In July, young people came from all over the world to attend the 12th annual International Dominican Youth Movement in Toulouse, France. Over twenty-three countries were represented at this year’s meeting, the theme of which was: “Young Dominicans sent to preach the Gospel.”  Sister Gina Fleming, OP and Sister Leonore Toscano, OP of Amityville, and Sister Mary Soher, OP of Adrian, MI, accompanied five Dominican Young Adults from the United States.

The pilgrimage included a welcoming liturgy and a trip to Fanjeaux to experience the lands of Dominic, where the young people could be heard exclaiming, “This is where Dominic walked, we are walking in the same footsteps as Dominic.” The group then visited Prouilhe, where a community of Sisters spoke about its founding and how it has now become an international community. The young pilgrims attended vespers with the Sisters and afterward were treated to a wonderful dinner.

The Conference itself included prayer and contemplation, study, open discussions, and a presentation called “Preaching as Dialogue.” There were also sessions on how to use communication tools such as websites, email, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and photography to preach in our world today.

During breaks and at meals, short phrases and sign language transcended any language obstacles. Smiles and laughter could be seen everywhere as we helped each other understand each other. As groups said farewell, there was a sense of having bonded in an even greater way. It was very clear that the International Dominican Youth Movement is alive and well and very active throughout the world!