Last update : 2001-07-28

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The Chapter's Chronicle

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July 25th

St. James, the Apostle, the Feast of Spain and the Patron of the Province of Mexico.

The Provincial of Mexico, flanked by the two definitors of the same province, presided at the mass. It began with a rapid rhythm, but later it assumed one more serene and tranquil; mostly, in the words of the preacher, who took his time. Fr. Eduardo Cuenca said beautiful things. He excused the mother of the Zebedies, the only thing she asked was that her sons be united closely to Christ. He lauded the strong personality of the sons when they said with robustness "yes, we can". The mother did not want anything for herself; her sons did not want anything for their own benefit; they only wanted to serve. And they did drink the chalice. The translation in English and French permitted the polyglots to hear the homily three times. The liturgy finished with the same song with which it began: "Let us thank the Lord, let us give thanks" … For the Eucharist, or because, finally, the celebration ended after 75 minutes?

Fr. Albert Nolan presented a document on contemplation. He said that the anxiousness about contemplation is a sign of our times - both within and without the Order, and from this understanding we create a commission to consider aspects of contemplation. Contemplation that would be faithful to the tradition, with freedom, without setting forth methods or techniques. They would indicate a discipline that would be able to carry through arid and dry times, times of laziness and hyper-activity. Tasting the silence and giving meaning to liturgy. He asked how we could make contemplation a community exercise, how to create the atmosphere for the contemplative life to develop, or better said, the insultingly rare "regular observance". He mentioned the necessity that we not pretend to enter into the mystery of God without wanting toe enter in the mystery of humanity, especially in the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, as we see in the Gospels. At the instance of one member that the liturgy is a key moment for contemplation, someone said that yes, but so long as there are moments of silence in which one can ruminate what one says and sings. It is not easy to distinguish esthetical contemplation from religious contemplation; the spectacular from prayer.

The second document was "Community Life". Fr. Luis from France presented it. The text was clear and concrete. Those who prepared the document were conscious that there has been much well said in previous chapters. They affirmed the necessity of the affective life, including the need to know one self and to know others. The document underlined community life, but advised that there is a price to pay. It begins simply with letting ourselves be seen in communal acts. It continues with the elemental aspects of our poverty: what we have, what we earn belongs to the community. We must overcome the temptations contrary to the common life: hedonism, autistic alone-ness; the isolation of the Internet; addictions and dependencies … and the star theme, "violence in community life". Certainly verbal or psychological violence: unsuitable words, insulting silences, forgetting about people, nationalisms, acting contrary to decisions made by the community … Should we continue with the community project that has been insisted upon since Oakland, or do we simply say, more for those who argue that this project is not in the LCO, that we observe numbers 6, 7 § I and II, 307, 311 § I, 1° and 3°?

Then there is obedience. We must seek in common the will of God, but it need not end in fulfilling the requests of the superiors. The will of God can not lead us in one direction while our right government leads us in another. Finally, there was a part dedicated to the co-operator brothers.

Fr. Brian Pierce presented the document on The Nuns. The model for the Dominican Nun from this Chapter on will be Saint Isabel, Mary's mother: she is the personification of the painful hope of the pueblo, that awaits the mercy of God; welcomes the Word, born by Mary; and brought forth that Word's preacher, John. And so the nun in silence, hopes in the Word, and that hope represents a suffering humanity; through her life is born a meeting with the word, her life is a lectio divina; and from and within the cloister, welcomes the preacher who will then carry that word.

The friars must give their attention to the monasteries. Also, we friars need the nuns. We friars want not only attention, we want not only that they be good disciples or penitents, we want their friendship (Dominic and Cecilia, Jordan and Diana). We find here a Dominican Preaching. Throughout formation, the friars must know what it means to be a Dominican Nun. Projects for the future: Should we reinforce the existing monasteries, or should we think of new foundations? We should make a map where the nuns are present and where they are absent in order to see where they are not and need to be and where their presence is already sufficient. Are we concerned for some emblematic monastery, such as Prouille, to give it an international dimension? A delicate point: what should we do where there is a building, but there is no community to continue a Dominican contemplative life, due to illness, age or reduced numbers? How should the International Commission of the Nuns be constituted?

Finally, he presented a kind of theological vision of Saint Dominic and the Nuns of the Order of Preachers. The nuns are at the heart of Dominic's preaching, a universal preaching. The profession that the nuns make to the Master of the Order makes reference to this preaching. It is as much the monastery as the preaching that would reinforce or found the Local Church. Among the nuns this is shown in the profession to the prioress.

At the end, the friars of the Chapter reminded themselves that this commission is very special: the constitutions of the nuns are approved by the Holy See.

The three texts were very well received. They made annotations, corrections and suggestions. There have been no concrete proposals of documents and there have been no votes taken.


The electricity went out again. Moreover, an alarm went off, and the firemen and police came, but what we needed were the electricians. We were without electricity from 4:30 in the afternoon until 5:15 in the morning the next day. For some, it is somewhat of a comfort that this happens also in the United States.

On the topic of Saint Isabel, presented as the model of contemplation complementary to Mary, one capitular commented that he studied and gave classes in Maryology, but not in "Elizabethology".

In the middle of the homily we suddenly began hearing loud noises in the sound system. In that moment, the orator was speaking about the "sons of thunder".

One friar intervened in the plenary session. "I believe that this point begins with a negative presentation of the reality and this …". The vocals looked at their papers, and did not find anything that affirmed what the brother was saying, and someone said "Listen, you must be in a document other than the one we are currently discussing!" ("Papelorum confusio"). puce

(Translated from Spanish)


Design & management : Fr. Yves Bériault, o.p.