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Catching the Fire of Dominican Life

Recently, I attended the week-long National College “Preaching in Action” Conference at Molloy University, Rockville Centre, NY, sponsored by the Dominican Youth Movement USA.  What an uplifting conference this was!

From the beginning, I was intrigued by the theme, “Preach your Way,” and I wondered how the whole week would unfold.  Well, I was in for an inspirational experience and caught the fire of this movement that has fanned into flame a renewed vision of confidence and faith in the future of Dominican Life.  Together with 35 students from Dominican colleges and universities, their mentors, Dominican Sisters, and Laity, we spent the week exploring the Dominican Charism of Preaching.

I served as one of the liturgists for the week, along with Jamie Caporizo, a candidate “sister-in-training” with the Adrian Dominicans. Together, we worked with the students to plan and lead the prayer services and Mass during the week.  Many of the students had never planned a prayer service or even considered themselves capable of preaching to their peers.  Yet, as the week unfolded, the students freely shared their gifts and encouraged each other to do the same.  We discovered leaders of prayer, vocalists, flutists, piano players, rappers, dancers, liturgical artists, and preachers.  They inspired each other by their courage in sharing these gifts and witnessing to their faith. 

Two other Dominican Sisters of Peace attended as mentors:  Sr. Cathy Buchanan from Albertus Magnus College and Sr. Annie Killian from Ohio Dominican University.  About this week, Sr. Cathy commented, "I'm in awe of how my students were so engaged in every experience and activity at the preaching conference. They were on fire 🔥 for the Dominican Charism once they understood that they are part of a worldwide Dominican family. They got to witness other college students alive in their Dominican heritage, and they wanted to be part of that!"

Sr. Annie Killian, accompanied the cohort from Ohio Dominican University, and had this to say about the conference, “It warmed my heart to see these gifted young people embrace what it means to be Dominican: to seek truth by listening to each other and sharing from their experience, to become aware of the world’s needs, and to bring the Good News of God’s love to all they meet.”

In addition to prayer, students reflected on how they live the Four Pillars of the Dominican tradition—spirituality, study, community, and service—as college students. They learned about Dominicans, who, in their ministries, tend to the needs of Earth, accompany migrants, and work for social justice. During a day of service, small groups traveled to different sites to help clear land for a garden, re-stock a food pantry, serve guests at a soup kitchen, and visit elderly sisters at the Amityville Dominicans’ motherhouse. That night, some students even ventured into Manhattan to deliver a hot meal and clothing to people without housing as part of a city-wide initiative called “Midnight Run”!

Following this day of service, the students engaged in making art. They experienced God’s creative movement within them as they painted, drew mandalas, and practiced calligraphy. Students were invited to connect the week’s many activities to the Dominican charism. By creating beauty, helping neighbors, and caring for one another, they learned how we live the Dominican charism of preaching the Gospel through our actions.

As the week came to a close, we gathered around the Eucharistic table to give thanks, receive mission crosses, and be commissioned to bring the Word of God out to the world.  As each school cohort came forward, they shared how they plan to pass on what they learned and experienced this week.  Some will begin weekly prayer groups to encourage open faith sharing; others plan to create ways to serve with Dominican Sisters in their area, while others hope to learn how to preach peer-to-peer on retreats and during community prayer.  Others plan to share their experience of the week to encourage greater participation in prayer and service on their campuses.  Ultimately, they all plan to continue to fan into flame the gifts they have received for the good of the world and to invite others to become Dominicans.

We know that Saint Dominic encouraged his followers to evangelize in universities and places of higher education.  Today, I believe he would be pleased to see how the torch of our Dominican Charism is being passed on to the next generation and is alive and well among young scholars. 

Are you ready to catch the fire of the Dominican Charism?  Do you hear God calling you to consider a life of service in community with other Sisters?  We invite you to contact us if you want to explore how to use your gifts and learn more about Dominican life.  You can also attend our free Come and See Discernment retreat, September 13-15, 2024 at our Motherhouse in St. Catharine, Kentucky. 

6 thoughts on “Catching the Fire of Dominican Life

  1. June,
    Thank you for sharing your experience of this preaching event. So good to see how the preaching fire still consumes those who are listening!
    Connie Schoen, OP

  2. June,
    Thank you for sharing your experience of this preaching event. So good to see how the preaching fire still consumes those who are listening! The world is in dire need of preachers who understand the pursuit of truth.
    Connie Schoen, OP

  3. Thank you June, Cathy and Annie for keeping alive, and passing on, the torch of Dominic and preaching Truth to the world.
    The flame burns higher because of you !
    Gracias amigas, Kay

  4. The Dominican Youth Movement USA is a powerful way to connect with our wonderful YOUTH and the Preaching Conference sounded life giving. Thank you so much June, Cathy, and Annie all your effort and fire you each shared. You are all Divine Sparks.

  5. Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing the gift you bring in our name and passing it on to others to do the same.
    Keep the fire burning!

  6. A very powerful testimony to a spirit-filled experience. Dominic is in action and what a blessing to the world these young people are!

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