Sisters’ art makes space for the holy

Dominican Srs. Barbara Chenicek and Rita Schlitz, award-winning designers of sacred space, long ago embraced the notion that art is as much about what’s deleted as it is about what’s included – and added their own twist: by becoming one with the communities who hire them, they themselves disappear. They have designed space for Bon Secours Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Mich., and also for the Ursuline community in Chatham, Ontario. But when they were asked to renovate the Dominican Chapel of the Plains in Great Bend, Kan., they really began to think about their process.

"Contemplation invites you to surrender the words that interpret our faith, our experience of God. It is a wordless prayer. It is a form of non-discursive meditation."

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The magnetic force of hope

Nuns on the Bus Blog - A look back on Day 5, when Sr. Simone Campbell accepted her Pacem in Terris Award. From her inspiring speech: “It's not about pushing back against this force that I want to eliminate.” That just reinforces it and “you get stuck pushing on both sides. There’s no peace in that.” It’s about standing side by side, looking toward the future and fighting for an alternative vision where everyone is invited in. “Fighting for means we all need to aspire to the something else. It’s fighting for a vision of who we see ourselves called to be. It’s radical acceptance and fighting for the vision that makes for peace.”

Q & A with Sr. Grace Miller

Grace Miller, a Sister of Mercy in Rochester, New York, never intended to run a homeless shelter and be a tireless advocate for those with nowhere to go. But on Oct. 1, she’ll celebrate 29 years of doing exactly that. Two weeks later, she’ll be in court to explain why she is charged with third-degree criminal trespass. Call it the price of working for justice for the homeless.

Three sisters hold up half the sky

“Only the pinch of salt is enough,” laughs Sr. Samina Iqbal, explaining that Christians constitute only two percent of the population in Pakistan. The same small totals apply to these three Sisters of Loretto, the first in their home country. Yet the sisters, who visited the Loretto Spirituality Center outside of Denver recently, seem to accomplish the work of legions. Since 2011 they have run St. Albert’s School in a slum in Pakistan’s third largest city, Faisalabad, where most people live on $1 a day and the size of houses is about 12-foot square. And that's not all.

On a mission

See for Yourself - Not long ago I was part of a panel for a mission program at Jesuit Xavier University. The program offers a variety of mission awareness enlightenment experienced by a group of XU faculty and staff selected annually. Certain events during the year are open to the larger university community.