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A kid then, I joined an extemporaneous speaking event in our school. The topic said “The Best Christmas Gift to the World.” For a couple of minutes, I answered “knowledge.” I told the panel how I had been helping our housemaid understand English.

Unfortunately, that was not enough for a medal. The other girl, who answered “chocolates” because they were her favorite, won. “What a proud kid!” they must have thought of me.

Today, I am a volunteer professor in one of the Dominican Sisters Institute’s mission schools, the Holy Rosary College Foundation, founded by Fr. Anthony Leo Hofstee, OP. I am handling three general education subjects. This volunteer work has received mixed responses from my family and friends. My father thought it was too far from home or from anywhere I have ever been to. My classmates from college are encouraging me to get a “real” teaching job. Some friends think that it is a waste of time and effort.
My Dominican Family is of course proud and supportive. Long jeepney rides to my destination may be tough but I still feel joy and eagerness in every meeting with my students.

We all have heard that through giving, we are the ones who are actually receiving. I have given many things in my entire life and I know the satisfaction it can give you but I have never experienced what I am experiencing now in teaching. Each day I see them, I feel that it is I who is learning. Every time a student raises his hand to ask a question or to simply voice his opinions, it is I who is smiling at the back of my head.


Whenever they look at me smiling, while I blabber a historical, political, or scientific fact or simply throw them mindboggling philosophical questions, it is my heart and spirit that is overflowing with happiness. In fact, I am sometimes distressed, wondering if I am giving enough to deserve all the life lessons they are teaching me. And every day, I work hard to make sure that they get the best out of me. Hopefully, I also bring out the best in them.

After years of studying in Dominican institutions, reading Philosophy, and continuous exposure to the Dominican ideals through the DOMNET Youth Group, I cannot help but wish that I may go back in time and give that speech contest one more try. I will tell my judges the same answer and I will defend it tall and proud. The best gift is still “knowledge.” I will tell them teaching is more than just a career. It is a person, giving herself to another, mindless of her own limitations and exhaustion.

It is not what is given that is most important, rather it is the act of giving perceived not as a loss but as a fulfilling event in one’s life. Sharing to others a part of you, especially to those who need and want it, is the most beautiful gift that I know of.

Some people think that almsgiving is the best and easiest way to help others. It might be the most convenient for the one giving the alms, but I hope that the world knows that it is not the only way. You are a gift, a gift that only increases in value every time it is given. Be the gift that you are and surprise others and let others surprise you too. Do not be afraid that you will lose yourself or that there is not enough you. Let God be your source and you will never run out of faith, hope, and love to give.

Venus, DOMNET, Philippines 


1014418 1569280653293434 3053035281791354866 nMy name is Rafael de Oliveira Souza, I'm from São Paulo (SP), I am 27 years and I specialize in journalism. My life as a Dominican actually began before being Dominican. Seems confusing, but I'll explain. I entered the charism in 2004 in the parish church where I grew up. For five years, together with my friends from church, I lived the Vincentian and Jesuit charism more intensely. In 2009, I had the opportunity to meet the Dominican family, and from that meeting, it helped me encounter the Dominican Youth Movement of Brazil (MJD-BR). I took a hiatus from 2010 until late 2012, from sharing in the church - but they were still learning years.

Well, the purpose of this introduction is to show that the path leading up to meeting the Order of Preachers allowed me to become a lay Dominican. And how nice that all these experiences have led me to the Dominicans, because this union of "living things" brought me to the Tocantins, Northern Brazil to work on the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and enjoy a completely and truly different experience than what was experienced in the state capital.

The CPT was introduced to me in September 2013, during the Meeting of Justice and Peace of the Dominican Family in Goiânia (GO). There I met with Brother Xavier Plassat, OP. When he learned of my desire to breathe fresh air away from São Paulo, Xavier almost immediately invited me to "an experience of a few days" in those parts. This experience has spanned eight months - and why couldn’t I stop thinking about it?

Thus, from January 2014 I began work as a pastoral worker. The mission of the CPT,  summed up in a few words, is to follow - either in training or legal framework - peasant communities (as) fighting for a land or internal security. We still have a commission in most states, which operates in the prevention and the fight against modern slavery. In a scenario like this, where we walked straight into the exploitation of large landowners and agribusiness, moments of conflict and tension are common. Not infrequently, farmers and tillers are threatened with death or have their homes and crops destroyed by squatters.

Constantly CPT agents, visit the rural workers in the settlements, camps and occupations. I dare say it's more rewarding to be able to live in the place that the people of this land live. That is, networks sleep in the thatched hut without electricity, eating a chicken with rice, pumpkin and vegetables planted by the farmers themselves. But above all, in practice we realize that farmers can themselves be protagonists of their stories, simply give them the chance can allow this to happen.

Although my journey as a missionary is only beginning, I see no other way to live, but to live authentically. The inspiration for working with little to be renewed in the examples of the martyrs, like Father Josimo, Frei Tito, extractive couple Claudio and Maria, farmer Gabriel Hijo and many others. And always keep in mind and heart the warning made by a great friend, not to do this mission work to be good or a better person, but because the goal is Christ!


1014418 1569280653293434 3053035281791354866 nIn October, we wanted to offer something new to the Dominican Youth Movement. Unlike in the past, when each group developed their work independently following the charism of Saint Dominic, this year, the IDYM International Commission is inviting us to create a link among its members via a specific activity during the year.

October is the month of mission and we have therefore chosen this moment to live more deeply the "Dominican compassion" through volunteer activities.

We know what we remember James 2: 26 "As the body without the soul is dead, so faith is also dead without works." However, it is worth remembering that in the Dominican spirituality, charitable activity is presented as the fruit of contemplation of gospel truth.

"Contemplate aliis et contemplata tradere" - St. Thomas Aquinas

Our beloved Pope Francis reminds us that we are not an NGO of activism that seeks to solve the ills generated by global mechanisms of oppression. We recognize the importance of the work of non-governmental organizations that perform great tasks of social importance. However, as Christians and members of the Dominican Family, we must realize the importance of our experience of God as a driving force in our life from day to day.

As St. Augustine reminds us, the first goal of a Christian is not wanting to be good, fair, a hero, etc, but the desire to become "another Christ" and by becoming "Christlike" we become virtuous.

This statement can seem strange and contradictory at first glance, especially if we consider the logic of postmodern activists. But those who have had the experience of the cross, especially those who share the spirituality of Saint Dominic, know that when we are in the presence of God and behold his face, every action is the result of understanding that God loved me first. Thus, out of gratitude our response will be "always do good" (Teresa de Saldanha).

I invite everyone to pray and live this reality through a prayer of Blessed Cardinal Newman.

"Lord Jesus, do not stand so hidden within me!

Look through my eyes;

listening through my ears;

speaks through my lips;

surrender through my hands;

walk by my feet ...

You remember my poor human presence

at least far

your divine presence! "


-Leonardo De Laquila

International Mission Promoter IDYM


IDYM Month of Mission

Welcome to the month of the mission. We want the month of October to be a special month for all of us to reflect on our active participation in society as Christians. We have lived its importance and talked about it at the International Assembly in Bogota. And we have been asked by you to strengthen this area. So we have started to work and we have compiled a number of texts and experiences on the mission that will be published throughout the month. With them we invite you to reflect and most importantly, to implement it as part of our preaching as young Dominicans. We ask you to change the header image of your Facebook for this throughout this month. Also, please send us articles, photos and videos of your experiences to share!


We have prepared a series of monthly issues of the Dominican Jubilee theme for this year: The Dominican Laity and Preaching. We invite you to reflect with them every month about what it means to be young lay preachers. Each month we will publish an article by a member of the Dominican Family.

Psychology of the Youth - 1 by International Dominican Youth Movement


First African Congress of Dominican Youths

To the glory of God the 1st ever African Congress of Dominican Youths took place at the Adoration Monastery, Oyun Village, Kwara State in Nigeria from July 28 to August 3 2014. The Dominican Young Hearts Movement (DYHM) used the celebration of their 6th National Congress and 3rd General Active Members Assembly to invite other DYM groups in Africa to set up together a regional structure that will facilitate interaction, formation and common mission and voice for Africa. The theme of the Congress was: Re-discovering the enduring treasures of Dominican spirituality: Towards a Personal Transformation for Mission in Africa. - See more at: http://www.op.org/en/content/nigeria-hosts-1st-african-congress-dominican-youths#sthash.mAVUJ6DE.dpuf


Young Dominican Preachers Gather For Virtual MeetingOn the precipice of the Aug. 8 feast day of St. Dominic, local chapters of the Dominican Young Adults (DYA) met on Saturday, Aug. 2 in New York at Molloy College and St. Thomas Aquinas College, in Chicago, in Michigan at Siena Heights University, and even in Kenya, Africa (special appearance by Br. Lorenzo Laorden, OP doing mission work there). Connecting via technology, more than 20 young adults were able to gather nationally without paying a cent! - See more at: http://www.op.org/en/content/young-dominican-preachers-gather-virtual-meeting#sthash.j7njysfY.dpuf


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