By Sister Kay O’Connell, SSND
There was prayer, lunch and gift-giving as Sisters gathered at The Watermark community in Bridgeport, CT to express gratitude and say farewell to Arlene Flaherty, OP, on May 2. The AM Province’s JPIC Director for the last 9 1/2 years, Arlene is leaving SSND this June to join the staff of An Tairseach, the Dominican Center for Ecology, Theology and Spirituality in Wicklow, Ireland. She hopes to delve more deeply into the theology and spirituality that underpins the call of Laudato Si’ to support Earth’s and humanity's flourishing.
Tributes expressed deep appreciation for her leadership in the province’s chosen social justice commitments —water, immigration, trafficking and Haiti. Her pioneering of AM’s partnership with Beyond Borders, a Christian group working in Haiti for decades, enabled us to be in mission there without having “boots on the ground.”
Farewell gifts were a merging of the logos of SSND and Arlene’s community, the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY, in stained glass; a framed tribute; a plant for future growth; and a basket of personal good-bye notes. Arlene’s Prioress, Sister Michaela Connolly, and her Sister in Community/Councilor, Sister Mary Ann Collins, joined us for the heartfelt farewell that, despite its note of regret, was much enjoyed.
The singing of our SSND Blessing with our outstretched hands over Arlene brought the gathering to a prayerful close.