One of the responsibilities of the Associates Council and Co-Directors is to stay in touch with the various geographic groups of Associates throughout the country and beyond through phone calls, e-mails and personal visits. I must say I personally look forward to both travelling and visiting with our Dominican Associates. Each time I come away grateful to be a witness to the Holy Spirit’s work among us in what I like to call the Associates Movement.
This past week I visited two groups – 1) the Sisters and Associates gathered in Great Bend for their Discernment Retreat – designed especially for Candidates (persons studying and discerning a call to make a two year commitment as an Associate with the Dominican Sisters of Peace) and 2) the Sisters and Associates gathered in Denver to reflect together on St. Dominic’s nine ways of praying – a part of their ongoing study together with two Candidates discerning their call to Associates Life.
For me, meeting and listening to the reflections shared in each group of Associates and Sisters is an exciting and enriching experience. As each shared their name, where they live, and a little about themselves, I rejoiced to see the variety of people drawn into the Dominican Mission and Charism through their association with Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates.
About the Great Bend gathering, Associate Lucy Strohl writes: “In Dominic we claim to be through all the world one family.” With song and psalms Associate Co-director, Sister Amy McFrederick of Akron, Ohio shared some thoughts on the Dominican motto, To Praise, To Bless, To Preach and invited the nine Candidates, 17 other Associates and three prospective future candidates to reflect on what becoming part of the Dominican Family means to them.
Sr. Jolene Geier facilitated the Discernment Day Retreat May 14, 2016 at Heartland Center in Great Bend, Kansas. Associate Ann Axman provided a thought-provoking presentation on Discernment. Kansas Associates make a concerted effort to meet and get to know one another whenever they can. With this gathering of 30, fourteen home towns in Kansas were represented. The whole day was definitely a time of Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare!
Associate Dale Coski, from her wheelchair, led the Denver group in their reflections on the nine ways St. Dominic prayed. Looking at each posture Dominic used in prayer, she reflected on what attitude/virtue each might express, and what type of prayer each evokes. As others shared their reflections on each posture, the faith sharing was rich and deep. I came away inspired and rejoicing to witness the creative Spirit so alive among our Sisters and Associates.