The Irish Dominicans have a longstanding history of service to the Church of Trinidad and Tobago, much of which has been documented in publications by Sr Marie Thérèse Rétout OP, Fr Marie-Joseph Guillet OP, Fr Bertrand Cothonay OP, Fr Vincent Leahy OP, and the Catholic News.
They are remembered for their involvement in the building of schools, churches and chapels, and in the establishment of the 126-year-old Catholic News.
A new focus however is taken in a 244-page book, Extracts from the Archives of the Irish Dominicans in Trinidad and Tobago [1895-2018]. A collection of personal letters exchanged, this new book gives insight into the interior life of the priests of the period as they pursued their vocation and service in the prisons, General Hospital, orphanage, Regiment and Coast Guard, Society of St Vincent de Paul, credit unions, “as well as non-parochial activities”.
In a press release, Dr Kwynn Johnson PhD and Fr Thomas Lawson OP explain that Extracts focuses on the never-before-explored aspect of their history, “…a look at the spaces in between. These personal letters remind us of the precarious terrain of the human condition, oftentimes at its most vulnerable, is set against moral and ethical ideals. Obedience is the thread that runs through their writing.”
The importance of archives, from which these letters are derived, cannot be understated. “Archives of this nature offer us a way of knowing, and these letters remind us of the universality of the human condition…another look at how we all negotiate, wrestle and contest moments of weakness, isolation and disempowerment.”
The book will be launched on Friday, December 7 at St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre, St Finbar’s, Diego Martin at 7 p.m.—SD