Milestone anniversaries call us to look both ways – backward at what we have experienced, and forward at what is still to come. This is exactly what happened at the Tenth Anniversary celebration of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, held July 26-28 in St. Louis, MO.
The Anniversary Event opened with a ceremony celebrating the coming together of eight congregations to form the congregation that is the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Eight leaves displayed on a tree were symbolic of the seed planted, growing together and of the growing works of the Congregation. The flowing water used by the Congregation at its founding in 2009 was featured in a procession of movement and joy. The opening address by Prioress Pat Twohill spoke of gratitude for all that has been accomplished in our ministries and our eagerness for the work to come.
Friday’s program featured Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK – Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and an original founder of Nuns on the Bus. Sr. Simone addressed the social and economic inequities that have become common place in our nation today, and facilitated a discussion of how the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates could reexamine and re-focus their commitment to social justice.
The Congregation’s Leadership team addressed the Assembly participants on Saturday, using a metaphor shared by Pope Francis at the end of his reflection on the Synod with Youth: the image of a canoe, in which the elders help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead. This metaphor of traveling across the water was the theme for the afternoon’s activities of visioning for the future.
The Congregation’s future was further emphasized as the sisters formally accepted Ellen Coates into the Novitiate. Since becoming Dominican is a life-long, communal venture, the 25 and 50-year Jubilarians were honored in a Mass celebrated with a friend and brother, Father Ed Ruane, OP, and followed by an evening of shared memories by friends of the Jubilarians. The Congregation’s 2019 Jubilarans include: 25 years: Sisters Kathy Broussard and June Fitzgerald; 50 years: Sisters Harriet Agnew, Christine Connolly, Arleen Kisiel, Roberta Miller, Judy Morris and Janet Schlichting.
In honor of the Dominican Sisters of Peace’s commitment to peace, the Congregation closed the assembly by presenting a Promoter of Peace award to the Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association. The Promoter of Peace award was created to honor organizations that demonstrate a commitment to peacemaking and reflect the values of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, especially their commitment to women and children.
The Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association, located in Lame Deer, MT, is a coalition of 12 churches from seven faith groups: Baptist, Mennonite, Assembly of God, Lutheran, and Pentecostal, whose aim is build unity among the Christian churches serving the Cheyenne people.
The Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association received a $5,000 donation from the Congregation, as well as a custom-designed tile and plaque designed by Sr. Anne Lythgoe and staff member Ashley Apollonio.
Also honored were:
- Freedom a la Carte: A non-profit organization in Central Ohio whose business, a catering firm, employs and supports survivors of sex trafficking.
- Hotel Hope: A New Orleans ministry that moves people from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
- The Lord’s Diner: A ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, the Lord’s Diner has served a hot, nutritious evening meal every day for the past 17 years, feeding more than 5 million people.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexican dancers, a ministry of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in St. Louis, provided entertainment for the event. The ministry’s mission is to promote acceptance and hope through Mexican cultural dances and education.