Aquinas Institute of Theology recently announced the appointment of Fr. David G. Caron, OP, as president. The appointment was made by the Provincial Council of the Province of St. Albert the Great (Central Province). In making the appointment, the council accepted the recommendation of the Aquinas Institute Board of Trustees. Fr. Caron, a Dominican of the Province of St. Martin de Porres (Southern Province), has been serving Aquinas Institute as acting president since August of this year. Read more
Monthly Archives: December 2012
Dominican volunteer Rachel Mustain has published a reflection on Advent in Dominican Disputatio, the Dominican Volunteers USA blog. Rachel currently volunteers in San Francisco, California, at Immaculate Conception Academy, a Cristo Rey high school sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. Read more
Dominican Sisters of Peace, St. Catherine de’ Ricci are one
On Saturday, Dec. 15, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci officially became members of the Dominican Sisters of Peace at a ceremony held in Columbus, Ohio, and webcasted to viewers throughout the world. Read more
A presentation of a “treasure box” by outgoing de’ Ricci President Sister Anne Lythgoe, OP (left) to Dominican Sisters of Peace Prioress Sister Margaret Ormond, OP, symbolized the gifts the de’ Ricci sisters bring to the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci officially became members of the Dominican Sisters of Peace at a ceremony held in Columbus, Ohio, and webcasted to viewers throughout the world.
During the ceremony, the de’ Ricci sisters reaffirmed their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as Dominican Sisters of Peace and received Dominican Sisters of Peace symbols. A presentation of a “treasure box” by outgoing de’ Ricci President Sister Anne Lythgoe to Dominican Sisters of Peace Prioress Sister Margaret Ormond symbolized the gifts the de’ Ricci sisters bring to the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
This merger came after an extensive process of exploration, discernment, and deep prayer that began in 2001. Approval for the merger was received from the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on July 25, 2012, Rome, Italy.
Numbering 60 vowed sisters and 64 lay associates, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci were a pontifical institute founded in 1880, in Albany, New York, to address the spiritual life and faith formation of women. From headquarters in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, the sisters had continued to carry out this call today in operating two retreat centers and in serving in individual ministries as spiritual directors, counselors and parish faith formation directors, and more. As Dominican Sisters of Peace, they will continue in these ministries.
“We take this step out of a conviction that we have reached a moment when our critical resources of leadership and essential supportive structures can no longer sustain us on our own,” stated Sister Anne Lythgoe. “At the same time, we believe that we possess gifts for ministry in the Church that can make a significant contribution to God’s people as we place our mission in a larger context within the Dominican Order.”
“The Dominican Sisters of Peace are humbled and honored by the decision of the de‘ Ricci Sisters to join with us in our mission of preaching the Gospel to the people in our times,” proclaimed Sister Margaret Ormond. “These sisters and associates bring so many gifts, and we are eager to share with them and to learn from them.”
The Dominican Sisters of Peace congregation is a pontifical institute founded in 2009 from the union of seven former Dominican congregations. Now with more than 600 Sisters and 500 Associates in 37 states and nine countries, they serve in many ministerial areas, including education, health care, spirituality, pastoral care, prison ministry, and ecology/care of creation. The congregation’s 27 founded institutions that continue to operate today throughout the United States include three colleges/universities, four high schools, two grade schools, four health care centers, three literacy centers, five farms/ecology centers, five retreat/spirituality centers, and one low-income housing project.
“Together, we will continue to embrace the preaching mission of the Order as we embrace each other in this call to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” commented Sister Margaret. “May God bring to fruition the good work that has begun.”
More information about the Dominican Sisters of Peace can be found at www.oppeace.org.
‘We have much for which to pray during this Christmas season’
“As we enter a season of joy and peace, we are confronted with the unimaginable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. The ever-present reality of a culture of violence remains with us… We have much for which to pray during this Christmas season.” The Dominican Sisters of Peace offer a reflection by Sister Judy Morris, OP, and a prayer for peace by Sister Joanne Caniglia, OP. Read more
I’m always glad to find movies with spiritual themes, so I was happy to hear about “Life of Pi,” the new film by Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, based on the 2001 novel by Yann Martel.
“Life of Pi” is told in flashback by the adult Pi Patel, an Indian now living with his wife and children in Canada. Pi meets with a writer who may be interested in writing Pi’s story. The writer was told that Pi’s story would make him believe in God. Naturally the writer wanted to hear more.
Pi grew up in India with his parents, who owned a zoo, and an older brother. At the age of 16, Pi and his brother learn that their parents plan to close the zoo in India and move with the animals to Canada, where they hope to open another zoo. The Patels, along with the animals, board a freighter bound for Canada. Pi is awakened one night by a terrific storm. First Pi is intrigued by the ferocious storm. Then, to his horror, Pi realizes the ship is in danger of sinking. He is able to make it to a lifeboat, without any sign of his family. The next day, after the storm subsides, Pi sees no sign of the ship or any other humans. But Pi is not alone. With him on the lifeboat are four of the zoo animals: an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Most of the movie tells the story of Pi’s perilous adventure in the lifeboat. It doesn’t take long for the inevitable to happen: The only survivors on the lifeboat are Pi and Richard Parker. Naturally, Pi is terrified of the tiger. However, in a strange way, Pi credits Richard Parker with keeping him alive. The tiger has kept Pi alert. Pi also has had to find food for Richard Parker in order to keep from being his next meal. Pi spends much of his time on a tiny raft tied to the lifeboat. Eventually, though, the boy and tiger reach an uneasy truce regarding the boat, for the mutual benefit of each.
The spiritual side of the story begins with Pi’s childhood in India. He is raised Hindu by his family. One day when Pi and his brother are playing, his brother dares Pi to go into a Catholic church and drink the holy water. Pi does so. He is spotted by a priest who brings him a glass of water. Observing that Pi is staring at the crucifix, the priest explains its symbolism. The priest tells Pi that the Son of God is on the cross and died for us, because he loved us so much. Pi is captivated by this story. He returns home and announces to his surprised parents that he wants to be baptized! Not long after this, Pi happens upon a mosque during prayer time. Pi is intrigued by this experience as well, and then tells his parents he wants to become Moslem! Pi is a spiritual seeker, finding God in three of the world’s great religions. He believes that God saved him from death on his perilous Pacific journey. Now Pi has a family of his own.
Directing his first 3-D film, Lee gives us some great moments: the harrowing sinking of the freighter in the storm and an enormous surfacing by the lifeboat, capsizing the boat and almost drowning Pi and Richard Parker. There are also several beautiful scenes of brilliant starlit nights over the Pacific. The computer-generated special effects are also amazing, most particularly Richard Parker. Almost unbelievably, the huge, pacing, roaring, menacing tiger that attacks a zebra is not real, but made by computer geniuses. “Life of Pi” will certainly be a strong contender for the special effects Oscar.
“Life of Pi” is a visually stunning film with a spiritual theme. So why didn’t I like it more than I did? After a while on the lifeboat with the tiger, my interest began to wane. Pi’s journey is heroic, but lacks character development. After a while, there’s nowhere for the story to go, until the small boat finally reaches land. From Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” to the TV series “Lost,” we’ve seen variations on the stranded person(s) in the ocean waiting to be rescued many times before. Even with a computer-generated tiger and its spiritual angle, “Life of Pi” just doesn’t seem to offer much that we haven’t seen before. By the time we get back to the adult Pi and writer in Canada who offers a strange alternate twist in the story, it seems phony. “Life of Pi” may well affirm the faith of one who already believes in God. Yet, on the other hand, it doesn’t seem substantial enough to convert the non-believer either.
I understand that others have attempted to film “Life of Pi.” These other attempts were all abandoned, and the book was deemed “unfilmable.” Maybe the skeptics were correct. Even the gifted Ang Lee, with all his technical wizards, couldn’t succeed in filming “Life of Pi.”
Tom Condon, OP