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Gather@Grand Speaker Series

Gather@Grand Speaker Series

Program History

What began in 2015 as an avenue for exploration on 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 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!

Current Program


Early in 2020 we announced a full line-up of talks, discussions, and film guides, but we had to pivot with the pandemic and related event restrictions. Read more about our program Racism: Roots, Resolves, and Results here.


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
2021 Gather@Grand

“American democracy has never shed an undemocratic assumption present at its founding: that some people are inherently entitled to more power than others.

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Preachers of  Truth • Love • Justice