DSC Executive Committee sets plans in motion for October Leaders Meeting and Larger Gathering in 2025

The Dominican Sisters Conference (DSC) Executive Committee met in-person in Miami, FL recently. Sr. Xiomara Méndez Hernández, OP (Adrian) the Executive Director welcomed the committee to the DSC offices on the campus of Barry University.  They also enjoyed the generous hospitality and delicious dinners of her Adrian community. Here are some important highlights of the 3-day meeting,

It’s all about future vitality 

In addition to receiving regular reports and some communal study, the committee gave a great deal of focus to how DSC congregations are addressing their present realities and asking very significant questions about their future as congregations. Like most communities of women religious in the United States, Dominicans are facing the same challenges of diminished capacity, older and fewer members, the prospect of not having enough capable and available leadership for the future, or an adequate number of sisters to hold a General Chapter. Most importantly, the Executive Committee is committed to putting the vitality of Dominican life and mission at the center of their attention.

Almost all DSC congregations are already involved in some form of movement toward new governance structures. Two groups make up 74% of the DSC:  in the East, the Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration (OPSCC), and the Dominican Governance Collaborative (DGC) encompassing congregations in the Midwest and West.

“I came away from our committee meeting, excited about the possibilities we have now to move in the direction of a new common purpose”, said DSC President, Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP (Peace). “We all agreed this is the moment to capture our energies and pool them into some new convergence, some new way in which the DSC congregations can be something new together.  Our hope for October is that it be a stepping stone towards a larger gathering in 2025 where sisters across the US can encounter one another and contribute their fire to the future and move in a new way together.”

The committee discussed some recent work by the Future Leadership Team (FLT) Future Pathways working group, who is developing possible future models for governance structures. Those models were shared with the Future Cohort and the DSC leaders in April and May.

Launching a plan for 2025

To actualize the Executive Committee’s goals for new vitality and new ways of being together, they met with a newly named Visioning/Planning Committee (VPC). This committee will take the lead on how the DSC leaders meeting in October and how the 2025 gathering will be a transformative moment in our history.  

“This is a very important and exciting time in the history of Religious Life. For us Dominicans, we are being presented with a great opportunity to look deeply into our present to be able to dream and work together toward a collective vibrant future,” said Sr. Xiomara. “The Spirit is calling and moving us to bring our hopes and prophetic voices together to embrace our realities and to envision how can we continue to preach truth with renewed passion.” The VPC is designing a process that will invite the emerging movements among the DSC congregations to discern together: What is the new and deeper union that God is creating and calling us to that will result in a flourishing Dominican Life and Mission? 

The members of the Visioning Committee include Srs. Colleen Mary Mallon, OP (Mission San Jose), Corinne Sanders, OP (Adrian), Linda Gibler, OP (Houston), Pat Twohill, OP (Peace), Peggy McVetty, OP (Amityville), Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP (Springfield) along with Cheryl Liske, OP (Adrian/DSC Executive Committee Liaison), Terry Rickard, OP (Blauvelt/DSC Executive Committee Liaison), and Xiomara Méndez Hernández (Adrian/DSC Executive Director). Our facilitator is Sue Weber. 

Engagement of everyone 

In the coming months, each congregation will be offered a video presentation and process on some “baseline” information about the emerging movements within the DSC. 

Stay tuned…

Present at the meeting were Executive Committee members: Srs. Anne Lythgoe, OP (Peace/President of the EC), Cheryl Liske, OP (Adrian), Kathleen Tuite, OP (Caldwell/Secretary), Pat Stringer, OP (Caldwell/Treasurer), Terry Rickard, OP (Blauvelt/ Vice- President of the EC), Veronica Esparza Ramirez, OP (Mission San Jose), as well as Dusty Farnan, OP (Adrian/DLC NGO Representative), Lisa Kane, OP (Racine/ Associate Director for Futuring) and Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP (Adrian/DSC Executive Director).