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Tenth Anniversary Celebration
Alliance Communities Gather in St. Louis

Alliance CelebrationST LOUIS, MO November 5, 2007--  Dominican Sisters and Associates numbering 230 strong, representing the 13 Alliance communities, gathered last weekend here to celebrate ten years of the Dominican Alliance.  The theme of the conference was Collaborating: Dancing the Step; Preaching: Singing the Song; Visioning: Watching the Wind.”

In an opening ritual, members of the 13 congregations carried lighted candles to the stage. The new Executive Committee was welcomed: Srs. Nathalie Meyer, OP (Grand Rapids), Mary Ellen Green, OP  (Sinsinawa), Sharon Simon, OP  (Racine).   The four “founding sisters” were honored: Bernie Baltrinic, OP  (Akron), Susan Snyder, OP  (Kenosha), Rose Miriam Schulte, OP  (Springfield) and Therese Leckert, OP  (St. Mary’s).  

Mary Jean Traeger, OP  (Springfield), the keynote speaker, developed the theme of trust and energy, asking what the future of religious life will look like and where do we as individuals see ourselves in the Alliance?  “The Alliance was never really about structure, but about carrying out the Mission of the Gospel, fostering relationships and carrying out a new vision,” Mary Jean remarked.  Mary Jean and Elaine DeRosier, OP  (Kentucky) enacted an elder version of the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth when their sons were grown, envisioning a spirit to be passed on to the younger generation. They expressed gratitude for God’s gifts and spoke of “letting go.” In her reflection, Mary Jean reminded newer members that they were the heirs to the dream of those who walked before them.  The challenge was to make the dream and the heritage, their own.  She reminded all of us that in the coming ten years, we will find new ways: to carry forward the Dominican motto: To Praise, To Bless and to Preach.  

Many participants offers personal witnesses to the spirit of Alliance, including Kathleen Ann Tait, OP (Springfield) who represented Kaleidoscope, the group of younger and newer Dominicans.  Common life in the House of Preaching in Chicago was described by Connie Schoen, OP  (Oxford) and Mary McNulty, OP  (Sinsinawa), with Ancilla Caulfield, OP  (Springfield) and Elyse Marie Ramirez, OP (Springfield).   Telling the moving story of Alliance response to New Orleans communities following Hurricane Katrina were Robin Richard, OP (St. Mary’s), JoAnn Niehaus, OP  (Houston), Jeanne Moore, OP  (EMD) and Latetia Anne Campbell, OP  (KY). 

Standing committees addressed the assembly on the Mission of the Alliance:  Marguerite Chandler, OP  (Columbus) for Eco-Justice, Kathleen Kenny, OP  (Springfield) on Africa Connection, and Jolene Greir, OP  (Great Bend) for Justice, Peace and Care of Creation.  Two members of the 3 most recent Alliance Congregations--- Grand Rapids, Racine and Sinsinawa--- Jude Block, OP, Sue Tracy, OP, Joyce Ballweg, OP,  Ann Pratt, OP,  Janet Welsh, OP nd Ann Willits, OP, addressed the challenges they felt, and the challenges they bring to the organization.  Saturday’s sessions closed with Eucharistic liturgy, Greg Heill,OP presiding and Mary McNulty, OP  preaching. A celebratory dinner featured stand-up comedians, Julie Greig (Houston) and Marie Michelle Hackett (Springfield).

Sunday’s breakout sessions highlighted important issues of our day.  Making presentations and leading discussions were Rachel Sena, OP  (EMD) on Trafficking, Ceil Roeger, OP  (Houston) on Immigration, Joan McGuire, OP (KY) on Interfaith Dialogue, Sharon Zayak, OP (Springfield) on Ecology, Jan Schlicting, OP (Akron) on Women and Preaching, Mary Ann Pevas, OP  (Racine) on Israel-Palestine Relations, and Reg McKillip, OP (Sinsinawa) on Preparing for U.S. Elections.
 In a final reflection, Mary Jean summed up the experience of the weekend.  She said, “There is enthusiasm, energy and a sense of sisterhood very present in the assembly.”  She challenged each one to choose an area and do something about it.

Strive to live connected as the Alliance, taking the model of the Katrina survivors and how much we need each other.  Reach out to those in the Alliance, and those not in Alliance. ‘Who is missing from our community table?  From the table of society’s resources?’
Make connections to get something done!  For instance, take a concrete step to live sustainability.  Embrace the language and mindset of ‘Common Good.’ Let the Spirit of God expand our Vision of God.  Live in a God-sized world.  Let God move us with transforming power under grace.  Root ourselves in the Gospel, embracing the cross and resurrection.

The weekend ended with the ceremony of blessings with representatives of the 13 congregations recessing with the candles brought in at the opening ceremony.  Expressions of gratitude were given to facilitator, Joan Murray, OP (Sinsinawa); Executive Director, Joan Scanlon, OP (KY); Chairs of the Anniversary Celebration, Pat Casey, OP (Houston) and Marilyn Pierson; and the Executive Committee, Dot Trosclair,  OP, (EMD) Pat Twohill, OP (Columbus)  and Charlene Moser, OP (KY); the liturgists and musicians.

JoAnn Niehaus, OP (Houston)


“The Alliance was never really about structure, but about carrying out the Mission of the Gospel, fostering relationships and carrying out a new vision.”
Mary Jean Traeger, OP (Springfield) keynote speaker




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