Random Nun Clips

How do Dominicans today live the spirit of founder Saint Dominic?

Podcast Recorded: August 16, 2018

In this Random Nun Clip, we talk about the influence of Saint Dominic on people's lives today. Hear the full Ask Sister episode AS210 at aNunsLife.org. 

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About our Guest

L: Sister Joan Williams is Vicaress of the Grand Rapids Dominicans. She grew up in Detroit with 12 siblings. She ministered as a music teacher and later coordinated religious education in 20 Hispanic parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. It was there she received the call to discern mission in Honduras, where she served for years among people in situations of great poverty. Sister Joan has also served on the leadership team for the Conference of Dominican Sisters of Latin-America and the Caribbean. She has degrees in Music Education, Theology, and Theological Studies.

R: Sister Orlanda Leyba was born and raised in Penasco, New Mexico. She is a retired formal education teacher and principal. She continues to use her teaching and administrative skills when tutoring adult women in the Literacy Center in Detroit and providing retreat days for Catholic school staff. Sister Orlanda volunteers every week at the Detroit Soup Kitchen, where she bonds and engages with people who are homeless in the city. Sister Orlanda is a graduate of Aquinas College and the University of Michigan.  

Transcript (Click for More)+

SISTER MAXINE: I am Sister Maxine and with me today are my guests who are Dominican Sisters from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Welcome, Sister Joan Williams.

SISTER JOAN: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.

SISTER MAXINE: And Sister Orlanda Leyba

SISTER ORLANDA: Good morning

SISTER MAXINE: I am Sister Maxine and with me today are my guests who are Dominican Sisters from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Welcome, Sister Joan Williams.

SISTER JOAN: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.

SISTER MAXINE: And Sister Orlanda Leyba

SISTER ORLANDA: Good morning

SISTER MAXINE: On your website, it talks a little bit about the legacy of the founder. Inspired by the spirit of our founder Saint Dominic de Guzmán, we join the worldwide order of preachers carrying out an 800-year mission to praise, to bless, and to preach. So, in light of that legacy, I would ask you, Sister Orlanda, how are you living that legacy out in the ministry that you’re involved in now.

SISTER ORLANDA:  To bless, preach, serve, I think I do all of that in a variety of ways. Certainly not that I’m thinking about that, the words, the journey that entails, but I do my service in tutoring, working in the soup kitchen, my work listening to people’s lives, their stories, helping out wherever I can. Prayer certainly is something that’s always with me because I love being in and enjoying nature. Nature to me is a prayer. I constantly feel I am in the presence of God with all the blessings that are around me, including the people and nature.

SISTER MAXINE: You talked about the soup kitchen and your volunteer work there and you also are in ministry at a literacy center. Can you say a little about that particular ministry and what you do there?

SISTER ORLANDA: The ministry is called All Saints Literacy Center and the center is basically for adult men and women who want to learn English or become more proficient in English. I have been walking with 3 Mexican women, some who are just starting to learn English and some that are already pretty good but are not as confident as they think they would like to be. I learn so much from them as I think probably, they learn from me. So, it’s a give and take.  It’s always a gift of relationship that’s building just by working and tutoring and asking about their lives, their rich lives that they lead and have led.

SISTER MAXINE: Sister Joan, as you reflect on that legacy of the founder, how are you living that out today in your ministry?

SISTER JOAN: Like Sr. Orlanda said, it’s not something you think about all the time. It’s something that is just part of our lives. Everything I do I would hope that it is going to be to praise, to bless, and to preach.

SISTER MAXINE: So it’s not necessarily that you make that a part intentionally. It is who you are.

SISTER JOAN: It is our charism, as Dominicans, to live that and I believe that we do in everything we do.

SISTER MAXINE: So it’s not necessary that it’s expressed through any particular ministry, it’s expressed in everything, all of the ways that you live.

SISTER JOAN: It’s expressed through our life and the way we act, the way we think, the way we speak, the way we look at other people, acceptance of others, and openness of heart to the truth. Truth is also veritas. That is our motto as Dominicans because Dominic sought the truth in order to combat the heresies of his day. That is really how the order started.

SISTER MAXINE: When you mention the heresies, certainly there are religious heresies but there are also other kinds of heresies. What are some of the so to say heresies of this day that the Grand Rapids Dominican, as a congregation, is taking a stance on?

SISTER JOAN: Probably the heresy on the environment, that there is nothing wrong with how we use material goods when we should be thinking of the use of water, the use of nature, our solidarity with nature. That would be one area. And the other is materialism. Anything that I want I can have. That becomes our god. There are many idols in our lives, accumulation of material goods, accumulation even of knowledge, power or prestige. Those are idols that get in the way of our real relationship with each other and with our God.

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