Dominicans Make New Connections
Between North and South America
SALVADOR [12/08/05] -- An extraordinary meeting was held
in San Salvador, El Salvador December 1-5, 2005. Thirty
Dominicans from Latin America, the Caribbean and North America
came together to create stronger ties with one another;
to share our present and future justice collaboration and
remember the martyrs in El Salvador.
“Our time here with our brothers and sisters from
Canada and Latin America has been enriching and full of
learnings,” said Mary Ellen O’Grady, OP, DLC
Executive Director. Miguel Concha, OP, Justice and Peace
Promoter for Latin America said, “We embraced the
four women martyrs as the living dialogue between South
and North/North and South.”
OP (St. Martin), Gemma Doll, OP (Great Bend) and Mary
Ellen O'Grady (DLC/Sinsinawa) listen to a group report.
Mary Ellen was part of the DLC delegation to the meeting
whose purposes were 1) to make stronger connections among
Dominicans in the North and the South; 2) to share experiences
of justice and peace as sisters and brothers from South
to North and North to South; 3) to celebrate our collaboration
past and present, and to dream about our future together
and 4) to remember the martyrs and invite them to give us
A more detailed public statement about the meeting and
its outcomes is here. The meeting was conducted simultaneously
in Spanish, English and French.
Some of the highlights of the gathering included a visit
to the gravesite of the four women martyrs: Maryknoll Sr.
Ita Ford, Sr. Maura Clark, Sr. Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan.
As well as remembering the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar
Romero and the Jesuits of the University of Central America
Jon Sobino, SJ, Central American theologian helped the
group reflect on the meaning of martyrdom, both in the people
known to us, like the four women and Oscar Romero, and in
the thousands of unknown people who died in civil war, violence,
hunger, poverty and disease.
The group recognized that North America can no longer pursue
justice and peace without active collaboration with Latin
America. Work for justice and peace is ineffective without
the voice of the poor and the insight of Dominicans in Latin
America. At the same time, Latin American can no longer
pursue justice and peace without North America. Immigration,
work and free trade agreements emerged as central concerns.
The meeting was initiated at the 2004 DLC Annual Meeting
by Yvon Pomerleau, OP (St. Dominic) provincial of the Canadian
province, who called for a greater collaboration between
North and South. The meeting was planned for El Salvador
to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the deaths of the
four church women.
A special moment of the meeting occurred at the Cathedral
in San Salvador as the group joined hundreds of North American
religious, including Maryknoll Sisters, Dominicans from
Racine, Houston, Grand Rapids, San Rafael and Adrian, joined
the people of San Salvador in a festive and hopeful celebration
of Eucharist. There was also a large delegation of member
of SHARE and LCWR present at the celebration.
Participants includes delegates from CODALC, the Confederation
of Dominicans in Latin America and the Caribbean, CIDALC,
the Inter-Provincial Conference of Dominicans in Latin America
and the Caribbean, the Dominican Leadership Conference (USA)
the Dominicans of Canada, DSI, Dominican Sisters International
and participants from Santa Sabina. Margaret Ormond, OP
and Chrys McVey, OP were among the delegates. Roseann Schlitt,
OP (Adrian) and Marcio Couto, OP (Brazil) served as facilitators.
Brian Pearce, OP (St. Martin) and Michel Cote, OP (Canada)
DLC participants included: Mary Ellen O´Grady, OP
(DLC/Sinsinawa), Anne Lythgoe, OP, (DLC/Elkins Park) Eileen
Gannon, OP, DLC/Sparkill) Roberto Corral, OP, (Holy Name)
Emiliano Zapata, OP (St. Martin) Alicia Alvarado, OP, (Columbus)
Cecilia Canales,OP, (Mission San Jose) Rosa Monique Pena,
OP (Adrian) and Gemma Doll, OP (Great Bend).
Anne Lythgoe, OP
DLC Action Steps
Text of Jon Sobrino statement on four church women
| voices of the participants
Zoila Flores, OP, Mexico:
I lived a profound experience
of brotherhood and sisterhood, which helped me appreciate
the fact that, in spite of all the horrendous things that
happen, God gives us the strength and invitation to share
the same cause with deep respect and love for one another
and with those who have given their lives for the sake of
Henri DeLongchamp, OP, Canada:
We cannot be indifferent,
we are choosing the perferential option for the poor. We
are eager to be connected with and collaborate with the
Dominican Family in all of the Americas.
Gemma Doll, OP (Great Bend) USA
It was a deep experience
of Dominican community speiced with laughter adn stoires
that cannot fail to bear fruit in dialogue between South