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Dominican Symposium Draws 500 Participants

Timothy Radcliffe
Timothy Radcliffe, OP

ADRIAN, MI – May 21, 2007-- The commitment of Dominicans to vigorous study and contemplation was evident as about 500 Dominican men and women from around the US and other countries converged on the campus of Siena Heights University at the invitation of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Order.

From May 13 to 16, the group heard thoughtful, scholarly presentations and responders and enjoyed open discussions, prayer, reflection and celebration. The 800th anniversary event was most likely the largest of its kind in the US to date.

University President Peg Albert, OP, and Prioress Donna Markham, OP, welcomed attendees during the opening Eucharist which took place in Lumen Ecclesiae Chapel. An appreciative audience witnessed the ceremony in which an honorary doctoral degree was conferred upon fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, former master of the Dominican Order, by Siena Heights University.

Immediately after his presentation, Timothy left the assembly to return to London where he recieved the Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing for his book: What is the Point of Being a Christian? published by Continuum. (more on this story here)

Radcliffe was one of four major speakers of the symposium. His talk: Blessed are the Cheese Makers, continued the conversation he has been promoting that explores ways in which  Dominicans help build resolution in the midst of the many areas of conflict in the Church and the world. Cheese Makers refers to the Monty Python film Life of Brian in which actors misunderstood the beatitude, blessed are the peace makers. Response and dialogue were offered by Donna Markham, OP, and fr. Michelle Côte, OP (Canada).

"Timothy said that one of his duties as Master of the Order was to protect and promote the unity of the Order", said Frances Wetzel, OP (Adrian). "For me, long after the words of the Symposium have faded, the joy of being together and the sense of unity among all of us will remain in my memory.

Liam Walsh
Liam Walsh, OP
Ann Willits, OP
Ann Willits, OP
Pat Walters, OP
Pat Walters, OP

Fr. Liam Walsh, OP, (Ireland) presented The World, The Preaching and The Preachers, which offered an extensive examination of an historical understanding of the Dominican preaching charism and its importance in the world and within the Church. Response and dialogue was offered by Janet Welsh, OP (Sinsinawa), and David Caron, OP (St. Martin).

"Prayer, study, common life and mission – in theory and in practice, with a healthy dose of challenge, humor, and                  superb Dominican hospitality – all these made the days in Adrian refreshing, energizing and stretching," said Honora Werner, OP (Caldwell). "Among sisters and brothers, I felt a freedom and spirit that strengthened me and dared me to ever more authentic," she added.

Ann Willits, OP, (Sinsinawa) asked the question: Are We Coming or Going? The Relationship of Mission and Mysticism within the Dominican Charism. Her paper offered a new way of looking at action and contemplation by thinking in terms of the Dominican call to be missionary and at the same time, mystical. Response and dialogue were offered by Jamie T. Phelps, OP (Adrian) and Don Goergen, OP (St. Albert).

Patricia Walter, OP (Adrian) presenting At Home in Wisdom's Tent: Contemplation and the Pursuit of Truth.  Her paper examined prayer and study – two of the most important tenants of Dominican life. Response and dialogue was offered by Barbara E. Reid, OP (Grand Rapids) and Jorge Presmanes, OP (St. Martin).

The final day of the Symposium concluded with breakout sessions that covered a variety of important topics dealing with world, Church, theological, and social issues.

Artwork from various Dominican artists was on display in the Klemm Gallery. Attendees also enjoyed a piano concert given by Magdalena Ezoe, OP (Adrian) and Nancy Murray, OP (Adrian) performed as St. Catherine of Siena.

Dominican Symposium audience

Related Links

Click Here to view a symposium photo album with photos
by Ray Casey and Doug Goodnough

Click Here to view a personal symposium photo album by Deb Carter

Breakout Sessions:

Issues Surfaced in the Aftermath of Katrina

HIV/Aids Ministry

Justice for Women in Church and Ministry

Catholic/Dominican Identity of Sponsored Institutions


Migration of Peoples

Dominican Connections: Passing the Torch to Future Generations

Thinking as Part of the Global Community

Preaching with Ecological Awareness

Women, Portals to Peace

Christian and Muslim Relations

Dominic Preaching On the Web

Spirituality and Peacemaking

Economic Justice, Minimum Wage

Continuing the Dialogue: Issues Raised During the Symposium

Being Dominican in an Ecumenical Interfaith World

Ecologica lIssues and Spirituality

Issues in Higher Education

Dominican Symposium breakout session

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