The chapel at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, WI, was filled almost to capacity with over 250 participants, Sisters and Associates, joined in a reflective workshop entitled “Called to Carry the Charism-Developing Associate Leadership.” It was a program designed by Marci Madary and Jeanne Connolly of the Midwest Kindred Spirits Associates regional group. In attendance were the Racine Dominican Sisters and Associates gathered for a fall meeting as well as participants in the annual meeting of national Associate Directors of Dominican congregations. Enthusiasm, energy and thoughtful pondering were hallmarks of the day.
"I experience prayer in silence, in births, deaths, sickness, health, family, friends, nature, poetry, music, books, art, children, strangers, Taize, church, stars, mornings, sunsets, the moon, orchids." Associate Karen Raccuia – August 2011 Personal Commitment Form Statement
The Northeast Ohio Associates and Sisters gathered yesterday for the Second Annual Fall Festival luncheon. Initially the mood became somber as the word spread throughout the room that Associate Karen Raccuia had died the night before under hospice care. It was difficult to believe that Karen just one year ago had designed and implemented this successful social and fundraising event.
Scripture, Vatican II and Bruno Cadore, OP issued the call and challenge.
"I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." - Joel 3:1
"The laity live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life. They are there called by God, that by exercising their proper functions and led by the spirit of the Gospel, they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven." - Lumen Gentium, 31
"I was once approached by a man and asked if I would take his picture, so that someone would have proof that he had lived." "A Record of My Being – Images and Imaginings" by Dave Ruddock (2014 MyPublisher)
Recently I was given a book entitled "A Record of My Being-Images and Imaginings" by Dave Ruddock. This book was a gift in several ways. Now, the Oxford definition of "gift" gives several meanings: 1)an act of giving someone a present; 2)a natural ability or talent; and 3) an 'unmissable' opportunity. With Dave’s book, I was gifted with a collection of photographs with reflections; the opportunity to view his photographic talent and imaginings; and inherent in this gift, I received an 'unmissable' opportunity to accept a challenge.
"Each day I take time to sit in the silence of the present moment in the presence of God. I breathe in the spirit of peace. I imagine sitting beside God and I listen for God’s word of peace." - LIVING PEACE, John Dear
The Connecticut Dominican Associates of Peace gathered at the Caritas Center in Hamden, CT, to take time 'to sit in the silence of the present moment' for their annual day of reflection. The theme of the day was "Becoming Peace/Continuing to Become Peace" and the group of 14 Associates with the Associates Co-Directors joined in prayer, reflection, song and sharing throughout the day.
I just spent the weekend immersed in Dominican life in Memphis Tennessee. My first activity was to meet several current Memphis Associates – Lynn Lofton, Nancy Ganz, JoAnn Lynn, Amy Moody, Julia Schuster, Gretchen Kirk, Tine Williams, Libba Nance and JoAnne O'Brien-Scott. We gathered in small groups for informal conversations on why they initially committed, have remained Dominican Associates of Peace and what being an Associate means to them.
This past weekend I attended the fourth annual Associates Retreat, "Peace-full: A Journey in Prayer," held at the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna, NY. I didn't have to go far to get there because the retreat house is a five-minute drive from my home. It was an intense weekend filled with other Associate's personal experiences using different prayer styles. It wasn't a typical retreat with presentations, group discussions, and large gaps of time for individual prayer and reflection. But I was afforded the opportunity to experience some new options for personal prayer or enhance some I already use. I listened with no particular expectations from anyone. I was also able to meet or get reacquainted with Sisters and Associates of Peace from other areas; enjoy some delicious food; and participate in Liturgy.
This theme was quite evident as Dominican Associates and Sisters gathered at Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend, KS, August 8-10, for their Commitment Retreat. Marcia Berchek, Tammy Jones, Joan Dreher, Verlene Wilson and Ann Axman were received as new Associates. Sr. Jolene Geier opened our time together reflecting on Luke 10:38-42. Associates Russ and Connie Ginest shared how their hearts were changed working with Sr. Rita Schwarzenberger in Africa. Sr. Teresita Huse's enthusiasm and love for the Nigerian missions was highlighted in her comments.