What to say about “hope” during this most unusual time in history?

It strikes me as ironic that, as we Dominican Sisters of Hope designated 2020 as “A Year of Hope” to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our founding, the rest of the world could not see 2020 come to an end fast enough! 

Back in the ‘70’s, I had an Argus poster on my wall depicting daffodils pushing through the first mulch of spring.  The saying read simply “To hope is to remember.”  Over the years, when facing seemingly hopeless situations or challenges, this quote led me to consider previous times when my prayers were answered in ways I could never have anticipated. However, during these past months, I have struggled to find a memory big enough to shed light on this unprecedented time.  Surely there are profound lessons to be learned, calls to be discerned, and actions to be taken…but for much of the time, I seemed only able to wait for the “new normal” to come into focus. 

It strikes me now that perhaps Hope itself is the big memory. Far more than mere optimism, Hope is a theological virtue infused in us at Baptism. This gift of Hope not only implants in us a desire for union with our God as our ultimate happiness, but also assures us that we need only place our trust in Christ’s promises.  We need not rely on our own strength but on the action of the Holy Spirit at work in us. I find this comforting and reassuring. Perhaps it is okay to sit with questions or feelings that have no clear or immediate answers or resolution, to surrender to the process of waiting and listening, responding as best we can to the urgencies of the moment. Faith assures us that God is indeed with us, leading us through anything and everything into Love.

These past months have laid open so many stark contradictions and new realizations clamoring for our attention. To name but a few:  Individual health depends on world health. “Black Lives Matter” challenges the fundamental immorality of white supremacy.  Truth itself can seemingly be upended by repeated falsehoods. The poor among us are more likely to be “essential” than the rich. Where will these considerations lead us down the road?

As I write this, we are on the cusp of spring. Daffodils are once again making their way to the surface.  They invite me to wonder what wisdom and unanticipated blessings this “Year of Hope” will hold in future memories.  Surely our God is up to something!


At 3 pm on July 20, 1995 the Dominican Sisters of Hope were founded. On July 20, 2019, we began our 25th year since our founding. We declare a YEAR OF HOPE! In celebration, we will share a reflection on the 20th of every month. This is the twentieth reflection in this series. Read all reflections here.

This reflection was written by

Dominican Sister of Hope Judy Brunell, OP

Sr. Judy holds a MA in Religious Studies from Providence College in Rhode Island and is a graduate of the Institute for Spiritual Leadership from the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago.  She enjoyed several teaching experiences but was especially pleased with her years with the Pregnant and Parenting Teen Program in New Bedford, MA where she worked as an educational advocate for high school dropouts.  She also served as formation director for her former Congregation and led courses in Spirituality and personal development and offered spiritual direction and retreats. For many years, she was most proud to introduce herself as a potter.  She most recently enjoyed ten years in Congregational Leadership.  She now resides in Montrose, NY.