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Posts from the ‘Sisters / Nuns’ Category

We Have Family in Iraq

Grapes from the Dominican convent garden in Pisa, Italy

As I read Wednesday’s Gospel reading (John 15:1-8), I remembered taking a picture of grapes in the convent garden of Iraqi Dominican Sisters in Pisa, Italy. The sisters there were taking safe refuge. Some of our U.S. Dominican congregations have also received young Dominican sisters from Iraq so that they could safely study in this country before returning to Iraq to do ministry.

These sisters truly are bearing fruit courageously, and have learned how to rely resting in Christ and on the blessings of the larger Dominican family. In return, they have blessed us, even those of us who have not been privileged to share their lives. I am reminded that, through through these sisters, I have family in Iraq. I am reminded that, through the ministry of Dominicans anywhere in the world, our ministry is extended . . . and that I am there too.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Loving Our Neighbor . . . the Immigrant

Friday’s Gospel reading is from Matthew 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding,
with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

I wonder how well we demonstrate our love for God by our love for our neighbor . . .

  • After visiting with some of the people of Tijuana, and witnessing their poverty. . .
  • After conversations with people who had grown up in the U.S., only to be deported as an adult, even though they knew no one in Mexico . . .
  • After remembering the words of Exodus 22:21 . . .

You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.

God bless the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Peace, and all those who support them, in caring for their neighbors and our neighbors. May we learn to be truly neighbor through our trade and immigration policies, and may we learn compassion and not react to the “stranger” in a mean-spirited manner because of our fear and lack of understanding. May the Spirit help us to “enlarge the place of our tent” (Isaiah 54:2) and make room in our hearts and our lives for others who are different from us. Could this be a way for us to be transformed this Lent?

The people at Casa de los Pobres, Tijuana, gather to pray the Stations of the Cross during Lent. The students of Dominican University joined them.

Transfiguration and First Vows

On Sunday afternoon Sister Colleen McDermott, OP will make her First Profession of Vows as a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. She is delighted that the Gospel reading of the day

Sister Colleen McDermott, OP

from Mark 9:2-10 is about Jesus’ Transfiguration. Jesus’ disciples saw him on the high mountain, suddenly, as he truly was . . . even though they didn’t understand. All of us are also on a journey to becoming more of who we truly are . . . even though we may not be able to see it clearly or understand the process.

Sister Colleen’s profession will be one more step on her journey of becoming. A transfiguration of a sort. And we, the Dominican Sisters, are delighted that she wants to continue with us on our journey becoming more of who we are called to be.