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2022-23 Program Overview

Gather@Grand: Partners in Study, Reflection, Action

“American democracy has never shed an undemocratic assumption present at its founding: that some people are inherently entitled to more power than others.”
—Jamelle Bouie American Journalist & columnist for the New York Times

Gather@Grand, an outreach ministry of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael since 2015, is an effort to invite partners in study, reflection, and action on a wide range of innovative and relevant content. Invitational by design, Gather@Grand is meant to be just that—a community gathering in our beautiful Gathering Space—and has been a way for everyone to learn from and be inspired by a variety of speakers presenting on a wide range of topics.

We are guided by our ongoing commitment to bring the Gospel to bear with depth and compassion on the critical issues of our time. Since 2019, we have chosen to focus on one topic in depth: the persistence of racism, specifically as directed toward African Americans. While our past two years have explored this topic, programs were necessarily virtual. Over the course of the 2022-23 year, the Dominican Sisters invite community members to partner with them to study, reflect, and act on the topic of racism via a variety of modalities.

Drawing inspiration from the New York Times “Project 1619”, the 2022-23 schedule for Gather@Grand will unfold in a variety of styles and methodologies geared to tackle complex subject matter—lecture/discussions of moments in U.S. history, in-depth facilitated discussions, film analysis, and more. We look forward to expanding our offerings in 2022-23 with the return of in-person and virtual events and the use of our Gathering Space.

The Dominican Sisters offer an online Resource List, recommending diverse genres of materials to investigate and study: books, articles, films, podcasts, etc.


2022-23 Options (A–C)

Option A: Re-Learn U.S. History

All sessions will take place in person in the Gathering Space located at 1520 Grand Avenue
Thank you for being fully vaccinated, for wearing a mask, and for absenting yourself if you feel ill.

Session 1: The Founding Fathers on Race and Slavery | Wednesday, October 5 | 10:30-noon

Session 2: The Dred Scott Decision and the Coming of the Civil War   |   Wednesday, October 19 | 10:30-noon

Session 3: Black Americans and Reconstruction  |   Wednesday, November 30 | 10:30-noon

Session 4: The ‘Jim Crow’ Era in American History—1890 to the 1960s   |   Thursday, December 15 | 10:30-noon

WATCH—an introduction from historian and lecturer Mick Chandler


Option B: Beyond Eggshells: How to Become Aware of Unintended Racism

Series of 8 Zoom discussions facilitated by Ms. Maureen Bennett, Sr. Barbara Green, OP, and Ms. Sally Karste.

“White Fragility” is a shortcut title to a problem we seek to address: white people harbor, utter, and act out racist attitudes unless we have worked hard to replace them with healthier views.  Even then, they may persist and grow back. We may know that we struggle here but feel unsure how to do better and defensive about being accused of racism. Walking on eggshells and being afraid to proceed is a result.  It is painful to face our racism—evokes our sense of fragility: “Can’t do anything right and are tired of hearing about it!”  And yet hearing and seeing ourselves as we may feel and then practicing to become allies of others working on anti-racism is our best way forward.  This Option B offers the opportunity to be part of a small Zoom group and to work through the book “. . . But I’m Not Racist!: Tools for Well-Meaning Whites” by Kathy Obear, Ed. D.  This group will meet virtually for eight 75-minute sessions and work through Obear’s material with gentle facilitation that prompts us to insight and allows us to understand our choices and situations better.  The book’s back cover states the goal as well:  “Deepen your resolve to live as a change agent for racial justice,” it invites us. 

8 Zoom sessions Thursdays from 2-3:30 pm

  • October 6, 13, 20
  • November 3, 10, 17
  • December 1, 8, 15

REGISTER for Option B


Option C: Virtual Film Discussions

The Film Studies option of our Gather@Grand program is designed and co-led by Ms. Linda Pete and Sr. Patricia Dougherty, OP, educators who have led the series since 2020 and provide a study guide and offer a virtual discussion process. Building on the success and interest of this genre over the past two years, we invite participants to view a series of films exploring various tendencies and resolves to sweep racism under the rug and also the courage and persistence to confront it, with study and discussion questions provided by Linda; the films may be viewed when convenient and then Zoom sessions will be scheduled for those choosing to discuss issues in common.

DATES/TIME:  7-8:30 pm; Oct. 24, 2022; Nov. 28, 2022; Jan. 30, 2023; Feb. 27, 2023; Mar. 27, 2023; Apr. 14, 2023

Film Studies REGISTER


Program History

What began in 2015 as an avenue for exploration of a wide range of topics, the Gather@Grand speaker series has provided vibrant programming and outreach to community members and partners in ministry.

Blessed with a beautiful Gathering Space on Grand Avenue and a long history of hospitality, the Sisters sought ways to share their resources with their community, neighbors, and partners in ministry. Blessed also with many connections within the Catholic church, various nonprofit organizations, social justice initiatives, interfaith communities, and more, the Sisters were able to bring in speakers and extend their relationships.

As Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, we embrace justice and compassion as core values that inform us in living our vision. Rooted in our Dominican heritage and traditions and in these guiding values, we commit ourselves to continued networking and collaboration within the Dominican family and with others.

Over the years, these programs have welcomed speakers on a wide range of topics to gatherings big a small such as Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s adult faith maturation, Sr. Corinne Floreck, OP on impact investing, Sr. Margaret Mayce, OP on serving at the United Nations, and Gordon Huether on loss and life through art—just to name a few!

Past Presenters and Topics


  • Walking the Path of Peace with Dominican Sisters Ardath Platte & Carol Gilbert
  • The Pastoral Theology of Pope Francis with Bishop Robert McElroy
  • The Contemporary Significance of Teilhard de Chardin with Dr. John Haught
  • Cooking for a Cause with Sister Carla Kovack, OP
  • Consecrated Life – The Call and the Future with Sister Mary Hughes, OP
  • Women & Spirit:  Catholic Sisters as Pioneers and Entrepreneurs
  • Finding the Sacred in Our Everyday Lives with Kathleen Norris
  • Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate with Father Diarmuid O’Murchu
  • Religious Life in the Age of Hubble with Tom Fox, Publisher NCR
  • Out of the Shadows – Human Trafficking in Our Midst with Sr. Marion Irvine, OP, Sr. Judy Lu
  • McDonnell, OP, Lyn Kirkconnell, Emily Sims, Ron Brown
  • Loss and Renewed Life:  The Dominican Sisters’ Art Installation with Gordon Huether, visual artist
  • Cultivating Happiness and Wisdom with Rick Hanson
  • Dominic’s Dream Continues – 800 Years and Counting with Sister Toni Harris, OP
  • The Thirsts of the Human Spirit with Fr. Stephen Bevens


  • The Sacred Earth:  A Celtic Perspective with John Philip Newell
  • Consciousness, Catholicity, and Christogenesis with Ilia Delio
  • Mercy at Our Borders with Sister Norma Pimentel
  • Reconciling in the Year of Mercy with Father Chuck Durante
  • Entering the Landscape of the Mystics with James Finley
  • 14th Annual Observance of the International Day of Peace with Sister Judy Lu McDonnell, OP, Lyn
  • Kirkconnell, Homeward Bound of Marin and Catholic Charities
  • Encountering the Spirit Along the Journey with Tom Fox, Publisher NCR


  • The Vocation and Ministry of the Laity with Archbishop John Wester
  • Hope: A Practice and a Gift with Jeff Bialik of Catholic Charities & Veronica Fruiht, Dominican University professor of psychology
  • Addressing Economic Inequality in the Era of Pope Francis with Father Thomas Massaro
  • The Vatican Beat and the Slow Pulse of Change with Joshua McElwee, NCR Vatican Correspondent
  • Mercy and Justice and Joy: Working in the War Zone of South Sudan with Sister Marilyn Lacey, RSM
  • Jesus Through 21st Century Eyes with Michael Morwood
  • The Catholic Convocation: Our Opportunity to Joyfully Preach with Father Mark Padrez, OP
  • What’s the Latest on Healthcare Policy in our State and Nation? With Shelly Schlenker, Vice-President, Public Policy & Advocacy for Dignity Health
  • Wonder Girls, Changing our World with Paolo Gianturco


  • To Serve at the United Nations with Margaret Mayce, OP
  • A Fierce and Enduring Gratitude with Dale Biron
  • The Call to Be Pope Francis Catholics with Fr. Ken Weare
  • Care for Our Common Home Film and Discussion series


  • We Have Family in Iraq with Sr. Nancy Jurecki, OP and Gloria Escalona, OPL
  • Food Waste: the Impact on Climate Change with Laura Moreno, MS, PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley
  • Shifting Through Gold (inspiring stories about women) with visual artist, educator, and author Mary LaCasse
  • Radical Interdependence with Toni Nash, CSJ, Co-Founder in 1994 of Sisters of Earth
  • What Do Our Faith Traditions Teach Us About Right Relationship to the Earth with a panel of local Interfaith Leaders: Rev. Douglas Olds (First Presbyterian, San Anselmo); Rabbi Paul Steinberg (Congregation Kol Shofar, Tiburon); Fr. Ken Weare (St. Rita, Fairfax) Mirza Khan (San Domenico School); Moderator: Susan Stephenson, Exec Director Interfaith Power and LightThe Evolution of Adult Faith Maturation with Father Diarmuid O’Murchu
  • Listening for the Heartbeat of God: Discipleship in John’s Gospel with Ron Rolheiser, OMI


  • March 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic) Racism: Roots, Resolves, and Results—a 3-part Series with historian Mick Chandler; small group facilitator and Founder of the Transformative Justice Institute Rochelle Edwards; and film guide designer and discussion leader Nnekay Fitzclarke
  • August 2020—Gather as if @ Grand:  Racism: Roots, Resolves, and Results organized by Sr. Barbara Green and Sr. Patricia Dougherty


  • Exploring and Confronting Our Racism: 4 tracks of study
2022 Gather@Grand

2022 Program Gather@Grand continues to invite you to some ways to explore and respond to the urgent and current issue of racism; we have some new offerings and a reminder of what is currently in process.

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Preachers of  Truth • Love • Justice