The annual Temps.Com gathering has provided a valued space for Dominican sisters in temporary vows (“temps”) and their formation companions (“com”) to come together for a weekend of prayer, relationship building, and discernment. This year, the meeting had been scheduled for October 9–12 in Sparkill, NY. Due to the pandemic, plans changed, and nine temps and six companions from the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Caldwell, Peace, Sinsinawa, and Springfield met virtually. Mary Ellen O’Grady, OP (Sinsinawa), served as facilitator and Tricia Buxton, Communicator for Sinsinawa, provided the technical support.
The evening of Friday, October 9, shortly after the meeting of the Dominican Sisters Conference had ended, temps and companions gathered to receive words of welcome from Kelly Moline, OP (Springfield). Kelly’s message, sprinkled with clever references to NYC, helped put participants in a “New York State of Mind.” Ana Gonzalez, OP (Peace), gave a delightful orientation to Zoom controls and etiquette. The theme for Ana’s pre-recorded orientation video was the pre-flight safety review so familiar to anyone who travels by plane. Mary Ellen O’Grady led an icebreaker in which each sister told of an event that had influenced her discernment in recent months. After a video Taizé prayer service led by Gina Scaringella, OP (Caldwell), the temps had a chance to socialize at a Zoom “Happy Hour along the Hudson.”
Saturday began with prayer led by Ana Gonzalez: a pre-recorded video filmed on the scenic banks of the Hudson at the Mariandale Center of the Dominican Sisters of Hope in Ossining, NY. Margaret Ormond, OP (Peace), gave a presentation entitled “Dominicans in 2020: Finding Grace to Navigate the Future.” Afterwards, small- and large-group sharing gave opportunity for reflection. A vibrant slideshow featuring the East Coast motherhouses rounded out the formal programming of the day. For some informal conversation in the late afternoon, temps enjoyed a virtual gathering at the “Waldorf Astoria,” while companions met at “Tavern on the Green.”
On Sunday morning, participants were free to worship and keep Sabbath on their own. The meeting reconvened in the afternoon, when Katherine Frazier, OP, led a contemplative prayer experience of encounter with Jesus. The afternoon was filled with talk of the future—topics included the Mary-Elizabeth sessions of the DSC (which many Temps.com participants had attended) and next year’s plans for Temps.com. Christin Tomy, OP (Sinsinawa), and Nicole Reich, OP (Sinsinawa) led evening prayer using Dominican Praise, and Kelly Moline offered thanks and concluding remarks, sending everyone out to praise, to bless, to preach.
While a weekend on Zoom was quite different from the originally planned in-person experience in New York, sisters enjoyed the opportunity to connect. All of the temporary-professed sisters had participated in the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, and they thus share common ground. Many commented on the gift of time to catch up with each other, compare perspectives, and deepen relationships. Companions, too, expressed gratitude for time to gather with others in formation ministry.
Given the uncertainty of pandemic times and the evolving needs and numbers of sisters in formation, plans for a future gathering are not yet solidified. But one thing is clear: Dominican temporary professed and their companions find mutuality, hope, and wisdom in time spent together.