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Tuesday, 07 March 2023 07:19

Meeting of young dominican sisters

From 24 to 26 February 2023, an annual European meeting of young Dominican Sisters of Apostolic Life was held in Rome: YSOP2023 ("Young Sisters OP, edition 2023") on the theme "Community, the search for truth and freedom". The conference, organised by the DSE i.e. the European section of the Dominican Sisters International Confederation - DSIC, was attended by more than forty sisters from various parts of Europe. Here is the testimony of a participant from the Union:

I went there with the desire to meet new people and to experience something that would help me improve my being a Dominican religious. All I knew was that there were 43 people from 13 countries, and simultaneous translation of the lectures and work in the groups according to the declared languages. Everything else was to be discovered.

My first impression was the discovery of the spiritual radiance of so many women religious present, filled with the beauty that peace and joy of spirit add to youth, followed by the wonder of multiculturalism combined with unity in Christ and St Dominic. The height of diversity and unity was perhaps reached during Vespers, recited and sung in seven (yes, 7!) languages, one after the other. But the unity was manifested especially with the singing in Latin of the typically Dominican antiphons: the Salve Regina and O lumen Ecclesiae to St Dominic.

In short, during these two days we explored various topics related to community life, in particular the beauty of being together and of forming a community that lives the same charism (which is something different from simply living together); but we also spoke of the riches and difficulties inherent in community relationships, and of ways of living interpersonal conflicts, those that are useful in resolving problems and those that are dysfunctional; important was the discussion on the challenges of preaching in today's world. The second topic, very much felt, concerned collaboration between the various Dominican women's congregations, the collaboration that already exists and that which we dream of. We tried to make concrete proposals based on the needs we discover and the resources we have to walk together, that is, what can be done and who could do it.

Finally, on Sunday 26 February, after participating in Holy Mass and a guided tour of the Basilica of St. Sabina and the cell of St. Dominic, we had the joy of meeting Brother Gerard Francisco Timoner, Master General of the Order, who confirmed us even more, if we needed it, in the joy of the Dominican vocation.

My experience at YSOP2023 could be summarised in three points:
1. What wonderful people I met, what intense but beautiful days I experienced! It is not that I understood everything that was said, especially in the small groups. But the most important thing is that together we tried to listen to each other and understand each other, that despite so many differences we discovered we were close: sisters whom God has called to follow Christ and St Dominic, sisters who can get to know each other, appreciate each other and work together for God and His Church.
2. Of the things that were said, first of all what was said by the Master General in the cell of St Dominic remained in my mind: "In the morning I heard an elderly provincial speak and he said: How sad, we are few, we have to close this one and that one, etc... Instead in the afternoon two young provincials spoke and said: Let's do that, let's do this. It doesn't matter if we are few, it's the quality that counts". In conclusion, we must be what we are and try to do - whether we are few or many – what we can.
3. I think meetings like this are really important, at least once in a lifetime. I would especially propose them to those who have lived only in their home country. Why? Because I think they can give a deeper breath to religious life: we - my congregation, the Church in my country - are not the whole Church! Of course, to experience an international conference fruitfully, one needs to be somewhat prepared, but not much is needed: knowledge of one of the foreign languages (English is best), and first of all the good will to meet the OTHER and learn something.

A big thank you to those who worked on the preparation of the conference, in particular to Sister Pilar del Barrio ("the person in charge"), Sister Teresa Hieslmayer from Austria (the first speaker) and Sister Ino Rincón from Spain (the second speaker), but also to all those who worked behind the scenes and to the Superior General who gave me the opportunity to participate.
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About Us

Union “St. Catherine of Siena” of School Missionaries is a Dominican Religious Congregation.
We are called to accompany our contemporaries along their path with study and prayer and to seek along with them Gospel’s answers to the questions of our complex, multicultural society.
We want to live therefore coherently a Christianity of frontiers and be yeast and salt of the least visibility yet cause to leaven and give flavor.