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Dominican Volunteers Begin Year of Service

AMITYVILLE, NY -- On Sunday, August 5 ten women and one man converged on Long Island for orientation  to Dominican Volunteers USA.  The week was devoted to learning what it means to be part of the Holy Preaching and the many ways we live that out in our Dominican Family.  Volunteers first spent time getting to know themselves and one another by participating in a mini-workshop with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tool.  There were some surprises and others who knew themselves well, but the exercise did prove worthwhile in helping all to understand one another and the group was able to begin bonding.

The theme for this year is Reclaiming the Frontier of the Holy Preaching.  There were many lessons to be learned about being part of the Dominican Family.  There were lessons and discussions on the charism, the history of the Order, the history of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville and what the whole Regensburg Tree is all about, as well as simply why Dominicans exist in the United States today.   St. Dominic's Day was spent in celebration with the Sisters and Associates of Amityville.  It truly was a remarkable celebration as Sr. Mary Butler, OP, was able to weave in her recent retreat experience at Fanjeaux.  Many have remarked that in Fanjeaux they were able to see the person of Dominic.  The evening ended with a fabulous meal and lively chattering among the old, the young, and all those in between that are part of the family. 

August 9 was significant for the volunteers as well.  All boarded the Long Island Railroad at Amityville Station and headed into Manhattan.  They departed at Penn Station and made their way to the United Nations.  They were there greeted by Eileen Gannon, OP, NGO Representative of the Domincian Order and commenced a tour.  After the tour, Eileen gave the volunteers many more details about why Dominicans have a presence at the UN.  Eileen will be having one of the volunteers, Lauren Vater, working with her this year.  Following the United Nations, the group was released to explore the city.

Friday was spent with Amityville Dominicans Margaret Galiardi, OP and Pat DeMarco, OP, learning about Dominicans and social justice.  The volunteers were introduced to and ideas of justice were reinforced as they spent the day reflecting on what currently is so important for Dominicans.  The message they left with was understanding that Dominicans respond to the signs of the times, wherever they are and however they are able.  We expect the same of the volunteers.  

On Saturday, Augst 11 all piled into two vans and took to the highways and parkways of New York and New Jersey.  They traveled to Ossining to visit Mariandale and learn about the Dominican Sisters of Hope.  They were greeted there by Anne Marie Bucher, OP, who represents her community on DVUSA's corporation board.  From Ossining the volunteers traveled to Sparkill for lunch before heading to a visit at Blauvelt.  The evening ended with a splash at Caldwell where Kathleen Tuite, OP and Alice and Eleanor Uhl, OP hosted a pool party and barbecue in conjunction with several members of the Uhl Family.

On Sunday, August 12, the volunteers were commissioned into the Holy Preaching to go forth to praise, to bless, and to preach.  They were given candles to remind them of the light they carry in the world.  Diane Morgan, OP, past chair of the corporate board, preached a beautiful homily in which she challenged the volunteers to remember where their own treasures lie.  She also challenged the family to remember the volunteers as a treasure to the Order. 

Tony Butler, Dominican Volunteers USA




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