Eighth General Chapter October 2017



The Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia and the Solomon Islands held their Eighth General Chapter in Sydney last October. 2017 was also the 150th anniversary of the congregation, remembering when eight pioneer sisters arrived by sailing ship from Ireland on the 10 September 1867 to begin a foundation in Maitland NSW at the invitation of Bishop Murray.



As part of the celebrations of this sesquicentenary, all the sisters able to be present - from novices to platinum jubilarians, from ages twenty-six to ninety-six, Australians and Solomon Islanders - gathered as one congregation from two countries for the Kairos Days prior to the formal proceedings of the Chapter. The theme for the gathering, “See I am doing a new thing…” inspired by Isaiah 43:19, provided a rich foundation for the Chapter. The Kairos days were filled with vibrant liturgies and rituals, opportunities to gain greater understanding of our various cultures, earnest discussion and much rejoicing in our common Dominican life.

The final event of the Kairos Gathering was the joyful and culturally rich Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated by Fr Anthony Walsh OP, Provincial of the Dominican Friars of the Assumption Province. Many co-workers and friends joined the sisters for this celebration. At the conclusion of Mass, the Chapter delegates were sent forth with the blessing of the full gathering to complete the formal matters of the Chapter over the following five days.

The Chapter elected a new Prioress, Sr Mary-Clare Holland and Leadership Team, including for the first time two sisters from the Solomon Islands.

The Chapter reflected on the Directions for the next four years and our growing awareness of our place in the Asia-Pacific. We made a deeper commitment to understanding the complex issues within and beyond our borders, including cultures and belief systems, the environment and the effects of peoples’ dislocation in the Asia-Pacific region. Empowerment of women through advocacy and support of sisters and projects that serve to build up women’s human dignity and greater involvement in stewardship of the whole of creation were also important directions.

Ever mindful of the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, we stated our commitment to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission and to continue to implement the highest professional standards across all our ministries.

The new Leadership Team commenced its term of office on the 29 January 2018, aware that we stand on the shoulders of the many courageous women who have gone before us, supported and loved by our sisters in two countries and grateful for our connection to the wider Dominican family across the world.