Dominican Sisters of Western Australia
Our Life of Contemplation
'Prayer - personal, liturgical and communal - is at the heart of our life of ministry in community. It sustains our relationship in faith with God and with one another, enlightens our understanding of our mission and strengthens us to meet its daily demands. The more we draw close to God in prayer, the more we are impelled to spend ourselves for the coming of the Kingdom. Our contemplation in prayer leads us to and is enriched by our contemplation in ministry wherein we recognise in all people and events the presence of God in our world. In imitation of Jesus in his life and prayer, our contemplation is for us the meeting point between faith and the world. (Const. 44)
As a group of Dominican women, we acknowledge that as we age in years we are more connected to our contemplative nature. While we are an apostolic community, we are aware of the delicate balance between contemplation and action. We are also aware that our society demands that we fill our interior centrepoint with many things, leaving little space for the Divine Indwelling, and we choose to be a sign of contradiction to that way of being. Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) provided us with the example of the balanced life of the contemplative mystic and the woman active and at the heart of both the religion and politics of her time! She wrote of the Source which strengthened her for the many tasks before her:
Godhead! Eternal Godhead!
I proclaim and do not deny it:
you are a peaceful sea
in which the soul feeds and is nourished
as she rests in you
in love's affection and union
by conforming her will with your high eternal will -
that will which wants nothing other
than that we be made holy.
So the soul who considers this
strips herself of her own will
and clothes herself in yours.*
As we progress through our daily lives, we know that no action of ours would make sense if it were not grounded in and nurtured by God. As Dominican women, we are committed to our time of personal prayer and reflection on the Sacred Scriptures, as well as our commitment to the Sacred Liturgy and our shared community prayer. Being a small Congregation, we are all able to meet regularly throughout the year for Liturgy, Prayer, and Theological reflection.
* O'Driscoll, Mary, OP. Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity, New York: New City Press, 1993, p. 54-55.