Dominican Laity Newsletter #17


Newsletter #17

July 2011

Dear members of the New Zealand Dominican family

With sadness, we note the death of several Dominican sisters and friends. In the last newsletter we mentioned Sister Imelda. Sister Roxane writes of her:

Our dear Sister Mary Imelda Windle died peacefully at Calvary Hospital, Invercargill on 4 May aged 97 years with three of our Sisters at her bedside.

This passionate Dominican woman taught me in Form 2 in 1945 and passed on her great love for St Dominic by her enthusiasm, deep faith and commitment.

During her life she encouraged the young, embraced new initiatives herself after Vatican II and worked for justice in whatever way she could.

Above all she was a woman of prayer and of the WORD, preaching love, justice and peace by her life of 78 years as a professed Sister in our Congregation.

She could not be at our Chapter in January but sent this message written on a card:”Be glad for all God is planning for you”. (Romans 12)

May she rest in peace.

Also, Sister Catherine Tither and Sister Louise Timpany both died in Dunedin in June. Also, Sister Lorraine Challis’s sister Pat, and Sr Raewyn Benzie’s mother Noreen, died in June. And Teresa McNamara’a father died in May. And in July, Colleen Hopwood’s brother Bill died in Christchurch.

May all these treasured souls rest in the peace of Christ, and may their families rest in their hope in the resurrection.



Kevin and Barbara McBride in Auckland work for Pax Christi. This is a worldwide organisation that works, as the name suggests, for peace. Dominicans throughout the world have had strong links with the movement.

Recently Kevin and Barbara attended an international meeting. Here is their report:

Pax Christi in Vukovar April 2011

In John’s Gospel 17: 11 – 20, Jesus prays that his disciples be true to his message of truth and compassion and united in their commitment and that they will reject the world of power and violence just as he has done.

A month ago, Barbara and I were in Vukovar, in the north-eastern corner of Croatia on the banks of the Danube, with Budapest over the river to the north and Belgrade, capital of Serbia to the south-east. Barbara was representing Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand while I was there as a member of the Executive Committee of Pax Christi International.

The Pax Christi movement was originally set up in 1945 to bring French and German former enemies into prayerful dialogue for peace – it is now present in more than 50 countries world-wide and is represented at the UN and Human Rights Council. It was meeting in Vukovar because that was the site of some of the worst atrocities in the 1992 – 95 Balkan War when the former Yugoslavia broke into several warring parts. The divisions at the heart of this rek-up go back down the centuries, partly along ethnic but also along religious lines: Catholic Croatian, Serbian Orthodox, Bosnian Muslim with Jewish presence across the lines. But, these are all Abrahamic religions, supposedly united in common belief in one God, the Father Jesus addresses in John’s Gospel.

It was hard for us to comprehend the depth of division among these peoples whom Pax Christi had brought together in Vukovar but the signs were all about us:

the ruined buildings still obvious and, in places, preserved in the town

the presence at the meetings of Women in Black, an association of women still seeking the bodies of sons and husbands who were victims of massacres

above all, our visit to the killing fields of Ovcara where we stood at the burial site of more than 200 men and 3 women taken from Vukovar Hospital and murdered in cold blood as reprisal for their resistance to the Serbian invaders of their town.

We felt so helpless, even ignorant and naïve in the presence of such hatred and wondered how a common faith in one God could allow such horror, fear, anguish and violence.

The meeting was very positive, in that people from all sides of such vicious, complex and sustained conflict met together over three days. Its tension was signified in the hotel lobby three or four sets of shoes resting uneasily on dozens of unbroken eggs. Sometimes the tension broke out as when a Catholic bishop challenged a Serbian journalist over her interpretation of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of three former Croatian generals for war crimes. We found that divisions run deepest among church leaders who haven’t yet managed to meet with any consistency to discuss differences and reconciliation.

But at the level of ordinary people of faith there is more hope:

ngos share counselling services across faith divides

a Serbian ex-soldier has devoted the rest of his life to peace activism

a Muslim woman has written a teaching manual on peace education for young people based on Koranic teachings.

Then there was the Pontamina Choir, founded by a Franciscan pastor in Bosnia, composed of singers of all faiths using the music of all divided peoples to bridge the divisions across the region. All these people are living out through their own faiths the hope of Jesus for truth, love and unity as they work among the ruins of war.

Some day, the leaders of religions will forget their need for power and control and also follow the path of Jesus, the path of truth, unity and love



Jacqui Ryan is back from her internship at the United Nations, and send us the following article she wrote on what seems an obscure topic but which is almost certainly a serious issue for the future. As Jacqui writes:

I apologise that they are all USA related as I haven’t had time to search for anything here. I

somehow suspect there is or will be very little – yet! Once this comes to the notice of the

major environment activist groups and the public in general, it is bound to generate huge

interest, and hopefully protests against fracking. Keep you eyes and ears open for media

references to this destructive process promoted by the Oil and Natural Gas industries.

Here is her article:




Fracking’ – What’s going down?Jacqui Ryan, op (NZ)


Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing to give its proper name, was something as distant from my experience and knowledge as New Zealand from New York. It was with a curious mind, therefore, that I attended a workshop on this topic organized by the NGO Committee of Religious Organizations at the UN. A bright young woman, Claire Sandberg, who has given her every waking moment for the past year to this issue, spoke passionately about the problems associated with fracking, and its direct implications on the lives of ordinary citizens.

The petro-chemical industry sees fracking as being necessary for their future because the easily available gas reserves/pockets have already been harnessed or are reaching the end of their extraction potential. While these same companies and, indeed, the governments in countries where fracking occurs (USA, Australia, Brazil, amongst others) promise a bright future, due to the perceived reservoirs of natural gas trapped in underground shale strata, citizens are being duped into believing that extraction is both safe and straightforward. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So what is fracking? In layman’s terms it refers toa process where water, sand and chemicals are injected into the earth at high pressure. The aim of hydro-fracturing is to fracture rock formations deep underground in the hope of liberating natural gas that would be otherwise inaccessible, and to bring it to the surface” (FrackAction –

The drilling necessary to reach the natural gas pockets pierces fresh water aquifers. Further, the chemicals injected during the extractive process are highly toxic. Chemical leakage is inevitable. Through legislative ‘deals’ with governments, the petro-chemical industry does not have to release information detailing the types and potency of the chemicals used. Explosives are also used as part of the process. Cracks appear not only in the shale and other strata from which the natural gas is hoped to be recovered, but occur all the way through to the surface. The discharge of billions of gallons of toxic water is extremely problematic for the environment. Tests from rivers, water aquifers and ground sites near such drilling, confirm that water and soil contamination is much higher than normal and, in some cases, extreme. Several US states (Pennylvania, Wyoming, New York – to name a few) have experience of wide-spread fracking and more states are likely to follow.

Methane, obtained from natural gas, is also released through the water aquifer. This is dangerous, especially when it ‘flares’ as it exits consumers’ water taps. In addition, methane exposure to the atmosphere is reportedly a worse form of pollution than burning coal.

It is estimated that by 2030, 70 percent of US gas supplies will come from fracking (Exxon Oil Co, quoted by FrackAction). Fracking is being sold to citizens as an act of patriotism – for the future economic growth and good of the country, and as a way of providing employment, especially in low-income communities.

Fracking has become a moral issue. There is nothing more basic than water. Its abuse and contamination, in addition to the destruction and degradation of our earth’s eco-system, should hopefully energize us into action. As citizens, consumers and those called to reverence creation, fracking needs to not only enter our personal and communal lexicons, we must protest against proposed shale gas fracking now!


There are many organizations engaged in the fight against hydro-fracturing/ fracking. Most of the organizations listed below also maintain pages of links to other organizations, scientific studies of fracking, and other resources. “The Case of a Ban on Gas Fracking” – a new report

on the dangers of fracking This movie is prime material for education about fracking A wonderful song written by students against fracking A brief synopsis of the Duke University study of methane

contamination of drinking water from fracking Safe Water Movement Links to many petitions on drilling, fracking, environment, etc.




Most people will have received further information about these retreats. If you have not, let us know and we shall pass material to you.


Two venues: Auckland ( Franciscan Friary) and Dunedin (Mosgiel).

Auckland: 4-10 September

Dunedin: 18-24 September.

Preachers: Angela Campion OP and Donagh O’Shea OP from the Tallaght Retreat Centre, Dublin; Mike Kelly OPL, New Zealand; Judith AnneO’Sullivan OP (Auckland), and Joan Hardiman OP (Dunedin)




For some years now the Sisters have had a website ( but it has been a fairly basic site. The Dominican family would like to develop this resource, make it a vibrant and informative place that will attract and assist people with an interest in the Dominican way. It would be a resource for everyone – friars, sisters and laity – with archives, news and ever-changing material on liturgy, social action, spiritual formation, and many other things.

But we need three kinds of person:

a person with time and experience in developing a website.

photographers or artists who would create, search for and provide enticing images

contemplative poets and writers who would be interested in contributing on a regular basis (short pieces)

It will be a project for people from all branches of the Dominican family. And it is certain that there are wonderful, talented people on our mailing list who can make this a spectacular website for the New Zealand presentation.

Perhaps you, or someone you know, is that very special person. If so we would love to hear from you. Send an email to this newsletter, or phone Sr Judith McGinley at 04-477 0751


Next week is the feast of St Dominic. May he shower with blessings all his children in New Zealand.

Mike Kelly and Jenny Wilson


Ph 06 370 2084 Email: