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Exploring a Common Future
Hundreds Gather at Northeast Six Meeting

Northeast Six MeetingHICKSVILLE, NY - April 14, 2008— Over 630 Dominican Sisters from six congregations in the North East converged on Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, NY for an inter-congregational meeting continuing the process of discernment around a common future. The meeting was held April 5. 

Besides having an opportunity to greet friends and make connections with one another, the day included a process to consider a number of initiatives that have been proposed that respond to the question: “What might we do better together that we cannot do as well alone?”  More than 20 different ideas had been put forward in earlier small group meetings based on the Northeast Six Vision Statement.  Facilitator Ruby Cribben led the day's agenda.

Ruby Cribben
Ruby Cribben

Some of those initiatives centered on a more integrated and unified way of addressing common concerns for the environment and immigration issues; how the congregations might speak and preach with one voice on justice issues and make their efforts more efficient by sharing resources and purchasing power.  Others expressed interest in how they might promote the preaching charism and keep the group’s focus rooted in mission. Still others believed that the group should look at ways to promote Dominican life to new membership and explore experimental community for the future of religious life. Others sought to develop common policies around making sponsored institutions more “green” and create an integrated communications system for preaching and justice advocacy.

Diane Morgan, OP (Amityville) reflected on the meeting's enegy and said, "I believe the energy in the gathering starts to boil as we engage one another around hopes and plans for mission-driven initiatives. The energy lessens or is mirky in our conversation around structure."

The day also included input from canon lawyer Catherine Darcy, RSM. Her task was to clarify understanding and offered insight into the canonical structures that were possible and the implications of different choices.  Catherine responded to questions related to the process of coming to decide on a canconical structure and other questions were raised about how the six congregations might deepen collaborations that would not imply a canonical reconfiguration.

"The afternoon conversation stretched my thinking to not only consider the three canonical models for reconfiguration structures but also to be open to other models that may evolve as we continue to listen and speak to each other," said Peggy Ryan, OP (Caldwell)

Najla Tabet Shahda

As an added effort to keep the focus on mission and the broad realities of our world, there was a brief presentation by Najla Tabet Shahda, Director of the Caritas Lebanon Migration Center, who described the harrowing experience and imperiled situation of thousands of Iraqi refugees who are stranded in Lebanon, unable to return to their homeland. Dominican Sisters from across the country will be represented in Washington, DC April 15-17 to urgently call on Congress to immediately improve US efforts to resettle Iraqi refugees.  (see related story). Sisters were asked to write postcards urging action and they enthusiastically responded. The group also spontaneously took up a collection for the work of refugee resettlement and a very moved and surprised Najla accepted their offering with gratitude.

“If I were you, this would be the highlight of my day,” said Catherine Darcy as she began her talk, immediately following the presentation of the donation.

The day ended with Eucharist. The process will continue with congregational meetings which will further refine each congreagation's understanding. This will lead to a "leaning" by the end of 2008 toward a preferred future for each congregation.

Source: Anne Lythgoe, OP, (Catherine de' Ricci)


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Northeast Six Dominicans

"...what might we do better together that we cannot do as well alone?"

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