On their visits to Norway and France, the Council members learned the wonderful history of a Vicariate and a Province. This Newsletter gives their impressions of their visits.
I/ The European council in Norway,
or: DACIA: the wish of Saint Dominic fulfilled since the 12th century.
The European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities was splendidly welcomed in this recent priory in the heart of OSLO in an island of greenery and peace, beautiful prayer giving a good place to Latin, and excellent meals. Thank you, my sisters, for this exceptional welcome!
The council worked effectively on several subjects, in particular the chain “Preachers of Hopes” which is “watering” our continent and in which we are all urged to participate, and the organization of the next assembly from 4 to 8 October 2017 in Fatima.
Besides 2 sisters’ convents, and a quick visit to the friars’ priory, we participated in the meeting of the Fraternity of Saint Dominic of Oslo. In this Lutheran country, the members sometimes come from several hundred km!
From the first decades of the Order, the brethren wanted to fulfil the wish of saint Dominique, and came to preach in what was for them Dacia. Thanks to the King who gave them a fortified place under construction, they were able to establish the first priory.
The cathedral of the city was for a long time next to this old priory.
A great moment of sharing, discovery, and effective work in the far North of Europe!
II/ Visits of the ECLDF President to Dacia
The ecumenical Vespers on Saturday in the Lutheran Cathedral of Lund was very impressive; after that, we were offered a dinner in one of the best restaurants in Lund.
In Lund the Lay Dominican Malin Loman (who was one of the hard workers for this Jubilee ceremony) organized a separate meeting of the Lay Dominicans of the whole of Dacia. Br Rui Lopes and Leny Beemer were there as well. It was the first time Lay Dominicans of the four countries of Dacia had come together. This was wonderful, and after questions to Br Rui and Leny and discussions on many topics, concerning the Dominican life of Lay Dominicans in Dacia, everybody agreed that meetings like this of the four countries have to be continued in the coming years. Appointments were made for the future.
Later in Höör, where we slept, we had a very fraternal time with many brothers and sisters in this beautiful accommodation (of the Lutheran Church), while the weather was fantastic. On Sunday all the Congress participants were invited to the Priory of the Dominicans in Lund for a lunch. The hospitality was wonderful. Full of joy and hope for at least 800 more years (!), everybody went home.
III/ The “Estivales”: The province of France at the roots of the order.
In this 8th centenary of the Dominican Order, the lay Dominicans of the Province of France gathered for the second edition of their “Summer Camp”, named the “Estivales”, in Fanjeaux, the root of the Order.
It was a privilege for Leny Beemer-de Vos, president of the ECLDF, to be able to attend these days in Fanjeaux together with her husband Hans Beemer (also a Lay Dominican).
On several tours guided by the friars Renaud Silly and Gilles Danroc, we lived the various stages of saint Dominique’s life. Specialists in the 12th century, they allowed us to look again at many preconceived ideas we had of the society of this time (such as the Cathars and their castles which UNESCO refused to recognize because of the absence of proof of the Cathar origin of all these ruins).
But these days were also devoted to fraternal life, opportunities to meet and to exchange between fraternities that are sometimes very far apart.
During the Liturgy of the Hours in Fanjeaux, we experienced a beautiful unity of singing and meditation.
The theme of the meeting, during this year of “Mercy”, a topic already studied during the year, was to apply this theme especially to the lay Dominicans, by placing this Mercy in the three appropriate places of lay Dominicans: Mercy in the Family, Mercy in the world of the work and Mercy in Fraternities.
After a first introductory talk by Br Benoit Marie Berger, three fascinating talks were given on these themes by Lay Dominicans. Workshops after every talk allowed us to share our peculiarities and to deepen each of the different approaches of Mercy.
The European Council was represented by its president Leny, who was able to present the role and the activities of the European Council to the assembly.
IV/ “Back to School” evening of the Île de France-Normandy region
As they do every year in September, the Paris / Île de France / Normandy region organized its “Back to school” evening. More than a gathering among fraternities of the region and sharing prayer and a friendly meal, the evening is also an ” open door ” evening planned to welcome the people wishing to know the lay Dominicans, who we are, what motivates us, and if needed, to make a first contact in order to go further with us during the course of the year.
For that purpose, this year, the lay Dominicans were invited to record three keywords symbolizing their commitment in Dominican Fraternities on a badge that they wore round their necks.
To introduce our evening, during the apéritif Catherine Masson presented her new book ‘Des laïcs chez les prêcheurs‘: this very interesting presentation gave rise to many questions.
The evening was very rich and the buffet that followed was very lively!