Greetings to everyone,
We have just come from spending several days at a meeting of the DLIPC (Dominican Laity International Provincial Council). This meeting takes place every eighteen months, bringing together the presidents and delegates of the 5 North American provinces; 4 provinces are in the United States, and 1 province, our own, is from Canada. This year Konrad Hanz, from the Luce Veritas chapter in Mississauga, and myself were there to participate on behalf of our province. Fr. Rui, the Promoter General for the Dominican Laity, was also there.
What can I tell you about this meeting? It is not a gathering for decision-making purposes, neither is it a Dominican retreat, nor is it about touring at the expense of the province. Rather, it provides a space for exchanges and meetings, allowing us to share our mutual expereinces, our difficulties, and our successes in an easier manner. It is an opportunity for mutual enrichment, to view our challenges with new perspectives and to be able to encounter other realities, and to be inspired by these encounters. Each North American province takes a turn in assuming the coordination of the DPLIC meeting, and this time it was hosted by the Eastern Province of the United States.
This year, the main issues that arose were: how to develop stronger connections between the different branches of the Dominican Family, and what to do with those engaged who no longer take an active part in the life of their fraternity? How to offer an initial formation that is both adapted to individual realities while also meeting the needs of a common response of the Order to the needs of our time? We also spoke about the next International Congress of Dominican Laity that is taking place in Fatima, Portugal in October 2018.
These reflections enabled me to know that the reality in Canada is very different from that in the United States. Our province, although smaller in terms of numbers, is nevertheless a place where the ties between the different branches of the Dominican family are much stronger. The need to unite to work together is already a concrete reality for us, notably in our project to create a house for newly arrived refugees, Foyer du Monde, in Montreal.
Our formation does not follow a single model. For example, our Latinate side, especially in Québec, follows a formation that is outside of the norm and probably seems completely anarchic in the eyes of some, but it responds to the needs of a specific cultural reality. Should we create a formation guide that is more standardized? Probably, but we also want to leave space for life, for creativity, for the Holy Spirit…
I must also say that what struck me in this time of contact with another Dominican cultural reality was the place of popular religion in some of the groups. By this I refer to the praying of the rosary, the place of some rituals, the manner of praying the office and celebrating the eucharist. As a result of living in a secular society that is viscerally allergic to Christianity, we have developed a different relationship with God. It’s neither better nor worse, but there it allowed me to better understand the reality of our neighbours to the South.
To conclude, I must say that I believe that the Canadian presence in an interprovincial gathering in North America is important, for if not what would be the international dimension of this continental gathering? I would be very much in favour of the integration of a Mexican participation in these meetings, in order to add yet another perspective to this time of mutual teaching.
Next year it will be the turn of the Canadian Province to assume, for two years, the responsibility of the DPLIC. This will be a challenge for our province, but also an occasion to discover many riches and what is specific to our own culture.
Christine Husson o.p.
President of the Laity
Province of St Dominic of Canada