The 2022 seminar took place from 20 – 22 March, at Hinsley Hall in Leeds. After the cancellation of the 2021 seminar it was wonderful for all the different branches of the family to be together again, and to spend time in prayer and socialising, and hearing updates about the challenges of the last few years.
The theme of the seminar was Preaching the Word: present challenges and future possibilities.
Fr. Martin Ganeri OP, the provincial, gave an overview of the last 60 years of the life of the province. During the period from 1965-95, there was an emphasis on upheaval and new ways of engaging. Since 1995, there has been more stability, a renewed emphasis on formation and a flexible approach to developing a relationship with the contemporary world.
Dr. Fernando Cervantes, from the Bristol Lay Fraternity, spoke about Making Sense of Lay Preaching which prompted an interesting discussion on lack of understanding of the vocation of the laity, and Brothers John Church OP, Bede Mullens OP and Thomas Mannion OP were joined by Margaret Doyle, a Lay Dominican from the North East, to talk about Preaching through New Technologies, from the success of the Godzdogz blog, the website and videos to promote the Jubilee 800 activities and the Light from Light podcasts, the risks and issues in using social media such as TikTok, and the development of the Lay Dominican website.
In her session ‘Courage, Forward, Sr. Karen D’Artois OP from the Newcastle Congregation spoke about the challenges the congregation has faced over the years, the strong leadership of their founder Mother Rose, the struggles she faced and the congregation’s work to explore the history and current challenges of diversity, including the black sisters who have been part of the congregation since 1934 and the current numbers of women approaching the congregation from Vietnam.
Sr. Mary Teresa Billington OP, from the English Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena, talked about how preaching has changed in the 50 years since her profession, from an emphasis on the sisters working in institutions such as schools and care homes owned by the congregation, to the challenges of individual assignments which can take sisters further away from the community. She explained how they have maintained community life and how there is an increased emphasis on formation and study, with a clear understanding that Dominican life is ever vital and ever necessary, as they continue to discern the future.
The next Dominican Family Seminar is planned for March 2023.