200 Dominican friars, sisters, laity, nuns, priest associates and youth, ministering in 50 countries in all corners of the world, gathered in Salamanca, Spain, September 1-5, 2016, to reflect on how our Dominican Family can renew its mission through the promotion and defense of human rights.
The Congress was held in the historic Convent of San Esteban Protomártir in Salamanca. It was there that the Salamanca School was born from which several of our brothers such as Francisco de Vitoria, Antonio de Montesinos with their community and Bartolome de las Casas engaged with the key issue of the human rights of the indigenous people of Latin America in the 16th century. The Salamanca School shows how the intellectual pursuits of Dominicans were determined by the apostolic preaching needs of the time.
This integral link between studies and mission, while frequently having been lost, is at the heart of the Dominican charism. This is why recent General Chapters of the Order have called for a renewed synergy between Dominican intellectual life and apostolic life. In recognition of the example that the brothers of Salamanca and America have offered the Order in the 16th century, the Chapters gave the name, the “Salamanca Process”, to this intention of renewal of our preaching that links intellectual life and mission.
This congress is an integral part of this “Salamanca Process” in bringing leaders of Dominican intellectual institutions together with brothers, sisters and lay Dominicans who are in the forefront of the promotion and defence of human rights. Hopefully it will result in a deeper integration of the intellectual and apostolic life of the Dominican Family through concrete projects of collaboration.
1. Recover the history of the involvement of Dominicans in the promotion and defence of human rights.
2. Identify and evaluate the current engagement of Dominicans in the promotion and defence of human rights
a. At the academic level
b. At a practical level on the ground
3. Develop networks and policies that will enable the promotion and defence of human rights to be integral to Dominican preaching (intellectual and apostolic life)
4. Promote networks of collaboration at the zonal, regional and international levels through concrete projects in defence of groups whose rights are violated.
Sr. Bridget O’Driscoll OP writes on her experience of attending the Congress
My first participation in an OP Congress was a wonderful experience. We were some 200 Dominicans from 50 countries, lay, religious sisters and nuns, and friars. The Congress was organised by Mike Deeb, General Promoter for Justice and Peace and Celestina Freitas JPIC – DSI. All the talks are available at http://bit.ly/2bmv5cO.
Philippe Denis OP. In his talk on the ´History and Current Reality of the involvement of Dominicans in the promotion and defence of human rights´ cited our sisters in Springfield South Africa – their courage in opening up the school to negro girls during the Apartheid Regime. I really liked the approach of looking back to see all that has been done, being done on the ground, mostly by sisters in that whole field of the promotion and defense of human rights. Several times we heard that for many ´Justice and Peace´ smacks of the 60s, puts people off! In the discussion groups, both language and region, we had occasion to hear what is happening. We were constantly reminded that we have to listen to the victims of injustice. Each of us need a good dose of humility, to be open to difference and to dialogue.
Sr. Bridget O’Driscoll OP
Also see article below from Order of Preachers website: