This past week I had the privilege of being present with a family as they mourned the death of a beloved member. My friend, Diane, called me on September 5 to share the news that her dad just died. By rearranging my schedule and asking the sisters here in Westchester for assistance, I was able to clear my calendar to go to Racine. Those days were profound days of grace.
Diane is a Racine Dominican. We have been friends since we were both in vocation ministry beginning in 1992. Our relationship has deepened over the years. We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, jubilees, and weddings together with our families and communities. The greatest strength is the love we share in the hard times—illness, suffering, and death.
The bond of our Dominican life initially drew us together. As vocation directors we collaborated in sponsoring mission experiences and other ventures. Our Dominican bond continues to be an important connection for both of us. I came to know many Racine Dominicans and Diane has come to know many Sinsinawa Dominicans. She even lived with us in Westchester and I minister in the summer as a retreat director at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine. I am at home with her community and with her family.
So in this “hard time” for Diane and her family, our initial collaboration as Dominicans has become a lasting friendship that sustains us. Diane’s Sisters not only support her in this difficult time, my Sinsinawa Sisters are also praying for Diane and her family. I too feel the love and prayer support from the Racine Dominicans and from her family.
Becoming a Dominican sister “widens the space of my tent.” I am so blessed!
You may also find great strength as a Dominican. What blessings are waiting for you?
Mary Therese Johnson, OP