By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
March 8th – 14th marked the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt’s annual Catholic Sisters Week celebration.
During the week, the Congregation hosted and participated in several events that brought together Sisters, Associates, other Women Religious, local students, and community members.
On Sunday, March 8th, the Catholic Sisters Week festivities began with the annual Ladies Celtic Tea event. Over 150 attendees gathered together at the Motherhouse to enjoy Irish tea, food, raffles, entertainment, and preaching from Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, OP.
In her preaching, Sr. Kathleen reflected on the Breastplate of St. Patrick, as well as the reasons why people attend the Celtic Tea each year and included thoughts about the message that God wants to bring us today.
“And there is one message that came quickly to mind:
God, who is present to us within and around us, wants to connect with us…
wants our minds and hearts to be aware of God’s presence.
More easily said than done!
We are 21st-century folks!
...constantly engaged by the noise of our modern world and its many distractions
…by the voices that emanate from devices that we carry with us - everywhere.
And even our faith is being challenged by some of the modern sciences
which allege that everything can be reduced to algorithms – no need for a Creator.
Does this noise of our modern world engage us in ways that make our awareness of God a “second thought” or maybe only an avenue we pursue when we are desperate for God’s help?
Or have we learned to remove ourselves from the “noise” of our world,
our devices, our fears, our needs to embrace the silence that reveals
God’s Presence to us and engages us as preachers of the reality of Patrick’s message?
Are we managing our lives in ways that allows Silence
to reveal God’s presence and his love to us?
Do we make the time in our busy lives to silence all that surrounds us?
To just be silent and listen to God who we believe (in Patrick’s words)
is --behind, before, within us.
Do we place ourselves in that presence without the need to use words…
to just be conscious of God who embraces us?”
-Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, OP
After Sr. Kathleen’s preaching, Celtic Tea guests were treated to a wonderful performance from the talented students of the Pearl River School of Irish Music and Strings of Tara.
Along with these performers, attendees also enjoyed musical entertainment from Kevin Cronin, a Dominican College graduate.
The following day after the Celtic Tea, Sisters and Tappan Zee High School students participated in the second annual Ministry Service Day. Event attendees learned about Sister Dorothy Maxwell’s ministry as a Chaplain at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum-security prison for women in New York State.
As a part of the event, Sisters and students assembled 40 bags with toothbrushes, puzzle books, greeting cards, and soap for the women as they are not permitted to take anything to the medical unit nor the hospital.
The remaining days of Catholic Sisters Week were quite busy for the Sisters of Saint Dominic.
On Tuesday, March 10th, Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny visited the Motherhouse to recognize both the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt and the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill with a Proclamation that formally deemed March 8th – 14th as Catholic Sisters Week in Orangetown, as well as recognized both Congregations for their impact of society. Sisters Mary Ann Collins, Mary Flood, and Ellenrita Purcaro accepted the Proclamation on behalf of Blauvelt, while Sisters Mary Murray and Irene Ellis accepted on behalf of Sparkill.
Later that evening, Sisters Michaela Connolly and Mary Flood joined Sparkill Sisters Mary Murray and Eileen Gannon at the Town of Orangetown Board meeting, where both Congregations were honored for Catholic Sisters Week.
During the Town Board meeting, Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy reflected on his personal experiences with both Congregations and shared a touching story about how these Sisters impacted both him and his family.
On Wednesday, March 11th, Sr. Barbara Werner, OP, participated in a Facebook Live interview, “A Candid Conversation about Religious Life Today” with Sisters Mary Pius Fagan and Jeanne Shary from Sparkill. During the interview, these Sisters shared their individual vocation journeys and ministry experiences. They also gave advice for young women considering Religious Life.
This interview, which has become a yearly Catholic Sisters Week tradition for both Congregations has nearly 9,000 views on Facebook. To watch the video, click on the play button below.
The Catholic Sisters Week celebration concluded on a bittersweet note as the Sisters annual Prayer, Pizza, and Conversation event with Dominican College students was canceled, but they were still able to host to host their first ever “Praying For Peace & Wisdom… During this Time of Crisis” Prayer Service at the Motherhouse Chapel.
The Prayer Service, which was streamed on the Sisters’ Facebook page, brought together people to pray and reflect on those who are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other troubling issues throughout the world.
To watch the video, click on the play button below.
2020 Ladies Celtic Tea Photos