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Posts tagged ‘dominican sisters of san rafael’

On the First Day of Christmas

This Christmas Scene is at Rose Court, an affordable housing apartment building that is sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. The residents there know how to celebrate Christmas together!

This Christmas Scene is at Rose Court, an affordable housing apartment building that is sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael.
The residents there know how to celebrate Christmas together!

The Christmas Star in the night sky, the shining of the Christmas light in the night – all this is the sign that light breaks into darkness. Though we see about us the darkness of unrest, of family discord, of class struggle, of competitive jealousy and of national hatred, the light shall shine and drive it out. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light shined.”

- Source unknown, except for the Scripture passage which is Matthew 4:16

Maya Angelou on Gratitude

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.

- Maya Angelou

"A Thing of Joy" by Sister Adele Rowland

“A Thing of Joy” by Sister Adele Rowland

Sister Adele, though not doing photography work presently, continues to graciously offer her gifts with a spirit of joy. And we are all blessed by her work and her cheerful disposition. She has been an inspiration to many, including me. Her Counterpoint Images were created by combining two images from slides, long before the advent of Photoshop. Sister Adele was first American photographic artist working exclusively in color photomontage as a fine art. And as a Dominican sister her work as a photographer was the work of a Preacher. She said, “Counterpoint Images are meant to evoke ultimately somoe of the mystery and joy about the complex nature of reality and awaken in the viewer fresh perceptions and the dimension of the divine.”


The World Prays for Peace

One of the many origami paper cranes from our prayer service in San Rafael in 2012

One of the many origami paper cranes from our prayer service in San Rafael in 2012

The Dominican Sisters of Peace shared with us the following prayer for the International Day of Peace

Gentle Spirit,
Breathe in us the wind
of truth, wisdom and righteousness.
May your Presence inspire us
to create labyrinths of peace.
Compassionate One,
Make our hearts burn with love,
honoring all peoples and creation.
Bless all nations, every family and community
while we seek to work for justice and unity.
Prince of Peace,
Lead us to ways of healing and reconciliation
we pray with those who suffer and struggle.
Bless us with your reconciling love that knows no boundaries
as we seek to live in community, justice and peace.
So be it.

- Rev. Elizabeth S. Tapia, Global Ministries

Photo Challenge: Unique

Today’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews is very stirring and encourages us to persevere.

Brothers and sisters: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Hebrews 12:1-4

One can’t help but think of our own Sister Marion Irvine, a very unique and outstanding woman, when thinking of the perseverance of a marathoner running her race.

Sister Marion on the cover of Runner Magazine

Sister Marion on the cover of Runner Magazine

Sister Marion Irvine, O.P., the “Flying Nun,” an accomplished runner , has been an inspirational alumna and supporter of Dominican University. In 1983 she qualified for the 1983 U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon. In her career as a runner, she shattered all major running records in the 50–54, 55–59, and 60–64 age groups, and earned five gold medals at the World Veteran Games in Eugene, Oregon.

Sister Marion when she was a school principal

Sister Marion when she was a school principal

After forty-seven years of service in schools, Sister Marion came home to San Rafael and served as the promoter of social justice for the congregation until about four years ago. Of course she still stays active in social justice ministry, working with agencies in Marin County and organizing the sisters’ jail ministry.

She continues to find this work challenging, exciting and rewarding. Whether the issue is abolishing the death penalty, creating compassionate immigration reform, or supporting peace and justice, Sister Marion demonstrates the same focus, discipline and energy she did in running . . . and really just about anything she does.

May we be blessed with this same perseverance and dedication in all the way we serve God and God’s people.

Sister Marion and other sisters at the annual anti-nuclear demonstration on Good Friday at Livermore Labs

Sister Marion and other sisters at the annual anti-nuclear demonstration on Good Friday at Livermore Labs

Sister Marion's commitment to the cause of peace allows her to be arrested at the Livermore Labs demonstration

Sister Marion’s commitment to the cause of peace allows her to be arrested at the Livermore Labs demonstration


On the Second Day of Christmas

From the Christmas Card of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael to you:

God’s infinite love has come to us.
God chose to become human
to teach us to live
in trust, in hope, and in love.

Counted cross-stitch by Sister Susan Marie Roche, OP

Counted cross-stitch by Sister Susan Marie Roche, OP

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

We conveniently forget what we have been taught. For we read in Deuteronomy 10:19:

So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land.”

And our President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said,

Remember, remember always, that all of us…are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.

This neighborhood may seem foreign to us on this side of the border, but in Juarez, this poverty is not unusual.

So why do we refuse to enact compassionate immigration reform?! As Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo said in a Statement at the Justice for Immigrants Press Conference in 2005,

We can no longer accept a situation in which some public officials and members of our communities scapegoat immigrants at the same time our nation benefits from their labor. We can no longer accept a status quo in which migrants are compelled to risk their lives in order to support their families. We can no longer accept a reality in which migrants fill jobs critical to Americans and U.S. employers without receiving appropriate wages and benefits. We can no longer tolerate the death of human beings in the desert.

Please join with us, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, and others in our Stance for Compassionate Immigration Reform.

This fence between Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, symbolizes foreign vs. not foreign. Really? How can that be so!

I Love Being a Nun!

While this post is entitled, “I Love Being a Nun!”, actually I am a sister. Nuns are those who are cloistered and primarily involved in the ministry of prayer. Those of us who are sisters are involved in apostolic ministry – and that’s a big umbrella (teaching, hospital ministry, parish ministry, social work, working for social justice, etc.).  So, it would be more correct for me to say, “I love being a sister”, which I do often. But since people often call sisters nuns . . .

Well, you see what I mean.

Anyway, nineteen years ago today I entered the convent and started the process of becoming a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. I made my first profession of vows in 1996 and my perpetual vows in 1999. And while nineteen is not one of those special numbers like 20, 25, or 50, it still seems pretty significant to me. I was 40 years old when I entered (I guess you can do the math). And I still love being a sister. My family tells me that they have never known me to be happier. Living in community – doing work that is satisfying and of benefit to others – praying together with a community of sisters on a daily and regular basis – being encouraged to continue to study . . . to be all we can be (for the sake of others) . . . What can I say but that I am grateful!

And Meister Eckhart, the Dominican mystic from the 13th century tells us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

I highly recommend this life to others!

Here I am with John and Don, a couple of friends, at a party prior to my entering the convent.



Here I am playing the guitar at a ceremony for Sister Alexa, our newest novice, just a couple of weeks ago.

The Feast of Saint Dominic

This statue of St. Dominic stands in the square of Caleruega, Spain, the place of Dominic’s birth.


We celebrate the Feast of Saint Dominic on August 8th.

Saint Dominic founded the Dominican Order 800 years ago:
the nuns in 1206, the friars in 1216. This allows us to celebrate our special anniversary for ten years.

You can find a brief biography of St. Dominic on our website at

Sometimes Photography is Preaching . . . revisited

Tuesday’s Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 48, and today’s photo is from the Counterpoint Images of Sister Adele Rowland, OP, who definitely believed that her photography was a means of preaching. It especially displayed the beauty and glory of God’s creation. Sister Adele created her photo montages well before PhotoShop was created or dreamed. She worked with slides and negatives in a darkroom.

Blue Guilin by Sister Adele Rowland, OP

Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.

How to Choose the Way We Live Our Lives

As the Vocation Minister for our congregation of Dominican Sisters, I am often asked about how to choose from among the many wonderful possibilities of vocations. It is easy for us to choose when Choice A is clearly good, and Choice B is clearly bad. But it usually doesn’t work that we. We most often make choices from among things that are good. And if they are good, we also know that God is in them. So we are also not making a choice between God and Not-God.

Now much as I would like to tell many gifted, generous, and committed women that the best choice is to become a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, alas, I cannot do that. We only know our own hearts. And, as much as this has been a wonderful and life-giving vocation for me, others have other fulfilling vocations to live.

So how to choose? Perhaps the Sufi poet Rumi can help us. I don’t think I could say it any better!

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

~ Rumi ~

Holy Spirit, draw us.


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