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Sister Rhonda Miska

Religion and Spirituality Writer

Location icon United States of America

Sister Rhonda Miska is originally from Middleton, Wisconsin and is currently based in St Louis, MO at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate. She holds a MA in Pastoral Ministry from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (2011) and an undergraduate degree in International Studies and French from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (2002). She served as a Jesuit Volunteer in rural Nicaragua from 2002-2004, as the Social Justice Minister/Hispanic Minister at a Catholic parish from 2004-2008, and as the Community Coordinator of Innisfree Village (a community with adults with intellectual disabilities) from 2008-2014. Her ministry experiences include facilitating Muslim-Christian dialogue, coordinating a homeless shelter, leading re-entry retreats for returned missioners, accompanying migrant children in federal immigration court, teaching workshops on writing as spiritual practice, serving in leadership for a congregation-based community organization, and teaching Religious Studies at Clarke University. Rhonda is a contributor (as author and translator) to the book Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table (Paulist Press, 2015) and a contributing author to the book Pope Francis Lexicon (Liturgical Press, 2018).

Portfolio
USCatholic.org
Bring a poem on your spiritual journey

"A poem in the pocket means we will be accompanied wherever we go," writes Bishop Robert Morneau. Morneau's words ring true to me. Poems have been sturdy companions on my spiritual journey, accompanying me through moments of rejoicing and lament and everything in between.

Collaborativedominicannovitiate
Learning to Love the Divine Office

Though as a 37-year-old Dominican novice, I now treasure the Divine Office (also called the Liturgy of the Hours), it was hardly a case of love at first sight. I remember well my first experience of praying - or attempting to pray!

Daily Theology
07/03/2017
"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Their Story?": Memorials and Dangerous Memories

By Rhonda Miska Celebrations of today's 241st anniversary the Declaration of Independence's signing and the recent controversy around the removal of Confederate monuments invite theological reflection on the public remembering of history. Human beings create memorials: external structures to celebrate and commemorate, mark collective grief, teach future generations and transmit values.

Daily Theology
04/22/2017
Consider the Mycelium: Networks Will Heal the Earth

By Rhonda Miska "Consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field." This is just one of many analogies drawn from the natural world in the Gospels. Jesus opts for fig trees, mustard seeds, and big catches of fish over abstract philosophical concepts when speaking of God's reign.

USCatholic.org
Grieving with Brahms' 'Requiem'

The day after my grandmother Helen died, I needed my GPS to drive routes that I should have known easily. I struggled to find items on my list at the grocery store and wandered helplessly down the aisles with my cart.

USCatholic.org
Forgiving those who stretch mercy's limits

When I think of martyrs, I usually think of people with foreign-sounding names like Perpetua or Attalus, both of whom were thrown to the lions in the Roman Colosseum for refusing to recant their faith in Christ. Sister of St. Joseph Karen Klimczak-a clown, storyteller, teacher, and peacemaker-is far from that image of martyr.

Daily Theology
04/22/2017
Consider the Mycelium: Networks Will Heal the Earth

By Rhonda Miska "Consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field." This is just one of many analogies drawn from the natural world in the Gospels. Jesus opts for fig trees, mustard seeds, and big catches of fish over abstract philosophical concepts when speaking of God's reign.

Daily Theology
04/22/2017
Consider the Mycelium: Networks Will Heal the Earth

By Rhonda Miska "Consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field." This is just one of many analogies drawn from the natural world in the Gospels. Jesus opts for fig trees, mustard seeds, and big catches of fish over abstract philosophical concepts when speaking of God's reign.

Vox Nova
02/05/2017
Brains, Bodies, Borders, Biases and the Circle of Holy Belonging

Vox Nova is pleased to publish the following guest post by Rhonda Miska. "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls, to arrive at its destination full of hope." This was the refrain repeated over and over as I stood in a prayer circle of about thirty interfaith activists, a...

Global Sisters Report
01/12/2017
Q & A with Kimberly Ritter, fighting human trafficking with a smartphone app

The TraffickCam app converts room photos uploaded by hotel guests into a series of data points that law enforcement can use to match to data points in photos of sex-trafficking victims. (Courtesy of Exchange Initiative) Kimberly Ritter is the senior account manager specializing in large event planning at Nix Conference & Meeting Management in St.

Global Sisters Report
01/12/2017
Q & A with Kimberly Ritter, fighting human trafficking with a smartphone app

The TraffickCam app converts room photos uploaded by hotel guests into a series of data points that law enforcement can use to match to data points in photos of sex-trafficking victims. (Courtesy of Exchange Initiative) Kimberly Ritter is the senior account manager specializing in large event planning at Nix Conference & Meeting Management in St.

Thewitnessonline
03/10/2016
BVM sisters appear on 'A Nun's Life' ministry podcast

By Rhonda Miska Witness Correspondent DUBUQUE - "I don't know how you prepare yourself for the support. (I think of) the countless times I have asked for prayer. The sisterhood itself ... I don't know how you prepare for the beauty of that."

THonline.com
Sisters take to the airwaves

"Welcome to A Nun's Life Ministry ... we're in the cloud, but totally down to earth," they quip on their homepage, www.anunslife.org, which includes resources related to religious life, decision-making, spirituality and ministry. A Nun's Life Ministry visited the motherhouse of the Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Dubuque, on March 1 as a part of their "motherhouse road trip" series.

Global Sisters Report
12/16/2015
LCWR interviews discuss transformational leadership in challenging times

Cover art for "Transformational Leadership," 2015 Orbis books. Women religious in the United States were catapulted into the spotlight through the Vatican's apostolic visitation of Institutes of Women Religious, initiated in late 2008, and the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith initiated in early 2009.

USCatholic.org
Tune into silence

According to Trappist Father Thomas Keating, a decades-long practitioner and teacher of centering prayer, contemplative prayer is about relationship, not method. It's your intention and your relationship with God that counts. I learned this firsthand during my two-month working retreat at a motherhouse, where I spent each Wednesday in silence.

USCatholic.org
The Good Friday procession of a pilgrim church

It's Good Friday- viernes santo-and we are walking. The liturgy moves from the parish church, with its adobe walls, concrete floor, and corrugated zinc roof, out into the rocky, unpaved streets of Cusmapa, Nicaragua. The corpus is taken down from the cross and laid in a casket, borne on the shoulders of six men who lead a procession out the door.

America Magazine
06/09/2016
The Road to Christ

James Joyce famously wrote in Finnegan's Wake that "Catholic means 'here comes everybody.'" Catholics have repeatedly created new forms of community to respond to the signs of the times and the "joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties" of their particular context.

Thewitnessonline
06/10/2016
Sisters launch multi-state billboard campaign for refugees

By Rhonda Miska Witness Correspondent DUBUQUE - "I was a stranger refugee and you welcomed me." This statement, drawn from Jesus' words in Matthew 25:35, is featured on billboards in Dubuque (at the intersection of JFK Road and Pennsylvania Avenue), Cedar Rapids; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines; Madison, Wisconsin; Kieler, Wisconsin; Davenport, Iowa; and Clinton, Iowa.

Moyo: Connecting Being and Doing
Community: Perspective Matters

Rhonda Miska holds a master's degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She is a contributor to the book Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table (Paulist Press, 2015). She teaches in Religious Studies at Clarke University and is a candidate with the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa.

Global Sisters Report
06/14/2016
Q & A with Sr. Corine Murray, providing hospitality and education to immigrants

Sr. Corine Murray, right, with Workensh, a young woman from Ethiopia, whom Murray has helped study English and adapt to life in Dubuque, Iowa (Courtesy of Presentation Lantern Center) Presentation Sr. Corine Murray is the executive director of the Presentation Lantern Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

Dbqarch
01/07/2016
Six local sisters honor legacy of martyred churchwomen

Visit El Salvador with delegation 35 years after murders By Rhonda Miska Special to The Witness DUBUQUE - "It's like those four women just died last week. Their memory is so fresh and deep," marveled Franciscan Sister Charlotte Enright, OSF. "Their spirit is so alive."

Unabridgedpress
03/15/2017
Helping Each Other Walk in the Dark

There were heartbreaking stories of the end of innocence, and the harrowing lives of the poor around the world. There were funny tales about convent pranks. And there was sweet piano music asking, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Thewitnessonline
03/24/2016
Sisters at forefront of ministry to immigrants

By Rhonda Miska Witness Correspondent HAMPTON - "The Church is mother, and her motherly attention is expressed with special tenderness and closeness to those who are obliged to flee their own country and exist between rootlessness and integration," Pope Francis declared in a 2013 address on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Thewitnessonline
03/24/2016
Sisters at forefront of ministry to immigrants

By Rhonda Miska Witness Correspondent HAMPTON - "The Church is mother, and her motherly attention is expressed with special tenderness and closeness to those who are obliged to flee their own country and exist between rootlessness and integration," Pope Francis declared in a 2013 address on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Young Adult Catholics
12/28/2015
My journey with Islam as a Catholic woman

It's not every day that you hear a proclamation of a "theological state of emergency." Yet that is precisely the term employed by theologian Mary Hunt in her December 14 Religion Dispatches article calling for "theological first responders," that is, "scholars and activists...to step forward in concrete, educational ways" in light of recent political rhetoric...

Messy Jesus Business
12/14/2016
Porters, Posadas and our Advent invitation

"Welcome!" My Capuchin Franciscan postulant friend greeted me as he opened the large wooden door, inviting me inside from the Midwestern early-winter chill. There was a handsome plate beside the door, announcing to visitors that this large old house was the St. Conrad Priory. "Who is St. Conrad?" I asked, stepping inside.

Atavist
08/10/2016
Unexpected women

Women make up half the church. They are religious education teachers and altar servers, music directors and business administrators, vowed religious and mothers and wives. Women serve in parish nurseries, they lead Catholic universities, and they minister to college students.

Global Sisters Report
11/15/2016
Q & A with Sr. Kate Kuenstler, advising the laity when their parishes face closure

Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ Sr. Kate Kuenstler, independent canon lawyer. (Provided photo) Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ Sr. Kate Kuenstler serves as an independent canon lawyer and has worked with Catholics from 30 dioceses across the United States as well as communities in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Collaborativedominicannovitiate
Deep roots, wide branches: epiphytes, champion trees and the power of heritage

One blessing of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate's location in St Louis is the opportunity to surround myself with beauty during weekly reflection days.From the paintings and art installations at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art to enormous sculptures in the garden at the St Louis Art Museum to the dazzling mosaics at the Cathedral Basilica, there is no shortage of art of all kinds to accompany me in praying through and integrating each week's learnings.

Collaborativedominicannovitiate
Love Among Ashes: a "Valentash" Day Litany

"But don't you want to get married and have a real family?" This was the honest question posed by my ten-year-old honorary niece shortly before I entered the canonical novitiate.My middle school girls from ministry ask me similar questions: "But don't you want to fall in love?""What if you meet a boy you really like?"

Global Sisters Report
04/26/2016
Q & A with Sr. Dianna Ortiz, advocate for victims of human trafficking

Ursuline Sr. Dianna Ortiz (Johnny Zokovitch) In 1989, while serving in Guatemala as a missionary in a Mayan community, Ursuline Sr. Dianna Ortiz was abducted and tortured by Guatemalan security forces. This trauma fueled her passion for human rights work. Ortiz now serves as the editor of Education for Justice, a project of the Center of Concern.

Young Adult Catholics
02/02/2016
"The final word is love."

The following is an adaptation of a sermon preached Saturday, January 30, 2016 at a gathering of Catholic Church workers. The readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time were Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19, Psalm 71, I Corinthians 12:31 - 13:13, and Luke 4:21-30. As we have been reflecting on vocation today, how fitting our...

Young Adult Catholics
04/29/2014
Spiritual Leadership for Challenging Times

In April 2012 I attended Celebration Publications' Eucharist Without Borders immigration conference in Tucson, Arizona. There I met sisters who worked as midwives and health promoters, community organizers and advocates, lawyers and activists. I hadn't even unpacked my suitcase after flying home to Virginia when the news broke that the Congregation for the Doctrine of...

Young Adult Catholics
11/12/2015
"You are anointed for mercy..."

The following is an adaptation of a sermon preached on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at the FutureChurch liturgy "Celebrating Women Witnesses of Mercy" in Milwaukee, WI. The readings were: excerpts from Pope Francis' March 13, 2015 homily; Dorothy Day's "The Scandal of the Works of Mercy;" Psalm 33; and Matthew 25:31-45.

Young Adult Catholics
11/02/2015
Of mercy, margins, and minorities

In the midst of conversations on inclusion during the recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, New York Archbishop Cardinal Dolan spoke of a "new minority" in the Catholic Church in an October 12 statement. Among its members: "couples who welcome God's gift of many babies," couples who don't live together before marriage, wives...

THonline.com
Local Sisters are steeped in solidarity

The churchwomen were part of the Cleveland Mission Team, and their ministries included training catechists, overseeing distribution of aid and assisting refugees in attaining shelter, food and medical care. "We want to stay here," Kazel wrote to a friend two months before her death. "We wouldn't want to just run out on the people."

Dbqarch
10/08/2015
'Catholic Women Speak' at Rome event

By Rhonda Miska Special to The Witness ROME - October 1, the Feast of St. Thérse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, a fitting day for the Catholic Women Speak Network gathering at Pontifical University Antonianum to launch our book: "Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table."

Young Adult Catholics
08/20/2015
Of Birthdays, Blood, and Blessings

Earlier this month I celebrated my 35th birthday, which coincided with a return to my native Midwest after many years away. I reconnected with many friends - some whom I have known for over 20 years since we were fresh-faced (or pimple-faced!) high school freshmen. We shared highlights of our lives: marriages, children's births, graduate...

Young Adult Catholics
06/30/2015
Of Sisters and Superheroes

"What about you? Do you have superheroes on your t-shirt?" This question was posed to me by Ben, a friend's energetic four-year-old son, after he had enthusiastically described the various Transformers on his shirt and their superpowers. I explained that my t-shirt had the name of a community: the Sisters of the Humility of Mary...

Young Adult Catholics
07/29/2015
Of Whales and Wonder, Water and Webs

"Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." - Mary Oliver Lime Kiln State Park, San Juan Island, Washington State - mid-summer evening. Waves of the Haro Strait are punctuated by the jumping of pink salmon - sudden silver streaks against the deep blue of the water.

Young Adult Catholics
05/26/2015
Of Heaven, Handicaps and Haecceitas

"Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:/ ...myself it speaks and spells,/ Crying What I do is me: for that I came." - Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ (from As Kingfishes Catch Fire) Community living includes facing together the mystery of death: saying good-bye, memorializing, and grieving - a process I experienced several times...

Young Adult Catholics
04/28/2015
Sensus Fidelium and the question of women's leadership

The scene is familiar, one that has been recreated many times in parish social halls across the country: One wall is lined with a long table laden with cookies, cut vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers. The walls are decorated with banners from past parish missions and a crucifix adorned with a woven palm branch....

Young Adult Catholics
03/08/2015
Of Habits and Hobbits

"I was expecting, you know...hobbits." My friend Valerie said this to me with surprise and perhaps a touch of disappointment after she spent time with Catholic Sisters. "Hobbits?" I asked, immediately imagining Bilbo Baggins and his ilk running through the chapel and dining hall of the motherhouse. "Wait, do you mean habits?"

Young Adult Catholics
02/23/2015
Of dinosaurs and discernment

"Every now and then it helps to step back and take the long view..." These are the opening lines of a reflection attributed to Salvadoran Archbishop (perhaps soon-to-be-saint) Oscar Romero. "The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision," he goes on to say.

Young Adult Catholics
01/25/2015
"What We Will Be Has Not Yet Been Revealed..."

It is January - the month of resolutions. The glossy covers of magazines encourage the launching of self-improvement routines and offer advice on kicking bad habits and creating better ones. They promise that 2015 can be the best year ever as long as we have enough grit, determination, and self-control to make it so.

Young Adult Catholics
12/28/2014
Reality vs "Reality" of The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns

Though I rarely watch TV, as a millennial in a motherhouse, I couldn't resist tuning in to the "docu-series" about young women discerning religious life. The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns aired on the Lifetime Channel in November and December and followed five twentysomethings (Christie, Eseni, Claire, Francesca, and Stacey) to convents in New York, Illinois, and...

Young Adult Catholics
06/28/2014
Celebration of Catholic Women's Vocations - Rita Emmenegger

At the close of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI spoke of "women impregnated by the Spirit of the Gospel," and more recently Pope Francis has called for a "new theology of women." There are thousands of Catholic lay women discerning how to share their gifts and responding to ministerial calls.

Coalition with Young Adults
See a Need. Meet a Need. | Coalition with Young Adults

By: Rhonda Miska During my "summer of humility" - a two month working retreat with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary at their motherhouse in Villa Maria, Pennsylvania -- my days have been marked by prayer.

Young Adult Catholics
12/24/2014
How Christmas Happens

My first Advent after taking Scripture courses at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry was a memorable one. Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza, Raymond Brown, John Dominic Crossan, Elizabeth Johnson, and Marcus Borg books lined my shelves. Their ideas filled my thinking which in turn informed my praying.

Young Adult Catholics
11/23/2014
Mary, the woman who is one of us

The night before I flew to Miami for a month of service at Americans for Immigrant Justice, I walked the Villa Maria land. It is land the Sisters of the Humility of Mary have lived on for 150 years; land that I had come to know well over my summer working retreat.

Young Adult Catholics
10/21/2014
Don't just do something - sit there! Reflections on a weekly practice of silence

During my two month working retreat this past summer with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, Wednesday was my day in silence. Silence defined as not only no in-person conversations but also no cell phone, no iPod, and no laptop. Each Tuesday night, I turned off my devices (which, as a typical member of my...

Young Adult Catholics
09/27/2014
A day in the life on the "rocket docket"

Last month, the Daily Business Review published a story about the "rocket dockets" which have been adopted here in Miami and around the United States to push unaccompanied minors through the legal system. Four full-time judges and one part-time judge see up to 150 kids a day - as many as 60 cases per judge.

Young Adult Catholics
08/24/2014
Celebration of Catholic Women's Vocations - Lauren Ivory

At the close of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI spoke of "women impregnated by the Spirit of the Gospel," and more recently Pope Francis has called for a "new theology of women." There are thousands of Catholic lay women discerning how to share their gifts and responding to ministerial calls.

Young Adult Catholics
07/26/2014
Celebration of Catholic Women's Vocations - Mary Ruppert

At the close of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI spoke of "women impregnated by the Spirit of the Gospel," and more recently Pope Francis has called for a "new theology of women." There are thousands of Catholic lay women discerning how to share their gifts and responding to ministerial calls.

Young Adult Catholics
05/30/2014
Celebration of Catholic Women's Vocations: Kate Burke

At the close of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI spoke of "women impregnated by the Spirit of the Gospel," and more recently Pope Francis has called for a "new theology of women." There are thousands of Catholic lay women discerning how to share their gifts and responding to ministerial calls.

Young Adult Catholics
09/16/2013
Living our Baptismal Call: Rhonda Miska

This November 1-3, progressive Catholics will converge for the world's biggest church reform conference - the annual Call To Action conference, this year titled Living Our Baptismal Call. And here on Young Adult Catholics, we will feature some of this year's conference speakers that we are excited to see.

Young Adult Catholics
06/28/2013
in their own words - one immigrant mother and her children

Today, the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, 68-32. In the coming days, in the headlines and on the news and in social media, there will be much spin and analysis about who voted for and against and why, what the political ramifications of it, and so on.

Young Adult Catholics
01/10/2013
In their own words - Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

October 11, 2012 - the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council - was declared as the first day of a Year of Faith by Pope Benedict XVI. To observe it the United States Council of Catholic Bishops declared, "Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II...so...

Young Adult Catholics
04/25/2013
to Boston, from Virginia, with love

For all of us who love Boston, and who have at some point in life called that city home, last week was a difficult one. Like so many others, after hearing the news on the radio Monday afternoon, I began contacting friends in the Boston area, and each of them had their own story.

Catholic Majority
10/21/2014
5 Myths About Unaccompanied Minors at the Border - Catholic Majority

by Rhonda Miska, Guest Contributor to Catholic Majority The Central American children coming to the southern border of the United States have created a stir in the media. Much of what is said about these children and their experiences is oversimplified, misleading, or patently false.

Coalition with Young Adults
See a Need. Meet a Need. | Coalition with Young Adults

By: Rhonda Miska During my "summer of humility" - a two month working retreat with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary at their motherhouse in Villa Maria, Pennsylvania -- my days have been marked by prayer.

Millennial
06/05/2013
The America We Want: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now

The Daily Progress ran a photo of a six-year-old girl holding up a sign that declared "Stop deportation now!" in their coverage of an immigration reform rally held here in Charlottesville, Virginia on April 8. Along with these signs calling for an end to deportations, it is not uncommon to scriptural passages used by those...

Franciscan Mission Service
02/04/2013
Mission Monday: Why We Do Re-Entry | Franciscan Mission Service

Rhonda Miska, who co-facilitated two re-entry retreats at Franciscan Mission Service this January, talks about the importance of the re-entry process on returning missioners. Co-facilitator Rhonda Miska singing during morning prayer with returned missioners Catherine Giller and Nora Pfeiffer, both of whom served for three years in Bolivia.

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