Join us in praying the Building Blocks of Peace


  1. The Building Block of No Poverty
    Reader: We pray that families and all people may have rights and access to economic resources, live with the basic necessities of life and enjoy life in all it has to offer,
    All: God of abundance, show us how to share.
  2. The Building Block of Zero Hunger
    Reader: We pray that no one will suffer from lack of food and the nutrition needed for healthy and productive living. 
    All: God of fertile soil, show us the way to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
  3. The Building Block of Good Health and Well-being
    Reader: We pray that people across the world will have access to health care services, life-saving and life-promoting medicines, and ways to promote their own well-being.
    All: God of life, show us how to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
  4. The Building Block of Quality Education
    Reader: We pray that all girls and boys, women and men, will have equal opportunities for education, learning opportunities across, and at each stage and age of life, so as to lessen discord and strife.
    All: God of Wisdom and light, show us the way to the just advancement of our sisters and brothers so that division may be removed.
  5. The Building Block of Gender Equality
    Reader: We pray that all women and girls may achieve gender equality and be empowered to participate fully at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life,
    All: God of Empowerment, show us the way to support women and girls and how to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.
  6. The Building Block of Clean Water and Sanitation
    Reader: We pray that in all areas of the world persons may have access to safe and affordable drinking water and that sanitation and hygiene needs are met, especially for women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
    All: God of creation, show us the way as we seek to be good stewards of the earth’s water supply.
  7. The Building Block of Affordable and Clean Energy
    Reader: We pray that in all areas of the world persons may have access to an energy supply that meets their needs, that is efficient, and that includes renewable energy as part of the energy supply. 
    All: God of infinite energy, show us the way. Help us ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for all.
  8. The Building Block of Decent Work and Economic Growth 
    Reader: We pray that workers can depend on having a job, one that pays a living wage, one that has a safe and secure working environment, and one that is not from forced or slave labor.
    All: God of productivity, show us the way to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  9. The Building Block of Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
    Reader: We pray that countries take leadership in developing quality, sustainable and resilient infrastructure that supports economic development and human well-being, always with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
    All: God of Creativity, may our efforts mirror your creativity and be resourceful and innovative in constructing a better world, sustaining what we have been so freely given.
  10. The Building Block of Reduced Inequalities
    Reader: We pray that the nations of the world will work toward reducing the inequality within and among countries.
    All: God of Solidarity, help us to see that we are one human family with responsibilities to each other across national, racial, economic and ideological differences.
  11. The Building Block of Sustainable Cities and Communities
    Reader: We pray that cities and neighborhoods be inclusive, safe, and sustainable, safeguarding cultures, and providing green and public spaces and accessible transportation.
    All: God of Diversity, teach us to discover the worth of each thing, that we may protect the world and sow beauty.
  12. The Building Block of Responsible Consumption and Production
    Reader: We pray that leaders and citizens in our world work together for the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and promote ways to reduce waste in all areas, including food.
    All: God who provides, show us the way and help us ensure sustainable and clean consumption and production patterns.
  13. The Building Block of Climate Action 
    Reader: We pray that nations, and all citizens, see the reality of climate concerns and commit to actions, both personally and collectively, that help adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. 
    All: God of nature, help us to be wise, courageous and resilient in taking action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  14. The Building Block of Life Below Water
    Reader: We pray that all peoples value life in the seas and conserve, develop, and sustainably use the oceans and marine resources.
    All: God of Sustainability, we know that water and marine life is necessary for our own lives. Show us the way to be responsible stewards.
  15. The Building Block of Life on Land
    Reader: We pray that all appreciate the lushness and diversity of all creation and work to lessen Earth’s destruction and the endangerment of the many multiple species.
    All: God of life, great protector and promoter of creation, show us the way to care for and protect our planet and its biodiversity that sustains our well-being and life and the health of the planet.
  16. The Building Block of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
    Reader: We pray that nations will promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build accountable and inclusive institutions,
    All: God of Peace, God of Justice, show us the way to nurture a society built on love and peace, bringing an end to division, strife and war.
  17. The Building Block of Partnerships for the Goals
    Reader: We pray that nations will partner with one another in financial endeavors, science and technology innovation, debt reduction strategies, and equitable trading systems.
    All: God of unity, show us the way to strengthen the working together of all peoples and revitalize global partnerships as we work for sustainable development.

All: Gracious God, Source and Creator of all life, you desire that all peoples live in peace with one another and with the entire cosmos. “Lead us all … from death to life, from falsehood to truth; from hate to love; from war to peace. Let peace fill our heart; Let peace fill our world; Let peace fill our universe.” May we be living building blocks for peace. Amen

Sister To All

In honor of the Sister To All Campaign to tell the stories of Sisters across the United States, we would like to share with you four of our featured sisters in ministry.

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A Friend to Prisoners and a Sister to All

Sister Regina Marie Bernet, OP


For decades the Dominican Sisters of Springfield have engaged in ministry to women and men in prison in the United States and in Peru. Sister Regina Marie Bernet, OP (Order of Preachers, the official name of the Dominicans) continues that tradition. While many of her classmates from Sacred Heart Academy graduating class of [1954?] retired long ago, Sister Regina Marie continues her ministry, bringing the gifts of self-knowledge, forgiveness, and reconciliation to women and men who are incarcerated. She travels weekly to prisons in Decatur and Lincoln, Ill., providing art therapy and teaching contemplative prayer practice. Twice a year she also leads weekend retreats at the Jacksonville Correctional Facility. One of her favorite encounters was with a young man named Fernando who asked for time with her one-on-one to share his story. Fernando shared many stories about the offenses he committed, many much worse than the one that sent him to prison. “Fernando told me he didn’t have a grandmother growing up,” Sister Regina Marie said. “He asked me ‘Would you be my grandma?’ I told him I’d be happy to be his foster grandmother. I don’t see him any more but I remember to pray for him every day.”

Doris_IMG_4108_web-SisterToAllGod’s Traveling Companion and a Sister to All

Hermana Doris Terrel Jiménez, OP

In the midst of last spring’s celebration of fifty years of presence in Peru, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield rejoiced in the rite of perpetual profession of vows of Hermana Doris Terrel Jimenez, OP. (Hermana is the Spanish word for sister.) “God shows us his love by taking us to sacred places to be with Him,” Hermana Doris says. She recalls her discernment of this journey with God, saying that by “letting God be God in my life” she was able to say yes to God’s call Hermana Doris is a student at the Padre Tezza School of Nursing in Lima preparing for a new ministry of healing among the poor and marginalized in Lima’s pueblos jovenes. She says it was the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, preaching, and common life that drew her to the Order of Preachers (the official name of the Dominicans) and why she remains.

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A Helping Hand for the Weary and a Sister to All

Sister Barbara Ann Bogenschutz, OP


“The greatest blessing and challenges in this ministry are the same,” says Springfield Dominican Sister Barbara Ann Bogenschutz, OP (Order of Preachers, the official name for the Dominicans). “I never known what the day will hold, and I am never lacking in ‘that-was-a-first’ experiences.” Sister Barbara Ann has spent most of the last 15 years of her ministry in Native American communities. Since 2012 she has walked the holy ground of the Oglala Sioux at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. She ministers to all the people on the reservation regardless of their religious affiliation, often accompanying families at the death of loved ones, resolving home heating problems, distributing food, or sharing Holy Communion. “Eucharist continues in many ways all week long,” she says, “And when I arrive where I am going, I always find God is already there.”


A Peaceful Presence and a Sister to All

Sister Samuella Volk, OP


Hospitality is a virtue that the heart recognizes in an instant, especially if that heart has encountered Springfield Dominican Sister Samuella Volk, OP (Order of Preachers, the official name for the Dominicans). Whether the guests are her own Dominican sisters and associates, or executives from one of the sisters’ sponsored institutions, Sister Samuella helps them feel at home instantly with her warm attention to their needs at Siena Hall on the campus of Dominican Sisters of Springfield Sacred Heart Convent. In her previous life Sister Samuella taught primary school students in Illinois and Minnesota. She left an indelible mark of the Spirit on the hearts of many of them, if her former student Billy Menor is to be believed. “Ever since I had Sister Samuella in first grade I’ve had a warm spot in my heart for women religious,” the Jesuit novice said. “I really think that the witness of Sister Samuella’s life, the way she lived the joy, was an influence on my own religious vocation.”


“Talk about giving your life to God”—A story of friendship, service, and call














Sister M. Trinita shares her friendship with Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, the two sisters whose murder in Mississippi last week has shocked the nation.

Yesterday afternoon I called Sister Mary Trinita at the community health clinic she’s run for twenty years in Jackson, Miss., wondering if she knew the two sisters who were murdered last week in the nearby town of Durant. The details of the sisters’ deaths are available elsewhere. Here I want to share Sister Trinita’s testimony, and offer a challenge.

“Hi Trinita, you’re answering the phone,” I said, stating the obvious.

“Just walked in the door. I was at the memorial. At the cathedral. It was beautiful. Not an empty place in the church.”

It shouldn’t have surprised me that she would know Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill. Durant is in the Jackson diocese just sixty miles from Jackson, the place Sister Trinita has called home for her entire religious life, and all three sisters in the business of caring for the poor in one of the poorest states in the union.

What I didn’t realize was that they were good friends who enjoyed the time they could steal to visit, share a good meal, and laugh. “I last saw them in April,” Sister Trinita recalled. “They’d come to Jackson to shop and we went out to lunch. We talked and enjoyed reminiscing.”

“They lived the Gospel. Talk about giving your life to God. They proved that they did.”

What I didn’t realize was Sister Margaret and Sister Trinita’s friendship began 21 years ago when they studied together to become nurse practitioners. They shared the weekly three-hour drives back and forth between Jackson and the campus in Columbus, Miss. “Margaret was feisty,” Sister Trinita said. There was a soft chuckle; I waited for the story.

“Once we drove through a storm to make it to class on time,” Sister Trinita explained. The teacher walked in late and announced that the inclement weather meant she was not prepared for class. “Sister Margaret stood up and spoke her mind: ‘We drove through snow and ice to be here and we are prepared for class. Don’t tell us you are not prepared for class!’”

I asked what she’d like our friends to know about Margaret and Paula.

“They lived the Gospel. Talk about giving your life to God,” she mused, “They proved that they did. They would do anything for anyone at any time. They were lovable, and I loved them.”

What I wasn’t prepared to hear was the normalcy with which Sister Trinita considered her friends’ deaths. She told me that on Thursday she received a call at the clinic from one of our sisters who thought of her when she heard the news and called to make sure she was okay.

“It wasn’t me this time. I assured her I was okay but shaken by the news.” That’s what she said. It wasn’t me. This time.

The people of Holmes County, Mississippi, are now wondering who will come to take Sister Margaret’s and Sister Paula’s place.

I asked her if she worried about potential violence in her ministry at St. Dominic’s clinic. “I think about it once in a while,” she admitted. “It could—and does—happen anywhere.” She rattled off a list of incidents she recalled.

“I’m careful, but I don’t let it bother me; otherwise it might keep me from doing what I need to do.”

Sister Kelly Moline, OP, professes her first vows into the hands of Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, prioress general, with the assistance of Sister Elyse Marie Ramirez, OP, formation director for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.

Young women like Sister Kelly Moline, OP, are choosing to give their lives to God. Last August 7 Sister Kelly professed her first vows into the hands of Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, prioress general, with the assistance of Sister Elyse Marie Ramirez, OP, formation director for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. Watch Sister Kelly’s profession mass here.

This, from a woman who three weeks ago was home in Springfield with her community celebrating the three sisters she lives with in Jackson who marked 60 years of consecrated religious profession. A woman who has served in Mississippi since before I was born. This week, this sister of mine buried two friends who were killed in the midst of their ministry and went back to work at her clinic in Jackson.

The people of Holmes County, Mississippi, are now wondering who will come to take Sister Margaret’s and Sister Paula’s place. As Mississippi columnist Sid Salter wrote, “The role these sisters played in the lives of the poor and the sick in Holmes County will be assumed by . . .whom? When the faith-based ministries that politicians like to talk about are targeted, just who takes up that slack?

“Because remarkable souls like these innocent, dedicated women don’t choose to come to rural Mississippi every day.”

Mr. Salter’s point, I believe, is that Sister Margaret and Sister Paula, and My sister, Trinita, are filling a need that so often our governments fail to meet.

My point is, where are the Catholic sisters to stand in the gap?

We have seven remarkable Springfield Dominican Sisters serving at St. Dominic in Jackson, all but one of whom are nearing retirement, and I’m on the downside of my fifth decade.

Who will take their places?

Will a young woman you know? Will you? Will you “Talk about giving your life to God”?

We’d be so happy to hear from you, and to help you discern whether God is calling you to serve him as a Dominican Sister, either in Jackson or in any one of many other challenging, life-giving ministries.

For more information about becoming a Dominican Sister of Springfield, call Sister Teresa Marron, OP, at 217-787-0481 or contact us here.


Dominican Sisters Win Cultural Diversity Award from National Senior Care Organization

Dominican Sisters at Mass in Springfield, Ill.

Hermana Patricia de la O presents the book of the Gospels to Dominican Sisters gathered at Sacred Heart Convent Chapel, Springfield, Ill., last summer. Hermana Patricia is one of seven Peruvian members of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. The Dominican sisters in the U.S. and in Peru work to dismantle racist structures within their own institutions and in civil society.

LeadingAge Recognizes Sisters’ Anti-racism Efforts

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, have been selected to receive the 2016 Hobart Jackson Cultural Diversity Award from LeadingAge, a national association representing 6,000 nonprofit aging-services organizations throughout the United States.

The award recognizes the Dominican Sisters’ “Conscious, committed effort to dismantle racism wherever it exists,” according to the award letter. “Through education, organization, and numerous collaborations, the Dominican Sisters are engaging with city, public school and state agencies, as well as the sisters’ own sponsored organizations, to confront racial biases and embrace diversity in the congregation, the church and the world.”

“We are honored to be recognized by LeadingAge,” said Sister Marcelline Koch, OP, who along with Mr. Leroy Jordan co-chairs the congregation’s anti-racism team. “The real work of dismantling racism requires that we don’t rest on our laurels, though. There is much work to be done, for each of us individually and as a community.”

The sisters’ anti-racism efforts are implemented in all of their sponsored institutions and ministries, including two that serve the aging population, Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield and St. Catherine’s Village, Madison, Miss.

The Dominican Sisters will accept the award at the LeadingAge national conference in Indianapolis on Oct. 31, 2016.

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., whose congregation was established in 1873, carry out the preaching mission of the early Dominicans, formally known as the Order of Preachers, through their vowed commitment to a life of prayer, community, and service in solidarity with people who are marginalized in society or underserved.

For more information about becoming a sister or an associate of the sisters call 217-787-0481 or email

11 steps to Engaged Citizenship

 How to make sure you’re ready to vote on November 8


 We’re about eleven weeks out from the Presidential elections. Are you on top of the issues and concerns you’ll address with the pull of a lever or the punch of a stylus on November 8?

If not, here are eleven ways to prepare for your civic duty in national, state, and local elections. Tackle one step a week. By election day you’ll be ready to cast your ballot.

  1. Add your elected officials to your email contacts. Legislators care what you think. Let them know. It’s much easier to stay in touch if you have their contact information in your phone or email address book. If you don’t know who they are here is a simple way to find them. Thank you League of Women Voters!
  2. Create a list of issues that matter to you. You can’t pay attention to everything, so choose a few issues that are important to you and the common good. For starters, choose one issue facing the planet, the nation, and your state, county, and municipal governments. Write them down then listen up when the issues are raised in the media or at your dinner table.
  3. Sign on to the mailing lists of organizations that address issues you care about. This is a simple, effective way to increase your understanding about what’s important to you. If you prefer a clutter-free inbox, follow the organizations on your social media accounts instead. Here are a few we like: Justice for Immigrants, Network Lobby, Catholic Climate Covenant.
  4. Serve. Let your heart be broken open by the suffering of the people in your community, across the state, and around the globe. Direct contact with people whose lives are affected by policy can change your life. If you don’t know where to start, start here.
  5. Read the constitution. It never hurts to remind yourself what it really says.
  6. Read your local newspaper. If your only news source is your social media feed or television, you are missing out. Splurge on a print or online subscription to your local papers or read them at the library. Keep a finger on your community’s pulse by reading the opinion pages or the letters to the editor.
  7. Know the candidates. Now that you’ve improved your understanding of issues that matter to you, get to know the people you are about to hire to make the big decisions. It’s election season, so watch the candidates websites for schedules of local appearances or debates; find a source for non-partisan reviews of their voting records or speeches; if possible, make an appointment to visit in person. Be ready with a topic or issue you’d like to discuss and keep it brief. Optionally, communicate via their website and make a point to visit after the election.
  8. Join forces. Faith-based community organizing is a wonderful way to put your power to work for the common good. Use a search engine to find a group near you. We are part of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good in Springfield, and they are a Gamaliel affiliate. Here’s a link to a list of Gamaliel organizations around the country.
  9. Bookmark these four great resources. follow legislation, get updates in your email inbox.
    Crash Course in Government and Democracy a zany way to re-learn what democracy is all about.
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops legislative concerns and issue updates
    for Catholic Social Justice Issues
    Southern Poverty Law Center briefs on issues of national importance
  10. Pray. You may hear it said that we need more than prayer to assure a working democracy. That’s true, otherwise we could have skipped steps 1-9. But we do need prayer, too. Here are two resources to support your prayerful discernment for the upcoming national election: Take it to Prayer: A Spiritual Reflection for Voters is a brief guide we developed to help you discern your vote. The U.S. bishops’ document Faithful Citizenship is a more comprehensive guide to your faith-filled approach to the democratic process.
  11. Vote. Your county clerk’s office is responsible for your local elections. Contact that office for the details. You may also find helpful information here.