The Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, began honoring the feast of St. Dominic and their Dominican life and mission a day early this year. Aug. 7 was the date of a joyful celebration of Sister Kathryn Pereira’s Rite of Initiation into the novitiate. Sister Kathryn will attend the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri. View photos from the ceremony
Monthly Archives: August 2013
By Sharon Casey, OP
Detention centers are spread throughout the United States. The Tacoma Dominicans have one in our “backyard,” about 10 minutes from our administrative offices. On July 15, 15 sisters and associates spent the afternoon outside the detention center, offering refreshments and support to the families returning from visiting their loved ones. As they came through the gates, many in tears, we welcomed them, listened to them, and offered refreshment. It was a hot day, and many people had traveled hundreds of miles to visit a husband, brother, uncle or father. Children especially were distraught because they could not give or receive hugs as visiting was restricted by a glass between the detainees and the visitors.
We spoke with many people that afternoon. Jose [not his real name], a high school student, traveled more than 500 miles to see his father. Maria [not her real name] traveled over 200 miles to see her ex brother in law because after all he was still family. A large family group came through the gate with two boys, probably ages 8 and 9, crying over seeing their uncle. We simply stood outside, standing in solidarity with those detained and their families. A few of the sisters were able to provide information about local resources to assist families from outside of the area. At least one of our sisters has received clearance to visit the detention center; she also helps with translation.
Associate Pat Passmore began this ministry of hospitality to immigrant detainees a few years ago. Pat comes once a month to provide comfort and food. Our Immigration Reform Committee initiated this year’s action, and invited the community to join them. This is another way for us to give life and meaning to our Corporate Stance on Comprehensive Immigration Reform: “We, the Dominican Sisters and Associates of the Tacoma Dominican Community, recognize the sacredness of each person. We support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which includes viable legal avenues for immigration, the integrity of families, and opportunities for permanent residency.”
By Sue Palmer
Nearly 11,000 miles lay between Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro, and the Chinese students who’d made the trek to attend World Youth Day 2013 with Maryknoll Sister Norma Pocasangre felt it – not only in jet lag, but in the numerous different cultures they encountered at the gathering, which ultimately attracted more than three million people from around the world.
Sister Norma was glad they felt it. It was one of the main reasons she encouraged the 20 young people, five organizers and two spiritual directors besides herself to make the long journey halfway around the world to represent their parishes and the Diocese of Hong Kong at the worldwide gathering. “Brazilian, Latin American and many other cultures are so different from the Chinese culture,” she explained, and given them the opportunity to “experience and celebrate liturgies and other activities in different ways than they do in Hong Kong” as well as “become more aware of the big church family to which they belong.”
It turned out Sister Norma was right. “One of our girls at first shared with me that, though she was excited about all the programs and parties that were planned for the week, she felt that something was kind of wrong because there was not silence”—a common feature of Chinese Catholicism. After a few days, that all changed. “She allowed herself to be part of the high energy that was so characteristic of WYD Rio, and said ‘It’s really a unique experience for me to be able to celebrate with youth from all over; the happiness, the faith and the love that God is spreading among us all’.”
That spread of love happened not just in the camaraderie of the students, nor in the stirring messages of Pope Francis, who encouraged all gathered to follow the Lord’s command in Matthew 28: 19 to “go and make disciples of all nations,” but in the acts of loving service the students had an opportunity to do while they were in Rio. The Hong Kong students, who arrived a few days before WYD Rio 2013 to participate in a retreat held at the Daughters of St. Paul Retreat House in Sao Paulo, had an opportunity to sing for the sisters while they were there. They also ministered to local children in a Rio park, teaching them how to create animals out of balloons and make masks out of paper plates. Talk about “making God’s love visible”! Those children certainly saw His love, and so did the sisters.
Now back in Hong Kong, the students, most of whom are in their 20s and raised some of the funds for their journey by speaking at their local parishes, and Sister Norma are having an opportunity to process all that has gone on. It is an experience that they will not soon forget, they all agree.
Links and Related Articles
WYD: ‘A New World Will Come!’ by Sister Mary Ellen Kempken, MM
World Youth Day Rio 2013 (official web site in English)
The Key Themes of World Youth Day 2013 (Catholic World Report)
EWTN Coverage of World Youth Day 2013
Sue Palmer is director of communications for the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic.
By Elizabeth Michael Boyle, OP
Representatives from 12 states, Great Britain, and the Dominican Republic assembled July 31–Aug. 3 on the campus of Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, Ohio, for the 17th Annual Gathering of the Dominican Institute for the Arts (DIA), an organization dedicated to promoting the preaching mission of the Dominican Order through the medium of the arts.
“Art from the Heart,” the theme of this year’s conference, was articulated, demonstrated, and embodied by Queen Brooks and Aminah Robinson, two African-American artists from Columbus, in exhibits by member artists, and by the choir of St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Both Ms. Brooks and Ms. Robinson extended their engagement with the group in private gallery showings, interviews, and participatory activities.
Outgoing DIA president Mary Fran Gorman, OP (Springfield) announced the 2013 winner of the Fra Angelico Award, Barbara Schwarz, OP (Amityville). The Fra Angelico Award, named in honor of the most famous artist of the Dominican Order, is awarded annually to a DIA artist whose artwork exemplifies Fra Angelico’s dedication to preaching the gospel through the arts. Sister Barbara is an artist in a wide range of mediums from acrylics, wood carving, mandalas, photography, graphics and video especially regarding the Dominican charism. She has been prominent in her work with the National Dominican High School and College Preaching Conferences, and most recently her series of abstract paintings inspired by Hurricane Sandy and other current events.
The board also recognized three other artists for their service to the organization with the “Spirit of DIA” award: Sisters Colleen Gallagher, OP and Toma Swanson, OP (Peace), and Sister Janet Wright, OP (Adrian).
The gathering concluded with the affirmation of the new executive board: Barbara Schwarz, OP, president; Pat Daly, OPA (Peace), vice president; Mary Pat Reid, OP (Caldwell), secretary; Jeanne Stickling, OP (Adrian), treasurer; Elaine Taylor, OP (Sinsinawa); Gail Bogdanowitz, OP (Racine); Fr. Rudolph Lowenstein, OP (English Province).
August 3–9, Dominican Volunteers USA oriented its largest class in history—20 members—to begin a year of service! The new volunteers came from cities around the United States, most having just graduated college a few months earlier and never having met, to learn or refresh the charism of the Dominicans and build a foundation of pillars and relationships to sustain them in ministry.
The Dominican Volunteers represent many Dominican colleges, as the recruiting model for the organization has begun a three-year process to place more energy at these institutions of the Dominican Family. Six of the 20 volunteers are alumni from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois; two are from Edgewood College (Madison, Wisconsin); and two are from Aquinas College (Grand Rapids, Michigan). Also represented are Ohio Dominican University, Dominican University of California, Notre Dame, and many others.
After an introduction to the congregation in Blauvelt by Sister Michaela Connolly, OP, each day of orientation the volunteers focused on one of the four Dominican Pillars. Sunday focused on service. Volunteers reflected on what their motivations were to doing a year of service. Conversations over the dinner table with the Dominican sisters of Blauvelt helped them also focus and articulate their goals for the next year.
Monday brought a study of St. Dominic, St. Catherine, and the Dominican charism. Sister Margaret Mayce, OP (Amityville) gave an inspiring talk focused on the current work of the Dominicans to respond to the needs of the Earth, and she introduced the volunteers to the Dominican Call to Justice. The day ended in the evening as Sister Nancy Murray, OP (Adrian) performed an entire one-woman show covering the life and love of St. Catherine of Siena!
Tuesday was an active day learning and developing tools to live a common life. After reflecting on the meaning of interdependent community and doing a Myers-Briggs personality inventory, Sister Didi Madden, OP (Blauvelt) introduced the practice of Compassionate Communication and Nonviolent Communication.
Wednesday was devoted to the pillar of prayer, and Fr. Walter Wagner, OP (St. Joseph) led the volunteers in an experience of praying the Divine Office, articulating its rich history, traditions, and meanings. Sister Margaret Palliser, OP (Sparkill) used that foundation to teach prayers used from the Dominican Praise—an inclusive translation that many volunteers will utilize for morning and/or evening prayer during the year. In the afternoon, Sister Mary Ellen O’Grady, OP (Sinsinawa) led the volunteers in different experiences of prayer, from Lectio Divina to journaling to praying with the whole world… literally (they held a globe)!
Perhaps the highlight of the week was St. Dominic’s Day (Aug. 8) when the volunteers celebrated a noon feast with the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt and one by one were called up to receive a gift from the sisters. The group then made the short trip to Sparkill to be commissioned formally at a Mass with the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, where they met their sister prayer partners for the year.
DVUSA is honored to not only have 20 volunteers begin service, but also to have five of that number as renewing volunteers serving a second year: Drew Hileman, Angela Maiorano, Teresa Roll, Luke Sullivan, and Cynthia Velasquez. Volunteers are serving at ministries in the Bronx, Long Island, New Jersey, Chicago, New Orleans, Indiana, Utah, and San Francisco/Redwood City, where they will be for the next 11 months.
Dominican Volunteers USA was started 13 years ago by 17 congregations of Dominican sisters and two provinces of Dominican friars. Recruiting volunteers mainly from Catholic and secular colleges and universities, the organization places them in ministry throughout the United States. They will minister to the economically poor and marginalized as teachers, tutors, job coaches, campus ministers, peace and justice advocates, and more—all sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as contemplatives in action.
What is unique about the Dominican Volunteers among the hundreds of volunteer groups? DVUSA offers professional development and lay formation, providing an opportunity for both professional and spiritual growth. DVUSA is also one of a small number of programs that adds the support of living with a community of men or women religious who serve as mentors for the volunteers in their ministry. Dominican Volunteers serve for one year with the option of renewing for another year. Besides new graduates, the volunteers also accept older men and women.
Rachel DeBruin is program and recruitment coordinator for Dominican Volunteers USA, and Michael Chapuran is executive director.