The Dominican Family in Southern Africa met in Johannesburg on the last Friday of January 2020.  Participants included the leaders of all 6 Dominican Congregations: Cabra, King, Zimbabwe (Sacred Heart), Oakford, Newcastle and Montebello, and the treasurer, DSA promoter for JPIC, co-ordinator and promoter for JPIC in the Southern Zone, and representatives from the co-ordinating committees of the Dominican Family in Gauteng and Kwa Zulu Natal. 

Back row left to right: Srs. Alison (Oakford), Stephany (Newcastle), Ann (King), Valentine (Montebello), Francis (Cabra), Nobulali (King), Rudo – Zimbabwe )Sacred Heart of Jesus). Front row: Srs. Zarudzai – Zimbabwe (Sacred Heart of Jesus), Mary (King) and Thobile (Montebello)

The focus of the meeting was to build relationships among the different Congregations and look at ways of supporting each other and collaborating in mission.  Our sisters in leadership meet twice a year.  We have a co-ordinating committee in both Gauteng and Kwa Zulu Natal and they organise events to celebrate the feast of St Catherine of Siena and St Dominic.

We were particularly happy to have our sisters from Zimbabwe present.  We admire them for the hope they spread in their country under such difficult circumstances. 

The second day of our gathering was used to celebrate DOMINICAN FAMILY AND FRIENDS DAY.  It has become a tradition to include ‘friends’ in our get together which has been very enriching.  This year the theme of the day was:    Decolonising Church and Society.  Prof Terry Sacco op associate and Tebogo Moroe-Maphosa opened the morning with a beautiful Xhosa hymn – ‘Masibuleleku Yesu’ – ‘We Give You Thanks Oh Lord’.  Tebogo shared that although he was born in 1994 and is known as one of the ‘born free generation’, he experienced a life oppressed by having his language and culture deemed to be not good enough.  As a musician, he was lauded for singing in German, while his own language was considered “foreign”… in South Africa.  Terry reflected on growing up in a context of white privilege.  She said, “it is imperative, in the post-colonial and post-apartheid South Africa, that we interrogate white privilege.  We should ask ourselves, ‘How do I decolonise my white mind?’ 

Fr Peter John Pearson, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, spoke on “What really Matters?  Re-Aligning with the Mission of Jesus.”  He used the story of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, and the work of theologian Ruby Sales, an African-American civil rights activist, to issue a call for fundamental change.  He also said that, “Pope Francis makes the same appeal for a radical ‘new lifestyle.’ 

Some of the following questions we explored:

  • Key theological question for today:  Where does it hurt? (Ruby Sales)
  • “Unless society – and the faith communities – begins to name its ills, there can be no hope of healing them”. 
  • Colonialism takes away people’s names and history, creating anonymity.  There is no anonymity in religion.  God knows us by name.  What are we naming? 

We need a robust and potent spirituality for our day!

Mary Tuck O.P.

Continental Promoter of JPIC of DSI/DSIC

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