The words “Joyful Friar, Itinerant Preacher” used to describe our holy founder St. Dominic, rang true to me as I once again had the joy and privilege of sharing with our Dominican Youth ways to preach the Gospel through the Arts. The students that attended my contemplative practice of “Origami” workshop were filled with joy and enthusiasm to preach the Gospel in today’s world as Dominic did over 800 years ago. Like the itinerant preacher Dominic, many are able and willing to go where the Spirit leads them and preach in whatever way they can. Whether through the spoken word, or through art, music or dance, the word is JOY and their creativity opens a whole new world as to how to communicate it.
During our session together, the students learned to fold colorful origami cranes and were delighted to know that they would be sent to persons and places around the world in need of peace and healing. Such a simple action, yet, through this contemplative practice, these young Dominican men and women would continue to preach love and peace through the “Art of Origami”. As Dosto- evsky once said: “Beauty will save the world,” and this art form has the capacity to spread both joy and peace as well.
As we reflected on “Preaching through the Arts”, all agreed that what- ever we do, whether playing sports, cooking, writing, sewing, speak- ing, etc., when it is done with love and intention, it is ART! St. Pope John Paul II reminded us: “Although not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term, everyone is still to live an ‘artful’ life which reflects that beauty which they perceive”. Our time together passed quickly, but I was encouraged that its impact would continue as we enjoyed a lively discussion on the insight: “Creativity is God’s gift to us...using our creativity is our gift back to God”. I was deeply moved as I experienced their prayerful reflections on the question:
What is your gift from the Divine Artist, and, as a committed Dominican preacher, how are you shar- ing it with our world today?
As an Amityville Dominican Sister for 60 years, it gives me great hope to know that our charism of joy and preaching the truth will continue through these committed, talented and community-minded young men and women. I am confident that they will continue to share in the “holy preaching” since, during our short time together, their enthusiasm was contagious and I felt refreshed and renewed through their extraordinary spirit of joy and hope!
By Sister Mary Anna Euring, OP