On Saturday, Feb. 24, sixty-nine Sisters and Associates gathered together to spend the day in prayer, reflection and discussion. Sr. Mary Kay Oosdyke presented on Community at the Core of it All: The New Role of Community in Existence.
The Associates began reflecting on community during Dominican Days 2017 and wanted to continue focusing on community into this year.
Everyone commented that their table conversations were very insightful and enriching. New understandings included: the meaning of community is more multi-faceted than perceived prior to the retreat; community is a calling; a deeper understanding of the meaning of community, the barriers that exist and the characteristics that can overcome these barriers; attitude will change after reflecting on wonder; unique role and responsibility in participating in God’s work; more mindful of the gifts of community; and continuing to deepen the bonds that unite the community of Sisters and Associates.
Following are a few brief reflections on the day from Sisters and Associates
Sister Mary Kay Oosdyke provided a wonderful retreat day on community. It was a perfect mix of lecture, engaging reflection questions, and sharing in small groups. We were reminded that humans are deeply rooted in a web of relationships, but not all relationships form a community. A community is a group of people who come together for a defined purpose. They are accepting of differences, inclusive, creative in conflict management, and promote growth and development of each member. They listen, share, and take time to know each other through working and playing together. It was reassuring to be reminded that the work of creation is God’s work and he can recreate what is. I am blessed to belong to the Dominican community as we do God’s work. — Nancy Koehler, Dominican Associate
The retreat day was very timely both for Sisters and for Associates and Prospective Associates. It was a great opportunity to “see community” in action. Our table settings identified a mixture of participants and gave the Prospective Associates a glimpse of the wider community with the Sisters. The images displayed throughout the presentation by our speaker were very powerful! The sense of creation for community in reference to the Book of Genesis and the practices of Jesus in a sitting position with his disciples on the grass spoke well of his intentional desire for community. Thank you to Sister Mary Kay Oosdyke and the organization committee for the complete day. — Elaine LaBell, OP
For me, the day of reflection was a wonderful opportunity to get to know a little better a few more Associates in an environment of prayer, study, and sharing. I value our time together as Sisters and Associates and look forward to more opportunities to do so. — Mary Catherine Fodrocy, OP
Reflection on the meaning of community gave me pause to see where I was putting my time in my group activities. This, in turn, is causing me to seriously consider what groups offer time together and which offer community. The first is often a chore while the second is usually a labor of love. — Jo Carr, Dominican Associate
What a joyous way to share a day with a community who shares common goals, passions and interdependency. Realizing that self-interests are cast-aside the (our) community lives radical freedom. Sister Mary Kay speaks to my heart. — Dawn Ewald, Dominican Associate