Three hundred fifty-one active associates, eighty-one prayer associates and eighteen candidates in formation have heard the call to partner with the Springfield Dominicans in uncovering the light and truth of the Gospel in the world. Their Mission calls Associates to proclaim God’s Word with their daily lives.
This year, associates and sisters are studying an article by Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, Let the Call Be Heard. Sister Joan speaks of the importance of sharing a community’s charism in today’s world—for Springfield Dominican associates, that’s the Dominican charism. “Each of us, lay as well as religious, carries within us a piece of the truth,” she wrote. All need to learn to listen to each other’s wisdom. Sharing with one another the wisdom of experience each brings from his/her life’s journey allows associates and sisters to be “companions on the way,” to do together what cannot be done alone.
To be a Dominican Associate is to be a carrier of Dominican spirituality, a carrier of truth, peace, prayer, justice, compassion and love. Sister Joan concludes “Together we are meant to be messengers, models and makers of a whole new world wherever we are.”
The call to witness to the gospel belongs to associates as well as to the sisters. Associates take part in bible study groups, minister during liturgical services, and lead others in prayer. They are reaching out to those in need by praying, serving meals, collecting food, visiting the sick, caring for the earth, welcoming into their home students from other countries, and using their voice to speak for the vulnerable.
Associates are partnering with the Dominican Sisters by sharing their wisdom as members of the Justice and Peace Committee, the Anti-Racism Team, and the JUST Words Editorial Board. They serve as greeters at the wakes of the sisters and, most recently, for the fiftieth anniversary of the chapel. Some come weekly to companion the sisters in the infirmary or to drive them to appointments. Associates join the community for prayer and community celebrations. They are welcome at the daily and Sunday liturgies and for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays.
Dominican Associates are embracing the Dominican Mission. They have heard the call!
Are you ready to respond to the call as a Springfield Dominican Associate? Learn more here.
Sister M. Joan Sorge is the director of the Springfield Dominican Associate Program. This article first appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of JUST Words.