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Dominican Convocation Sets New Fire in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL – April 28, 2008 – The city of Chicago has a long history with fire and things being set ablaze. Most people who live there were not aware of it, but a new fire was ignited there last weekend.

Over 500 Dominicans converged on the city for the third Federation Convocation and the sixth meeting of Voices of Hope, the companion organization of Dominican associates. The theme, Fire the Vision, launched a series of excellent presentations exploring multiple dimensions of the preaching charism. The meeting was held April 24-28.

Mary Ann Wiesemann Mills
Mary Ann Wiesemann-Mills, OP (Akron)

Mary Ann Wiesemann-Mills, OP (Akron) laid out the meeting’s overarching theme with two presentations that opened up the historic, ecclesial and Dominican framework in which we are engaged.  Her perspective offered the challenge of being prophetic in a world that resists the truth and called the group to deepen their ownership of the call to preach the Truth. “Chaos is a time of grace,” she said in describing the present transitional time.  Mary Ann said that the changes we experience are sometimes chaotic and can dissipate energy.  At the same time, our expanding sense of the extent of the Dominican Family and our sense of belonging to it, has generated energy for mission and has deepened our collective Dominican identity.

Her presentations included active participation from the audience and spontaneous reflections from both sisters and associates.

Attracta Kelly
Attracta Kelly, OP (Adrian)

Attracta Kelly, OP (Adrian) and Larry Vuillemin (Akron Associate) described the present economic, racial and political issues of immigration inviting the group to “fan the flame” of Dominican preaching on this issue.  Attracta said, “Once we divide ourselves between us and them, it becomes easier to ignore “them”. Facts and statistics can be arranged in any way to accomplish what we seek, but does it really lead us to the truth?”

Marcelline Koch, OP (Springfield) and Cynthia Trenshaw (Grand Rapids Associate) offered more personal reflections on the preaching charism and how the flame and passion of preaching is lived out in their lives and ministries.

The fire of the meeting was further fanned by Nine Parts Desire, a dramatic and powerful presentation by Heather Raffo, who interpreted the experience of Iraqi women, their hopes, dreams and struggles. The participants were keenly aware of the plight of Iraqi refugees and the work being done by Dominicans to raise the plight of over 4 million persons displaced by the war.

LEFT: Ardeth Platte, OP, Carol Gilbert, OP and Jackie Judson, OP

In related action the Federation recognized the work of three Grand Rapids Dominicans who have worked to abolition nuclear arms. During a special awards banquet Sisters Ardeth Platte, OP, Jackie Hudson, OP and Carol Gilbert, OP, were honored with a symbolic peace rose and thunderous applause and appreciation from the audience. The three served multi-year federal prison sentences for defacing a US Air Force missile silo northeast of Denver. In addition to the prison sentences, the sisters were placed on probation and ordered to pay $3,082 in restitution for damage. (see related story)

The fire of preaching was further spread by Connie Schoen, OP (Oxford) and Elyse Ramirez, OP (Springfield) who reflected on Dominic's life and journey. They asked the questions: "What was the Spirit doing with Dominic? What is the Spirit doing in you?"

The Convocation also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate by honoring the founding mothers with a visual presentation at the Convocation banquet Saturday night.

Katie McGrail, OP (Adrian) Co-Director of the CDN said, “Across these 20 years, 23 congregations have collaborated in providing a place and program where the new members live and learn our Dominican life of prayer, study, ministry and community, preparing them to be preachers of the Word. With great joy, we celebrate this anniversary.”

The meeting concluded with a festive Eucharist on Sunday that included an interactive preaching on the Emmaus story by Mary McNulty, OP (Sinsinawa) and Barbara Sharp (Racine Associate). Don Goergen, OP (St. Albert) presided.

Print versions of the presentations will be posted to the Federation website.

View a photo gallery here

Anne Lythgoe, OP



New Feature!

View lots of photos of the Federation Meeting on Flickr, click here.


View photos as a slideshow.


"The minute the music started for the Opening Ritual, the flame in my heart was stirred...." MORE





Learn more about Heather Raffo and Nine Parts of Desire

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