The members of the Dominican family in Aotearoa New Zealand celebrated their 800th jubilee with a national gathering in Auckland on the weekend of November 18-20.

Sr Margaret Butler, OP, in her talk before the group, said “communication and relationship” are the words that summarise the challenges they face in living out their charism.

“Whenever I explain to people that OP stands for Order of Preachers I see their eyes go funny, their skin blanch and withdrawal set in. Many of us hear ‘preacher’ as someone who talks at us from a place of superiority,” she said.

She explained there are so many aspects that needed to be looked at. This includes communicating with tangata whenua, people of other cultures, young people as well as older ones.

“We Dominicans need to keep returning to our roots so that the message being communicated is the Word of God. We can learn from Dominic himself who, on selling his books to care for the poor  kept the Gospel of Matthew and the letters of Paul,” she said.

Sr Margaret reminded the members of their common mission, which is “being sent to preach and re-gathered in unity”.

“We do not have common ministry. Indeed our strength is the variety of ministries that are ways of living the common mission,” she said.

“We need to help one another discern how our various activities and interests are part of the Dominican mission.”

More than 70 people who gathered in November also explored the four pillars of Dominican life: prayer, community, study and mission. They shared how they live these out in today’s world.

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