Janice Mc Garry shares her experience of being a Dominican Associate
The Ballyfermot Dominican Associate Group was established in January 2014. The group currently consists of 10 members who are all connected with St. Dominic’s Secondary School Ballyfermot, the majority of the group are past pupils and at least half of the group are involved in youth and community development work, others are former students and now staff members at St. Dominic’s.
In our first meeting we explored what it means to each of us to be a Dominican Associate. The answers were inspiring and motivating. There was a mutual agreement among the group that we feel connected to St. Dominic and his work because of the work that we do, the way we live our lives day to day and the way in which we want to contribute in a positive way to the world in which we live especially for those who are less fortunate than us.
We meet once a month although I think the group would like to meet once a week if we could. To date we have studied St. Dominic, St. Catherine and St. Thomas of Aquinas. Sr. Liz also gave a very inspiring speech to a group of youth workers on the Dominican ethos which blew the group away.
One person commented that every person wanting to become involved in youth work should spend a day in St. Dominic’s with Sr. Liz and Mary Daly. Some even wanted to join our group especially Mark Taylor who is a very well-known European trainer.
Each member takes on responsibility to prepare and lead the meeting, which includes study and prayer. We each take on to study an article or them which will be discussed in our following group meeting. In our last meeting Tara our youngest member supported us to remember Niamh Smith’s dad through a beautiful reflection and reminded us how important it is to do kind things which in turn remind others to do the same. Niamh’s dad died unexpectedly recently.
Last Year Niamh and Tara attended the Dominican Family Day in Newbridge, and were delighted to link with other members of the Dominican Family; we also joined the Navan Road associates for a barbecue, which was great to meet with others. This might sound odd to some people but this group is very special to us. It consists of people who have helped to shape our identity and help us become who we are today, our teachers, our friends and our mentors. We celebrate birthday’s together, family occasions and other social events. It is important for us to do these things together to keep us connected.
Janice Mc Garry