Prayer is an important part of mission and ministry, and whether sisters or staff, we’re all called to pray for one another. As a Hope Family, we’re especially called to pray for those who entrust us with their prayer intentions. In 2021 we received more than 3,000 formal prayer requests through our Development Department, and at Christmas we send donors a paper ornament for their tree, as a visible reminder of our promise to pray for them.

Photo credit: Meghan Pistorino

We also ask donors to pray for the congregation and invite them to sign the back of a matching ornament and return it so we can hang it on our tree as well. This year the Development staff hung the ornaments on the tree outside the Mariandale chapel. For those who were unable to be here in person over the last few weeks, here’s a sampling (click on the image to enlarge it):

One donor included an additional message:

Dear Sisters, Thank you for the Christmas ornament. I’ll hang it in my bedroom. I do not have a tree, I can’t do anything anymore. My asthma and arthritis are really bad, can’t hardly get up. So please pray that I be healed from all these physical infirmities so I can do something around my home. I need your prayers, please, healing from asthma, arthritis, insomnia, heart, and now I have diabetes. Thank you so much for remembering me.

While this circle of prayer is visible in a special way at Christmas, the prayers and messages fly back and forth all year long. We’re especially grateful to those sisters who volunteer to make phone calls to our donors to thank them and personally assure them of our prayers. (You know who you are!) Suzanne Feasel and the Development staff also send handwritten notes. Here’s a sampling of some of the responses received in the weeks leading up to Christmas [names have been changed]:

Thank you for your prayers. Mark is doing better but Rebecca and Amy are still struggling. Please continue to pray to God to protect them and James, Sharon, Andrew, and Joseph, and keep them healthy in body, mind and soul. Unfortunately, Andrew is also having difficulty in living at college and away from home.

Dearest Sisters, Thank you for continuing to pray for my children, Carrie and Vincent. We continue to remember all of the sisters in our daily prayers, especially during the Advent season…the season of hopeful waiting. May God Bless You!

Thank you that you continue to pray for:

  • Caitlin – now 17 years old, still struggling to cure her leukemia
  • Brandon – now 10 years old, has an “incurable” metabolic disease
  • Thank God Terry my brother has completed his chemo and will be evaluated soon and may have to do another round
  • Peggy – not looking good for her to retain her eyesight
  • Pray for salvation of our democracy

Thank you all, Sisters! Marie

The messages and requests are a window into the transforming power of Hope, and intercessory prayer is a way all of us, including staff, can participate in the mission of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. When you walk by the tree (or scroll through the photos above), please take a moment to think of the donors who contribute to our ministry, and lift them and their intentions up to God, as they do for us.