Dominican Sisters of Western Australia
WA Dominican Family
Throughout our 100+ years in Western Australia, the Dominican Sisters have made lasting connections and friendships with many people who continue to enjoy a connection to us. These wonderful women and men are former students or former members of staff of our Dominican Schools, parents and friends of the Sisters who continue to visit us, and enjoy the shared joy and excitement of Ex-Student Reunions.
Another more recent development in the WA Dominican Family is the establishment of the Dominican Associates group, comprising women and men who are keen to continue in their own ways to keep the flame of the Dominican charism alive in WA.
Both our Ex-Students and Associates share a wonderful relationship in which has a dual purpose: These women and men receive from the Sisters a spiritual and faith connection through their friendship, and the promise of the daily support of prayer.
The Sisters also benefit greatly from the connections in the form of hope - that the Dominican spirit is alive and well in WA, and joy - which comes from delighting in the stories of lives shared, families that have grown and memories of the past.
You are invited to read further about these two very important groups in the lives of the Sisters!
Dominican Associates of Western Australia
Dominican Associates are Christian women and men; married, single divorced, and widowed; clergy members and lay persons who were first drawn to and then called to live out the charism and continue the mission of the Dominican Order – to praise, to bless, to preach. In many cases, Associates share a history with the Dominican Sisters of Western Australia, as students, teachers and employees of Dominican Schools, and as friends who have supported the Sisters.
The first group of Associates began in southern California in 2009, when two women made their commitment to the Association on the Feast of Saint Dominic, August 8. Faith Manners and Janet Parsons were later joined by Julie Mussche in 2010. Faith, Janet and Julie continue to follow the charism of the Order through their various professions. When possible, they connect with each other to offer support and prayer.
Associates do not take vows, but rather make a commitment to be partners with the Sisters, and to share the mission and charism of the Dominican Family in their own lives, families, churches, neighbourhoods, workplaces, and cities.
Associates participate in the life of the Congregation through their involvement in prayer, study and ministry. They strive to extend the Dominican presence into the many worlds in which they live. They are engaged in all walks of life and whether they are attorneys, homemakers, teachers, business-owners or factory workers, they try to live their daily lives intentionally as Dominicans.
They preach the Good News through the voices of
and their lives,
following the example of Catherine of Siena, who reminds them;
“Preach the Truth as if you had a million voices.
It is silence that kills the world.”
There are no "rules" or "standards" common to all Dominican congregations regarding how one becomes an Associate. What all congregations do have in common is that there is form of formation process and a commitment or covenant ceremony which makes official the Associate's connection with the congregation. The Associates of some congregations make permanent commitments from the very beginning while others make temporary commitments which may eventually lead to a lifetime commitment.
Associates may participate in whatever activities and groups with which the congregation is involved. Associates meet usually on a monthly basis for shared prayer, study, support in living the Dominican charism and mission, and social activities.
The level of participation of Associates in the life and activities of a congregation vary widely between congregations. Some are limited to sharing in common prayer, study days and volunteer activities within a congregation while others are fully incorporated into the life of the community, even to planning and attending all sessions of the congregation's General Chapter. Associates do NOT have voting privileges, of course, as that is a canonical responsibility. Associates do not make promises, as do the Dominican Laity, to do any particular things, like pray the Divine Office, for instance. Commitment is to the Dominican mission and charism, and for each of us living as Dominicans looks very different according to our own gifts, talents and passions.(Source: Anita Davidson, Akron, Ohio)
Persons who feel drawn to the Dominican way of life enter into a discernment process. Through prayer, study and group discussion, in companionship with vowed members and experienced Associates, candidates come to understand more fully what it means to be Dominican in their way of life and profession. Associates witness to the spirit of Saint Dominic in ordinary and everyday lives.
Those called to the vocation of a Dominican Associate undertake a period of initial formation in the Life of Saint Dominic, the Dominican Charism, and what it means to preach the Good News in the world in which we live.
On one of the Feast Days of the Order, the candidates will declare their commitment to the association with the Sisters and will be presented with a Dominican Pin.
For information about Associates of the Dominican
Sisters of Western Australia, contact:
Sr Margaret Scharf OP
Co-Ordinator of Associates
De Guzman House
48a Chichester Way
Nollamara, WA 6061
0407. 512. 607 [email protected]
Gathering regularly to pray together, study and discuss such writings as
Saint Dominic: The Grace of the Word, by Guy Bedouelle, OP,
The Dominican Tradition: Spirituality in History by Thomas McGonigle OP and Phyllis Zagano, Ph D.
Mysticism and Prophecy: The Dominican Tradition by Richard Woods, OP
Saint Catherine of Siena, by Mary O’Driscoll OP
Fields of Gold: A History of the Dominican Sisters of Western Australia, by Ruth Marchant James
The Parable: Dominican Theological Reflections for the 21st Century,
Spring and Fall, 2006 and 2007
Updates from the Dominican Family websites
Dominican Life USA : www.domlife.org/
Woe to us if we do not preach the Gospel!
This is the theme for the years leading up to the 800th celebration of the Order in 2016.
The question for daily reflection is: How am I to enflesh the Word today?
Spend some time in prayer and reflection at the beginning of your day.
Ask God for awareness, to know the word that you need to pay attention to, today, and which someone else will hear through you. As it is written:
My Loving God has given me a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
the Most High opens my ear that I may hear,
and I have not rebelled or turned back.
You know me through and through,
and Your love for me is abundant.
In this world,
which offers so many daily challenges
to my faith,
hope and love,
fill me with the burning desire
to be fully Your image and likeness.
Give me the wisdom, courage and strength
of Your Holy Spirit
to be a “light to the nations”
in the footsteps of your holy preachers,
Dominic and Catherine,
in the tradition of my Dominican Family.
I pray this in the name of Jesus,
Your Word and Wisdom.
Questions for reflection at the end of the day:
- What was God’s word which I reflected today?
- What did that word mean to me, personally?
- What was the most difficult part about carrying that word throughout my day?
- What do I know to be true about myself?
Through Christ you believe in God,
who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory;
therefore your faith and hope are centered on God.
Since you have dedicated yourselves
by obedience to the truth
so that you have genuine mutual love,
love one another all the more intently from your heart.
You have been born anew
not through what is perishable,
but imperishable –
the living and enduring word of God.
(1 Peter 1:21-23)
Make your own prayer of Thanksgiving at the end of the day.
Grant me, O Lord my God,
A mind to know you,
A heart to seek you,
Wisdom to find you,
Conduct pleasing to you,
Faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
And a hope of finally embracing you. Amen
(St Thomas Aquinas)
Prayer to Begin Discernment
Loving and Merciful God,
It is Your deepest desire that
we come to the fullness of who we are meant to be:
Your image in this world.
During this time of discernment,
inspire us by Your Holy Spirit,
and help us to understand that
“the truth will set us free,”
as we grasp the knowledge of Your presence
in our lives.
This we ask through Jesus Christ,
Your Beloved One.
(in the presence of the Prioress or her representative)
Prayer of Commitment
In the presence of Mary,
all the Dominican saints,
and this community,
I wish to make known my desire
to journey in association with
the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of Western Australia
- to follow the way of the preacher through my daily commitment to Truth
- to contemplate, celebrate, study and preach the Word with all my being
- and to companion my sisters in mission and community.
“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me,”
who lives in union with the Creator God,
and Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
(in the presence of the Prioress or her representative)
Margaret Scharf OP