The witness of evangelical fraternity (…) remains a fundamental element of the Dominican charism. “This is what we can read in Pope Francis’ beautiful letter to the Order!

As Dominican nuns, we live, like all the other branches of the Order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine: “The first thing for which you are gathered together is to dwell in unity in your dwelling place and to be one soul and one heart in God”.

Fraternity is at the heart of our life’s purpose. This is also what the theme of this Jubilee Year, “To be at table with St. Dominic“, reminds us of: there is no better icon of Dominican fraternity. In a fragmented world where so many men and women suffer from loneliness or the failure of relationships, this demand for fraternity that is lived in the smallest things on a daily basis can be a strong message. It is also our first form of preaching, a witness to God’s merciful love.

“The great call Dominic received was to preach the Gospel of God’s merciful love,” writes Francis. This love of mercy which makes us live together, we beg for it for all humanity, begging the Lord in the footsteps of Dominic and Catherine of Siena; to live mercy where we are, firmly believing that invisibly it spreads and bears fruits of life, beyond our communities.

In today’s society, with all its upheavals and rapid changes, our communities can be places where it is good to be welcomed to reflect, to step back, to find peace of heart.

To welcome into one’s heart and into one’s home, is this not our way of concretely living mercy that is asked for and received at every stage of our life in the Order?

And as Pope Francis reminds us, this path is the path of holiness: “Dominic responded to the urgent need of his time not only by means of a renewed and lively preaching of the Gospel, but, just as importantly, by giving convincing witness to his call to holiness in the living communion of the Church.

As nuns of the Order of Preachers, we are committed to this path of holiness through prayer and fraternity. Even if at times the path is hard, we can rely on the promise of St. Dominic’s prayer, which he left to his brothers at the time of his death: “Do not weep, I will be more useful to you where I am going”.

In this confidence we can go forward in joy, like Blessed Reginald who confided: “I have no merit in living in this Order because I have found too much joy in it!”

Sr. Lioba Hill, O.P.
Monastery of Saint Mary of Prouilhe, France

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