to restore wholeness to creation globally. We go deeper, say Sister Kathleen Gallagher and Sister Mary Brendan Gibbons, when we reflect on the two halves of life from the viewpoint of needed balance and renewed perspective. We go deeper, says Sister Judine Hilbing, as Sisters and Associates open hearts and homes to share a common experience of Dominican life and mission with those we host and mentor from Dominican Volunteers USA. We go deeper, says Sister Judith Anne Haase, as we pursue a comprehensive retirement plan which calls us to renewed stewardship of all resources with which we are blessed. We go deeper, says Sister Maristella Dunlavy, as we celebrate twenty years of partnering in our preaching mission with dedicated Associates. We go deeper, says Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, as we honor the service and preaching of one with whom we minister. More than a season of dormancy, winter is a time of endings leading to new beginnings. As Just WORDS celebrates a ten year anniversary, Sister Megan Farrelly announces a new, future look. Be assured that one thing will not change—our passion as Dominicans to speak and to be “just words” on behalf of all creation. Welcome to a new year of “deepening”!

Sister Kathleen Cour, OP Sister Kathleen Cour serves on the Leadership team for the Springfield Dominicans.

Just WORDS Sharing the life, mission, and ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. Published four times a year. Volume 12, Number 1 Dominican Sisters of Springfield Sacred Heart Convent 1237 W. Monroe Street Springfield, IL 62704 Phone: 217.787.0481 FAX: 217.787.8169 www.springfieldop.org For inquiries about this publication: Dawn Boyer, Director of Communications dboyer@spdom.org For inquiries about vocations: Sister Teresa Marron, OP srteresa@spdom.org For inquiries about the Associate program: Sister Paul Mary Janssens, OP spmary@spdom.org EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS: Sister Barbara Blesse Dawn Boyer Sister Maristella Dunlavy Sister Megan Farrelly Barbara Fuhrwerk Sister Kathleeen Gallagher Sister Judine Hilbing Sister Beverly Jeanne Howe Sister Linda Sue Noe Sister Janet Pfile Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel Sister Catherine Stewart Sister Elizabeth Wrenn


ASSOCIATE NEWS

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

ASSOCIATE NEWS

Growing as One B Y S ISTER M ARISTELLA D UNLAVY, OP tudy is one of the four pillars of Dominican Life. It is an ongoing process that permeates the daily lives of Friars, Nuns, Sisters, Laity and Associates. Study enhances and strengthens the basics of spirituality and theology. It continues to give life to the many facets of religious and spiritual growth. The Springfield Dominican Associate Program came into being twenty years ago. There are now over 330 men and women who are part of our congregation’s Dominican Associate Program and another 26 in formation. The Associates strengthen their commitment to us by doing extraordinary things in an ordinary way. All of them make their daily relationships with others part of their ministry to know and love God better. Sister Paul Mary Janssens, OP, Director of the Dominican Associate Program has been an educator for what seems like forever. As a dedicated teacher and school administrator, she was always looking for ways to improve programs and be on the cutting edge. She has not changed! As Director of the Springfield Dominican Associate Program, she continues to search out ways to improve the program and is always open to new ideas. Recently, Sister Paul Mary created a resource book for the Associates that zeroes in on their ongoing formation. She has included bibliographies of spiritual reading, CD and DVD presentations and websites that help individuals to deepen their relationship with God and one another. These resources have become a springboard for cluster meetings and are getting rave reviews. With such a wealth of material to investigate, some of the clusters are meeting monthly to study and discuss a variety of topics and issues. Those who are not meeting monthly are trying to gather at least four times each year. Their time together is reaping great benefits. They are bonding in wonderful ways as they support one another in their study and growth and encourage others to join them as Associates. If you are interested in learning more about the Springfield Dominican Associate Program, contact Sister Paul Mary Janssens at 217-787-0481 or spmjanssens@spdom.org

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Sister Maristella Dunlavy, OP is head Sacristan at the Motherhouse and Director of the Dominican Prayer Card ministry.

Dominican Associates Ann Woods (left) and Beth Young (right) and Sister Paul Mary Janssens, OP (center)

Dominican Associates Gregorio Bustos (left) and Janette Bustos (right) with Sister Doris Taylor, OP (center)

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DEEPENING RENEWAL

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

Continued from page 1

Developing relationships of accountability and the shared power that it requires is imperative to speaking the truth of the Gospel communally with credibility.

vision of equality, respect and mutuality named in the Vision Statement developed by the fledgling SDART team in 2005: We, the Dominican Sisters of

relationships. We recognize that “since the time of first contact, systems and institutions in our country were created by Europeans and European Americans and structured legally and intentionally

Sister Mary Jean Traeger, OP and Leroy Jordan are members of SDART

Springfield, Illinois, are called by God to live and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a church and world suffering from the sin of racism. As an anti-racist institution we are accountable to people of color in mutual relationships based on respect, equality and justice. Together we examine and redefine all aspects of our life, mission and ministry to incorporate and witness antiracism. We commit, as a publicly identified anti-racist congregation, to work toward an inclusive and anti-racist church and world. Becoming an anti-racist institution and working toward an anti-racist church and world is an on-going challenge, and one that we know we cannot accomplish alone. The prophetic force of our Dominican preaching today, as in the past, is rooted in our communal witness. Preaching to a world suffering from the sin of racism, a world of which we are deeply a part, calls us to mutual, transparent and accountable

to serve the white society in a superior way. Institutional racism is the resulting effect of structures created to function in a way that is not accountable to people of color. Dismantling racism is a process of developing and institutionalizing accountability to people of color. It involves building structures of authority and accountability within institutions that have never been there before.�4 Flowing from our commitment to use our energy and resources to promote relationships based on the Gospel values of respect and mutuality,5 many Sisters and members of the SDART Team gathered recently for a day to deepen our shared understanding of how to live out accountable relationships with people of color. Accountability requires honest and transparent communication and openness to critique; it calls for sharing with others the power to have a say in how something is done; it gives another the right and permission to call us to task for what we say we are going to do.


DEEPENING RENEWAL

Such accountability is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching in the preferential option for the poor and most vulnerable, and in the right to participation. Structures of accountability are necessary in relation to people, resources and values as well as in regard to our decisions and actions. Developing relationships of accountability and the shared power that it requires is imperative to speaking the truth of the Gospel communally with credibility. It will require asking ourselves—and allowing others to ask us— the difficult questions that get to the root of the power dynamics at work in our institutions and our relationships: In what ways do we, individually and collectively, perpetuate systemic racism or close our eyes to it in the institutions of which we are a part? How do we see white privilege and power at work among us and around us, and what are we doing about it? How do we engage in the necessary communal study and analysis of our reality to recognize signs of the hierarchical/domination model that perpetuates racism? And how do we support one another in speaking the

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

truth to power? Even as we recognize the destructive power of systemic racism to everyone—both to people of color and to whites—changing the familiar power structures so deeply embedded in us culturally requires vulnerability and trust. Let us take encouragement from the words of Harlon Dalton: The very process of racial engagement puts us all on the same plane. When we are open and honest with each other; when we abandon our hiding places, take risks, and own up to our own self-interest; when we place on the table our assumptions, fears, trepidations, and secret desires, by that very act we are connecting with one another as equals.6

SDART member Adelaide Akuoko (left) with Sister Maxine Riker, OP (right)

Sister Kathlyn Mulcahy, OP serves on the Leadership Team for the Springfield Dominicans.

REFERENCES 1

Wheatley, Margaret. “The True Professional.” www.margaretwheatley.com/writing.html. Web. 2012. http://www.margaretwheatley.com/writing.html. 2

Seeing, Touching and Speaking the Truth: The First Dominicans in the Americas. Domlife.org. Brian Pierce, OP. Web. www.domlife.org/2011Stories/files/anniv_brian_pierce.pdf.

3

Ibid.

4

Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. Crossroads Ministry Anti-Racism Workshop Manual. Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. Print.

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Ordinations of the General Chapter of 2009, Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois. Print.

Dalton, Harlon. Print. Rpt. in “And Don’t Call Me a Racist!” A Treasury of Quotes on the Past, Present and Future of the Color Line in America. Selected and arranged by Ella Mazel. Lexington, MA: Argonaut Press, 1998. 135.

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BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY

Falling Upward B Y S ISTER K ATHLEEN G ALLAGHER , OP & S ISTER M ARY B RENDAN G IBBONS , OP ister Kathleen Gallagher and Sister Mary Brendan Gibbons recently read the book Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Father Richard Rohr, OFM. In the book, Father Rohr posits that failure and loss of control lead to spiritual growth. To explain this idea, he divides the human experience into two parts. In the first half of life, he says most people are preoccupied with autonomy and achievement and their ideas are fairly rigid and self-serving. In the second half of life, however, mistakes and losses soften people in a way and cause them to examine themselves and to re-orient themselves toward others. Sister Kathleen asked Sister Mary Brendan to share some of her responses to the book. “What about the second half of life, as described by Father Rohr, is especially meaningful to you?” Sister Kathleen asked. “For me personally,” Sister Mary Brendan responded, “the diminishing physical abilities, the change in type of active ministry, and awareness of my own mortality after the loss of my parents, two of my siblings, friends and having to witness our family home being sold, makes me aware that the second half is the ground on which I stand.” “Since we don’t know at what chronological age ‘the second half ’ begins,” Sister Mary Brendan continued, “everyone needs the honesty, open mindedness, and the desire to learn how to use the past in order to be what

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Sister Kathleen Gallagher, OP and Sister Mary Brendan Gibbons, OP share a love for reading and discussing books.

we are called to be. The first half of life is spent discovering ‘Who Am I ?’ The problems of exploring that and the messiness of admitting to the ‘me-ness,’ with all its negative and positive aspects, should allow us to move on to the challenge of answering the question of the second half of life: ‘What Shall I Do?’” Exploring another of Father Rohr’s ideas, Sister Kathleen inquired, “What do you think we mean by ‘our true self?’” Sister Mary Brendan responded, “I think the answer to this is the answer to the first question in my first Religion book—‘Why did God make you?’ My answer is, ‘to know, love and serve God in this world and to be eternally happy with God in heaven.’ This is the road map each of us uses to discern how we are to live and make a difference in the world. In the first half of life, as we explore our individual personality, we may concentrate on our dreams and plans for ourselves, but as we move into God’s dream and plan for our lives, we become more our true self. The Commandments and law are necessary for structure in our lives. The first half tends to pay more attention to structure, but there is a danger of misusing the purpose of God’s law. In the second half, we should move more smoothly into the Beatitudes and to balance freedom and law and be able to live with the creative tension involved. Growing into our true self is a life work.” Sister Mary Brendan offered the opinion that less developed nations seem to have fewer problems involving relationships. She asked Sister Kathleen whether people in less developed countries might move more rapidly to the second half of life. Sister Kathleen Continued on page 7


PREACHER’S WORK / BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

PREACHER’S WORK

Change and Challenge B Y S ISTER M ARY M EGAN FARRELLY, OP he tenth anniversary of the publication of Just WORDS passed in the fall of 2011. How amazing that more than forty issues with timely and interesting articles have made their way to the homes of countless readers! Several months ago, the Editorial Board of Just WORDS began discussing possible modifications to the publication. Some considerations were the desire to be more inclusive in language and content, to appeal to a broader readership, and to renew the commitment to a quality publication. Individual members of the Editorial Board put ideas forward. Although not all members agreed with every suggestion, in true Dominican fashion each idea was studied thoroughly. Conscious of fiscal responsibility, the Board gave particular attention to the costs associated with the proposed changes. Dawn Boyer, the Director of Communications for the Springfield Dominicans, explored affordable options for printing, mailing and professional translation services for Just WORDS. It was only after extensive study and dialogue that the Editorial Board arrived at a consensus. The Board believes these changes will “meet the needs of the time” a compelling standard for Dominicans from all ages, beginning with St. Dominic himself. So, what can readers expect? Following this issue, Just WORDS will be published three times a year: in January, May, and September rather than seasonally. Beginning with the May 2012 issue, Just WORDS will be printed in full color with some layout changes for a fresh new look. In every issue, at least one key article will be printed in both English and Spanish. Additionally, readers will be asked to participate in the production of Just WORDS by providing feedback on specific articles and issues or by sharing personal memories and experiences. Change is always a challenge; it is also a call to growth. Extremely grateful to the Sisters who first dreamed Just WORDS into being, the Editorial Board is confident these upcoming changes will accomplish the desired goal of “meeting the needs of the time.” What was written by Sister Mary Jean Traeger, then Prioress General of the Springfield Dominicans, in the very first letter to the readers will remain true: “The articles (in Just WORDS)…will gradually unfold the life and mission of the Springfield Dominicans. It is our hope that in the telling of the story, both readers and writers might recognize anew their own vocation to speak and to be Just Words in our world.”

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Sister Mary Megan Farrelly, OP is an assistant principal of Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst, IL and also serves as a field supervisor in the Alternative Certification Program of Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.

Continued from page 6

replied, “It seems that often our western culture is hierarchical and nurtures climbing and competition over co-operation. Perhaps cultures which are more circular and less linear do lend themselves to true second half living.” Sister Kathleen continued, “I think the most important key to second half living is a strong sense of identity that is secure enough to withstand most

threats. It seems that a second half of life person gives up the need to be first, to be holier than thou, and to be the judge of all.” Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Father Richard Rohr, OFM was published in 2011 by Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.

Sister Kathleen Gallagher, OP and Sister Mary Brendan, OP minister in elementary education at St. Peter Catholic School in Aurora, IL.

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GOING GREEN AT THE MOTHERHOUSE

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

Going Green at the Motherhouse B Y S ISTER L INDA H AYES , OP n recent months the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois became a member of the Green Business Network of Springfield (GBNS). GBNS is a network of firms and organizations within the Springfield area working together to develop a community of excellence and sustainability. Working with GBNS will enable us to assess how “green” we are, provide steps to become greener, track the environmental benefits of our actions, and eventually certify us based on steps we’ve taken to improve. For most members of GBNS, going green is seen as a good business decision. For us, it is a good way to learn more about the “greening process” and to do something concretely to live more sustainably here at our Motherhouse. This is in keeping with one of the Ordinations from our Chapter of 2009, which reads, in part: “As vowed Dominican women….we embrace as a moral

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Graduate student Abby Walden and Sacred Heart Convent landscaping director, Philip Galloway, collaborated on the composting and worm farm projects at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield, IL.

imperative the need to help restore wholeness to creation… we commit ourselves to choose and practice specific actions on a local level so as to live more sustainably.” Prior to joining GBNS, the Motherhouse community had already put several sustainable practices in place: recycling; using compact fluorescent lights, purchasing more eco-friendly paper products and cleaning supplies and encouraging use of cold water for washing clothes. Recently, through our connections with GBNS, we have been able to add alkaline batteries to our list of recyclables. In addition, we have identified avenues for recycling used electronics (including computers and accessories, cell phones, TVs, etc.) and small home appliances (coffee makers, toasters, hair dryers, etc.) All recyclers have a “no landfill” policy on recyclable materials. In the kitchen we have installed a lowflow pre-rinse spray nozzle in the area of the dishwasher. With less water flowing at a higher velocity, fewer gallons can be used to achieve the same goal. This enables us to both save money and conserve water. Early in 2011, we engaged a consulting firm to conduct a comprehensive energy audit of the entire Motherhouse complex. The audit revealed that our 1965 vintage boiler system was operating at less than 60% efficiency. Temperature control was unstable in many areas, and there were also energy losses due to inefficient use of lighting. Thanks to incentive programs through City, Water, Light and Power and Continued on page 9


CONGRATS / GOING GREEN AT THE MOTHERHOUSE

Congrats Sister Mary Dominica Brennan, OP was asked to give presentations at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus in Lufkin, TX during the annual meeting of novice directresses. Her lecture on canon law and formation was presented to novice directresses of cloistered monasteries from eight U.S Dominican congregations. This annual meeting of novice directresses was an opportunity for deepening monastic ties among cloistered Sisters. Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP was praised for her leadership and dedication to St. Dominic Health Services at a celebration held in November in Jackson, MS. After 16 years as President of St. Dominic Health Services, Sister Dorothea retired from that role on January 1, 2012. After a sabbatical and period of reflection, she will return to an active role on the Governing Board of St. Dominic Health Services and as a fundraiser for St. Dominic’s Foundation. Sister Elizbeth Wrenn, OP completed a certificate in Library and Information Technology at Benedictine University.

Continued from page 8

Ameren, we are fortunate to be receiving five grants: two to upgrade the lighting in Siena Hall, one for the occupancy sensors, one to cover the cost of the project manager, and a large grant to offset the cost of the new boilers and domestic hot water heaters. There is a major over hauling of our heating/cooling system and the domestic hot water system underway, as well as temperature control upgrades and installation of occupancy sensors throughout the complex. These measures come with guaranteed financial savings as well as annual energy savings equivalent to 992 metric tons of CO2 (comparable to the emissions from 194.3 cars per year). Another project came about with the help of Abby Walden, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Springfield who wanted some hands-on experience in environmental studies.

Abby helped us to begin doing our own composting on the Motherhouse grounds. Our landscaping director, Philip Galloway, was also very interested in vermiculture (worm composting). Because of their efforts, we now have six compost tumblers and a “worm factory,” and are looking forward to good rich compost and compost tea for our plants and grounds this summer. We hope that by the time our General Chapter in 2014 rolls around, the motherhouse community will be able to proudly proclaim that we have lived out our commitment to “choose and practice specific actions on a local level so as to live more sustainably.” Sister Linda Hayes, OP is Motherhouse Administrator for the Springfield Dominicans.

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

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DOMINICAN CONNECTIONS

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

DOMINICAN CONNECTIONS

Creating Synergy the Dominican Way B Y S ISTER J UDINE H ILBING , OP here’s a synergy that occurs when Dominican Volunteers USA (DVUSA) send out their quarterly publication. With assistance from vowed and Associate Dominicans, the young volunteers achieve something more than neatly stacked crates of newsletters ready for an international mailing. Several years ago the Dominican Sisters of Springfield joined efforts with the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa to host, mentor, and sponsor Dominican Volunteers USA. Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma OP (member of the Leadership team of the Springfield Dominicans) serves on the Governing Board of DVUSA. The Sisters of Saint Martin de Porres Convent in Chicago, IL serve as mentors and friends to the young volunteers with whom they share a community meal and prayers on a weekly basis. Every Wednesday, DVUSA volunteers Becky Paruszkiewicz, Sean Mundy, and Stephanie Holmstrom, along with

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Cynthia Velasquez and Sister Patricia Stark, OP

DVUSA Volunteers Sean Mundy, Stephanie Holmstrom and Lisa Hayes

former volunteer Lisa Hayes, come to South Chicago after a full day of ministry. Becky serves in the Junior Scholars Program and as assistant teacher in the third and fourth grade classrooms at Visitation School on the South Side. Sean conducts enrichment and computer classes at St. Pius the V School in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Stephanie is the volunteer coordinator at Sarah’s Inn in Oak Park, a center that serves survivors of domestic violence. Other DVUSA volunteers who serve in Chicago are Morgan Beatty and Julia Slotnick. They are mentored by the Sisters at the House of Connections in Chicago. The spirit of Dominic is vibrantly alive within the heart of each volunteer, committed to a year of service and preaching the message of the Gospel in a variety of ways. Enthusiasm, laughter, energy, and passion are the gifts they share. In an effort to spread the Gospel message and to tell others about the activities of DVUSA, a publication is sent out quarterly to alumni, friends and supporters of the organization. When it is time to get the publication in the mail, the youthful DVUSA


DOMINICAN CONNECTIONS

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

members invite the Sisters from their host communities, former volunteers, Dominican Associates and others who walk in the tradition of Dominic to come together for an evening of work that includes pizza, homemade cookies and lively conversation. In the end, they achieve much more than a task well done. There is a great blending of energy among youth and those a bit older, vowed religious and lay Associates and those with temporary or life-time commitments. It is a truly synergetic evening crossing centuries and zip codes! The DVUSA quarterly mailing task creates anew St. Dominic’s vision: a joyful community united for the common purpose of preaching and outreach.

DVUSA Assistant Director Erica Greil

DVUSA Director Michael Chapuran

Sister Judine Hilbing, OP is President of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, IL.

DVUSA Volunteer Lisa Hayes Sister Judith Hilbing, OP and Stephanie Holmstrom

Sister Beverly Jeanne Howe, OP and Becky Paruszkiewicz

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UNFOLDING IN GOD’S TIME

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

Unfolding in God’s Time B Y S ISTER R EGINA M ARIE B ERNET, OP ome time ago I wrote a reflection on Mary that began like this: “Mary took some initiative, then filled with peace and joy, moved toward the unknown… and let things unfold in God’s time.” This is how I felt about something that kept rising in my heart that I believed was from the Holy Spirit. Some years ago, I gave a Clay Reflection Day at the Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, IL. In April of last year, I called the chaplain at the women’s prison in Lincoln, IL to see if she would be interested in having someone give art classes to the women there. The chaplain said they already had someone to do that. However, when I mentioned art therapy in the course of the conversation, she became enthusiastic and said she thought art therapy would be a wonderful way to work with the women. I was asked to send in a proposal for the warden and others at the prison to take under consideration. Then began the waiting game! Weeks passed, and I finally called her. The chaplain told me that the warden had been on vacation and that there were a lot of transitions going on at the prison. She said she would call when and if this project was cleared. The day before our community meeting in June, the chaplain called and said that I had a green light. As it turned out, I wasn’t able to go for my fingerprinting and “hostage” picture until the end of August, so I began art therapy on the first Wednesday in September. One of the biggest hurdles for the women was the need for confidentiality and freedom to share in the group and to know that what was said there would stay there. Classes are held

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in the Vocational Building, and I carry supplies back and forth with me. I have Cray-Pas, colored chalk, and colored pencils as well as regular pencils available to use In art therapy, the participants have done pencil drawings depicting themselves as any type of container. One woman drew a sprinkling can in a tipped position, pouring words over the earth. Another one made a water container that had a lid and she said she could clamp it down tight. When it was pointed out to her that the lid was slightly open, she explained that she is trying to be more open with others. After a few sessions, I asked them to draw their family as kitchen utensils. That really opened them up to share their backgrounds. They were then asked to write a Post-It note to put on a clip-art refrigerator, a note with a message for their families. Afterward, we discussed an article on forgiveness which would help them process some of the feelings they were experiencing. I continue to hold art therapy sessions, meeting with women once a week for eight weeks. We touch on topics such as boundary issues, anger and grief. I think the women definitely know themselves better at the end of the eight sessions. The Springfield Dominicans’ prison ministry is so much larger than my latest venture. These are a few of the ministries Dominican Sisters of Springfield have engaged in: • Sister Lori Kirchman and I led a Retreat Day at Parchman, the maximum security prison in Mississippi. • While missioned in Decatur, IL, Sister Marianne Nolan presided at Communion Services at the Women’s Correctional Center.


UNFOLDING IN GOD’S TIME

• Sister Helen Michael Horne and Sister Helen Wolf gave enrichment classes at Jacksonville Correctional Center in IL. • Sister Mary Megan Farrelly provided music ministry for the Sunday mass at the women’s prison in Dwight, Illinois for several years. • Sister M. Raymunda Troeckler has been writing to a death row inmate for years. • Sister Kathryn Edward Knecht wrote to an inmate in Jacksonville whose family had been killed in a car accident. We have other Sisters who write letters to prisoners as well. • Our Sisters in Peru have worked for years with the prisoners there. Sister M. Rene Lawless, Sister M. de Carmel Gaynor (deceased), Sister M. Rose Schleeper, Hermana Nérida Guardamino Pajuelo, and Sister Ann Elizabeth Little worked with the prisoners in LaOroya, Peru. • Hermana Elsi Orellana Carhuancho, a counselor, does therapy at the women’s prison in Lima, Peru. • Several years ago, Sister Helen Wolf, Sister Margaret Rose Aultz and I had a regular Sunday evening scripture study with the men at Jacksonville Correctional Center and were part of a team that met twice a year for a three-day retreat weekend called REC (Residents Encounter Christ). On the Saturday during the retreat we have an Agape Meal, and Sister Marie Andre Dougherty was among those who came to set up the tables and

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

serve the men. We had a wonderful prayer backup at the Motherhouse praying for the success of the retreat, and many of our Sisters write “Wheat Letters” that are read at retreats, letting the men know of their sacrifices and prayers for them. • Of late I have continued going to Jacksonville on Saturday mornings, following in Sister Helen Wolf ’s footsteps, where a group of us has a Communion Service with twenty or more gentlemen. We always say that we get much more than we give to these groups of men and women who are trying so hard in their journey through life with Christ. Things really are unfolding in God’s time. Sister Regina Marie Bernet, OP works with incarcerated men and women. She also teaches enrichment classes and is a spiritual companion at the Motherhouse of the Springfield Dominicans.

Sisters Regina Marie Bernet, OP, Helen Wolf, OP and Mary Rose Schleeper, OP are three of the many Springfield Dominican Sisters who have ministered in prisons.

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CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF PREACHING/IN PRAYER

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

Caught in the Act of Preaching B Y S ISTER M ARILYN J EAN R UNKEL , OP n October of 2011, Sally Hatfield and Rochelle Green, two of our esteemed employees at Sacred Heart Convent, were definitely caught in the act of preaching. Sally discovered that a local Be Aware Women’s Fair was sponsoring a Super Survivor award. The criteria for receiving the award included not only surviving breast cancer, but remaining positive and simultaneously helping others in the midst of personal anxiety. Sally knew without a doubt that Rochelle qualified as a candidate. Not only had Rochelle maintained her positive spirit and hope during her cancer journey, she was supporting other members of her family who in the end did not survive their struggle with breast cancer. She even invited her sister’s children to join her own family amidst their challenge of adjusting to the loss of their mother. Rochelle’s colleagues and friends were in awe of her brave and generous spirit. Out of thirty candidates, Rochelle was one of three persons to receive the award. The three Super Survivors were treated to a Super-Survivor Total Makeover: hair, nails, massage, facial and more. They also were treated to a shopping spree resulting in an entire new outfit, which included matching jewelry, shoes and purse. What a joyful spirit spread throughout the convent and among Rochelle’s family and friends at the news. Indeed, both Sally’s awareness and Rochelle’s generosity and steadfastness in her personal journey witness how preaching happens in the lives of so many. Sometimes words are not necessary; the actions of the preacher are the joyful witness of caring and loving community.

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Rochelle Green and Sally Hatfield's friendship exemplifies preaching in action.

Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, OP, PhD is an instructor of Business Management, Organizational Development and Education for Benedictine University.

In Prayer Please remember these Sisters and Dominican Associates who have entered into eternal life. Ron Janssens Mary Bernardi Sister Peter Damien Vekich, OP

November 15, 2011 November 20, 2011 December 15, 2011


CIRCLE OF FRIENDS

Just WORDS/Winter 2012

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS

Sharing in the Care B Y K ATHERINE E LSNER , S ISTER J UDITH A NNE H AASE , OP & S ISTER ROSE M ARIE R ILEY, OP ach December, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) conducts a collection in parishes nation-wide for the retirement funds of religious congregations in the United States. The Springfield Dominicans have recently benefitted from this campaign and became beneficiaries of a unique program offered by NRRO. Besides giving direct assistance to religious congregations for the retired Sisters, NRRO also helps congregations through a Planning and Implementation program. This program provides assistance to congregations in developing and implementing a comprehensive retirement plan. The aim of the plan is to increase the institution’s capacity to provide care for the elder members of the congregation both now and into the future. In the fall of 2009 Sister Rose Marie Riley and the Leadership Team submitted an application to participate in the National Religious Retirement Office’s Planning and Implementation Assistance Program. Several months later NRRO sent notice that the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL had been accepted into the Planning and Implementation program! The first requirement was that the Major Superior, the Chief Financial Officer and the Retirement Director participate in a three-day planning workshop. Sister Rose Marie Riley, Katherine Elsner and Sister Judith Anne Haase attended the NRRO workshop in April 2011. They were joined by Sister Hertha Longo, CSA and Brother Steve Glodek, SM who were assigned as consultants for the Dominican Sisters during the planning and implementation process. Throughout the workshop Sister Hertha and Brother Steve provided guidance in clarifying the retirement planning issues of the congregation. Their expertise and encouragement assisted in the formulation of an extensive planning proposal. Workshop presentations provided input on related issues such as the leadership’s role in planning for retirement, the eldercare delivery process and financial planning for retirement. By the final day of the workshop, the Springfield participants had formulated a plan which included the following items: • Complete TRENDS – a software program for forecasting the demographics and finances of the congregation • Review the elder care services of retired members • Analyze the cost of care of all members of the congregation • Conduct an efficiency study of staffing at Sacred Heart Convent • Study the feasibility of establishing a development office for the congregation Since the initial workshop, the first four issues have been addressed, and the last activity will be conducted within a few months. At the end of that time, further courses of action will be evaluated and determined. Dominican Sisters wish to express sincere thanks to NRRO for the Planning and Implementation program, to the consultants who continue to be of assistance, and to all of the people who so generously support the National Retirement Fund for Religious.

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Katherine Elsner is Chief Financial Officer, Sister Judith Anne Haase, OP is Motherhouse Prioress and Sister Rose Marie Riley, OP is Prioress General for the Springfield Dominicans.

Brother Ray Mattes, IHM and Sister Susan Schorsten, HM met with groups of Sisters and shared insights

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Dominican Sisters of Springfield Sacred Heart Convent 1237 W. Monroe Street Springfield, IL 62704-1680

Nonprofit Org US Postage Paid Springfield IL Permit No. 414

Address Service Requested

Dominican Sources Abyss! O eternal Godhead! O deep sea! What more could you have given me than the gift of your very self? You are a fire always burning but never consuming; you are a fire consuming in your heat all the soul’s selfish love; you are a fire lifting all chill and giving light. From The Dialogue Saint Catherine of Siena

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2012: Dominican Jubilee-The Year of Dominican Women and Preaching MARCH 2012 18 TaizĂŠ Prayer Service 6:30 pm Sacred Heart Chapel

MAY 2012 20 Dominican Associate Committment Ceremony

JULY 2012 1-3 Domincan Faith Camp Summer Camp for Girls 5th - 8th Grade

Take a peek at our updated website! www.springfieldop.org


JUST Words Vol 12 No 1