Thursday, September 23, 2010

Being a Joyful Dominican

I am brand new this school year. I do not know anyone at either the school where I study or the school where I work as a part-time social worker. One thing I have noticed is what happens when I smile. Yes, I mean smile, that simple gesture we all do occasionally. If I smile as I walk down the hall of school or on my way to class or while getting on the bus, others smile back. And, often, the next time we see each other, we will share a greeting or strike up a conversation. And, before you know it, we are having lunch together or sharing a cup of coffee. Imagine, all it took was a smile!

Saint Dominic, the founder of our Dominican Order, was known as the joyful Friar. His smile power must have been tremendous.

I never knew that there is a psychology that studies smiling. It is called gelotology. The word is from the Greek, gelos, geloto meaning laugh.

My father used to say, “smile and the world smiles with you.” Would you like to join with me in changing this often distant and fearful world of ours one smile at a time?

Sr. Peggy Ryan, OP
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


  1. Sr. Peggy,
    Aw, yes... the power of a smile!

    I work on a college campus and have tried to make it a habit to smile or greet students, faculty and visitors as I pass them on the sidewalk or in the hallway. I remember similar encounters when I was a visitor and student. I always appreciated the warm, friendly atmosphere and want to extend that same welcoming feeling to others.

    I've always believed that students, especially those away from home for the first time, could use that extra bit of individual attention. Imagine my surprise when a long-time department chair stopped me one day and said she loved running into me on campus. When I asked why, she said that she could always count on a friendly smile, a "cheerful hello" or quick exchange if within earshot, and a nice chat if we both had the time. I had no idea that such a simple gesture would mean so much to an established member of the campus community!

    Count me in the number making a difference one smile at a time. I'm a believer!

  2. I think you are right Sr Peggy. Smiling is a powerful tool. Whether we are in the mood or not, smiling gives us the ability to present our best self to the world, one person at a time.
    I think your father Chuck was right.He may have also said it is better than the alternative!

  3. Thank you, Sr. Peggy! I believe you are right... A smile is an invitation to "know me better". Take good care of yourself, dear Peggy....

    Your long lost neighbor, Nora Kerwin Orfanello


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