Caldwell, N.J., June, 8, 2017 – Caldwell students attended the Dominican National Preaching in Action Conference, a program of the Dominican Youth Movement USA at Molloy College in Rockville Center, New York in May.
The program focused on Dominican spirituality and the life of Saint Dominic. The group learned about the Dominican pillars, the Dominican family and preaching through the signs of the times, service, arts and prayer. “It was a great way for students to learn more about the roots of Caldwell and to bring this fire back to campus and share with their peers,” said Colleen O’Brien, Caldwell’s director of campus ministry. Thirteen Dominican colleges and universities were represented providing an opportunity for students to interact with those from other institutions. Caldwell student Brooke McPherson said she made “lasting bonds” with many of guest preachers, mentors, and attendees.
The students took part in a day of service at different sites with children or immigrant women or on a sustainable farm. McPherson volunteered at the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville’s OPening Word ministry where immigrant women are taught English and computer skills. “I truly will remember these strong, compassionate women for the rest of my life,” said McPherson. She said they were able to find a way around the language barrier and spent a long time talking about the difficulties of learning a new language and what it is like “trying to make it in a world that doesn’t always want to see you succeed.”
The students were split up into “home groups” which they met with each night to share and reflect on the day’s events. At the end of the conference, students were charged with setting a group goal and a personal goal. The Caldwell group chose to facilitate a boxtown event in the 2017-18 academic year to raise awareness of homelessness in the Essex County area. They also look forward to increasing interaction with the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell.
The others who attended are: students Maria Lesniewski and Devin Lattuga and recent graduate Olivia Lewis. In addition to O’Brien, Marissa Haynes, associate director of student engagement, was a Caldwell chaperone.