For generations, Dominicans have paused at periodic crossroads to convene Chapter: a time for reconnecting with our charism, re-examining our mission, setting direction, and electing new Leadership. Sister Barbara Hansen was prioress of our Congregation when she opened Chapter 1999-2000 with these words: Sisters dear, we are responsible for the torch’s flame on this watch. What will we do with it?
The torch, of course, was lit in the time of Dominic with the formation of the Order of Preachers and continues today as a visual image of the “spark” that Dominican life provides to our call to preach God’s word. The question, What will we do with it? is ever present. In the 800 years since the creation of the Order, we have celebrated and deepened our charism while also embracing the understanding that the flame is carried by each person on Earth, not only vowed Dominican religious.
And so, another question that we Dominican Sisters ask ourselves is: What is the experience of God that people will find within our doors on the Marywood campus? We ask not only: Where will our mission lead us? But also, Where will our mission lead others and where will others lead us?
In the Dominican tradition, so much of who we are and what we do is based in community. In initial formation, we learn how to be individuals within a community. As a congregation, we learn how to be in community with others around us. In 1985, this reality was illustrated graphically when we renovated Dominican Chapel, turning it from a place of mostly private communal prayer to an open, hospitable, welcoming space of community prayer. This opening flourished further in the creation of Dominican Center, 25 years ago, as a place of transformation and inclusion. By laying the foundation for a spirituality center 25 years ago, the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids opened doors to encourage and inspire others to break down walls.
During this 25 Year Anniversary, we celebrate all of the people who have contributed to opening doors at Dominican Center.