A Dose of Dominicans

By: Bridgeport Dominicans

A blog that gives you a "dose" of our Dominican Life. 

Test 4

Yet another test to see if I can get this "lovely" blog to finally work.  It is not my friend.  :-)

Dominican Study

As a Dominican Sister, I have come to understand and cherish the great value of having Study as an essential identity my religious life. As a young person, I had seen school and study as something which had to be done.  Study was the thing which I did to pass tests. It was part of life, and definitely not exciting.

I met the Dominican Sisters when I went to college, and that experience transformed my life. There I saw women who were true scholars in their fields.  They were not only committed to religious life, but to the entire concept of wisdom, knowledge, and scholarship.  Minimalism in study was unacceptable: they represented to me the best of the medieval concept of the university where learning was a way of life.  A mediocre student was not a student. I learned from the sisters that it is a scandal for a Dominican to live a mediocre life.

These Dominican Sisters showed in a tangible way the connection between study and faith.  The purpose of study is to find the truth, whether the truth is Latin grammar or Dante’s poetry, or psychology terminology.  Jesus said that He was the way and the truth and the life, so in the search for truth, God would be found. Wasn’t that the whole meaning of life?  I thought so.

Over time, I came to love study. I loved the challenge, and I loved the satisfaction obtained from learning about an entirely new world of thought.   Study is not an end to itself, or a way to impress other people.  Graduate degrees establish professional credibility, but Study is a form of prayer.  There will always be more to know, and someone will always be there who knows more, and recognizing this helps to keep the ego in check. How else could we find God unless we make room for Him?

I have been blessed in my religious life to have studied many things.  I find too, that in the wisdom of God, everything I have learned or experienced in my study is somehow transformed into being of use in the ministry. Nothing is wasted when obtained by prayerful study.

In the Baltimore Catechism the first question was, “Why did God make me?”  The answer, “To know him, to love him, and to serve him.” Without study, we can never know him. Study allows a Dominican to know God, then to love him, and finally, to serve him for the rest of our life. What a wonderful Dominican legacy!

800th Anniversary of the Dominican Order

From November 7, 2015 – January 21, 2017, the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) are celebrating the 800th anniversary, or Jubilee, of the approbation of the Order by Pope Honorius III in 1216. 800 years ago, Saint Dominic de Guzman introduced Dominican life into the world to preach the Gospel for the salvation of souls.  Across the world Dominicans will mark the Jubilee with various events highlighting Dominican history and celebrations oriented toward God, from whom we receive our many gifts.

Serendipity or Grace?

In the 1970’s, I was a math and religion teacher in a Catholic high school in the Midwest. One Sister about my age and I were the youngest in the Convent.  We became good friends and did many things together (i.e., shopping, cooking, etc.). We also participated in many student activities and did “fun” things with them (i.e. bike riding in spring and fall and sledding when it snowed).

Next I was assigned to a 14 story high-rise convent built in the shape of a cross with equal size sections of 4 rooms on each sides of the cross design. There were elevators and staircases in the middle.  There were also floors with no “rooms” but large open spaces where Sisters could watch TV or play cards or have good conversations with a few or several Sisters.

My friend had a room on the 14th floor.  In late 1977, I was taking the elevator to visit my friend.  The elevator stopped at 3rd floor. My superior got on to go to her room on the 8th floor.  Before we got to the 8th floor, she told me that she along with her advisors had met that week and the education committee had suggested that I study for Canon Law degrees.  A Dominican priest who knew many of the Sisters had visited recently and stated that women were now permitted to study for such a degree as soon as possible. In fall of 1979, after a rapid “brush up” in Latin, since all Canon Law was in Latin, I began my studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  I earned a Bachelor degree (JCB) in 1980, a Licentiate degree (JCL) in 1981, and a Doctoral degree (JCD in 1982.  I was then hired to teach Canon Law at C.U.A. After several years of teaching, I was hired by Archbishop Hickey who was Archbishop of Washington and also President of Catholic University.  I had scheduled an interview with Archbishop Hickey to ask if I could be hired to assist the Vicar for Religious .Archbishop Hickey politely declined my request but immediately said he did want to hire me but preferred that I become his “personal canonical advisor.” I readily agreed to his request.  A few months later, Archbishop Hickey received credible information that a group of four priests had molested several boys. All four priests were asked to come to the Vicar General’s office on the same day at a specific, staggered times. Each was presented with evidence of his actions and asked to resign his current position and to seek professional help. If they declined, the process for dismissal from the priesthood would begin. Each admitted guilt and was immediately sent for treatment at a medical facility.

During eight years as canonical advisor to the Archbishop, I also earned a Licentiate degree in theology (STL) at the Dominican House of Studies located across from C.U.A.  I then returned to Ohio and became ad hoc canonical consultant for several Dioceses and many religious communities.  From 1990 through 2009, I also wrote 100 “Canonical Counsel” essays in the journal Review for Religious published by the Jesuit Community of St. Louis (MO).

In 2006, I was the recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal given in Washington, DC at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I thank God for what I, as a woman religious have been able to contribute to the Church. It is my fondest and most cherished memory of all time.

So, circumstances do make us think differently.  One has to just to follow my journey over the years. However, never underestimate the “ups and downs” of elevators in your life.  Miracles can happen!