HOLIDAY EVENTS IN POLAND
On July 23-29, a retreat was held in the Polish Province. It was a time of stopping and bending over the Word of God and the Eucharist, as well as deepening one's relationship with the Lord. At that time we received the sad news of the unexpected death of one of our members in Congo, we were very moved by this fact and our entire community prayed for her.
At the end of the retreat, one of the members took her perpetual vows, one started the probation period and one renewed her profession for another year. The ceremony was even more joyful, because it was also attended by two women from the French Province, who came to the meeting of the General Council, which began immediately after the end of the retreat and deliberated for 3 days, addressing the most important and urgent matters related to the functioning of the Institute around the world.
Then the General Moderator, her two Assistants and several members of the Polish Province went to rest together. During these days, we tried to build a community, have fun, develop our interests, and also show our guests from France and Ivory Coast a bit of Polish history (anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, monuments of Warsaw and Cracow) and places of worship that are particularly important for our nation (Łagiewniki, Częstochowa...). We also paid a lot of attention to the person of John Paul II - we visited the museum in Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the Sanctuary of John Paul II the Great in Cracow. As it turned out, one of the Assistants, when she worked as a stewardess, flew with him on a plane during a pilgrimage to African countries, which she told us with great pleasure. We also spent the Feast of St. Father Dominic - we went to the solemn Eucharist in Cracow at the Dominicans and spent time enjoying being in the community.
MEETING OF THE UK BRANCH OF THE DSIO JUNE 22 nd -25 th 2023
This last week six of us from the Dominican Secular Institute met at St Mary’s in Birmingham for some days of study as we do from time to time. St Mary’s convent is run by the Sisters of Mercy who have been able to offer wonderful hospitality including wonderful food, to both day and residential groups in their beautiful Pugin house in Handsworth, built at the same time as he was working on St Chad’s Cathedral mid-nineteenth century.
Our topics for study were St Paul and his letter to the Romans and we were fortunate to have two very rich talks on the first day by Father Richard Ounsworth OP who lectures in Scripture
at Blackfriars, Oxford. On the second day we looked at different aspects of prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church including liturgical prayer, Contemplation, and bringing prayer into our everyday life. We really found helpful and inspiring the method of each person in turn in the group sharing their own experience. In this way we learnt from one another.
It was so good and life-giving to be together in this way if only for a few days. It was particularly enjoyable as we were from two counties, Poland and England, with the Polish members enjoying time in the City Centre and a visit to the shrine of Cardinal St John Henry Newman at the Oratory in Edgbaston on the way to the airport. Our next meeting will be in November for our retreat when one of us will make final vows and we hope very much to have the same people gathering for that week.
THE ELECTIVE AND THE DELIBERATIVE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Elective and Deliberative General Assembly of our Institute was held from 5 to 10 August this year. Delegates from all over the world gathered in Angers to elect the new General Moderator, her Assistants and the General Councillors. Already during the deliberations, all those present shared the climate of love and fraternity experienced there. One could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit both during the election and in the discussions about the most important issues for the Institute at the present time.
A Pole, Agnieszka Kuryś, was elected as the new General Moderator for the first time, and her predecessor, French-born Annick Masson, became her First Assistant. Marie Evelyne Irel from the Ivory Coast was elected as Second Assistant. The General Council was completed by two Polish women, Renata and Dorota. We remember each of them in our prayers and wish them many gifts of the Holy Spirit for the coming six years.
During the following days, we reflected on how to draw on the spiritual wealth that St Dominic left us. We analysed how to speak to God about people and to people about God in today's world and how to witness to God's presence in the world and in the Community, at the common table with St Dominic.
During the conference, given by Fr Philippe Jeannin, who accompanied us and ministered throughout the congregation, we heard, among other things, that to be at table with St Dominic is to be both Martha and Mary. Martha to prepare the table and Mary listening to the other person. And this is what our whole life should be...