Coming Together: The Annual Conference of the North American Dominican Promoters for Justice and Peace
The North American Dominican Justice Promoters held “Coming Together” the Annual Conference on June13-16 in the Chicago area, gathering representatives of the Dominican Family.
First, Margaret Mayce, Coordinator, Dominican Sisters International, highlighted Dominican Sisters in Guatemala, Myanmar, Slovakia, Ukraine and Zimbabwe whose inspired witness in the midst of lands of conflict are like the women at the foot of the cross: “And the women stayed.”
Our dear brother Gerard Timoner, Master of the Order, continued the theme of global relationships by expanding on Margaret’s thoughts. He challenged the Dominican Family to be humble enough to receive and learn from those we serve in all of our ministries as we walk in the footsteps of many wisdom figures and prophetic voices of hope throughout the world.
Our International Justice Promoters at the United Nations also shared with us. We were fortunate enough to have Dusty Farnan, our UN Representative in New York, and Aniedi Okure, General Promoter, with us in person. They concentrated on the three things that affect all Dominicans throughout the world: Climate Change, Migration and War/Nonviolence. Their stories of the peoples’ struggles brought sobering thoughts to the group. They reminded us of our own rich history with the UN- that it was the writings and thoughts of Francisco de Vitoria that laid the foundation for the principles of the United Nations who is honored at the United Nations complex in both New York and Geneva.
In preparation for The Dominican Month of Peace 2023: AMAZONIA, we were treated to a presentation from Mons. David Martinez de Aguirre, Dominican Bishop of Puerto Maldonado, Peru. He gave us many facts about this vast area which encompasses nine countries, the largest river on the continent, numerous forms of animal and plant life and thousands of different indigenous peoples. The Amazonia zone is being destroyed by mining and deforestation. Dominican Sisters and Friars in the Amazon are working with the people there to help empower them to know their rights and assert them. When asked what he hoped the outcome of the Month of Peace focus would be on Amazonia, he smiled and said “I hope you will fall in love with the Amazon.” As preparation for our Month of peace, we encourage you to peruse/review/study the Final Amazon Synod Document from 2019.
We will be providing materials for our preparation as a Dominican Family to honor the 2023 Dominican Month for Peace in the next weeks.
We spent the rest of our time together evaluating our work and its impact on our communities, our Church and our world. We are hopeful that amidst these very trying times – the climate crisis, war, the rise of authoritarian regimes and increased migration – our Dominican family will work toward a justice that reflects truth and love.