Younger Sisters Gathering
The theme for the gathering was taken from the documents of the Congregational Chapter in 2016 –
“to strengthen relationships and carry forward the Oakford Dominican charism and mission"
The “younger” Sisters of each Area (South Africa, Germany, England and the USA) of the Congregation (South Africa, Germany, England and the USA) had prepared displays and offered presentations describing the composition and location of the communities and ministries. They also heard about the cultural diversity, and the historical and socio-political conditions that impact life in mission.
The topics addressed were:
- The Circle of Elders (four elderly Sisters) shared their life’s journeys and wisdom with the participants. Aspects of the Oakford charism and mission came alive in a whole new way.
- Dr. Nontando Hadebe, a lay woman theologian, challenged the Sisters to broaden and Deepen their Understanding of the Theology of Call as given to the patriarchs, the prophets, Jesus, and people today.
- Sr. Dr. Judy Coyle IHM helped to Deepen the Understanding of Religious Life in the 21st Century, by tracing the history of various forms of religious life from the time of the Desert Fathers and Mothers to our present times. Sr. Judy pointed out that in the course of centuries, some earlier forms of religious life have come to completion, and newer forms were evolving.
- The presentation made by the Leadership of the Oakford Congregation of “the Current Reality of the Congregation” included statistics related to ages of Sisters, ministries, properties and institutions, health issues and need of care . The call was to continue assessing the sustainability of ministries, properties and institutions, and the need to let go of those that can no longer be sustained.
- Sr Linda Orrick SNJM reminded the Sisters of the importance of the “Stewardship of Resources” as service of God and others for the common good.
- Sr Lynn Jarrell, OSU, MA, JCD, Canon Lawyer, helped the Sisters to understand more deeply what the Church Law sees as the responsibility of a Congregation or Order to plan and choose options for its future.
- Martin van Nierop used a PowerPoint presentation to help the Sisters take an in-depth view of the care of “our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us” (St Francis of Assisi, The Canticle of the Creatures) as promoted in the letter “Laudato Sί” by Pope Francis.
These were full and busy days for the “Younger Sisters”, but all returned to their respective countries and communities renewed and committed to their common charisma.