Discovering the True Meaning of Preaching

By Caroline Bickerton, Class of 2018


St. Mary’s Dominican High School student preacher Caroline Bickerton, reads during Mass at the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference. At left is fellow student preacher Cappy Elvir.

This July, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the 19th Annual Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference with five of my fellow student preachers from St. Mary’s Dominican High School. Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, became our home for a week as we dove into the true meaning of preaching as Dominicans.

I quickly realized that preaching is more than a speech given from a pulpit. Preaching can encompass every aspect of life. I found a deeper appreciation of my Dominican education that is based on the four pillars of prayer, study, community, and service. They are the keys for preaching by example.  Daily and nightly prayer services, Led by our peers, showed us the various ways we can share God’s Word and experience His presence as a community.

We attended seminars about current global issues and learned how we can effectively make a difference in the world. Our nightly home group breakout sessions allowed us to build a community with participants from schools across the country and outside the United States. We also served the local Adrian community, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, the Catherine Cobb House, and the Hope Center. This conference opened us to the myriad ways we can preach in the Dominican tradition, whether by a reflection at Mass, a day of service, or even liturgical dancing and artwork.

My favorite part of the conference was the opportunity to meet devoted teens and adults.  We became friends with students from as far away as Puerto Rico and Australia. We attended a presentation by Sister Habiba Binham, O.P., with the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine in Mosul, Iraq. She spoke about the refugee crisis in her homeland. Though we came from all over the world, a shared Dominican bond that transcends borders connected us. I am grateful for this experience and for the people who made this such a fulfilling conference. I hope as student preachers this school year, we bring to our school that spirit of the global Dominican community.


St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s student preachers (from left) Meghan Rotolo, Caroline Bickerton, Ella Cheramie, Molly Derbes, Abby Haydel, and Cappy Elvir attended the 19th Annual Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference held at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan.