A Life of dedication
Sr Imelda Fernandez passed away on 21 April 2021 and here is a review of her life written by Sr. Cristina Antolin Tomas, Prioress general, CSD.
Only 3 weeks ago, in our Congregation of St. Dominic, we said goodbye to a great sister: Imelda Fernández Rodríguez, who after almost 4 years of illness returned to the house of the Father on April 20, 2021.
Asturian by birth, with great faith, love and trust in the “santina” to whom she always entrusted her life and her difficulties, Imelda lived most of her years of consecrated life outside her native land. She was a woman of deep prayer, with a generous heart, sensitive to the needs of others, joyful, simple, sincere, close, welcoming. Today, her sisters feel the emptiness she leaves us, but we are sure that, from Heaven, she continues to watch over us.
She spent her youth in Colombia and when she returned to Spain, she developed with great dedication her vocation as an educator in various schools. She was a novice mistress for many years, and many generations were educated by her and she sowed in them the pillars of Dominican life, especially the love of the Word.
Her last years were of unconditional dedication to the Congregation as Prioress General, from 2005 to 2017. Her love for the mission of the Congregation and for the young sisters in formation, her generosity and dedication, led her to offer herself, at the end of her second mandate, to help in the novitiate house in Cameroon, a mission she fulfilled only for a short time, as a delicate illness made her return to Spain.
This last period was one of great suffering, but she always had a smile on her lips. She bore her illness with great faith, courage and hope, offering all her pain for her Congregation, a sacrifice of love that always bears fruit.
Today we thank God for her life, for her dedication. We know that she has already risen with Christ, that she rests in peace and lives forever. She will remain present in our memory and in our hearts.
Dominican Sisters at the United Nations
On 26 March 2021, the dominican sisters at the United Nations discussed Sustainable Development Goal 5: Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.
Here is the link to the video. The French and Spanish presentations have English subtitles .
“Communitas” is an interfaculty conference that brings together experts from across the various disciplines of the PUST to present, debate and deepen our understanding of a topic of crucial importance for our day. In 2018-2019, the topic was “The Common Good or the Throw Away Society. Foundational Reflections and Practical Applications”; in 2019-2020, the conference was due to be on law, but had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. In 2020- 2021, Communitas provides the university with the opportunity to focus on “Preaching and the Arts”. For the first time in the history of this conference, it will be open to the participation of friars, sisters and lay Dominicans in Italy, either as main speakers, respondents or participants.
Preaching is a complex activity, but most would agree that communicating the faith is at its heart. For most of history (even if less so now), the complex activity of artists has been considered, at least in part, as a form of communication. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Order of Preachers has a long association with the arts, seen as an integral part of the order’s central charism of preaching.
In the year of the 800th anniversary of the dies natalis of St Dominic . . . . . . in a world that is becoming more visual, narrative and secularized, . . . where a rational presentation of the faith is increasingly rejected, and, . . . where the arts in the West have become largely separated from the sources of religious inspiration which have fed them until well into the 20th century: the interfaculty conference, Communitas 2021, addresses the topic of “Preaching and the Arts”.
Webinar: Changing the narrative, one story at a time
Report on YSOP 2021
by Sr. Eileen O’Connell OP, Dominican Sisters Cabra
Our sisters in Madrid were to be our hosts for the 2021 YSOP gathering but, as with so much else, COVID-19 intervened. It did not however prevent 40 sisters coming together even while staying apart – by Zoom. The language zones of DSE were represented by sisters of various nationalities and congregations. Our theme was: signs of the times in the distortion of truth. Sr Gemma Morató Sendra OP and Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP offered rich insights.
With Sr Gemma, we considered our current reality. In a post-truth world, emotions and not facts determine what one accepts as truth. Fake news, deliberation distortion of truth to manipulate emotions and beliefs, spreads ever-wider and faster and threatens to undermine society. Dominicans, with our motto Truth, seem an unlikely fit here. Yet, the concern that moved St Dominic must also drive us to engage fully, asking like him: what will become of this world? How might we do this? Almost counter-intuitively, the shift beyond Bauman’s ‘liquid society’ to ‘gaseous society’ – everything is volatile, transitory, interpersonal links are weak, search for identity is central, fear of insecurity looms large – offers us a space to contribute. We Dominicans, who have given our whole lives to following God, can relate to this ‘gaseous’ world where everything is relative, there are no certainties, the lifelong nature of our commitment is so alien. In the ever-shifting ground of today, we consecrated Dominicans can tell that our life is rooted in something – or in someone: the God of compassion. We can communicate best by showing people our lives. Our communal life can offer a strong witness to God. Many experience loneliness and existential emptiness, exacerbated by society’s focus on individual over community. We can demonstrate the gift of communal life as a remedy to this pain only if we live together well. This calls us to put a new focus on the quality of our communal life. We can be obsessed with, even oppressed by, the busyness of mission and our communal life suffers. If it causes us to weaken or lose the witness of communal life, busyness becomes an unhelpful, unhealthy trap.
Fr Timothy asked what seeking truth means in the fake news context and how we might undertake our mission of truth-telling in a manner that overcomes polarities. Echoing Sr Gemma, he identified relationships and understanding the other as antidotes to fake news and named twin ‘tools’ for uncovering truth: objective study along with conversations that foster friendship. Portrait painters use these to capture and disclose the truth of their subject. Likewise, for Dominicans as truth seekers, we need to combine “intense peering”, the discipline of serious study, with the “exhilaration of conversation”, a deep genuine interest in others. We need Dominican scholars specialised in their field (and enabled and supported to be thus) as much as “charitable” Dominican conversationalists – strong relationship-builders with committed students. Even when seemingly futile, we must reach across divisions and have difficult conversations. Only together can we undertake this act of hope and discover other people’s truth. Jesus uncomfortable engagement with the Samaritan woman becomes real only when his word “penetrates her aggression” to reach her life’s truth.
On Saturday, we met Sr Marie Monnet OP, Justice and Peace Promoter for Europe and the Middle East. Their aims are to inform (with newsletters) and instruct (online programmes). Asking which issues interest us, she encouraged sisters to explore Domuni University and to contact her if willing to teach. We were glad that Sr Margaret Mayce OP, DSIC International Coordinator, was with us. She introduced the 2021 global visioning process – coming together to share hopes and dreams for Dominican life and mission for the next five years and exploring how DSIC can help. She told us again of her commitment to involving young sisters in DSIC and her intention to include them in the 2022 Assembly.
Our thanks especially to Sr Pílar del Barrio OP, DSE Coordinator, and to the DSE Council members for planning and bringing to fruition YSOP21 despite the pandemic. Our thanks too to our translators who ensured language was not a barrier to our communication. It was good to be together. We look forward in hope to YSOP22 and pray that then we can meet safely in person once again.
Sr Eileen O’Connell OP
Justice & Peace Webminar
A HEART OPEN TO THE WHOLE WORLD
Stephen Cummins (Ireland) and Alessandro Cortessi (Italy)
-Dialogue between cultures
Claudio Monge (Istanbul)
-Relationship between care of creation and social justice
Luc-Thomas Somme (Geneve)
-Local and universal dimensions
Richard Finn (England)
-Openness to neighborhood
Petro Balog (Ukraine)
YSOP 2021 - Signs of the times in the distortion of truth
The annual meeting for Young Sisters of the Order of Preachers (YSOP) was held on zoom last weekend (8-10 Jan). There were around 29 participants for each zoom session and translations were offered in Spanish, English and French. We had group sessions and social gathering on zoom that enriched the experience of being together.
Sr Gemma Morató and Fr Timothy Radcliffe gave excellent thought provoking insights on the theme of the meeting: Signs of the times in the distortion of truth. Their presentation texts could be downloaded by clicking on the following links:
Sr Gemma Morató – Fake news (English, Español)
WEBINAR : MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Yao Agbetse, professor of human rights and
independent expert at the United Nations,
hosted a webinar in French and English.
You can click here and listen to the session
around the theme:
“Monitoring and Evaluation of Human
Rights and International Humanitarian Law
in the Context of Conflict: The Case of the
Central African Republic”
50, 60 and 70 years of professed life
The Dominican Sisters of Blessed Imelda celebrated the anniversary of some their sisters on October 30. We share their joy and congratulate Sr. Leonia Dainese, Sr. Lina Basso and Sr. Matilde Nicoletti who celebrated their fiftieth anniversary of professed life. Sr. Gabriella De Benetti, Sr. Tarcisia Ceoldo, Sr. Giulia di Raimo and Sr. Camilla Giacometti for their sixtieth anniversary and Sr Bruna Branca for her seventieth anniversary.
Click here for the article on their website. Here are the comments from the sisters who have celebrated the anniversary, translated from Italian.
“The attraction is similar to that exercised by something beautiful, fascinating, engaging. So it was for me. Celebrating the jubilee has meant and means giving myself back to Love with more intensity because I am experiencing, even after 50 years, that He is faithful, He is the Only One who fills my life with dignity, with meaning, with gratuitousness, with love, with every good that I need, not to keep for myself, but to distribute to other brothers and sisters. How? With the Word, with the Presence, with Interest and Care, as He does with me with the Gift of Himself in the Eucharist. I can only rejoice in HIM, praise him, thank him with all my heart ”. – Sr. Leonia Dainese
“Praise and honor to You, Lord, for the great joy of the call, and response with faith, to follow you everywhere … always. Thanks! It’s been 60 years… but it feels like the first day. Help me to be always ready and faithful, with the grace that comes from You, infinite Trinity! ” – Sr. Giulia De Raimo
“And on Your Word that I love, believe and hope. I’ll still sing your mercy, I will walk with You, Lord, because You called me and sent me: – Go tell my brothers … Here I am! – Sr. Lina Basso
“With joy I celebrated my 60th anniversary of profession, thanking the Lord for the mercy used in these years that I would like to have been pleasing to him. I was given a candle as a symbol of my life, so that it is consumed before God. To this symbol I added my prayer: With the help of Mary, I want my life to be a yes, not only with prayer , but in the concreteness of my life “. – Sr. Tarcisia Ceoldo
We congratulate Sr. Marga and Sr. Catharina who made their first professions on 16 November 2020. Let us pray for them and the Dominican Sisters in the Netherlands. Here is the notification from the Council of the Congregation Dominican Sisters of the Holy Family Neerbosch, Netherlands.
On Monday November 16, 2020 the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Holy Family – Neerbosch, celebrated the first profession of two sisters: Sister Marga and Sister Catharina. After a period of orientation they followed a year of noviciate. They studied Dominican life and spirituality and the apostolate of the congregation.
A year in which they could explore whether God was calling them to lead a life as a Dominican Sister. Both Sister Marga and Sister Catharina were confirmed in their choice to take the next step. They requested the Council for permission to take vows. The Council has wholeheartedly agreed to this.
The ceremony took place during the celebration of the Eucharist in our Saint Dominic’s Chapel in Nijmegen.
We trust that we may count on your prayers.
Council of the Congregation Dominican Sisters of the Holy Family Neerbosch, Netherlands
Sub-Commission for Liturgical Music
On 7 November 2020, the Master of the Order has appointed a Sub-Commission for Liturgical Music, whose main responsibility is to provide the Dominican Family resources on the variety of music (chants, responsorials, etc.) that is utilized throughout the world.
We congratulate the members of this sub-commision:
- Sr. Ragnhild Bjelland OP
- fr. Thomas Möller, OP
- fr. Łukasz Miśko, OP
- Sr. Marie Trainar, OP
One of the tasks the sub-commission is engaged in is to get in touch with sisters who have a university level degree in music. If you are one of them or if you know of any sisters, please get in touch!
The Master has appointed a Sub-Commission for Liturgical Music, whose main responsibility is to provide the Dominican Family resources on the variety of music (chants, responsorials, etc.) that is utilized throughout the world. The principal reason for the appointment is division labor and ensuring that the Liturgical Commission is able to fulfill its tasks as outlined in the LCO and the ACTA of Bien Hoa. The hope of the Master is that the Sub-Commission can disseminate the traditional and contemporary music that is experienced throughout the world by the Dominican Family. The Curia is often asked if it has resources on traditional and contemporary music, and the answer is simply we do not. We hope to develop a depository of music that can be accessed by the whole Dominican Family.
- Please send me the names and info of sisters who have a degree (university level) in music, we want to create a kind of Catalogue
- please forward this mail to sisters who may have names
Dsic blog - shared reflections
Informal zoom course - Aquinas on christ
A 9-week zoom course on what Aquinas (and the church) teaches about Jesus Christ starts on October 16, 2020.
If interested, please email: MercifulLove1@gmail.com
For more information please visit: English Dominican Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena
“In Communion with the Sacred Universe The Story of An Tairseach.” by Sr. Marian O’Sullivan OP
The virtual launch of “In Communion with the Sacred Universe The Story of An Tairseach.” by Sr. Marian O’Sullivan OP member of the An Tairseach community, took place on October 10, 2020.
For more information please visit: The Dominican Sisters Cabra
On October 3, 2020, Sisters Mary Magdalene and Chiara Mary from the English Dominican Congregation of St Catherine of Siena made their first vows. We thank God for His calling and may the YES of Sr. Magdalene and Sr. Chiara bear good fruits for the Holy church and be a source of inspiration. Let us pray for them and for the three new candidates who have just started their novitiate.
Hearty Congratulations to Sr. Helen Alford
Sr. Helen Alford, vice-rector at Angelicum who has served as a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace was appointed to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on 4 Sep 2020. Sr. Helen Alford has actively collaborated with DSI and DSE activities offering lectures at study weeks and engaging in discussions.