These words in the book of Luke, 10:37, close the parable of the Good Samaritan. With them, Jesus illustrated the value of mercy.
Like our founder, St. Dominic, and our patron, St. Catherine of Siena, our Sisters have always gone where the need is greatest. As the United States quarantined to protect citizens from the emerging coronavirus, our Sisters wanted to help the poor, the sick and the marginalized. For some of our Sisters in their 80’s, and others in poor health, this was not to be.
As essential workers struggled to locate protective gear, Sisters took to their sewing machines. Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen, living temporarily with her elderly parents during quarantine, sewed and donated more than 2,000 masks. Each mask was accompanied by a special prayer, and the entire family helped with the project. (1)
In Oxford, MI, our St. Mary’s Retreat House was closing when Sr. Rita Birzer, in true Dominican fashion, saw the needs of the day changing around her. Much of the Retreat House furniture, bedding and personal protective gear was donated to a temporary facility to house COVID-19 patients.
Sister Joanne Caniglia and the Sisters in our Akron, OH, Motherhouse created math and science lessons that could be done at home, and 300 projects a week were distributed to women’s homeless shelters and food centers. Associate Connie Dubick, who volunteers with the King Kennedy Community Center in Akron, helped manage the distribution of the packets.
People of color were exceptionally hard hit by the virus and the economic downturn that accompanied quarantine. At the Peace Center, Sisters Suzanne Brauer, Pat Thomas and Ceal Warner took to the streets of New Orleans, masked and socially distanced, to take food to elderly neighbors and offer a friendly face.
Our Sisters at the Columbus, OH, Motherhouse, along with the Martin de Porres Center and the Dominican Learning Center, packed weekly bags of food, educational activities, and personal protective gear for members of the local Latinx community.
In rural Kansas, Sisters Janice Thome and Roserita Weber have obtained donations to help their neighbors maintain their homes. Many of them are economic refugees.
Sr. Ellen Coates, a health professional in the second year of her novitiate, is working as a contact tracer at the Ohio State University in Columbus to help reduce the spread of the virus on campus and in the local community.
In Niskayuna, NY, Sr. Sue Zemgulis at the Dominican Retreat Center is launching a spiritual sanctuary for seniors, persons with disabilities and 12-step group members, caring for the needs of heart and soul.
Our vocations team has continued to minister to those who hear God’s call. Our virtual vocation events have helped to bring two new candidates, Cathy Buchanan and Tram Bui, to the Congregation. Sr. Phuong Vu professed her temporary vows on December 8, 2020.
This year has been like no other, and like so many, the Dominican Sisters of Peace have found new ways to serve. Your support – your prayers and your gifts – are vital to our ability to continue the work of St. Dominic: to preach the Gospel of peace through our words, our deeds, and our lives.