OP West Meets with Newer Members

From L to R: Sisters Jane Marie Estoesta, MSJ; Teresa Montes Lara, Tacoma; Anna Oven, Oakford; Christiana Antienza, SR; Kieu Tran, candidate, MSJ; and Veronica Esparza Ramirez, MSJ.

Submitted by Sharon Casey, O.P. 

OP West (group region of Dominican Sister congregations) met on January 29 and 30, 2018 at the Mission San Jose Dominicans’ Motherhouse. Surrounded by the beauty and warmth of California and the oranges growing and the flowers blooming, this was a mid-winter oasis for the sisters from the Northwest!

Our agenda for this meeting came out of our meeting in Grand Rapids prior to the Dominican Sisters Conference meeting. We focused our discussion on Mary Pellegrino’s presentation at the 2017 LCWR Assembly and wondered if Mary’s article would have the same resonance on newer members.

From L to R: Sisters Sharon Casey, Tacoma; Cecilia Canales, MSJ; Veronica Esparza Ramirez, MSJ; Susanna Vasquez, MSJ; Lorene Heck, Adrian; Diane Bridenbecker, MSJ; Carla Kovack, SR; Sue Allbritton, SR, Mary Dolan, Oakford; and Liam Brock, MSJ.

Out of this planning came a rich and diverse conversation with our newer members on the evening of January 29. Five sisters and one candidate represented Tacoma, Oakford, Adrian, San Rafael and Mission San Jose. The conversation with the newer members was enriching and enlightening as they shared their hopes and struggles. All agreed that the future is now; the future enters us long before we are aware of it. Some of their comments and questions included:

  • An understanding of culture is critical today; how do we navigate cultural differences, whether ethnic, generational, life experience, etc.?
  • Life is unfolding in surprising ways; how do we stay open to this unfolding personally and communally?
  • What role does scripture have in the Holy Preaching today?
  • How do we create deeper communion among us?

As leaders, we were impressed with the newer members’ capacity to verbalize what they were feeling. It seems to be a new energy that we need to support. There was a diversity in the group which demonstrated their passion for religious life. As we reflected on the evening conversation, we agreed that we want to continue this conversation at our next extended meeting including a few more newer members and a longer time for reflection and dialogue.