Yesterday, sisters, associates, and friends from around the world gathered at Mariandale to reflect on the theme of Women Working Toward Justice.
Yesterday, sisters, associates, and friends from around the world gathered at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center for an afternoon of prayer and reflection on the theme of Women Working Toward Justice. Members from Dominican Sisters International were present, representing countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia.
After a reading and a homily by Dominican Sister of Hope Pat Jelly, the group opened a discussion on what it means to be a woman working toward justice today.
“Dialogue usually requires a recognition of conflict or disagreement,” one participant shared.
Conflict and disagreement aren’t the most comfortable foundation for an open, honest discussion. But, maybe admitting our own uneasiness is the first step to creating real change.
While the afternoon included a lot of talking about talking, it was impressive that the women present couple their beliefs with on-the-ground action.
Dominican Sister of Hope Catherine Walsh, for instance, shared her experience of teaching communications at Mount Saint Mary College. She admitted that she sometimes questioned her contributions to justice, until she came to an important realization:
“My students are the ones who are going to be running the media,” Sister Catherine shared. “They need to value justice, they need to be responsible. That was my work.”
Other women present reflected on their ministries, too.
After spending years working to achieve racial justice, one Dominican Sister from Springfield, IL admitted how important it was for her to realize her own privilege.
“My biggest privilege is I never have to think about being white,” she shared. “With that in mind, how do we work to bring about justice?”
The task is enormous and daunting. Yet, there was hope present in the conversation, too.
Beverly Lyons of Asbury Park, NJ said that her work with the Statewide Education Organizing Committee makes her hopeful for the future.
“We are moving together, that’s what my heart is so excited about,” Ms. Lyons said. “We are moving together so that all can experience justice.”
Shamain McAllister, a sophomore at Albertus Magnus College in CT, shared that same hope.
“There’s no room to be stopped,” Ms. McAllister said. “That’s what makes us women stronger. We are doing the work of social justice.”
Over the course of the next two weeks, these Dominican Sisters from around the globe will participate in the 60th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women as delegates from the Dominican Leadership Conference, a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations. Together with international leaders, they will focus on gender equality and women’s rights internationally.
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