Prayer is a meeting with God, an experience of God. Prayer begins with a person’s loving conscious response to God’s presence, whether he reveals Himself to the eyes of faith in the transparency of an event or person, or in a solitary reflection. – Norbert (Marjorie) Vangsness, OP
Opening Doors to Formation and Transformation
In the Dominican tradition, so much of who Sisters are and what we do is based in community. In initial formation, we learn how to be individuals within a community. As a congregation, we learn how to be in community with others around us.
In 1985, this reality was illustrated graphically when we renovated Dominican Chapel, turning it from a place of mostly private communal prayer to an open, hospitable, welcoming space of community prayer. This opening flourished further in the creation of Dominican Center, 25 years ago, as a place of transformation and inclusion. By laying the foundation for a spirituality center, the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids opened doors to encourage and inspire others to break down walls.
Recall the story of the clay and the potter in Jeremiah. In the potter’s hands the clay is reused—reshaped—never thrown away. So too God has reshaped us again and again (individually and communally) making of us another preacher of whatever sort God has pleased. We, and our future, are in the hands of our potter God. And when we, the clay, help bring about our own growth-ful change through prayer, dialogue and collaboration, our God prompts us to further transform the shape of our future by the choices we make in the present.
When Joshua led the people through the desert to the Promised Land he instructed them to “follow the ark of the covenant that you may know the way to take, for you have not gone over this road before.” If that doesn’t sound familiar! For we, too, have never gone this way before – not exactly. We, too, are invited to follow the plans of our faithful God. We are blessed with familiar guideposts on our path: the presence of God, deep prayer, the companionship of each other, the gifts of faith, hope and community. At each of the new moments in our history, we have been given what we need, and mission has flourished.
In the words of the Marty Haugen hymn: “All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”
The Path to Here and Now
Hearing the preached words, We are one in Christ, we respond to the call to quest for relationship.
The Dominican Order of Preachers preaches and teaches our Trinitarian God, whose very being-in relationship leads us to welcome others and experience the largesse of the love that God promises. Dominic de Guzman believed in following the energy of love, felt deeply inside of himself; a love so large as to encompass all the world’s people.
The vision for Dominican Center evolved out of the Sisters’ own contemplative quest for growth-ful communion with others. Dominican Center at Marywood is a special place where, with Dominican hospitality, we invite people of all faiths to gather and live into Dominican Spirituality. The pillars of our charism: prayer, common life, study, and service informed and continue to inform the Sister’s vision of a spirituality and conference center that welcomes others.
“The ideal we express through Dominican Center is a belief that in every person is a vessel for all that is good and holy in this world. That is the essence of what formation and transformation at Dominican Center is all about,” says Margarita Solis-Deal, director of Dominican Center.
“By laying the foundation for a spirituality center 25 years ago, the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids opened doors to encourage and inspire others to break down walls in order to open us to the Other (our living God) and the other (our neighbor),” says Maureen Geary, OP.
“This ministry of the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids continues its quest to companion with others on their search for sacred quiet and connection with the deep Holiness who created us and bonds us to one another and the world,” says Margarita Solis-Deal, director of Dominican Center. “Our programs are intentional, reflective approaches to help people find their path to God’s love and grace.”
The invitation to be in union with God is always open. We are pleased to welcome all to attend programs where reflective listening, study and dialogue are gifts to be shared. - Margarita Solis-Deal