Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dominican Hospitality

A while back, sisters posting to this blog were asked to think about the "perks" of life as a Sinsinawa Dominican. A big one for me is Dominican hospitality. I claim it as a big part of our charism. I have practiced it as a virtue and pleasure, and enjoyed its fruits throughout my Dominican life. The summer before I became a Dominican, I traveled to California with Sister Ginger Phillips. We were the beneficiaries of something Ginger took for granted, but which captured me. Doors and hearts were opened to us in Minneapolis, Cheyenne, Oakland, Los Angeles and beyond. I came to understand in new ways what being part of a family is all about.These days, I count on the warm welcome, animated conversation, great food and drink, and unconditional love I receive from my sisters Georgia and Geri, my half-way stop between Alabama and Wisconsin. Here in Mobile, we think we have an unbeatable combination to offer: Dominican Hospitality + Southern Hospitality!

Dominican hospitality goes beyond welcoming friends and family, to welcoming strangers. It models Jesus' welcome table. It is a way of preaching. The end of summer here in Mobile is heralded by a special guest, the banana spider. They are huge, and their webs are magnificent - especially when highlighted by pollen. Real banana spiders, hiding in the fruit coming in to our port, are highly poisonous. The ones in our yard, also called banana spiders, but carrying the name "golden orb-weavers" are lovely. We welcome their arrival. When I saw the first one this year, I thought about our country's failure to welcome the "stranger" and wondered how our Dominican preaching about hospitality might help bring Truth to light.
Sr. Ann Henkel, OP
Mobile, Alabama

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