By Michael Chapuran
Executive Director, Dominican Volunteers USA
From July 10 to 14 in Ossining, New York, 17 Dominican Volunteers celebrated the completion of their year of service at Mariandale Retreat Center, a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. This closing retreat was facilitated by Sisters Margaret Galiardi, OP (Amityville) and Carolann Masone, OP (Amityville); their chosen themes were harvesting the blessings of the service year and uncovering the seed in the harvest for the future.
The retreat included many individual and group reflections on the theme, a viewing of Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the United Nations, free time at the Mariandale pool, and contemplative prayer every morning in the chapel. On Saturday evening, five DVUSA alumni joined the group for a Saturday night social at a Mexican restaurant and a historic lantern-light tour through the nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Perhaps the highlight of the long weekend was the Sunday Mass at the end of the retreat, where volunteers ceremoniously placed soil around the Peace Pole outside the chapel. The soil had been brought by each of them from their ministry sites. Shortly following, each volunteer was recognized for their service by Michael Chapuran, executive director of DVUSA, and presented with a gift from the Dominican Family by an alumnus/a of the program. All of the sisters present—representing the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope and Sparkill—then joined the alums in singing the “Dominican Blessing” to the volunteers.
The DVUSA staff would like to sincerely thank Sister Margaret Galiardi, OP (Amityville), Sister Carolann Masone, OP (Amityville), Ms. Eileen Keerdoja (Mariandale), Sister Mary Ellen O’Grady, OP (Sinsinawa), Sister Diane Capuano, OP (Amityville), Sister Margaret Mayce, OP (Amityville), Sister Anne Marie Bucher, OP (Hope), Sister Pat Howell, OP (Blauvelt), Fr. Ned Dumas, MM, Mr. Jeff Guhin (DV 2003-04), and Ms. Erica Stewart (DV 2011-12) for all their help to make this event possible.
View more photos of the retreat on DVUSA’s Facebook page.
For more information about the Dominican Volunteers, visit www.dvusa.org.