From left: Srs. Nancy Moroney, Diane Dupee, (top) Joanne Bonville, Patricia Sullivan, Mary Elizabeth DeBoer, Ann Jerome Kociolek, Veronica Miller, Andrea Jurewicz (bottom) Srs. Doris Thibault, Stephanie Frenette, Beth McCormick, Claire Sinotte
On July 21st, we gathered to celebrate our 2019 jubilarians with a mass and a reception. Below is the reflection Sister Debbie Blow, OP gave to celebrate our jubilarians.
It is most appropriate that our readings today highlight 3 women who responded to the call of God. Three strong women. Sarah…Martha and Mary. Each of them stood in her own truth before God and each had an intimate and unique relationship with God.
Sarah laughed and danced in a circle with her handmaidens. Sarah taught us that our faith is not about the ladder of Jacob but about dancing and laughing in a circle. When we dance in a circle there is a space for everyone, we just widen the circle. When someone falls or is weary the circle holds them up. God called a woman to begin a journey that demonstrated faith and belief in God’s promise, a witness that God’s promises come true. A woman of joy, dance and laughter. God chose Sarah and Sarah stood up and embraced her call.
Martha and Mary teach us about responding with integrity. They each responded from the truth of who they were and they brought that truth and set it before Jesus. We know Martha and Mary… because they are us. We are both Martha and Mary and both are alive in us. In our ministry, we often are Martha… in our soul we are Mary. We have all known the conflict in our lives between the Martha and the Mary within. It is a healthy tension and we must heed its wisdom, we are Martha and we are Mary. God needed women, who would face the difficult challenge of balancing the demands of ministry and contemplation. God wanted women who would unabashedly speak their minds and respond with courage to the contradictions that life brings. God chose Martha and Mary and they stood up and embraced their call.
Let’s take a few moments to remember some of the other women we have been given, who have shared the light and compassion of God and witnessed to hope.
God called a woman to demonstrate the power of conversion and service to God’s people, a woman who loved deeply and valued friendship. God chose Ruth and Ruth stood up and embraced her call. (I suspect there are many here today who can share stories of how our Jubilarians lived service, demonstrated conversion and are valued for their deep commitments to friendship).
God called a woman to exemplify persistent prayer with faithfulness to God. God chose Hannah and Hannah stood up and embraced her call. (Surely, we see this commitment to prayer and contemplation embodied in our Jubilarians).
God called a woman to risk her life as a model of bravery, who sought God’s guidance in times of difficulty, and who had unbounded confidence in God’s providence. God chose Esther and Esther stood up and embraced her call. (Our jubilarians have shown bravery (remember the moment you first said YES or remember 1995 when you said YES again)? Each of you have walked paths of unbridled confidence and courage through your years of commitment and service).
God called a woman to be a prophet and to demonstrate wisdom and a compassionate zeal for justice. God chose Deborah and Deborah stood up and embraced her call. (Together-YOU, our Jubilarians, have more than 1060 years of wisdom and compassionate zeal as you pursued justice in a multitude of ways).
God called a woman who had lived a long life and who had dedicated her entire life to God, a true witness of dedication and hope. God chose Anna and Anna stood up and embraced her call. (Look around you. You, our Jubilarians, not only represent lifelong dedication but also exude an aura of hope in the midst of aging and some infirmity).
God called a woman to be the mother of our Redeemer, Jesus, a woman of “yes” to God and God’s will, a woman who would sing aloud her “Magnificat” to the God who had chosen her. God chose Mary of Nazareth and Mary stood up and embraced her call. (And yes, Jubilarians, you have chosen to sing the Magnificat by the actions of your many and varied ministries and your openness to transition again and again and again).
God called a woman to be a model of welcome, to acknowledge Mary as the chosen one, to be the mother of John, the voice who cried out in the wilderness, announcing the coming of the Messiah. God chose Elizabeth and Elizabeth stood up and embraced her call. (Our Dominican Jubilarians, in accord with the spirit of Dominic and Catherine, model hospitality and welcome, especially to the least among us.)
God called a woman – a stranger who lived on the edges – to enter into a moment of relationship with Jesus that changed her life, to be a model of holy conversation. God chose the Samaritan woman and the Samaritan woman stood up and embraced her call. (Many of our Jubilarians have gone to the fringes so they could share in holy conversation with those living as outcasts).
God called a woman to follow Jesus, to listen to His Word, to truly become a disciple, a beloved friend of Jesus, to be first to announce the Good News that Jesus had risen. God chose Mary Magdalene and Mary Magdalene stood up and embraced her call. (And not only our Jubilarians, but all of us have been called to announce the Good News in who we are and who we are becoming).
(And if we reflect on Martha and Mary in a slightly different perspective, we are aware that God called women, like Mary, who had the courage to dare to study, to dare to preach, to dare to speak truth to power! Our jubilarians are women who have dared to model for the world and for each of us, dared to stand up in Faith, in Hope and in Love, dared to stand against violence, dared to stand for compassionate justice, all rooted in contemplative prayer and listening.)
Just as St. Catherine of Siena, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Dorothy Day, Dorothy Stang, the El Salvadoran Martyrs, the women at our borders, the mothers sheltering children in war torn countries, our Dominican Sisters and Associates who have gone before us in our congregation, and countless others have been called to be strong witnesses to faith and hope, so are each of you called (point to the jubilarians). So have each of you lived. Down through the ages, God repeatedly called women of courage and strong faith to participate in God’s work of salvation. AND, God called each of you here today– to serve the poor, to educate, to care for the sick, to seek justice, AND to mentor us as we move into a future full of hope- to stand in the truth of your lives as Dominican Sisters of HOPE.
On this day when we celebrate these amazing women, our Dominican Jubilarians, we honor and recognize you as strong women, standing on the shoulders of all the awesome women who have gone before us. You have heard and embraced the call to live your lives as witnesses to the only thing that really matters- God’s faithful, unending love, which alone gives meaning and purpose to our lives as Dominicans of HOPE.
YES, God calls each of us, today, in our broken and wounded world, to stand for those people who cannot stand by and for themselves, those who are held in disrespect, who live on the fringes of society, and are labeled unworthy.
YOU/WE are Women of the church. We are Women of God in the tradition of Sarah and Deborah, Esther and Ruth, Anna and Mary of Nazareth, Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene, Martha and her sister Mary… and you, our Jubilarians whom we celebrate today. And as HOPE, we stand with you…Together, we stand in HOPE and we promise, once again, to embrace our call to live lives of contemplation, integrity, joy and hope.
Thank you, Sisters Nancy, Doris, Marie Jeanne, Joanne, Mary Elizabeth, Diane, Andrea, Beth, Mary Gilbert, Anne, Anne Jerome, Veronica, Barbara, Patricia, Claire and Stephanie- for standing up, for standing strong, for standing vulnerable, for standing as women we love and admire. Thank you for being women who have shown us the way of justice and truth, of mission and ministry, of HOPE. Thank you for embracing your call…YOU are blessed, you are holy, you are Dominican women of God. And we celebrate you today!
See photos from our jubilarian celebration here. Our list of 2019 jubilarians is below:
Sister Nancy Moroney, OP
Sister Doris Thibault, OP
Sister Marie Jeanne Beauregard, OP
Sister Joanne Bonville, OP
Sister Mary Elizabeth DeBoer, OP
Sister Diane Dupee, OP
Sister Andrea Jurewicz, OP
Sister Beth McCormick, OP
Sister Mary Gilbert Snide, OP
Sister Stephanie Frenette, OP
Sister Anne Gordon, OP
Sister Ann Jerome Kociolek, OP
Sister Veronica Miller, OP
Sister Barbara Ortmann, OP
Sister Claire Sinotte, OP
Sister Patricia Sullivan, OP
What an outstanding and powerful reflection on this grand occasion! Bounteous blessings on Debbie Blow for sharing such relative and poignant words of wisdom!
Such a beautiful reflection which honors all of you. Thank You for reflecting this love at the Mount, Sr Pat.