Reflections by Sr. Margaret Rose
Liturgy Celebrating 50 Years in Pakistan
“Our souls proclaim the greatness of the Lord and our spirits rejoice in God, who has done great things for us.” As we celebrate this day of thanksgiving for 50 years of Dominicans of Sparkill in Pakistan, we remember and celebrate the goodness of God and in a special and deep way we experience communion – presence with all in Pakistan – A Bridge of Love. This Eucharistic celebration is the Bridge of Love which reaches across to our Dominican community in Pakistan.
During one of our meetings, Joan Correia recalled the lines of Robert Frost’s poem:
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
This expresses very well the decision of our leadership in 1956 to accept the challenging and far reaching invitation of Fr. Marrin to join the Dominican Fathers in ministry and presence in Pakistan. The decision – “the Yes” to this very different and less trodden road was and is, as St. Catherine quotes in her Dialogue an Impulse of Love to give birth to something new which has and continues to make all the difference. From Eternity this Yes has been present in all creation and most consciously in humanity. Mary’s “Yes” was a response to Love which led her down a road very different from the well trodden road of her day and culture – and it made and makes all the difference.
Jesus’ Yes in response to the Father’s Love was the Yes in Dominic who dared to develop a new mode of apostolic religious life – This sense of openness to the World – the Yes to the Spirit is a marked characteristic of many of the great Dominican preachers and saints – so this vision and presence took birth throughout our world. We, Dominicans of Sparkill, hold in our lives the eternal “Yes” of Love. Fifty Years ago, despite the risk and unknown, the leaving behind of what was secure, safe and known – the passing on of the “Yes” became of reality and the road less traveled of that “Yes” has and continues to make all the difference. The echo of what was said to Mary “All things are possible to God” was heard by our congregation.
Sr. Eileen Gannon has often reminded us that “where one Dominican Sister of Sparkill is, we are all present”. From the very beginning days of our presence and ministry in Pakistan, all of us, each one of us was so aware of the accompanying presence of our sisters at home. We were supported, encouraged, enlivened, inspired and called forth to take a chance at something new. The “Yes” was nourished and enabled by the Community “Yes” which flowed out in Love.
I recall something I read by Llewellyn Vaughn Lee, a Sufi Mystic: “We each one of us is needed to consciously participate in the process of bringing Oneness in our world. Something is being given freely with no strings attached.” All is required is for each one of us to say “Yes”. Our Constitutions echo this call to Life – Life in Abundance.
“And we, the members of the Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary come together to proclaim publicly with John the Apostle, the words of Christ. “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Mary’s “Yes” echoes in our lives today wherever we are as Dominicans of Sparkill.
Sr. Mary Driscoll, in her presentation “Renewing the Dominican Vision – A Passion of Possibility” speaks of the Dominican Sisters International as the feminine impulse to develop relationships and make connections, bringing sisters together to celebrate new life, to encourage and help one another in our different fields, to move forward positively into the future, to talk and support one another across continental lines and to be at home with one another.”
These words echo our grateful celebration of 50 years – a Bridge of Love, spanning, and connecting across the miles – across these fifty years. We realize ever more intensely how this connection, this union has been a mutual experience of Love, in St. Catherine’s words their vineyard pollinates our vineyard and ours pollinates theirs and we are united in the one vineyard of the mystical body from which we draw life.
Words from the Prophet Isaiah:
“The favors of the Lord, we will recall – the glorious deeds of the Lord
because of all He has done for us – for He is good and favored us
according to His mercy and great kindness.”
At this Eucharistic celebration, in a special way we will walk this Bridge of Love to connect and unite with our community in Pakistan. We will take a few minutes to write a
Note to our sisters – passing on and celebrating the Gift of Love – the Eternal “Yes”.
THE VISION IS TREMENDOUS.