The Dominican Sisters of Hope are delighted to announce the publication of Reflections on 25 Years of Hope, a collection of essays written by sisters and associates in celebration of the congregation’s silver anniversary. The introduction written by the Hope Leadership Team explains, “These writing put into words our collective wisdom: insights into our growth in relationship with each other and with the Spirit who, 25 years ago, named us Hope.”
The essays were originally published online as a monthly series, which began July 2019 and concluded June 2021. The time period included the first 16 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, and contributors write with humor, honesty and depth about events unfolding in real time. As Sr. Judy Brunell, OP writes, “It strikes me as ironic” that as the congregation “designated 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!”
As Sr. Judy’s observation indicates, the series became more than a way to celebrate an anniversary. It provided a way to make meaning of the global pandemic and its revelation of socio-economic disparities, inequities in health care and systemic racism, as well as political turmoil and the growing climate crisis. “We learned that Hope is most operative in times that seem hopeless, and while none of us owns Hope, it grows when shared,” writes the Leadership Team.
Contributor Sr. Marianne Watts, OP finds inspiration in her childhood memory of her family’s Victory Garden, planted during World War II. “In the beginning as the garden grew, I saw only the shapes and colors of the vegetables, but later on, Ma taught me that the roots are what make growing happen… It’s the roots that carry the miracle.”
Associate Janet Corso shares her experience as a spiritual director and offers wisdom on coping with trauma and not moving too quickly through “this barren place…this desert, this emptiness,” rather “staying present to its reality for the sake of a deeper and more transformative hope that perches in our soul and stays.”
The book includes 23 essays in total. It concludes with four blank pages and an invitation for the reader to write their own reflections on hope.
The congregation is distributing the book to its members, associates, staff, and community partners as an Advent gift. It is now available to the public through Amazon and the Barnes and Noble websites.