Preaching


The OP after our names stands for “Order of Preachers,” the formal name of the religious order founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. As Dominicans, we preach with our lives—in both word and deed—guided by a search for truth (veritas) and a commitment to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation (contemplate et aliis tradere). 

Our Dominican lives are shaped by the interconnecting movements of study, prayer, communal life, and ministry. 

Dominic so firmly believed in the importance of study to the preaching mission that he provided a rule of “dispensation” from other responsibilities in the event they interfered with study. We are women committed to study. Through prayer and contemplation we interiorize our learnings and enter into communion with the Source of all truth. Our communal life orients us to the common good of the whole Earth community. And in ministry, our preaching takes effect.

As women of the Gospel, our preaching is also expressed in word. Read reflections on the Word of God posted by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates on the Praedicare Blog below.

 


Preaching for St. Patrick's Day 2021

St. Patrick's Day Homily, March 17, 2021

Sister Attracta Kelly, OPWritten by Sister Attracta Kelly, OP
Proclaimed by Prioress Patricia Siemen, OP

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh go léir! Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

And happy feast to all the Patrick(s), Patricia(s), the Patty(s), the Pat(s), the Patrice(s) among us.

I cannot think of any other national patron saint whose day is celebrated so widely or might I even say so wildly as that of St. Patrick. 

As you are probably aware Patrick, at about age 16, was kidnapped – today we would say trafficked – into slavery by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland where he lived as a slave, by himself, on a mountain, in County Antrim looking after sheep – no one to talk to, no one to care about him, far away from home.
 
During this past year as I’ve reflected on the effect COVID has had on all of us, some more confined, more isolated than others. I’ve thought quite a bit about Patrick, except for Patrick there was no Task Force, no secret Santas, no letters, no parodies, no visiting, no TV, no phone calls, no entertainment, no Fireside Chat! And his isolation lasted six years! 

So how did Patrick survive? Patrick, I believe, survived after a great period of alone-ness by finding God in creation around him. It took some time. Maybe it was in the sheep or the lambs or the sheep dog, or the bright starry night, or the morning sun, or eventually in the barren mountains, or the awesome beauty of the coastline, or the turning of the seasons. For whatever reason, Patrick learned to treasure the beauty of the land and all its creatures, and realize that God was very near. And then for Patrick, nature became the sacrament of God’s presence.

After six years, Patrick was able to escape back to his home in Britain. In his writings he tells us that a voice he believed to be from God, told him to leave Ireland. After his return to Britain another revelation told him to return to Ireland as a missionary.

Patrick tries his best to plead his way out of that call just like Peter in today’s reading pleads: “Depart from me for I am a sinner.” Patrick pleads: “I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful.” And just as Jesus assures Peter that he will indeed be able to respond to God’s call, Patrick is assured in a similar way. After some years of training, Patrick returns to Ireland to, as we prayed in our Responsorial Psalm, “Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds” to the Irish people.

So we might wonder how was Patrick able to proclaim the good news so successfully? Ireland, as Patrick had learned from his time as a slave, had a strong belief in many kinds of gods. Celtic peoples worshipped the sun with shrines. In the Celtic religion wells and rivers were associated with goddesses.

Patrick tapped into these beliefs and, using those Celtic symbols, taught the people about God. Patrick’s great shrine at Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, which is a great place of pilgrimage to this day, had previously been a shrine to Lugh, the god of the sun. 

The Celtic lighting of the Spring-fire on the Hill of Tara always performed by the Ard-Ri (the High King), became with Patrick the lighting of the Easter fire of Holy Saturday.  (Easter was always celebrated in Ireland on the first day of Spring from the time of Patrick until the Synod of Whitby in 665 decided Ireland needed to be more Roman). 

Patrick honored the culture of the people, and helped them to see God in all people, in all creatures, in all Creation. 

The shamrock was the sacred plant of the Celts and legend (some say it is true) tells us Patrick used it to teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Patrick baptized people in the holy wells, and there are many holy wells named after Patrick in Ireland today. Patrick superimposed a sun, a very important symbol in Celtic culture, on the Christian cross, creating what we now know as the Celtic cross.

In our reading today, Peter tells us: “Let your love for one another be intense … Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” 

Clearly Patrick’s love for the people of Ireland was intense. How else could he have the courage to return to the land where he had been a slave to bring the Mission of Christ to a people who had enslaved him? 

From the moment Patrick arose in the morning, he dedicated himself to the Holy One. And from that place of energy and belief he prayed that Christ would be his identity throughout the day: Christ above me, Christ below me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.

Patrick also clearly shows us that not only is God known through people, but God is also known through all of Creation. Patrick delights in all Creation around him: The starlit sky, the sun’s brightness, the moon, the power of lightening, the massive sea, the rocks, the singing of the birds and bleating of the sheep …  

Patrick prays that God’s voice is there in all: in the heart of everyone who thinks of us, the voice of everyone who speaks of us, in every eye that sees us, in every ear that hears us. 

So for all of us, on this feast of St. Patrick, no matter our ancestry, let us pray for each other so that, like Patrick, we may recognize in our lives the presence, the power and the light of Christ. May we realize we are never alone, for Christ is always with us.

“And so for all of us, until we meet again, may our God hold each one of us in the palm of God’s hand!” 

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LINKS

word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page

Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters



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