How Pleasant and Good it is when Sisters Gather in Unity!

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Dominican Sisters Europe
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It was a beautiful sight to behold when Dominican sisters from Europe gathered on September 22 -25, 2017 at Katarinahjemmet, Oslo, Norway. Structured through communal prayers, meals, studies and recreation, the week-end gathering was filled with an atmosphere of peace, gladness, openness, respectful listening, and positive warm regard. It was truly a powerful witness to the joy of being Dominicans!

Spearheaded and organized by Sr. Else-Britt Nilsen OP, coordinator for Dominican Sisters Europe (DSE) and in collaboration with the Dominican Sisters International (DSI), the meeting was intended to explore possible ways of future collaboration among small congregations in Europe for the continuation of Dominican Life and Mission.

The group was comprised of the general prioresses and younger sisters of participating congregations from Austria, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Slovakia and Sweden.

The meeting started with Vespers followed by the keynote speech of Sr. Hedvig Deák OP. Through her talk on “Dominican Religious Life in Europe and the Anthropological Challenge”, Sr. Hedvig guided the sisters to reflect deeply on the beauty and meaning of Religious vocation amidst the many challenges besetting contemporary Europe especially that of secularization and the crises of organized religion and of religious life.

Invited in the gathering were three sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Peace, United States of America. Sr. Patricia Twohill OP, the general prioress, together with Sr. Anna and Bea told their congregation’s story: “Becoming Peace!” They narrated the experience of the coming together of eight congregations and shared some of the fruits of this union. Sr. Janine Bernard OP from Gramont, France also gave a testimony on how her congregation went through the process of fusion with the Roman Congregation of St. Dominic (CRSD). Sr. Marie Therese Clement OP, coordinator for Dominican Sisters International presented collaboration from a global perspective.

Small group discussions ensued after the presentations. Fr. Jean-Claude Lavigne, the moderator of the group, gave inputs and questions for reflection and sharing. The fruits of the sharing were then shared in the plenum. Establishing deeper ties by visiting and getting to know one another, networking, common study weeks with focus on liturgy and our common heritage, pilgrimages, leadership meetings were some forms of collaboration which the group hopes to engage in the future.

The first necessary step towards fostering future collaboration for the continuation of Dominican Life and Mission in Europe has been taken! Everyone went home with a renewed hope for the future!

Special thanks to the Dominican Sisters Notre Dame de Grace for hosting the meeting, to the brothers of St. Dominic in Oslo for the use of their conference hall and to Sr. Marie Laetitia OP for her gift of language.

 

(02 October 2017)