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Releasing the Fullness of our Preaching
Another World Is Possible

Dominican Sisters International (DSI) Pursues Challenge of  Millennium Development Goals

Duncan McLarenROME, ITALY – May 21, 2007-- “Working for the Millennium Development Goals is God’s work. Working for the MDGs is not a matter of being politically correct, but it is doing God’s will,” said Lay Dominican Duncan MacLaren, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, to the gathering of 161 Dominican prioresses general at the Fifth General Assembly of Dominican Sisters International (DSI) April 30 – May 4, 2007.

Words, ideas, passions and concrete actions marked the work of the Assembly. True to Dominic’s example, the participants were once again called to struggle against dehumanizing poverty throughout the world. MacLaren pointed out that this can be done through education and formation, disease prevention and health promotion, and lobbying and advocacy at all political levels. At the end of the session the members agreed to send a letter to the President of the European Union and the German government, calling on Europe to respect its tasks of implementing the Millennium Development Goals. Characteristic of the assembly’s tone, the letter was delivered by the Scottish Cardinal.

“The meeting was both inspiring and renewing to me,” said  Pat Mulcahy, OP (Sinsinawa). Duncan McLaren’s talk attested to the concrete efforts of Dominican laity and religious to further progress with the Millennium Goals; Liliana’s presentation confirmed for me that we can free the fullness of our preaching within and among our congregations.”

Sr. Liliana Badaloni, OP (Argentina)  invited the sisters to believe that “the freedom of our preaching will be in direct relationship with our personal liberation and with liberation within our congregations”. She looked at the Millennium Goals through the lens of a woman from the southern hemisphere and said, “We invite each other to openness -- the door through which wisdom enters and contemplation begins. Openness is the pinnacle from which we learn that the world is much greater than ourselves, and that there is a truth out there that is different from our own.”

Sr. María Fabiola Velásquez Maya, OPThe Assembly elected a new International Coordinator, Sr. María Fabiola Velásquez Maya, OP (Soeurs de la Charité Dominicaines de la Présentation). Sr. Fabiola replaces Sr. Margaret Ormond, OP (Columbus) who has served in this post since its inception nine years ago.  The assembly was especially appreciative of Margaret and her exceptional leadership of DSI, in shepherding the organization through years of growing strength and relationship. “The theme of Margaret's report We Make the Path by Walking It captures the essence of DSI,” said Pat Mulcahy, OP.  “I have such deep gratitude to Margaret and all that DSI is about.” (Read an interview with Margaret here).

Pat SimpsonPat Simpson, OP (San Rafael) was elected as the North American member of the Coordinating Team. In taking on this new responsibility, Pat said, "It is my hope and desire to represent the Dominican Congregations in North America and Canada in the larger Dominican Family as best as I can.  It is an honor to be able to work with the members of the Coordinating Council to further the preaching mission of Dominican Sisters International."

working group working group

During the working groups the participants identified some common challenges: How can we improve the communication among the sisters? How can we facilitate the exchange of our stories, our experiences, our dreams and our projects? How can we help each other learn new languages? How can we animate collaboration and networking within and without the Dominican Family?

The prayers and the Masses were powerful and wonderful occasions. Each continent group prepared the celebrations.  In his homily during the celebration at Santa Sabina,  master of the Order, Br. Carlos Azpiroz-Costa, OP, invited reflection on how the dreams of one sister might touch our own. “How much do you consider yourselves part of a collaborative Family?” he asked.

The assembly was a meeting of various cultures, traditions, stories and experiences searching together, embracing the same charism, the ways to help the people to live with more dignity, through and beyond the Millennium Goals.

Nathalie MeyerNathalie Meyer, OP (Grand Rapids) summarized the meeting this way: “Attending DSI was an unbelievable experience which leaves an indelible mark on how you view life and mission. It was an opportunity to understand the importance of the Dominican Family working in collaboration for the good of the whole world.  The diversity of God’s gifts was evident throughout the week as challenges of life, mission and ministry were discussed with religious congregations across the globe.  We are truly blessed to have this network to more effectively face the issues of the day, to be part of God’s unfolding mystery, touching the lives of so many in large and small ways.”

Related Links:

Report of the International Coordinator Margaret Ormond, OP

Address by Duncan MacLaren, OP

Address by
Liliana Babaloni, OP

Report on International Jusitce and Peace
Toni Harris, OP

DSI Newsletter Interview as Margaret Ormond completes her term of service

Meeting Photos

The new Coordinating Council members are:
Africa - Sr. Michael Mdluli, OP, Dominican Congregation of Montebello, South Africa;
Asia - Sr. Cecille Espenilla, OP, Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena, Quezon City, Philippines;
Europe - Sr. Sara Böhmer, OP, Dominicanessen van Bethanie - Venlo, Holland;
Latin America and Caribbean - Hna Irene Diaz, OP, Hermanas Misioneras Dominicas del Rosario, Lima Peru;
North America - Sr. Patricia Simpson, OP, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, United States.

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