An elderly woman, on the occasion of her 95th birthday, was asked, “How do you remain so vibrant after all these years?” Her response was simple: “I never turn down an invitation.” After a brief pause, she continued, “When you live a long time, you have to keep making new friends and moving in new directions, or you will end up wandering around hopelessly alone.”
Invitations are extended to us daily, and perhaps some of the most significant ones come from the Spirit of God. When several Dominican Sisters were asked the question, “How is the Spirit calling the Dominican Sisters forward?” the responses were unique and varied; yet like the elderly woman who never turned down an invitation, each response was futuristic, inclusive, filled with hope, and zesting for the life that remains.
Here are the thoughts of eight Springfield Dominican Sisters about the ways the Spirit is moving among them and calling them forward in hope.
"As we transition from leadership roles and active participation in the corporate culture of institutions, the Spirit may be calling us to be intentional in how we use our abundant transferable skills, wisdom, energy, and generosity to re-envision and re-form our community culture in ways that support our values and mission."
–Sister Patricia Francis, OP, is a clinical psychologist and director of counseling services, Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center, Carol Stream, Ill.
The Spirit challenges us to a profound kenosis, a letting-go of all that resists simplicity and sustainability, chastity and obedient listening. Confronted with the complexities of life and its noisy excuses for ongoing social injustice, we are invited to become empty vessels prepared to allow the Spirit to guide us into the next phase of our existence.
–Sister Margaret Schreiber, OP, is associate professor and director of graduate studies in theology at Marian University, Indianapolis.
The Spirit is calling us to communal decision making in all situations that affect the future of the congregation. Every decision we make in the present time will impact our mission. Our strength as a congregation comes from the process of communal decision making in which every voice is heard and each person is accepted as having a piece of the truth.
–Hermana Mila Diaz, OP, holds a doctorate in sacred scripture from the École Biblique et Archéologique, Jerusalem. She is on the staff at the Instituto Bartolomeo de Las Casas, Lima Peru, and recently completed a term as visiting professor of theology at Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Ill.
When our resources are almost depleted, the Spirit offers a fresh word of hope and comfort. As we turn to scripture, we observe that the Spirit graciously gives refreshment and renewal to those who are running on empty. Our God will not fail us in this current moment and the Spirit is calling us forth to new and unexpected opportunities.
–Sister Denise Glazik, OP, served as pastoral associate at St. Joseph Parish, Bradley, Ill., for 18 years. She is currently on a well-deserved sabbatical.
Our Dominican Congregation, from its origins in Kentucky, has been a community “on the move” in our ministries and in our faithful living through decades of communal and global change. In our present age, the Spirit impels us to be rooted in the real and open to unfolding truth.
–Sister Beverly Jeanne Howe, OP, is a cannon lawyer who currently ministers at the Dominican Literacy Center, Melrose Park, Ill.
In our efforts at right relationships, we have truthfully named and addressed the sin of Racism. Perhaps the Spirit is calling us to expand our awareness of sin to include the sin of Sexism. From the pulpit of our lives we can acknowledge with a deepening awareness that all humankind is created in the image of God.
—Sister Phyllis Schenk, OP, is an experience pastoral minister currently serving as pastoral associate at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Carterville, Ill.
The sisters have ministered in the midst of violence and stood with those who have no voice. Today this same Spirit is calling us to share a vision of compassion and justice.
–Sister Sara Koch, OP, Is a pastoral minister at St. Malachy Parish, Rantoul, Ill.
The Spirit invites us to place ourselves in the hands of God and in the hands of our sisters, letting go of all that is familiar so that we can minister effectively in this present time.
–Hermana Doris Terrel, OP, Ministers as a nurse in Lima, Peru.
While the number of vowed religious continues to decline, the commitment of the Springfield Dominicans remains strong. With hope in our hearts, we accept aging as a natural stage of a rich and joy-filled life. We will not turn down an invitation from the Spirit to live each day of our existence in new and creative ways.
These musings were compiled by JUST Words editorial board member Sister Judine Hilbing, OP.