“Let us make as our model a fierce desire to serve the young, the poor and the vulnerable.”
–Mother Maria Pia Backes, O.P.
Foundress Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose
As this month of October opens up, I am eager to share about our Dominican Mission on the Hill! For the past five years, we have been on a “mission” to promote and preach the message of Veritas to our young women, our families, our alumnae and all in our Flintridge Sacred Heart community. Led by the Mission Effectiveness Committee of FSHA’s Board of Directors, this grass roots effort seeks to engage all in a deeper understanding of and participation in what it means to be Dominican, and in particular, what does it mean to be a Dominican in the tradition of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose.
To achieve this goal, we established the Student Mission Effectiveness Committee and have invited a selected number of FSHA students to participate in the Dominican High School Preaching Conference, a national gathering of Dominican high school students, who meet annually in Adrian, MI, to learn what it means to be Dominican, to understand more deeply those pillars of prayer, study, community and service and to engage in varied activities that bring those pillars to life. The experience is always meaningful for our young women. When they return, they join a larger circle of students who are called “Student Preachers” and who promote the charism of Dominic and the pillars of Dominican life at our school. It is always inspiring to listen to the girls share their experiences of the Preaching Conference and to engage them in their own understanding of the meaning and charism of the Dominican Order. Dominicans of every age and connection are called to “preach the truth, with love.” This is a message that is printed on the heart of every preacher, no matter their age; it is at the heart of who we are!
Our Sisters’ foundress, Mother Maria Pia Backes, OP, began our Congregation in 1888 to serve the young, the poor and the vulnerable. This was her inspired focus for living and teaching the four pillars of Dominican life. As we celebrate the feast of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, our MSJ Congregational feast day, we celebrate Mother Pia and the profound courage she displayed as she worked to bring the Dominican charism to life among our early sisters and students. We continue to do the same today, seeking to promote an ever deeper experience of what it means to be a MSJ Dominican today. I am proud to share that our girls “get it”—Veritas is alive on the Hill!
The world-wide Dominican Order is celebrating an 800 year anniversary in 2016, having been founded by St. Dominic de Guzman in 1216! As a global Congregation of friars, nuns, sisters and lay Dominicans, you can imagine the social events taking place around the world! We will join with our Dominican family to “preach the truth with love,” and to celebrate our Dominican family as frequently as we can here at Flintridge Sacred Heart. Our first celebration began this week (October 5-9) as we celebrated Veritas Week on the Hill. Each day focused on a different pillar and on Wednesday we shared Eucharist together, seeking FAITH, INTEGRITY AND TRUTH— Living the Mission of FSHA.
Faith, integrity, truth—strong, powerful and bold words for our young women at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy—words that are so necessary for our world today. May each of us, younger or older, choose to preach the truth with love in our daily lives!