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Approves Corporate Stance on Nuclear Disarmament
Dominican Sisters USA Holds Representatives Meeting

ADRIAN, MI – April 3, 2009 -- The Federation of Dominican Sisters USA held its Annual Federation Representatives Meeting the weekend of March 20th. About 35 members attended.

The meeting includes representatives of both leadership and membership of Federation congregations. Thirty out of the 48 representatives attended representing 19 of the 24 Federaton congregations.

At the Friday night opening session Michaela Connolly, OP (Blauvelt) offered an historical perspective on the Federation from May 1999 to the present.  The first representative meeting was held in April 2002 where a corporate stance against the death penalty was proclaimed and the website initiated.  Over the years corporate stances were initiated, goals and objectives were formulated, and meetings with other Dominican groups were held.  She called us to look to the future and where the spirit might be leading us. 

Carol Mays , (Houston) Honora Werner, OP (Caldwell) and Mary Ellen O'Dea, OP (Sinsinawa)

Judy Golden, OP (Amityville) and Barbara Schwarz, OP (Amitytville) mug for the camera

At present there are 24 member congregations with 8,000 members. When the Dominican Sisters of Peace are founded April 13, 2009, there will be 17 congregations with about 5,000 members.

Keynote speaker Donna Markham, OP, prioress of the Adrian Dominicans, challenged participants to live out their religious profession, and move toward collaborative, national and international engagement with one another. In her address Donna asked: “What does Dominican Life call us to?  What impact do we make in the world? What gets in the way of taking radical steps?” 

Using the post-resurrection scriptures where the disciples are locked in fear and closed in with safe company, Sr. Donna brought that scene to us and asked: Are we locked in? And if we are, what hold us there?  How can we move beyond the pull of comfort and security?  We are squandering a great possibility.  Let go and be called into something new.  We have very little to lose on a journey of faith-driven risks.  We’re on a journey to move out of what has been secure and successful, and place everything in the hands of Christ.

The Federation website has been updated by Scott Steinkerchner, OP (St. Albert) Promoter of the Internet for the Order. He is working with us to upgrade our connectivity.  The site offers an upgraded directory of members.

Mary Ellen O’Grady, OP, (Sinsinawa) Executive Director of the DLC gave an update on the work of the Vision 20/20 Task Force. At present congregations are participating in a process that explors structuring new ways of being together for Dominican life and mission.  This process will be completed by June 1, 2009.

Mary Soher, OP (Adrian) represented Kaleidoscope, a networking organization of  newer sisters whose goals are to develop relationships and foster leadership for the future. Participants are 55 years of age or finally professed less than ten years. 

The representatives agreed that holding Convocation 2011 is an important way to connect our members; however, there was much discussion as to how the convocation can be organized so that more Dominican groups can be present.  The Coordinating and Planning Committees along with some members of the DLC Executive Committee will meet in August to assess the feasibility of such an undertaking. 

Corporate Stance on Nuclear Disarmament

Representatives were very happy to announce a corporate stance on nuclear disarmament. For several years Dominican congregations have been researching, studying and advocating actions on behalf of this issue.
        The corporate stance reads as follows:

  • The Federation of Dominican Sisters USA calls upon the United States government to lead the way for the global abolition of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction by adopting a plan to lock down, dismantle, reduce and eliminate nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction.
  • We call for immediate development, adoption and implementation of a plan that will ensure that there will be no new nuclear weapons, no new materials for nuclear weapons, and no testing of nuclear weapons.
  • We will work with all people of goodwill until there is no chance that a nuclear weapon or other weapon of mass destruction can come into the hands of anyone wishing to do harm.

Newly elected members to the Coordinating Committee include Jo Ann Timmerman OP (Sinsinawa) and Marie Michelle Hackett OP (Springfield). The other three members of the Coordinating Team are Rose Celeste O'Connell, OP (Adrian) Margaret Mary Kennedy OP (Columbus) and Francine Schwarzenberger OP (Great Bend). The Federation is grateful to Michaela Connolly OP (Blauvelt) and Carolyn Wolfbauer OP (Sparkill) who completed their terms.

Federation Coordinating Committee LEFT: Marie Michelle Hackett OP (Springfield), Margaret Mary Kennedy OP (Columbus), Rose Celeste O'Connell, OP (Adrian), Jo Ann Timmerman OP (Sinsinawa) and Francine Schwarzenberger OP (Great Bend)