rELATIONSHIPS FOR mISSION
Associate Directors Gather
Leaders Dedicated to Mission
by Mary Ellen O'Grady, OP
I had the opportunity in October to attend the annual National Dominican Associate Directors/Liaisons (NDAD) Gathering at the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, NY. Ten Dominican congregations were represented by their Associate directors and Council liaisons at this gathering: Adrian, Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope, Racine, Sinsinawa, Sparkill, Springfield, and Tacoma. This is the second year we gathered in Sparkill, and the hospitality will rotate to Adrian for the next two years. Some of the directors are volunteer Associates who work as a team, others are employees of the congregations. All are dedicated and committed to the Dominican mission and to the Associate relationship.
Our time together included prayer, input, best practices, questions, discussion of how we might collaborate, and social time. We viewed an excellent presentation by Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids Barbara Reid, OP. This presentation was given to the Dominicans of Sparkill during their summer Assembly Days. It is entitled “Dominican Women and the Preaching Mission.” Barbara highlighted the women in Scripture who preached, sometimes recognized and sometimes not. Some of the highlights that stood out for participants from the presentation were these: Let God work through us; what is Mary saying to us in the Magnificat; claim our voice; recognize the gift in others and proclaim and encourage; and persist in breaking barriers.
NDAD drafted a letter and sent it to the executive committee of the Dominican Sisters Conference (DSC) in relationship to the participation of Associates in the conference. The conference mission statement reads, The Dominican Sisters Conference united the Sisters and Associates of United States Dominican congregations in their mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus, standing as a clear voice for truth, justice, and peace. The letter asked the DSC to consider having Associate representation on the executive committee to help further relationship and collaboration among Sisters and Associates.
In preparation for the NDAD meetings, the host congregation forms the agenda in consultation with the other congregations. The subject was brought up to develop leadership and/or a steering committee to help NDAD move forward on the many items that are discussed.
There was also a proposal to have NDAD meet via Zoom several times during the year. A steering committee was formed which includes Mary Lach (Adrian), Therese Dowd (Tacoma), and Maureen Zeis (Blauvelt) who will keep up our contact list, create agendas for our Zoom gatherings, plan our annual meeting, and provide notes from our meetings. Everyone is very grateful to these women.
Over the past several years, there has been a wondering about the Associates coming together as one group of Dominican Associates. This question has new relevance as the Dominican Sisters of Tacoma are in the process of completion. What will become of the Tacoma Associates? Will they form their own 501(c)(3)? Will they become Associates of the Providence Sisters with whom they have a covenant relationship? What if the Dominican Associates formed something new? The question we ended with is this: Do we work toward being Dominican Associates USA? There are lots of questions as our future unfolds for both Associates and Sisters.