Congregational leaders meet in Springfield

Photos by Sister Aneesah McNamee
Photos by Sister Aneesah McNamee

Dominican Sisters Conference

By Mary Sue Kennedy
Executive Director, Dominican Sisters Conference

sisters_standFall was definitely in the air when 90 sisters arrived on the beautiful campus of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, to attend the first Elected Leaders Assembly of the Dominican Sisters Conference Sept. 30–Oct. 3.

For this first assembly, the Planning Committee (Sisters Sharon Casey, Rebecca Ann Gemma, Joyce Ann Hertzig, Mary Sue Kennedy and Kathlyn Mulcahy) set as the theme for the conference “Deepening Dialogue, Nurturing Hope and Birthing Life and Mission Anew.” This theme was reflected in the prayer, presentation by Sister Colleen Mallon, OP (“Reclaiming Hope, Recovering Dialogue”), process and the business of the gathering.

panelSister Maria Fabiola Velasquez Maya, executive director of Dominican Sisters International, and Sister Toni Harris, International Promoter of Justice and Peace, travelled from Rome and the DSI headquarters to be with us and to be part of a panel with Sister Rose Marie Riley (member of the Coordinating Council of DSI representing North America), Sister Margaret Mayce (NGO/UN) and Sister Lucianne Siers (North American Promoter of Justice and Peace). These sisters told us of the work being done by our Dominican sisters throughout the world, particularly in the areas of peace and justice.

cross_june_fitzgeraldMany of the tasks that face any fairly new organization were addressed during these days as we dealt with finance, drafting of a mission statement, communication, formation of regions and the upcoming convocation (Oct. 4–7, 2012).

All was not work! On Sunday afternoon, participants had a choice to visit Jubilee Farm (a sustainable farm owned by the Springfield Dominicans) or the Lincoln Presidential Museum. We also enjoyed the camaraderie of one another at a wonderful banquet held on Sunday evening following a prayerful and joy-filled liturgy.

The days together were profitable and fun. Dialogue became deeper, hope was nurtured and life and mission were born anew as we gathered as leaders of U.S. women’s congregations.