To be a Dominican is to be a preacher.  As preachers, we share the Good News that has been entrusted to us.  Every day, we preach the word of God in hundreds of different ways through our work in the communities and with one another.

We also share the Word of God on our website through the Sacred Space. This is a collection of reflections, written by a Dominican Sister.  These works proclaim the Word of God and impart a message of hope and peace to those who need to take out of their busy daily lives to reflect and consider.

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time 27 September 2020

As the whole world continues to be on the watch in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, the prophet Ezekiel sounds a clarion call, ‘Listen, you house of Israel’ (18: 25-28). This timeof pandemic is exactly that, a time to listen. Our Responsorial Psalm refrain to Psalm 24 (25:6) reads as a mantra that comforts, consoles and strengthens: Remember your mercy, Lord. Lord, make me know your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: For you are God my saviour.   Back at the beginning of the pandemic, Pope Francis, on the occasion of the Urbi et Orbi blessing, March 27th 2020, spoke movingly in an empty St. Peter’s Square. “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice people’s gestures, their glances give them away”: Remember your mercy, Lord. The Lord is good and upright. He shows the path to those who stray, He guides the humble in the right path; He teaches his way to the poor. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians calls us ‘to be united in our convictions, and united inour love, with a common purpose and a common mind’. These words, written two thousand years ago, echo what is being said in the media today about the pandemic. Members of the human race are asked to listen one to another, to give way to one another, to keep those peoples and nations who are dragging behind, an opportunity to catch up. We can create together the world we want to live in when we unite in our convictions, and address our common issues, such as; racism, hunger, climate change, trafficking, evil and conflict, pain and suffering, and the coronavirus. As Pope Francis so wisely pointed out and prayed, “This is a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”  Remember your mercy, O Lord.          Sr. Fionnuala Quinn O.P.

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 20th September 2020

 Isaiah 55: 6-9 Seek the Lord, now that you can find Him, call Him as He is close.  Let the evil man leave aside his conduct and the criminal his projects. Return to God who will have mercy, to our God who is always willing to forgive. For your projects are not mine and my ways are not your ways, says the Lord. As far as the heavens are above the earth so are my ways far above your ways and my projects are very superior to your projects. (First Reading: Is. 55) What a message for the times we are living in.  2020 turned all our plans upside down. No general chapters, no flights, no free movement, no fiestas or family gatherings. This last has affected the Argentine psyche the most, I think.  The province of Catamarca had months free from the virus but (according to a news report today) because they could not resist having their asados – barbecues – they now have a lot of people infected. So, our projects have gone to the wall, or have to be pursued online.  But we are given a new opportunity to seek the Lord as Isaiah urges us, and His/Her projects for us and for the world.  At the beginning of the shutdown, I had an idea that I would have lots of time to knit or crochet, one of my favourite pastimes. Alas my fingers would not cooperate.  Instead I have taken up weaving, spiritually rather than materially, inspired by a card sent to me by Sr. Kathleen Egan which has a Celtic blessing on it: I weave into my life this day The presence of God upon my way I weave into the darkest night Strands of God all shining bright. I weave into each deed that’s done Joy and hope of the Risen Son. Call Him as He is close.  I am weaving that so-near-to-us presence into every fibre of my being as I experience the sunlight each morning that makes radiant every single being round me, that suffuses with energy the cycle of life from seed to plant to flower to fruit.  Like Sr Honor McCabe I say, “I am earth’s clay that has come to reflection… through earth’s living things all I’ve come to birth, O Wondrous Mystery!” I weave into the darkest night strands of God all shining bright.  The news bulletins only promise that the pandemic will get worse, not to mention the economic collapse that will follow. Darkest night indeed! How not to get sad and depressed at the inequalities that will be even more marked?  So where do I look for strands all shining bright?  On the feast of St Dominic this year 2020, our Dominican Sisters in Tucuman inaugurated the beatification process of their foundress Elmina Paz de Gallo.  When the cholera epidemic hit the province of Tucuman in the late 1880’s many children were left orphans, and this good widow opened her large home and even larger heart to more than a hundred of them. Her light is still shining in the Sisters of the congregation she founded. Only one of many examples of shining strands.  We here in Victoria community in Argentina, Joan, Matilde and I-are experiencing the constant care of two wonderfully kind women, Mari and Estela, who every day come to ask what we need and are helping Matilde lovingly with her housework and packing in her last month here. I weave into each deed that’s done, Joy and hope of the Risen Son. The lockdown meant I had time to savour Timothy Radcliffe’s book, Alive in God, and just now I have reached the section on the Risen life, “Joy and Hope”.  Even in Christ’s tomb there was hope. And the emptiness of the tomb, our being, is a prerequisite for being filled with God’s presence. Fresh air, breath of the Spirit.  For your projects are not mine and my ways are not your ways. For me the fresh air consists in abandoning my projects, hopes and fears, confidently looking only at the mercy of God who is always willing to forgive. Hoping in His ways. I sit and read, instead of flying here and there, driving up and down highways or attending meetings.  I reflect on the mercy of God. I once read that the origin of the word mercy is linked to having two wombs… doubly maternal, doubly feminine. Can one ever get to touch the depth of that mercy? I feel as secure as I ever did whatever the circumstances, and Christ will show himself even greater through me, whether I live or die (Phil.1:20 -Second Reading). Sr Veronica Rafferty OP  

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 13 September 2020

Forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times `Forgiveness is a gift I give myself .’ Edith Eger, Sirach in today`s first reading exhorts us to `Forgive your neighbour`s injustice`.  I knew a man once, a small farmer, who did just that. Jose had a field and a few cattle.  In spite of protests and petitions the new highway was built right through his land.  No way could he graze the cows on his field which was now on the other side of the motorway.  Jose then built a bridge over a ravine so he could graze them on a stretch of no man’s land.  The neighbouring landowner, began to cause trouble, injuring the cattle and finally breaking down the little bridge. Jose was being persecuted; he spoke to the offender but to no avail.  His livelihood was being threatened.  On Sundays and some nights during the week Jose, along with members of the Basic Christian community, walked on the motorway to get to their chapel.  There José shared the scriptures with the community. At one of the community meetings I asked him how he dealt with the difficulties and the persecution, his answer stays with me: `God sees all and God will do justice.  All will be well`, quoting Exodus 3, 7ff, and he continued, `How can I pray the Our Father if I don`t forgive?’ ` Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. Today’s gospel comes at the end of Matthew chapter 18. This chapter is the 4th discourse which is centered on the life of the community – a community of pardon. Things must have been pretty bad by the time the Gospel of Matthew was written – the divisions between Jew and Gentile in the communities had grown.  How often should we forgive? Luke has 7×7 while Jesus’s answer to Peter in Matthew is 77!!  Jesus never ceases to tell us that forgiveness is essential in our daily lives. The forgiveness of the King in the parable today, the amount that was forgiven, written off, was enormous. Yet the person forgiven goes and uses violence against those who owe him a paltry sum. The father in the story of the prodigal son gives absolute forgiveness which involved seeking out the offender and welcoming him home.  Forgiveness is integral in the life of Jesus – the `no questions asked’ forgiveness.   The disciples who just didn`t get it:  Peter who made so many gaffs, those who crucified Him, all were forgiven without question, without judgment, without recrimination. The Lord is kind and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in mercy.   Sr. Bridget O’Driscoll OP