UPDATE FROM RIGA
Letter from Sr. Hanna, 22 Sep 2022
You can download the letter from Sr. Hanna by clicking here: English
Autumn is coming fast. Three weeks ago we had the first mornings with white meadows covered in hoarfrost. It is a big relief, that your donations were so generous, that they will help us to keep warm. The summer was very eventful. A big event was the demolition of the victory monument of the Soviet Army over Natzi-Germany, which also marks the beginning of the occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union. Every year on the anniversary of the “liberation” there were fights at this monument, now finally the political situation was such that the demolition was decided.
Soviet monuments are to be demolished in all Latvian cities. – For some, this is a source of great joy; for others, some are called to resistance. The city of Daugavpils is considered entirely Russian-speaking. From here came the request that all monuments in the city may remain. – Now the government is considering removing all members of the city administration from office.
This is only an example to explain in which way the internal political situation is becoming more tense. But what worries many more than this, is Russia’s silence on the demolition of the monument in the capital. And we have again been told by the Ministry of Defence to prepare for the first 72 hours after “X hour”, what means to have our emergency backpacks packed. So, of course, the news of the success of the Ukrainian counter-attack was very welcome.
Thanks to the support of all of you, we were able to fill this summer with some happy moments for many refugees form Ukraine!
We already told you about the centre for children with autism in our last letter. Now we were able to finance a “cultural evening” where Ukranian and Latvian kids cooked with their mothers for each other and could make new friends. We also could help out to finance a bus for various excursions, and on one day they went to the beach where they created small works of art from found materials. An artist who fled from Ukraine was at the holiday camp and enjoyed working creatively with the children. Of course, this also has terepeutic elements, because here the children can express what they have experienced on the run or what they miss from home. Riga, 22.09.2022
We were also able to save a small holiday camp organised by a Babtist community for the refugee children they had taken in, when the funding for the catering was cut off by the city a week before the event. These children had fled Mariupol with their mothers. It was very important to all of us that this little recreation could take place for them.
The first woman who arrived at our convent as a refugee is now also the first to make her way back to Ukraine. Her sons have told her that it is quiet in their region at the moment. She hopes to make her home ready for winter. All the windows are broken, one of the neighbours has improvized a door for her, so that it dosn ́t look like you can just walk in and take what you want. We hope that things will continue well for them back home. But she knows, that we will help her to return to Latvia, if needed.
Our other refugees have not jet all made up their mind. It looks as if the little family will stay in Latvia for good, but the others try to understand for how long they are staying. But they start to look for their own flats. As they all have work and could put something aside while staying with us, they will be able to pay the deposit asked when renting. As you all know, during the last days the situation in Russia has changed as well. It seems Putin’s attempt to mobilise more soldiers leads to more protest and a wave of refugees coming from Russia. Young man, not wanting to die. Some hope for the revolution of the mothers. Let us keep all of them in our prayers, so Ukrainians and Russians can live in peace, and we with them.
Greetings from Riga,
UPDATE ON UKRAINE - 2
Letter from Sr. Pilar del Barrio and Sr. Margaret Mayce, 23 Mar 2022
As we witness each day the tragedy that continues to unfold in Ukraine, we are sure that each one of you struggles to know how best to respond. We have tried to keep you informed about our Sisters who live in the surrounding countries – Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia – and how they are offering assistance to refugees; as well as our Sisters in Madrid, who are welcoming refugees from Kyiv, where they had been ministering before the war broke out. Many of you have responded by sending financial assistance, which has been an enormous help. We have recently received some information from the heads of some Catholic institutions, National Conferences of Religious and National Bishops’ Conferences that we feel would be helpful to you as you continue to discern how best to respond. In Europe, NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS, CARITAS INTERNATIONAL AND THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS together with some other NGOs are working together within each country to organize the reception of refugees. The important thing to remember is that it is not simply a case of bringing people into other European countries; but also providing them with all the necessary support systems once they are here: health care; counselling; education; language; shelter; employment; etc. In other words, all that is needed to help people become integrated into their new homes and countries. Since this refugee crisis will become part of our reality moving forward, it is very important that the response be well-coordinated by professionals, and not by individuals or groups.
So, our recommendation to you is the following:
- Connect with those who are coordinating refugee assistance within your countries; CARITAS INTERNATIONAL, THE RED CROSS, AND OTHER NATIONAL / LOCAL AGENCIES.
- Consider offering empty convents; schools; or other empty facilities to CARITAS as potential places to house refugees.
- Consider offering available space where you currently live, and let CARITAS know of this availability.
- Consider financial assistance to those Sisters who are bearing the major crush of refugees at this time – especially the Sisters in Slovakia and Latvia.
We believe that we all must be ready to respond in whatever way we can, and the best way to do that right now is through the local boards that have been established in each country.
At this point the greatest needs in terms of financial assistance are in Slovakia and Latvia. We are still waiting to hear from our Sisters in Hungary as to whether or not they need assistance. When we hear from them, we will let you know.
Here is the bank information for the Sisters in Slovakia.
Account Holder: Kongregácia sestier dominikánok blahoslavenej Imeldy
Address: Parková 27, 821 05 Bratislava
Bank: Tatrabanka, a.s. Hodžovo námeste 3, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovensko (Slovakia)
Account Number: 2669704092
Bank Code (Key): 1100
IBAN: SK14 1100 0000 0026 6970 4092.
SWIFT CODE (BIC): TATRSKBX
And…..attached is a message from our sister, Hannah Rita Laue, OP, from Riga, Latvia. She and her housemates have started to receive Ukranian refugees, and would appreciate your help. The bank information is as follows:
Account Holder: Dominikanerinnen von Bethanien e.V.
Address: Ungerather Str. 1-15, 41366 Schwalmtal/Waldniel Germany
IBAN: DE 6147 2603 0700 2145 0001 BIC: GENODEM1BKC
Bank : Bank für Kirche und Caritas
Address: Kamp 17, 33098 Paderborn, Germany
In prayerful solidarity,
Pilar del Barrio, OP and Margaret Mayce, OP
UPDATE ON UKRAINE
Letter from Sr. Margaret Mayce, 15 Mar 2022
We have heard from Sr. Karola Mária Dravecká, OP, General Prioress of the Slovak Congregation of Dominican Sisters of Blessed Imelda. Her letter is attached to this message, along with several photos of some of the refugee children being helped. You will note that one of their Sisters, Sr. Lydia, has remained in Ukraine to assist with the needs of refugees. Other Sisters in the Congregation have been go
ing to the border, to meet the refugees as they enter, and bring some of them to the Sisters’ houses. Sr. Karola has provided Bank Information (see below) for those who feel that they want to help this effort. Please note that the Congregations street address is included, for those of you who need to include this in the wire transfer:
Bank Account Number: Bank Code (Key): IBAN:
SWIFT CODE (BIC): Account Holder:
Tatrabanka, a.s. Hodžovo námeste 3, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovensko (Slovakia)
SK14 1100 0000 0026 6970 4092
Kongregácia sestier dominikánok blahoslavenej Imeldy Parková 27
821 05 Bratislava
Sr. Hannah Rita Laue, OP, and her housemates (Dominican Congregation of Bethany), have opened their home in Latvia to refugees. Hannah writes:
“So far the women and the little child living at our place are able to even pay a little rent for their place. We are happy about it, mostly because it gives them the feeling of still being in controle and protects their feeling of dignity. We are going to buy new mattresses, two more fridges and another washing machine and maybe two mini-ovens. This gives us a chance to create separate territories for families. It is so important to have a safe, private space, a room for intimacy with your own grief and fears, and to relax, as far as that is possible”
As of now, they are managing with the assistance of donations from Germany. She will let us know if their situation becomes such that other assistance is needed.
Sr. Gene Poore has been in touch with Sr. Krista Ludmila Chladkova, OP Prioress of the Czech Congregation Dominican Sisters. Sr. Krista writes:
Thank you very much for your e-mail and your readiness to help. I am sure you have already heard from the Slovak Sisters who have a community in Ukraine – help is definitely most needed there. As for us, we offered our guest rooms in different communities to several families. For some time, we are able to take care of them (food, clothes, some transport…). But later… And of course, there are many people needing help all around us. Some of us help as volunteers with the Catholic Charity and if there is any money, we know how to use it.
With a prayer,
sr. Krista OP
Bank Information for Czech Sisters:
Account Owner Account type Account number IBAN
BIC / SWIFT code Address of Congregation:
ČESKÁ KONGREGACE SESTER DOMINIKÁNEK Cash account
KOMBCZPPXXX Veveri 469/27
602 00 Brno Czech Republic
Finally, some have requested the bank information for the Sisters in Madrid again:
Banco Santander Calle Serrano, 51 28006 Madrid
IBAN: ES5900495150132993025088 SWIFT: BSCHESMM
Bank Account holder: Santo Domingo De Granada Curia General (R2800286C)
San Mariano, 16
Please indicate that the donation is for: Evacuación Ucrania
Thank you for your continued prayers and your efforts to offer assistance in whatever way works best for you. We will keep you informed as we receive additional information from our Sisters.
During this season of conversion and change of heart, we also pray for those who willfully inflict such devastation on Ukraine and on its innocent civilian population.
Wishing you peace, Your sister,
Margaret Mayce, OP
DIM DITEY CENTER, in KIEV
Letter of correspondence from the sisters of the Congregation of St. Dominic
The sisters of the Congregation of St. Dominic have been running a Dim Ditey center in Kiev, where they are now taking in refugees. Here is a letter of correspondence from these sisters:
“We have continued in contact with our people, through the Viber, WhatsApp and Facebook groups, that we have. Some are refugees in our house in Kiev, others on the roads to the homes of relatives and friends in Germany, Poland, Austria….
Most of them are now in different points of the border with Poland where Liuba, the technical director of the center, in collaboration with the two NGOs, from Asturias and Ciudad Real, is organizing the reception in families in Spain where they came during the summers and the help is channeled first of all to these children from the DIM DITEY CENTER, from KIEV“.
In agreement with the Congregation, the San José School in Sotrondio, Asturias, which had been closed for two years, will be opened as a meeting place because one of the NGOs with which we used to bring the children to Spain for summer vacations is from that area.
This is the place where the initial reception upon arrival of all the children will take place, before distributing them to the families. The children will be accompanied by their mothers, and we will have to help support them until the time comes to return to Ukraine. Volunteers are already preparing the place and with the help of the President of the Principality of Asturias, the paperwork is being expedited. Many people close to the College, are getting everything ready, and in contact with us and with Liuba, our technical director who is at the border, with her elderly parents and her 11 year old daughter who takes care of them, so that she can do this work for the good of all.”
Sr. Pilar, the coordinator for Dominican Sisters Europe has spoken with the sisters and they are already hosting 23 people and 55 more will arrive on Saturday. They are seeking funds to charter other buses to bring up to 130 people, for now, who are already with this group in Poland. Help will be needed to meet the needs of food, health, etc. of the people arriving.
Donations can be made to the following Bank Account:
Account holder: SANTO DOMINGO DE GRANADA CURIA GENERAL (R2800286C)
Please indicate that the transfer is for: Evacuación Ucrania
Dominican sisters in Ukraine
We stand in prayerful solidarity with our Dominican Sisters in Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia
On 28 Feb 2022, Sr. Margaret Mayce (International coordinator for DSIC) and Sr. Pilar del Barrio (coordinator for Europe) sent out a letter requesting prayers for Ukraine and assuring the sisters of our support.
Here is a list of Congregations which have a presence in Ukraine, as well as in the countries which surround it: Russia, Latvia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. This information is based on what we have to date in our database. If there are any additional Congregations present in these countries, please let us know.
Zgromadzenie Sióstr św. Dominika – Krakow, Poland – Presence in: Belarus, Russia, Ukraine
Siostry Dominikanki Misjonarki Jezusa i Maryi – Warsaw, Poland – Presence in: Latvia, Russia
Ceska Kongregace Sester Dominikanek – Brno, Czech Republic – Presence in: Czech Republic
Dominican Sisters of Saint Margaret of Hungary – Budapest, Hungary – Presence in: Hungary
Kongregácia Sestier Dominikánok Blahoslavenej Imeldy – Bratislava, Slovakia – Presence in : Slovakia, Ukraine
Dominikanerinnen von Bethanien von Venlo – Haelen, The Netherlands – Presence in: The Netherlands, Germany, Latvia
Congregación Santo Domingo – Madrid, Spain – Presence in: Ukraine
Congregación de las Hermanas Dominicas de Betania – Bogota, Colombia Presence in: Slovakia
Unione Santa Caterina da Siena delle Missionarie della Scuola – Rome Presence in: Poland
Suore Domenicane di Santa Maria del Rosario – Prato, Italy Presence in: Poland, Romania
YSOP 2022 - Report
Young Sisters of the Order of Preachers (YSOP) is a yearly meeting that brings together young Dominican sisters across Europe. Young Dominican sisters includes novices and sisters with less than 20 years of professed life.
Theme for Jan 2022: “Preaching sisters – for real”
Here is a report of the YSOP meeting by Sr. Mónica Marco, Congregación Santo Domingo:
60 sisters, 16 countries, 24 congregations, 7 novices, 10 juniors, 43 sisters with less than 20 years of vows, 6 language groups, 3 excellent conferences and valuable spaces for sharing are only part of the richness of the YSOP 2022 meeting which took place virtually from 7 to 9 January under the theme Signs of the times and distortion of the truth. The meeting, organised by DSE (Dominican Sisters of Europe) centred its content around the analysis of what it means to be a Dominican sister, a preacher, in the Church and in today’s world.
The first talk “What does the Dominican vocation mean in the Church today?” was given by fr Felicísimo Martínez OP, who invited us to remember our founding project, our charism and Dominican history, so that we may be able to update them and that they may be meaningful and fruitful in order to respond to the needs of our contemporaries.
He highlighted 6 aspects that our charism should help us to bring to today’s world: humanity as a fundamental attitude; autonomy and freedom as inalienable ideas and values of the person; Dominican contemplation, the experience of God and the search for the meaning of life; the gift of community and the need of our world for this experience of encounter; the mission of preaching and our task of accrediting the Word and witnessing to it in our lives.
During the 2nd talk, “What does it mean to be a preaching sister”, Sr. Kerstin-Marie Berretz OP urged us to reflect on all that a sister is not (we are not friars, nor nuns, nor laity, nor…) and from there, to discover all – how much – we are and the great opportunity we have to build our identity as preachers, as witnesses of the Good News. She stressed that being a sister preacher is more an attitude than an activity, for we preach in and with all aspects of our lives. She also stressed that in order to preach it is important to have something in common with others (a hobby, for example), because we cannot live on the margins of our communities, not referring exclusively to the congregational ones, but to the social ones. She concluded by inviting us to be happy to be preachers.
In the 3rd and last talk “What does it mean to live the vows as a Dominican sister”, Sr. Deák Hedvig OP focused her reflection on the Dominican way of living the vows from the spiritual and intellectual tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas. She stressed that it is not possible to live the vows if they are not incarnated, but neither is it possible to live them if we spiritualise them too much. Both extremes lose sight of the human part, the Christian part. He spoke of the anthropological challenge of living the vows as a model of freedom and as a gift of a wise friend who is Christ. They are generosity and freedom, and the result of a reciprocal relationship of love.
After each of the presentations, we had the opportunity to share in language groups. We emphasised the richness of having a shared space for reflection, where, beyond the contents, we became aware that in spite of the very different origins, formative stages and journeys in the different Congregations, as well as the different social contexts in which we are inserted, the highlights of the reflections converged in the same keys, a sign of the richness of our unity and diversity. The assessment of the meeting of the meeting was very positive, and we hope to be able to return to the meeting very soon.
Congregation of St. Dominic
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Solidarity - La palma island
A report from the Dominican sisters at La Palma Island, about how the volcano erruption is affecting the people there and how solidarity is helping.
Inmaculada Becerra, Dominican Missionary Sister of the Holy Family, from La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain)
We are volcanic islands, so we know that this can happen. Just 50 years ago the Teneguía volcano had erupted on the island, which was a great attraction for the islanders and for outsiders, but it was a volcano near the sea, in a sparsely populated area. It was something spectacular and beautiful, it did practically no damage. Those who still remembered the San Juan volcano in 1949 knew that its force was uncontrollable, but there were no houses to be carried away and Teneguía was very close to the coast.
On 19 September, the alarm had already been raised, it was ready to make its appearance, it was not clear where, or exactly when, but that Sunday the island had noticed its proximity to the surface. Some people were walking around looking for the moment and the place where it would appear, and so it was, they felt the explosion and then an inexplicable silence, in the same way that their reaction was to run away and stop in their tracks to capture the moment with the retina of their eyes and the camera.
There is one week to go before the two-month anniversary of that day, a day that remains in the memories of all of us who live on the island. It was an exciting moment to live this experience, but the moment turned terrifying when they discovered that the place where the volcano’s mouth emerged was in a fairly populated area, far from the sea and with a slope that would cause the lava to sweep away thousands of houses, banana plantations and other crops, and lives that had been building their existence in small places full of memories and experiences. They had to run away, taking only what they had prepared, some were able to return to collect furniture, belongings and other things, others were left with the clothes on their backs. Some were moving their things to different houses that had to be vacated later because of the advance of the laundry, they felt like stealing in their own home, having to pick up everything in 15 minutes. By now, more than 1,000 hectares of land have been covered by lava, more than 2,000 buildings have been destroyed, more than 7,000 people have been displaced from their homes and many will no longer have a place to return to.
The magnitude of the earthquakes, the gas emissions from the different vents of the volcano, the advancing lava and the destruction, as well as the deafening noise and the falling ash cover everything. Unlike the beauty of snow in winter, the ash does not melt and if there is no one to remove it, it joins the destruction of the lava. As great as the destructive magnitude, if not greater, is the solidarity of many parts of the world with the island of La Palma. The response was immediate. Messages, phone calls, mails, everyone asked how they could help, resources arrived immediately, for those who had not had time to take the minimum to start their new life. The vast majority found a home in which to take refuge, families, friends, and I mean a home, not a house.
Our Dominican Family, from the very first minute, contacted us to find a way to be at the side of those who needed help. It is a presence that has not disappeared after the first moment of the catastrophe, but continues to look for ways to be present and to continue practising the compassion that St. Dominic had as a staff in his life, to be at the side of those in need. Through the different congregations of Sisters, the Friars, the Educational Foundation of St. Dominic, and the Lay Communities, aid is arriving so that it can be distributed through Caritas to those in need.
La Palma is a very small island and it is easy to meet people, families who have suffered the consequences of the volcano, to know of their suffering at this time, but also of their strength to be in the front line of help and collaboration so that no one lacks anything, material, spiritual or psychological, to those most affected, to those who are there to help, to those who give what they have and what they are so that no one lacks anything. We have felt and feel the warmth of the solidarity of the people who know how to be there to respond in the most difficult moments without thinking about who they are helping, giving their all to make the harshness of the volcano more bearable. We cannot extinguish it, but we can make sure that its destruction does not cause so much damage. It will be difficult to come back from the volcano, but nothing is impossible for God and that helps us not to lose hope, to strengthen fraternity and solidarity, to look together for a way out of this situation.
Thank you for making us feel the warmth of the Family, for discovering that a place as small as this one can make hearts so big in so many places in the world and that we do not lose hope that “a better world is possible”.
Inmaculada Becerra, Dominican Missionary Sister of the Holy Family, from La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain)
Translated from Spanish with Deepl.
Catholic Social Teaching
ONLINE COURSE open to Dominican Sisters from all over the world, subject to availability of space
URBI et orbi : Dominican Preaching to the City and to the World in the time of pandemic
Given the challenges brought about by the COVID19 pandemic, the
Second INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM ON DOMINICAN
PREACHING shall be conducted VIRTUALLY, via ZOOM, on October
12-14, 2021, premiered across different international time zones.
USA (GMT-5) 8:00 a.m.
Europe (GMT+2) 3:00 p.m.
Philippines (GMT+8) 9:00 p.m.
Family, lay associates, collaborators and partners in mission and
The language of the Colloquium shall be English.
- Brother Gerard Francisco P. Timoner, III, OP, Master of the
- Sister Margaret Mayce, OP, International Coordinator of the
Dominican Sisters International;
- Sister Barbara Beaumont, OP, Monastery of Pius XII, Fatima,
Portugal and Association of Sister Historians of the Order of
Preachers (SHOP), Fanjeaux, France;
- Ms. Ann Garrido, PhD, lay professor from the Aquinas Institute
of Theology, USA.
Anual meeting of the “youngest” sisters of Spain
Twenty-eight sisters participated this year, with the desire to work together on certain reflections, which some of them had previously given us. The work we have done has helped us to discover which are the strengths we have to keep on walking, which are the brakes that prevent us from doing so and which would be the first steps to take.
Margaret Mayce, general coordinator of the DSIC (Confederation of Dominican Sisters International) was present. Her shared and meditated reflection was important for all of us. On Sunday morning we also had the presence of Pilar del Barrio, Coordinator of the Dominican Sisters of Europe (DSE).
Margaret invited us to contemplate Mary Magdalene on the morning of the resurrection. With her, we were tempted to cling to what no longer exists and also, with her, we felt free to sense the new time that marks the resurrection. Invited to collaborate, to share… called to announce the resurrection to all people.
Margaret Mayce presented to us the path that DSI has been following since its constitution in 1995, based on the desire to support and strengthen collaboration between the 147 women’s congregations of Dominican apostolic life, which bring together 19,407 sisters present in 109 countries. She also conveyed to us that the need to share the Dominican life and spirit, beyond the specifics of each of the congregational charisms, is a search that is present in many other places.
Translated from Spanish with www.DeepL.com/Translator
DSIC revisioning process June 19, 2021
At the annual YSOP meeting that took place in January this year, Sr. Margaret Mayce, the DSIC coordinator, spoke about an intergenerational revisioning process for DSIC. DSIC is often thought of as something that has to do with prioresses and general prioresses, but the vision is to actively engage sisters at the grassroot. In light of this, Sr. Margaret introduced four questions that the DSIC council would like sisters to reflect on:
- What is your hope / dream for DSIC over the next 5 years? / ¿cuál es su esperanza/sueño para el DSIC en los próximos 5 años? / was ist Ihre Hoffnung / Ihr Traum für DSIC in den nächsten 5 Jahren? / quel est votre espoir / rêve pour le DSIC au cours des 5 prochaines années ?
- In order to achieve this, what do we need to do NOW? / para conseguirlo, ¿qué tenemos que hacer AHORA? / um dies zu erreichen, was müssen wir JETZT tun? / afin de réaliser cet objectif, que devons-nous faire MAINTENANT ?
- In order to realize our hopes/dreams, what do we need to let go of? / para realizar nuestras esperanzas/sueños, ¿qué tenemos que dejar de hacer? / um unsere Hoffnungen/Träume zu verwirklichen, was müssen wir loslassen? / afin de réaliser nos espoirs/rêves, que devons-nous laisser tomber ?
- What are the most essential (non-negotiable) elements of our Dominican Apostolic life as we move into the future? / ¿Cuáles son los elementos más esenciales (no negociables) de nuestra vida apostólica dominicana a medida que avanzamos hacia el futuro? / Was sind die wesentlichsten (nicht verhandelbaren) Elemente unseres dominikanisch-apostolischen Lebens, wenn wir in die Zukunft gehen? / quels sont les éléments les plus essentiels (non négociables) de notre vie apostolique dominicaine à l’avenir ?
- How can DSIC be helpful in this process of visioning? / ¿Cómo puede DSIC ser útil en este proceso de visión? / Wie kann DSIC bei diesem Visionsprozess hilfreich sein? / Comment la DSIC peut-elle être utile dans ce processus de vision ?
The ideal structure of a revisioning process would follow the model of the visitation – an intergenerational meeting between Elizabeth and Mary. That is, to have a group of younger sisters and a group of older sisters in each continental zone to reflect on these questions, collect the responses and then to have representatives from each group meet and discuss in an international and inter-generational context. A first step of this revisioning process in Europe took place in April at the permanent formation meeting for sisters over 50 years of age, where a part of the meeting was dedicated to the reflection of these questions and the responses collected. The second step was the meeting held on June 19 for sisters below 50 years of age, where the same questions were reflected upon, and the responses collected.
There were around 35 participants at the zoom meetings and participants included sisters from the novitiate and juniorate levels and sisters with perpetual vows. The meeting was held in English and translations were provided in French, German and Spanish. Although some of the sisters had attended DSE meetings before, for many of them this was their first encounter with DSIC and DSE. The schedule was to have two zoom sessions: in the morning session, Sr. Veronica Rafferty gave an excellent overview of the beginnings of DSIC and the vision of the founders. Her talk was followed by Sr. Margaret Mayce, who gave a detailed picture of the current state of DSIC and the need for engagement at the grassroot level. In the after session, the participants were divided into groups according to language and stage of formation and were asked to discuss the above questions. This was followed by a discussion in plenum where each group summarized their reflections.
Here is a feedback of the meeting by Sr. Carine Michel, Congrégation Romaine de Saint Dominique
I was very happy to participate in the DSE meeting for the sisters below 50 yrs of age. This zoom meeting allowed me to get to know DSI (and DSIC) better, about which I had heard little before, thanks to the talks given by Sr Margaret and Sr Veroniqua. The time in the small group allowed me to meet young sisters from other Dominican congregations, and our exchange rekindled our desire to organise a meeting of young Dominican sisters in France, to enable us to forge links of the same generation. Thank you very much to DSE for making this meeting possible! (Translated from French with www.DeepL.com)
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.