"And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?" - Romans 10:15
Evidence of Associate preaching, witness and "being sent" abounds in Memphis, Tennessee! The Co-Directors of the Office of Associates, Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP, and Associate Conni Dubick,OPA, traveled there to listen, update, and participate in their 2012 commitment ceremony. Our Saturday began with a conversation among five teachers from St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School. They shared their stories, as part of our DVD recording series, about how they discerned to become a Dominican Associate and its impact on their personal and professional lives.
Associate Terry Pyrdom, OPA, who made her initial commitment last year after several years of thinking about it said, "It was a little voice which over time couldn't be ignored." Associate Betty Pate, OPA, with 22 years of experience and leadership claimed that "the sense of Dominican community and a desire to study and keep God in my life" was central to her commitment. Associate Amy Moody, OPA, explained that 24 years as an Associate "was cultivated by the presence of Dominican Sisters as teachers and colleagues and then the realization that with fewer Sisters, the Associates needed to step forth as the Dominican presence." Associate Carolyn Adcock, OPA, offered the insight that although she teaches theology, she made "an intentional commitment to her own faith development and spirituality through being a Dominican Associate." Associate Libba Nance, OPA, concurred with similar reasons and then enthusiastically described numerous ways that she engages her students in projects reflecting her Dominican values. The conversation ended with a unanimous conclusion that being a Dominican Associate required a time commitment in their busy schedules, but they were ready to make the time to hear God's voice in their lives through their Dominican spirituality.
At this point, many of the 41 Memphis Associates gathered for their September meeting. On the agenda was an update from the Associate Co-Directors followed by Sr. Judy Morris, OP, Promoter of Justice, speaking with facts, stories, and specific suggestions for living out the Dominican justice values. Then Sr. Cathy Galaskiewicz, OP, facilitated the planning of the Associates 2012-2013 schedule for prayer, study, and social events. Responsibilities for the programs were assigned to the various Associates groups.
The perfect culmination of this day of listening and sharing with the Memphis Associates was the prayerful Commitment Ceremony for the new candidates and the renewal of commitment for the current Associates. Sr. Amy preached a message based upon Pope Benedict XVI’s call to the laity for "ecclesial and social co-responsibility with the clergy...co-responsible for the being and activities of the Church." Memphis Associates are giving witness that they understand this co-responsibility and that they are "being sent by God" to be the Holy Preaching.