The concept of a worldwide network of Dominican Sisters surfaced in the 1980s after informal conversations in Rome between informal groups of Dominican Sisters with the Master of the Order. In 1991, the same idea emerged in Latin America, through the efforts of Sr. Veronica Rafferty (Cabra), and was subsequently discussed by the Sisters attending the Congress of the Mission of the Order in Mexico in 1991, and again at the General Chapter of the Order in Mexico in 1992.

The following year, thirty-three English-speaking Dominican Sisters met in Rome to discuss “Dominican Women and Men: Partners in Evangelization.” They issued an invitation to others to join them and planned a multi-lingual international gathering. Timothy Radcliffe, OP then Master of the Order, offered them the facilities at Santa Sabina and the support of the Curia. In May 1995, approximately 80 General Prioresses voted to form Dominican Sisters International (DSI) with the mission to connect Dominican Congregations of Sisters of Apostolic Life worldwide, in an effort to create avenues for collaboration among them and other members of the Dominican Family for the sake of the preaching mission of the Order.

The goals of DSI were defined and a Coordinating Council, comprised of the following Sisters, was elected:   Margaret Ormond (USA), First International Coordinator;  and Veronica Rafferty (Argentina), Rosario de Meer (Spain), Joan Carville (Australia) and Marie Vincent (France).   The goals of the DSI are as follows:

  • To support one another in living out the Dominican Charism and claim their identity as women preachers
  • To facilitate communication and networking among Dominicans at regional and international levels
  • To foster collaborative initiatives among members of the Dominican family
  • To foster a more compassionate world order through the promotion of peace and justice, integrity of creation and human rights, especially those of women.


Successive Assemblies built upon this foundation and developed networks and collaborative alliances with Dominican Sisters in DSI’s five continental groupings (Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America).  As the Sisters became familiar with one another and the contexts of their missions, they undertook various projects together in response to some felt needs in the areas of formation, justice and peace and the pooling of financial resources to provide more adequate instructional and spiritual infrastructure for sisters in Africa, Vietnam and Eastern Europe where many young vocations needed nurturing. Special attention was also paid to the missions of Dominican Sisters in the poorest areas of the world where educational resources are few and sometimes unavailable.