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BRIEFING  - November 21, 2014

To learn more about the Millenium Development Goals, click on the graphic

Past Briefings:

Oct 22, 2014
Empowering women and girls for a sustainable future

Oct 8, 2014
People’s Climate March calls for UN action

Sept 10, 2014
Nuclear arms hindering sustainable development

July 16, 2014
Signs of the Earth’s degradation: Do we care?

July 2, 2014
Access to clean, potable water is a human right

June 18, 2014
Special rapporteur on Right to Food concludes final term

June 4, 2014
A report from the Indigenous Peoples Forum

May 7, 2014
Mentoring and motivating future leaders at the UN

April 9, 2014
Gender equality: He for She Campaign

March 19, 2014
Dominican Sisters International and Yale University at the UN

March 5, 2014
Social protection floors reduce inequality, create security

Feb 19, 2014
‘Humanity divided’: Inequality a barrier to development

Jan 8, 2014
Voices of Femicide

Nov 22, 2013
Superstorm Haiyan: ‘A climate nightmare’ in the Philippines

Oct 23, 2013
From food security to food sovereignty

Oct 9, 2013
Lampedusa shipwreck spotlights perils of migration

Sept 25, 2013
Ban Ki-moon: ‘A life of dignity for all’

Sept 11, 2013
Syria: ‘The only certainty is uncertainty’

July 10, 2013
RIO + 20 one year later… Part II

June 26, 2013
RIO + 20 one year later… Where are we?

June 12, 2013
Saving future generations from the scourge of war

May 8, 2013
Hunger, nutrition, and climate justice: A new dialogue

April 24, 2013
Social Protection Floor: A feasible way to alleviate poverty

Networking within and among the Dominican Family

I recently had the opportunity to meet with our new delegate to the United Nations in Geneva, our brother, Mike Deeb. Mike visited New York in an effort to understand the workings of the UN here, and to explore ways in which we can work together for the Dominican Family. Our conversations were fruitful, and gave each of us a sense of great possibility. What we each realize more fully is that the advocacy work we try to do in this venue requires a greater connection to what is happening “on the ground” in those parts of the world where our Dominican brothers and sisters live and minister. Networking and collaboration need to be a priority.

Iraq Coordinating Committee
A wonderful example of Dominican networking and collaboration in the United States is the work being done by the Iraq Coordinating Committee (ICC), as they seek to explore how best to respond to the plight of Iraqi Christians and other minority groups which are forced to flee the current onslaught of violence. The members of the ICC include Jim Barnett (Central Province), Dusty Farnan (Adrian), Pat Farrell (San Rafael), Arlene Flaherty (Blauvelt), Eileen Gannon (Sparkill), Beth Murphy (Springfield), Roberta Popara (Sinsinawa) Lucianne Siers (Grand Rapids), Richard Woods, (Central Province), Rick McDowell, Mary Trotochaud, and the North American Co-Promoters for Justice, Peace and Care of Creation, Chuck Dahm (Central Province) and Marcelline Koch (Springfield). Their direct contact with our Dominican sisters in Iraq provides them with a clear sense of the needs as well as the direction they feel is appropriate.
As of now, the ICC is considering ways to educate and advocate regarding the crisis in Iraq, the suffering and displacement of the Iraqi people and the ongoing impact of sustained trauma on Iraqi children and youth—the future and the hope of this devastated country. As plans unfold, there will be ways in which each one of us will all be able to express our own unique solidarity with the people caught up in this tragic situation.

International networking
In addition to my visit with Mike, I also had the chance to meet with three sisters from the Roman Congregation: Rosa Maria Barboza (Brazil), Anne Marie Geoffrey (France) and Anne Levesque, who is stationed in Staten Island, and helped with translation. Rosa Maria and Anne Marie shared some of the realities in their countries—that of Brazil being the most poignant. They spoke of the so-called “agrarian reform,” which has left untold numbers of people landless; they addressed the “enslavement” of peoples in Brazil to the coal industry and to massive deforestation for the benefit of industry and profit. And most heartbreaking of all, the sisters spoke about the illegal organ market—body organs taken from people who lack the resources needed for their own medical care. These organs are then sold on the open market. It’s so hard to imagine that something like this actually happens; and that people allow it, because they feel they have no other recourse.

The Roman Congregation, though small, is represented in Japan, where the sisters are engaged in the nuclear issue, especially in the wake of the Fukushima tragedy; and in Africa, where they work with women and girls and the issue of human trafficking. Sisters also work in prisons in Italy and with the issue of migration in Spain, and in Sweden they work with immigrants and also host three Iraqi Dominican sisters from the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena. Right now I am in the process of contacting sisters in these areas, in the hope of establishing a network that will strengthen the connection between our sisters’ lived reality and the work that both Mike and I try to do at the UN.

Our sisters ‘down under
I often feel that I am in a very privileged position, as I have had the opportunity to meet so many inspiring members of the Dominican Family. Not least among these are our Dominican Sisters in New Zealand. They treated Anne Lythgoe and myself as if they had known us all their lives! Being with them during their Chapter days (read more and view photos on the New Zealand Report blog), traveling with them to where they live and minister on both the North and South Island, and speaking with the people whose lives they have touched was an enormously inspiring experience for both of us. Their depth, their simplicity, their realism in the face of diminishment, and their absolute belief that they continue to have something to offer for the sake of the mission filled me with a great sense of hope for our future as a Dominican Family. Their dedication to the charism was palpable, as evidenced in the way in which they have passed on the Dominican spirit to their lay partners. If Dominican life and mission can be so vibrant within a congregation of 47 women, is this not a great sign of hope for us as well?

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul speaks of having learned to be content whatever the circumstances. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to live with abundance… I can do all things through God who gives me strength.” Our New Zealand sisters seemed to embody this for me. Being with them was sheer gift, and I am so very grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with them.

The late poet Jessica Powers said that “To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener. It is to keep the vigil of mystery, earthless and still.” In deep gratitude for one another and the varied ways in which we participate in Dominican life and mission, let’s together keep this vigil of mystery—so that we might be open and ready to respond to the quiet invitations to join our hands and hearts in collaboration, in networking and in encouraging one another in the pursuit of justice and peace, for the good of all of God’s creatures and this one fragile Earth which we all call home. Happy Thanksgiving!

And in the meantime, our brother Mike, in Geneva, and I, here in New York, will commit ourselves to pursuing a deeper level of collaboration, and of fostering greater engagement from our brothers and sisters for the good of God’s people and this one fragile Earth which we all claim as our home.

Margaret Mayce

Margaret Mayce, OP (DLC/Amityville)
NGO in Special Consultative Status at the United Nations
Dominican Leadership Conference
211 East 43 St. Rm 704
New York, NY 10017
email: Margaret Mayce, OP

Dominican Leadership Conference

Building relationships and collaborating in the mission of preaching the Gospel
29000 West Eleven Mile Road
Farmington Hills MI 48336
248-536-3234 Contact: Executive Director