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.
    www.congress.gov 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.


The Sisters from OLG: Where are they now?

Curious about the sisters who taught you?

Lots of memories and stories float around the community from places we’ve served a very long time, like at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Chicago where we’ve served happily for 100 years.

Here’s a gift to our friends at OLG: We’ve rounded up a few of your former teachers and principals and invited them to share their memories of life at the intersection of Ridgeway and Altgeld. Enjoy the walk down memory lane.

Don’t see anyone you know here? Check out this OLG photo album on our Facebook Page.

Want to contact a sister you know, or receive information about your favorite Springfield Dominican Sisters? Contact us here.

Want to share your love for the sisters? Donate here!

Bernet, Regina Marie_GSSister Regina Marie Bernet, OP

Kindergarten, first and second grade 1966-1960

Then: It’s been a long journey from teaching first grade at OLG to what I am doing now! I was a brand new sisters and teacher. Back then we had reading groups sitting on the floor in front of a room full of 60 children and I had to brush chalk from my black veil as we left school. Now I offer art therapy classes and spiritual direction in central Illinois prisons.

Now: Volunteer ministry to prisoners, on-going education for the sisters at Sacred Heart Convent.

Dickey Susan Karina Favorite picturesSister Susan Karina Dickey

From 1997 to 1999 Sister Susan Karina taught at Barat College and DePaul University, lived at OLG convent, and participated in parish life.

Then: I loved playing with the coro at the Spanish mass. I met so many wonderful faith-filled people.

Now: Vice-president, Mission Integration, St. Dominic Health Services, Jackson, Mississippi.

Joerger, Concepta 2014Sister Concepta Joerger

First grade, 1955-1957; Second grade 1959-1963

Then: Lots of good memories! I loved teaching the second-graders and preparing them for First Communion. I had 60 children in my classroom! I remember the wonderful support those kids’ parents gave me.

Now: Helping at Sacred Heart Convent.

GSW_Koch-Marcelline_GS-214x300Sister Marcelline Koch

Principal 1978-1984

Then: I have such fond memories of OLG, which was my introduction to Chicago. There was the wonderful, diverse student body; the many parents and parishioners who volunteered and helped the school to thrive; and working with Deacons Drinan and Kwasigroch to provide spiritual and educational programs. I remember fondly my secretary Arlene Kochan, Andy Grabowski in the library, the faculty that pulled together for the students, singing with the guitar group, walking with the students in the parade on Fullerton and so much more!

Now: Justice Promoter and co-chair of the Springfield Dominican Anti-racism team.

Roetker, Melanie_GSSister Melanie Roetker

Fourth grade, 1969-1970

Then: I have fond memories of my days at Our Lady of Grace, including the sisters I lived with and teaching 4th grade and watching the students “perk-up” when they heard the music from Sister Ann’s 3rd grade classroom…they were dancing!

Now: Spiritual Direction and retreat ministry, Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Illinois.

Wolf, Helen_GSSister Helen Wolf, OP

Grades seven and eight, 1953-1956

Then: I found the students to be well behaved and mostly eager to learn which was a relief since I had about sixty students each year! The year that I had 7th grade, our three classes put on a play entitled “Our Lady of Fatima” with Sr. M. Lourdine as director.

Now: Helping at Sacred Heart Convent.

Safe Travels Sister Kelly!


Sister Kelly Moline, OP made her way past a group of sisters wishing her a safe trip this morning. Sisters gave the blessing for travelers—it was a tearful, yet joyful goodbye. Say a prayer of Sister Kelly as she begins her two year ministry at the St. Martin DePorres Convent on the south side of Chicago.

Sister Barbra Blesse shared an old family saying, and a tissue, to help lift Sister Kelly’s spirit: “Nothing is so bad that it can’t be made worse by sitting on a wasp.”

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Sister Kelly Moline, OP, Professes First Vows

Springfield Dominicans Welcome Sister Kelly During 800th Anniversary Year of the Order of Preachers

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.

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.

Sister Kelly Moline professed her first vows during the Eucharistic liturgy today at Sacred Heart Convent during the 800th jubilee year for the Order of Preachers. Her pronunciation of vows came in response to the question asked her by Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, prioress general: “In your desire to follow Christ, are you resolved to live in chastity for the sake of the Reign of God, to choose a life of poverty, and to offer the sacrifice of obedience?”

Sister Kelly’s first profession marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. She has completed three years of initial formation in Dominican consecrated life, learned about a life of religious consecration, deepened her prayer, and grown in appreciation of and comfort with a Dominican life centered on prayer, study, and community life for the sake of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She begins the next step in her continuing discernment during the three years of temporary profession to which she has committed herself. Perpetual vows—should that be Kelly’s ultimate desire and agreed to by the congregation—may be requested after five years of temporary profession.

Soon Sister Kelly will join her new community at St. Martin DePorres Convent on the south side of Chicago and delve more deeply into the Dominican charism of study as she begins a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies at Catholic Theological Union.

Sister Kelly's parents Cindy and Kevin Moline, Sister Celestine, and her brother Jay Moline present the gifts during Sister Kelly's first profession Mass.

Sister Kelly’s parents Cindy and Kevin Moline, Sister Celestine, and her brother Jay Moline present the gifts during Sister Kelly’s first profession Mass.

She is, characteristically, enthusiastic about every aspect of her new life. “I’m excited about how my mind and heart for God will continue to be stretched and expanded and deepened through relationships with neighbors, my new community, classmates, professors, and the random people I meet on public transportation,” she muses.

Sister Kelly’s parents, Kevin and Cindy Moline, Glendale, Ariz., raised Sister Kelly and her brother Jay in Minnesota, Florida, Iowa, and Missouri. “I was itinerant before I knew what that was,” Sister Kelly quipped, referring to the Dominican’s need to be willing to move anywhere to fulfill the preaching mission of the order.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in gerontology from Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo., in 2005 Sister Kelly worked in continuing care retirement communities in St. Louis and Southbury, Conn., before taking the position that synced her coordinates with several Springfield Dominican Sisters.

“I moved to Springfield for work in 2009 and kept bumping into Springfield Dominicans at the retirement community where I worked, the Springfield Area Young Adult Mass, and at Cursillo in Quincy,” she recalls. “I’d been thinking about religious life already. The joy I saw in those first three sisters I met—Sister Maxine, Sister Concepta, and Sister Loyola—made me want to learn more about Dominican life. Now here I am!”