June 28, 2018 Reflection by S. Mary Soher, OP
Welcome to our celebration of the 20th Annual Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference.
Dominican theologian Edward Schillebex tells us that the story of Dominicans is kept alive by live Dominicans. Indeed, as we have learned, we listen to God’s voice in our hearts, study the world around us and with our companions find ways to continue to build the kingdom of God.
It was more than 20 years ago when Sr. Pat Brady went to a gathering of young adults in Barcelona, Spain where she discovered the International Dominican Youth Movement. This was a new phenomenon taking place among young adults who had encountered the Dominican charism, had caught the fire. These young adults gathered regularly to deepen their love for God and neighbor in prayer groups, social settings, service opportunities and ongoing study. They did this with the help of a vowed member of the Order.
Sr. Pat caught the fire of the IDYM and prayed for guidance of how to share it with young adults in the US. Since her background was in high school education, the high schools were the place to start. Hence the creation of the conference.
Sr. Gina Fleming from Amityville saw other possibilities for the format and in 2002 created Youth Preaching workshops that took place over a weekend. A year later she established the National College Preaching In Action conference which celebrated its 16th year this past May at Caldwell University, in Caldwell, New Jersey.
The Holy Spirit was not yet done with the efforts to engage young adults in the U.S. In 2005, Sr. Gina called a gathering of those who had attended either the high school or the college conference to discuss the possibility of creating a US version of the IDYM. Then she sent two representatives to the IDYM gathering in the Dominican Republic in 2006 to request membership in the movement.
The rest, as they say is history. Local Dominican Young Adult USA groups have been established at Dominican Universities and colleges. Delegations from DYAUSA have attended international gatherings; members of DYAUSA have been elected to the international committee of the IDYM to help promote the mission of the Order among young adults.
As the fire of the Dominican charism continues to grow both here in the US and abroad, Sr. Gina realized the need to create something that would help deepen the existing programs, help develop new opportunities but most importantly provide a structure for sustainability. What we see today is DYMUSA.
Both Sr. Pat and Sr. Gina will tell you that nothing in the Order happens because of a single person, but the Order in constantly being blessed by God to have individuals who truly listen deeply to God who speaks not only to them in their hearts but through the signs of the times.
In 2008, the conference created the Sr. Pat Brady Award for extraordinary service and contribution in furthering the traditions and charism of the Dominican Order. It was awarded to Sr. Pat Brady for the creation of the HS conference. Ten years later, we gather to thank Sr. Gina.
But before I invite Sr. Gina up, there are several people who wanted to say a few words to Gina through the magic of technology.
Click here to view the video.
As I said at the start of this presentation, the Dominican story is kept alive by live Dominicans. The creation of DYMUSA is the start, but you and me, we are all the story-tellers that our world needs. You are part of DYMUSA – tell others. Check out the website, preach the good news and let us know how you do this! Dream big with others who have caught the fire!
Sr. Gina please come forward. And I invite Sr. Pat Brady to give Sr. Gina the award on behalf of all the participants of this year’s conference.”