Being Dominican
Preachers Resources
Justice and Peace
Faith and Film
Groups and Organizations
Latin America

Free Update

Can't open PDF format files? Click on the link to download the latest Adobe Reader. It is safe and secure and free. Really.
Dominican Life | USA
| Sisters | Associates| Friars | Laity | Nuns | Link to Groups| DLC
| World OP

free email update
Coming Events

Dominican Volunteer at the UN
What a Difference a Year Makes

Lauren Vater Throughout the application process, I felt a sure calm.  I figured that as long as I let God guide me, I would be fine.  It was hard to tell my family that I would be leaving my comfortable lifestyle in exchange for a lot of “unknowns”, but in the end I believe they understood that this choice to volunteer was part of my life journey.

In my wildest dreams, I had not expected to be where I am today: working at the Dominican Leadership Conference’s NGO office associated with the United Nations, living with two volunteers in the South Bronx, and forming community with the greater Dominican Family, both locally and internationally. 

I am privileged to work with Eileen Gannon, OP, and to have her guide me through the maze that is the United Nations.  Six months into my volunteer year, I feel like I am finally getting to know the ins-and-outs of my job.  I have met Dominicans who come from around the world to New York to share their stories and preach the truth.  It is amazing and inspiring to learn about the work of each of these people!  These stories help put faces on the issues we are advocating to change on the systemic level.

When I return home to the Bronx at night, at times burdened by what I have learned of the world’s unending problems, I walk into a lighthearted and love-filled space where my roommates are quick to ask me about my day, share some stories about each of theirs, and find some reason - no matter how trivial - to dance around the room.  The dancing definitely helps to remind me not to take myself so seriously!  Our home is also a place where we pray together - voicing our concerns, our hopes, and our joys.

I feel blessed to be supported not only by my roommates, but also by the greater Dominican family.  Not a week goes by without some sort of contact from the Sisters.  I had not expected the level of inclusion that has been extended to us.  Our little Bronx household has been invited to dinner, to congregational celebrations – yes – but also to Justice and Peace meetings, to protests, and to Associates meetings.  This helps give me a bigger sense of what the Dominican charism is; not only preaching, but also building relationships and being of service to those who are most in need.

The Dominican Volunteers were treated to a mid-year retreat recently in New Orleans.  This gave all of us an opportunity to catch up on each others’ news, to hear how the last six months has affected each of us, and to recognize our accomplishments while reevaluating our goals for the next months of this year’s journey.  I spent some time marveling at how quickly a day, a week, or a year can pass by.  How one decision really can change your entire life.  I am not sure what lies ahead for me in the future, but it seems wherever I go, I am a part of the Dominican Family.  And that is a difference a year makes.

Lauren Vater, OP
Dominican Volunteer

Related Links

Dominican Volunteers USA

Dominicans at the UN:

Dominicans at the UN:

Meet our United Nations Representatives

" decision really can change your entire life."


subscribe to and receive a free email update every two weeks. unsubscribe