DSI 2.0: Connecting Dominican Sisters

Celebrating Social Communications World Day 2012, “Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization.”

Social communications seem to encircle the world somewhat like a current of dehumanizing relationships among persons, peoples, and countries. I sense that in this context, the world of women religious can have a strong role in nourishing and strengthening the relational dimension of life. Bringing the good news of the Gospel can be reduced to a discreet and compassionate contribution to the weaving of a more humane fabric in the private, social, political, or economic sector.

The world of digital communication with its flexible and adaptable instruments can promote the process of diffusion of a compassionate and loving culture. What we call the “Web 2.0” can facilitate this process. But it is necessary to learn digital communication, familiarize ourselves with its language, learn the rudimentary uses it can have, and become aware of the many resources and limits it presents.

What do we mean when we speak of Communication 2.0? We mean all those social spaces which the internet has birthed and has permitted to develop. Therefore, not just web sites on which to make ourselves known but also digital spaces to be used with awareness for meeting friends, exchanging information and news, editing documents in common, participating in the creation of news (formerly a prerogative of traditional journalism), organizing and promoting events, making decisions by consensus. One can synthesize by affirming that world 2.0 is composed today of numerous Social Networks at the disposal of their users. There is a social network for every necessity. We are not speaking only of Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Twitter, Google plus, LinkedIn …. These are only the best known.

At DSI we have begun a reflection on Communication 2.0 because we believe it can nourish and strengthen knowledge and collaboration among the world’s Dominican sisters. We believe it can make them feel more in control of how people speak of Dominican sisters and what is said of them in different places. Making ourselves known is also a vehicle for intercepting the spiritual thirst of so many young women.

“A large part of the dynamic of communication is oriented to questions seeking answers. The motors of research and the social networks are the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, suggestions, information, and answers. Today the network is becoming more and more the place of questions and answers. In fact, often contemporary men and women are bombarded by answers to questions they have never asked and needs they do not feel. Silence is precious for favoring the necessary discernment among so many stimuli and answers we receive; for recognizing and focusing on the truly important questions.” Message for World Day of Social Communications 2012 (www.vatican.va)

We are following with attention the continual invitations of the Pope to religious men and women to be present in the network. The excerpt of the message we have chosen is only one of these examples. It’s necessary to be where the young and older people meet and where they express their personal anguish and their personal values. Social networks can facilitate their sharing because users feel “protected” by a sort of anonymity.

DSI is concretizing this debate on Communication with project “DSI 2.0: Connecting Dominican Sisters.” It’s a project composed of various phases: research, analysis of data, selection and implementation of several results, and formation. Prioresses General have already received a questionnaire to be compiled. That information will be very useful to us in better responding to the objective we have before us: “Facilitate Communication and Networking among Dominican sisters at the national, regional and international level.”