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Northeast Dominicans Take Next Steps in Collaboration

NED 6 closing
Prioress Arlene Antczak, OP (Caldwell) during a blessing ritual that closed the NED6 process

FOREST PARK, IL – March 6, 2009 – Six Dominican congregations, commonly named the Northeast Six (NED6) have completed a lengthy process of dis-cernment and exploration that has led them to take the next steps in collaboration. 

The Dominican Sisters of Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Catherine de’ Ricci, Hope and Sparkill have been engaged in collaborative events and conversations as far back as 2001. Leadership has been meeting since the mid 1990s.

In a series of meetings last fall, each congregation completed a “leaning” in which members expressed their desires around whether to form a new canonical entity, create a merger, form a structured collaboration or a canonical federation.

The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci affirmed their belief that their mission would be best served by seeking out a merger with another Dominican congregation. The five other congregations affirmed their desire for a committed collaboration with one another.

Since that time, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci have begun to put into place a process that will identify possible receiving congregations and will move in the direction of conversations with Dominican congregations who may share compatibility with their mission.  The five remaining members of the Northeast Dominicans have begun to create a new structure that will facilitate the collaboration they desire.

Mary Hughes, OP, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, said, “The strong leaning for committed collaboration signals a new moment in the life of all of our congregations.  Members are clearly articulating their desire for greater linkages with the Dominican Family.  We look forward to the energy that will come from our common efforts to live Dominican life and mission.”

NED6 Closing
CENTER: Carolyn Krebs, OP, president, Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de' Ricci, during the NED 6 ritual.

Alice Uhl, OP, Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, said, “At our January Northeast Dominican Leadership meeting we ritualized the beginning of the five congregations taking the next step together with the model of committed collaboration.  Recently, I visited our mission in the Dominican Republic and it allows me to experience first hand what can be possible for God’s people through collaboration.  I have been filled with much hope.  Let’s get started!”

Carolyn Krebs, OP, President of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de' Ricci, said, "We have learned how much we hold in common among the Northeast Dominicans and treasure the relationships we have established among them. Although the results of NED6 were not what we originally expected, the process itself brought our congregation to greater clarity and unity and for that we are very pleased."

NED6 Closing
LEFT: Ceal Warner, OP (Catherine de'Ricci) blesses the water at the closing ritual.

The congregation recently completed the sale of their motherhouse property in Elkins Park, PA. In 2007, the 42 acre complex, including two retreat houses, administrative offices and retirement center was closed. The retired sisters relocated to Danville, PA and the administrative offices relocated to a local convent in suburban Philadelphia.

The congregation presently operates two other retreats houses, in New York and Virgina, and serves in 13 states. There are 70 members with 54 associates.

The most recent history of collaboration in the Northeast dates back to the early 1990s when the six congregations’ leadership teams met to explore possibilities, following a DLC Annual Meeting. Study days, collaborative projects and conversation have been going on ever since.  The Dominican Leadership Council of the Northeast, comprised of the six leadership teams, along with other Dominicans with members in the geographic region remains active.

Collaborations have taken place among associates, preaching promoters, justice promoters, vocations, ecology, and communications.  Retirement concerns and other areas of interest have been explored from time to time.  It is unclear at the present moment what areas of collaboration will emerge from among the five congregations who will move forward together.  The organizational structures are now being put into place.

Anne Lythgoe, OP (Catherine de' Ricci)
Domlife.org editor