Click here for article by Dianne Kirby on Women of faith and the Northern Ireland peace process: breaking the silence

Ron Kronish Rabbi Dr Ron Kronish is the Founding Director the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), which he directed for 25 years

Rabbi Kronish, writing in today’s ‘The Times of Israel’ newspaper greets his fellow Jews as Passover approaches, and offers a reconciling, challenging teaching on mutual understanding between Jews and Christians.


On This Passover We Ask: Are We Truly Free?

One of the most famous passages of the Passover seder is called “Ha Lachma Anya — This is the bread of affliction.” It is sometimes referred to as the “invocation.” It is the moment when the leader of the seder welcomes all the guests at the seder, especially those who are in need, and invites them to celebrate Passover with everyone at the table. It is recited and sung in Aramaic, so unless one pays attention to the translation, one can miss the importance of the passage.

The original version in traditional hagaddot is translated as follows:

“This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate Passover. Now we are here. Next year in the land of Israel. Now we are slaves. Next year we will be free.”

Traditional version of Ha Lachma Anya
It was clearly written for Jews who were living in the Diaspora. For them, “here” meant — and means — wherever one lives in the world outside of the land of Israel. In the future, “next year” we are told, the Jewish people will return to live in their own land, the land of Israel. In the meantime, “now”, i.e. in the present, we are still “slaves”, that is, not completely free. Only when we will live as a sovereign people in our own land will be really be free, according to this traditional reading. This passage reveals how much the mindfulness of the journey to the land of Israel, which ought to be a land of freedom, is central to the Exodus narrative and the history of the Jewish people.
But are Jews in the Diaspora really “slaves” anymore? And, are Jews in Israel really as free as we would like to be?

One of my favorite haggadot — the Pesach Hagaddah of the Kibbutz Ha-artzi/Hashomer Hatzair Movement from the early 1970s — offers us a revised and updated version of this traditional text:

This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry—let them come and partake. All who are in need, let them come and celebrate the Passover. This year, only we are the redeemed of Israel. Next year, it shall be all the people of Israel. This year we are slaves, next year, we shall be free men” (Kibbutz version of Ha Lachmah Anya, 1970).

What is the major change suggested by this reading? On the one hand, it suggests that only those who live in Israel now are “redeemed”, which was a reflection of the “negation of the Diaspora” that was inherent in earlier Zionist ideology (which has mostly disappeared over the years). On the other hand, this passage reminds us that even though we are currently (“this year”) living in the land of Israel, we are still slaves this year! Only “next year”—in the future—as we continue the ongoing journey from physical and psychological “slavery”—will we experience the liberation that comes with freedom.

This year, in Israel, we are still enslaved to old conceptions and some very immoral and inexplicable policies. The most blatant recent ant-freedom policy is that recent decision of the government of Israel to deport thousands of refugees from Eritrea and Sudan who are seeking to fulfill their own exodus from slavery to freedom. Fortunately, thousands of Jews in Israel (and abroad) are objecting to this policy on moral and pragmatic grounds. Also, many in Israel are still enslaved to the notion that we can rule over another people—the Palestinian people– forever and deny them their freedom on a permanent basis. This is untenable and cannot be allowed to continue.  As we re-tell the exodus narrative on Passover, we are mindful that “In every generation, we must see ourselves as if we too were part of the Exodus from Egypt.” This is one of the central teachings of the Hagaddah.

Millions of Jews in the contemporary period have left their Egypt’s—countries in which they were denied basic freedoms and the ability to lead free Jewish lives, such as the Arab countries, the Soviet Union and other formerly Communist countries, Ethiopia, and more. But it seems many other Jews—especially many of those who are in power in Israel today, have brought the mentality of “Egypt” with them and have forgotten the message of freedom that is the essence of Passover.

On this Passover, we will remind them that freedom is not just for Jews, but it is a value for all people. As we read in the Ha Lachma Anya: “Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate Passover.” All human beings deserve food security, and all human beings should be able to experience the joys –and responsibilities—of freedom.

Wishing all my Jewish friends a Chag Sameach U’m’shachrer*, a Happy and Liberating Holiday!
And to all my Christian friends and readers, a Happy and Fulfilling Easter holiday!
*I learned this new Passover greeting this year from my friend and colleague, Rabbi Gerald Serotta, of Bethesda, Maryland.”







Congratulations to our Sister Geraldine Marie  Smyth OP, Sr. Liz Smyth OP and all who participated in the BCC World Service The Documentary ‘Sisters of the Troubles‘ first broadcasted on Sunday 25th March 2018.

Click here to listen (programme approx 53 minutes)

The sixth reflection of the of the “Seven Weeks for Water”, of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Prof. Dr Jerónimo Granados, an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Church of Río de La Plata. The following reflection recognises the promise of living water, the water that quenches the thirst of the world for Jesus Christ. However, he underscores the importance of the clean water to run through taps of people of Latin America which is vital for a dignified life. He also draws inspiration from the “Pachamama” of the native people of this region to respect and protect our waters.

Click here for sixth reflection on the “Seven Weeks of Water”.

The fifth reflection of the of the “Seven Weeks for Water”, of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Veronica Flachier, a journalist and theologian from Ecuador. In the following reflection she turns a leaf from the Ecuadorian Constitution and its national plan for gender equality and poverty eradication, which puts drinking water and sanitation at its center. She further adds that Ecuador recognises Good Living or Sumak Kawsay as an alternative to the so-called “development” and promotes living in harmony and in balance with the cycles of Mother Earth and “mother water”.

Click here for fifth reflection on the “Seven Weeks of Water”.




A visit to the renowned shrine of Our Lady of Luján was part of the Golden Jubilee ceremonies for the presence of the Cabra Dominican sisters in Argentina. This Marian shrine is within a very beautiful basilica begun in 1887 and completed in 1935 and situated in a city forty- three miles west of Buenos Aires. Our Lady of Luján is Patroness of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Most of the sisters were staying in San Miguel. Being some distance away from Luján meant that we had to get up early on Monday morning, 26 February, and be ready to leave at 8 o’clock. It was a two hour journey from San Miguel to Luján including time spent in picking up sisters who were staying at various points along the way. It was a delightfully sunny day and everyone was in summer dress. We reached Lujan about 9.35 in grand time to take in the gracious approach of the two long arcades which led the eye effortlessly to the basilica steps. As we moved nearer we could admire the façade and the faultless proportions of this delightful neo-Gothic church.

Most of us wanted to see the Irish altar within as the Irish contributed to the building in the late nineteenth century. We were not too long in discovering it, adorned with statues of Patrick, Brigid and Columcille (mistakenly written Columban) and also Malachy. In front of the altar a large slab indicates the grave of Father Henry Gray CM from Lissadell, Co. Armagh, of interest to us Dominicans as Father Gray was related to Mother Laurentia Corr OP who lived many years in Falls Road. Father Gray who died in 1928 after 60 years in religious life was a Vincentian, the Congregation responsible for the sanctuary of Luján up to some years ago.

The inside of the church is of a pleasing soft pink colour. Since it is in honour of Our Lady, her statue is placed in a prominent position above the altar and it can also be approached from behind through a tiny oratory. The main altar is on an elevation and this is where we were having our Mass celebrated by Father Sergio Gomez Tey. We were lucky to have seating accommodation within the sanctuary rails very near the high altar where Sergio was officiating. Just before the Mass, Sister Veronica Rafferty read a sonnet in Spanish and English written by Sister Matilde Franchino specially for the occasion. Sergio gave an excellent homily on Our Lady, relating the attraction of her person to the magnetism of the Transfiguration of the Lord which was the Gospel for the previous Sunday. He also gave very scriptural interpretations for the dress on the statue, how the sun behind is symbol of her Son who is light, the moon beneath her feet and the stars around her head showing that she is Queen of the Universe.

At the end of the Mass we were sprinkled with Holy Water in honour of Our Baptism after which Sergio then had to hurry away as he had pastoral commitments. This was rather a pity as many of us who knew him had been looking forward to having a longer time to talk to him.
After Mass we met many friends from Cuartel V in Moreno who had travelled to Luján to see us. Some had been unable to be present at the celebrations the previous Saturday and were delighted at the opportunity to meet some of us the following Monday in Luján. Naturally then our feet brought us to enjoy morning coffee and a long chat in a very pleasant restaurant nearby.

Repositories abound in Luján replete with rosaries, medals, statues and booklets. Some of us were very interested to see a book by Father Sergio on el Negrito Manuel, an African slave who cared for the statue of Our Lady many years before the basilica was built.

Very soon it was time for lunch when we were all treated to a lovely meal by the Council General. The restaurant proved equal to the task of satisfying all of us with our favourite dishes. Again time slipped by and by 3 p.m. we were all again dispersing in different directions. The organization which went into bringing us together for a delightful morning and then seeing us all safely to our pre-arranged destinations was a triumph of coordination and planning by the sisters living in Argentina. The celebration in Luján moved very smoothly and we thank the sisters cordially for their efforts.

Sr. Mary O’Byrne OP

Sr. Veronica Rafferty OP reflects on our celebration of 50 years in Argentina 

Sister Matilde Franchino wrote a sonnet for the occasion and it opens with the line: “The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived!”

Sr. Ana Chávez OP Preaching the Spirit of welcome

24 February was set aside for the celebration of our fifty years in Argentina as the first three Galway Dominican sisters arrived in Buenos Aires in February 1968. We gathered in Cuartel Quinto, a barrio in the outer circle of the city of Buenos Aires, renowned in recent times for a high level of violence, but as well for its multiplicity of community organizations.

All the sisters who had served on the mission were remembered in a special way even though they were absent, as a chart with their names was attached to the front of the altar, while those Dominican sisters present led the procession at the opening ceremony.

Youth Choir

Colourful drapes, murals, flags, photos, symbols and lively music greeted us as we entered the large hall that is used for a gym by the local secondary school and for all the community events. The photos will show all of us sixteen sisters wearing a black and white top made specially for the occasion.

Many close friends gathered to be with us for Mass, followed by a fiesta – sandwiches, musical numbers and of course long conversations remembering times past. Fr. Flannan Hynes and Martin Hunter with the Argentina Provincial, Mercy sisters, Dominican sisters as well as the local bishop and clergy, were welcomed by Noemi before Eucharist began.

Sr. Caitriona presenting Soil from Galway

Presenting Soil from different places of Ministry

Soil brought specially from Galway, Victoria, Buenos Aires and Bariloche was placed at the root of the national tree called the Ceibo, as each decade was recalled. St Dominic and Our Lady had a place of honour near the altar and were the focus of gestures typical of the people’s devotion.

Sr. Veronica Rafferty OP




This is a New Day, Sr. Matilde OP, Victoria Community (English Translation, Sr. Veronica Rafferty)

This is the day we’ve been waiting for, the day for remembering
For reliving memories of what happened and is still happening
This is the day to join with friends and companions on the way
With those who once shared our lives in countless encounters.

Loving words are spoken softly
Words that blow away in the wind
To express a life that our alphabet cannot do.
And to say how the soul bows before the great Mystery
We kneel and stammer a simple thank you.
Mute and calm.

With the Spirits breath that increases in silence
We hope that our fervent prayer will rise in vibrant waves
To make the stars in the heavens dance to the rhythm of the history
that was lived in this Argentine land.



“and we still follow your path…”

“Y aún seguimos en tu camino…”

On Saturday 24th February, Alicia, Antonia, Eugenia and myself, Liliana, participated in the thanksgiving celebration for the 50 years of mission in Argentina of our Irish Dominican sisters: women attentive to the Spirit and to the suffering of those around them. It was held in a barrio called “Cuartel V”, Moreno, Buenos Aires, in the Parish “Santa Brígida”. A simple, symbolic meaningful celebration. A lot of participation of people from the barrios where the sisters had served or still live in. Every face, the words and attitudes of the people shone with joy and gratitude. One could perceive the fecundity of the Sisters’ presence and action. The seed had borne fruit.
50 years, a mere slice of time in a history that speaks to us of gospel awareness, and as Mary O Byrne writes in her book, it reveals “the effort of a group of women alert to the suffering of humankind, working to improve the quality of life of the people who live around them”. ”
50 years of a journey; 50 years of preaching in season and out of season; 50 years of presence, mission and dedication. “ journeying together…” “Like strands in a tapestry”

by Hna Liliana Badaloni Hermanas Dominicas de Tucumán.

We were witnesses to the movement of 50 years of an awakening, product of the penetration of the Spirit in history through Vatican 11, translated for Latin America by the documents of Medellín and Puebla. That Spirit that moved hearts in the second half of the twentieth century and opened up new paths for our consecrated life.

It was a day of joy, of sisterly and fraternal meetings, that helped us to revive our memories, look back on the past and thank the Divine Mystery for her presence among us. We also could see very clearly the inexorable traces that time leaves on human beings in its passing.
The Irish Dominicans celebrate 50 years of accepting a challenge “ the preferential option for the poor”, as the Puebla document states, that once assumed and incarnated enriched their lives, transforming their way of praying, making their community life more authentic, concretizing friendship, sincerity, all of these experiences that aid human maturity and therefore evangelical maturity. Their lives today are the result of the impact made on them by living close to “ordinary people”, for they were open to it, for they allowed it.
They have walked for 50 years in Argentina growing in the awareness that option for the poorest and most oppressed in Latin America implied that whatever was happening in the context where the sisters lived would affect their community life and that they would be changed by it. And they were changed and so was their Congregation.

The 50 years of history let them discover what exists beyond the reality that surrounds us and that unveils what others have shaped in the world we live in: the situation manifests that political and economic decisions made by those who hold power, determine in many ways out world, a country, a region…

They are celebrating 50 years of listening and responding; 50 years in which change impacted on their lives and on their congregation. A period in which following on intricate discernment, being open to adaptation in each one of them, and not one was closed to the proposal of doing what was different. Often their journey was marked by uncertainty in their choices in which a lot of insecurity operated; they allowed time to tell how things would work out, allowing the Spirit to work in many circumstances that were without clear ideas, and often a lot of suffering. The history of women who were valiant in their options, in their searching, attempts, not without difficulties and human weaknesses. It is a history of fidelity without losing the first love, in which mysticism and prophecy were united, accompanying our people in their martyrdom and in their joy.”

Thank you, Sisters!

Hna. Liliana Badaloni
Hermanas Dominicas de Tucumán


El sábado 24 de febrero, Alicia, Antonia, Eugenia y la que suscribe: Liliana, participamos en la celebración de acción de gracias por los 50 años de misión en Argentina de nuestras Hermanas Dominicas Irlandesas: mujeres atentas al Espíritu y al sufrimiento de quienes las rodean. Fue en el Barrio llamado “Cuartel V”, Moreno, Buenos Aires, en la Parroquia “Santa Brígida”.
Celebración sencilla, simbólica, significativa. Con mucha participación de la gente de los barrios por donde ellas pasaron y viven actualmente. Se percibía alegría y agradecimiento en los rostros, las palabras y las actitudes de la gente. Se podía palpar la fecundidad del caminar de las Hermanas. La semilla había dado su fruto

50 años, un trozo de tiempo en la historia que nos habla de conciencia evangélica, y como expresa Mery en su libro, dicen “del empeño de un grupo de mujeres alertas ante el sufrimiento de la humanidad, trabajando para mejorar la calidad de vida de la gente que vive a su alrededor”
50 años de camino; 50 años de predicación a tiempo y a destiempo; 50 años de presencia, misión y entregas, “…andando caminos juntas…”, “Como hebras en un Tapíz”.
Vivenciamos el recorrido de 50 años de un despertar, producto de la penetración del Espíritu en la historia por la mediación del Vaticano II, traducido para América latina por los documentos de Medellín y de Puebla. Ese Espíritu que fue moviendo corazones en la segunda mitad del siglo XX y abriendo caminos nuevos para nuestra Vida Consagrada.
Jornada de alegría, de re-encuentros sororiales y fraternales, que nos permitió activar la memoria, mirar el camino recorrido y agradecer al Dios Misterio su presencia entre nosotras, además de percibir, fuertemente, las inexorables marcas que el tiempo en su transcurrir deja en los seres humanos.
Las Dominicas Irlandesas celebran 50 años desde la aceptación de un desafío: “la opción preferencial por los pobres”, como expresa el documento de Puebla, que asumido y encarnado, fue fecundando sus vidas, transformando su modo de orar; haciendo más auténtica su vida en Comunid
ad, concretando la amistad; la sinceridad; vivencias todas que favorecieron la madurez humana y por ende la madurez evangélica. Sus vidas hoy son resultado del impacto que la vivencia de la “gente común” dejó en ellas, porque se dispusieron a ello, porque lo permitieron.
Han caminado 50 años por Argentina creciendo en la conciencia de que la opción de dedicarse a los más pobres y oprimidos de América Latina, contenía la implicancia de que lo que sucede en el contexto en que viven las Hermanas, afectaba también a la vida de Comunidad y de que a partir de ese momento, no serían las mismas.
Y no fueron las mismas, ni ellas ni su Congregación.

Una historia de 50 años que les permitió descubrir lo que existe más allá de la realidad que nos rodea y que devela lo que otros han esculpido en el mundo en que vivimos: la situación manifiesta que las decisiones políticas y económicas de los que detentan el poder modelan de muchas maneras nuestro mundo; un país; una región,…
Celebran 50 años de escucha y respuestas; 50 años en el que el cambio impactó en sus vidas y en la vida de su Congregación. Tiempo en el que, después de intrincados discernimientos, la apertura para la adaptación, en cada una de ellas, no se cerró a las propuestas de lo diferente. Camino en el que muchas veces la incertidumbre acompañaba los pasos; en el que sin mucha seguridad obraban, permitiéndole al tiempo hacer lo suyo, dejando que el Espíritu obre, en muchas circunstancias sin ideas tan claras, y en circunstancias con mucho sufrimiento. Historia de mujeres valientes en sus opciones, historia de búsquedas, de tanteos, de un caminar con muchas dificultades y flaquezas humanas. Una historia de fidelidades, “sin perder el amor primero, en la que unieron mística y profecía, acompañando a nuestro pueblo en su martirio y en su alegría”.
¡Gracias Hermanas!

Hna. Liliana Badaloni

Hermanas Dominicas de Tucumán