Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Traditional Dominican Order Bursting at the Seams

I'll be adding this post to my Vocations section in the sidebar, along with the recent post about Assumption Grotto Vocations of 2006.

I want to focus, once again, on the new Domincan order which started about 9-10 years
ago in the Ann Arbor area of Michigan. I call it traditional, because these sisters wear traditional habits and their work is reminiscent of that done traditionally by sisters over the centuries. The youthfulness of this order is visible, as is their joy and enthusiasm whenever they are found at local events. Follow this post through to the bottom and you will see where they are spreading their wings. Is your town next?

Clicking the other pics will yield a larger photo. All of these pictures are taken from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist website.

As of August 29, 2006 the order has 15 new Postulants....

And, 19 Novices...

There are 30 temporarily professed sisters listed. You can read about each Novice and temp-professed sister, and see from where they come in search of such a religious life on the vocations page. As of August 28, the order reported a community of 70 - a real boom for one that is only 9 years old.

--->History of The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist


A new chapel was completed. There is no denying, or speculating, or wondering what faith they witness: It's......distinctly Catholic!

Below I post only a few out of the many photos they have of the dedication and construction. In this first photo, you see Bishop of Lansing, Michigan, Carl Mengeling consecrating the altar.

The choir sings during the ceremony and frosted glass is seen in the background.

Concelebrants present........ A careful eye will recognize Fr. Perrone, pastor of Assumption Grotto, off to the left.


Now, what comes next is even better news. At the bottom of this post, I discussed how Mother Angelica's order had to send out 4 sisters to begin a new branch in the Phoenix, Arizona area, at the invitation of Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead. Like a healthy tree, a good order will sprout new branches. This is how the Holy Spirit prevents too much of a good thing from being isolated in one place (and prevents one monastery from turning people away).

Well, Bishop Olmstead recognizes a healthy tree and good things, so he invited some sisters from this traditional Dominican order in Ann Arbor to his town. They have answered the call and have moved in to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, where they will be teaching and working.

I shouldn't have to tell you that this will be a magnet for young girls to hear their calling in that area. I suspect this will not be the last of the branches that will sprout from this amazing order. It is a testimony that young people are interested in the full Catholic package of prayer and works, as opposed to just works, which has been the empahsis for the last 40 years in many dying communities. Some of these communities which have shifted their focus almost exclusively to social justice are lucky to find one new member every few years.

The Dominicans from Ann Arbor were not done spreading good things and extending branches...

On August 9, Fr. Andrew Bloomfield reported on his blog, that not only had sisters been sent to the Phoenix area, but four others were sent to one of my favorite places: Hilton Head South Carolina.

And, Deal Hudson, in an article entitled 1400 Percent Growth of Dominican Sisters, also points out that Bishop Baker had invited the sisters to South Carolina. They had been doing mission work there in the summers and it was very successful.

God Bless them on their journey - lets keep them in our prayers.

This, to me, is yet another sign that in another 20 years, we will see nuns in traditional habits working in parishes, and Catholic schools will make a strong comeback......God willing!

Oh, and one more thing about this order........ I've heard them singing in Latin and I believe they study the language - something to check out if you have a calling and treasure the language of the Church!


djrakowski said...

Thanks for the beautiful pictures, Diane! These ladies are radiant with the joy of Christ, and I hope they continue to grow in Arizona and South Carolina.

Our children have been watching their catechetical program on EWTN, "Truth in the Heart," and my wife and I are learning a few things along with the kids. They're doing amazing work!

Diane said...

Your welcome!

I was just thinking that perhaps these "branches" are simply groups sent out from the motherhouse as an assignment, and perhaps not to build a new community as I first suspected.

However, with the explosive growth rate of this community, and further exposure due to these "satellite" communities, there are sure to be more girls looking to get in, should the Lord be calling them.

If someone knows if these are just satellites of the original, still tied to the original "motherhouse" in Ann Arbor......Or.....if they are going to be establishing new communities of the same order please email me or comment here.

Either way, they are spreading their wings!

Dennis said...

Nice pictures. I've been praying for them for a couple of years now. I go to seminary at Saint Meinrad, and one of the high school kids that I taught catechism with at a local parish left town when she graduated high school 2 years ago. She's one of the white-veiled novices in the photo you have, Sr. Mary John. Good women.

Diane said...

Sweet! Thanks for adding your testimony.

Matthew-John said...

There is a beauty and grace reserved only for those in habits
Balm of simplicity for a hectic world
Hands of strength
Words of compassion
Hearts for Christ are hearts of great love.

(Are there any brothers experiencing this sort of growth because of their faith?)

Nancy said...

I don't know as much about the state of male religious, but Fr Benedict Groeschel's order, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, is one very orthodox order that seems to be doing very well. I think Mother Angelica's order of Franciscan friars may be another.

Anonymous said...

I do know as far as men go. The Norbertines in Orange County are doing well, the Benedictines at Clear Creek, OK have vocations waiting to join once they can finish their monastery, also the Carmelites (hard-core monks) in Cody, Wyoming have many interested in a vocation with them once they get enough room to grow.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are of course growing substantially.

The more traditional, the order, the faster they are growing. We are at the beginning of a renewal in the traditional religious life.

Then there is also Society of St. John Cantius, I'm not sure if they would be considered an order, but they are experiencing growth.

Diane said...

I did see Fr. Benedict Groeschel introducing the new young men discerning in his order. There were at least 5-7 that I could see, which is substantial.

St. John Cantius indeed is growing, and is receiving a son of Assumption Grotto this year. Their liturgies - Grotto like with chant, music, Latin Novus Ordo (and the Tridentine, as well) make it a fine fit for a young man who grew up at my parish. St. John Cantius Society was given birth in the 1990's the purpose of restoring a sense of sacred in the Liturgy.

Thanks for noting these other orders, as well. I agree - the more traditional, the more crowded.

In the meanwhile, the Diocese of Los Angeles with its huge population continues to cry "priest shortage". They haven't figured it out yet. One must wonder how many fine good men have and women, called to the priesthood or religious orders have been sidelined directly or indirectly by those seeking out more progressive personalities, while filtering out orthodox-minded people. God help anyone who pushed away those who were legitimately called.

Brendan Allen said...

Diane, you mention they have fifteen new postulants this year.

I'm curious - do you know, or are you at liberty to reveal, how many ladies actually applied to be accepted as postulants?

Here in Ireland I remember reading a few weeks ago that the numbers entering Maynooth seminary (for Ireland's various dioceses) is slightly up on last year (can't remember the numbers!); but what struck me most from the newspaper article was the statement from the national vocations director that not every man who applied was taken.

Many are called, few are chosen.

Diane said...

Gosh - I wouldn't know how many applied. I'm sure some are called, yet can't be taken at this time due to space limitations too.

But, as young people apply to any institution it is important to ensure they are taking such a step for the right reasons. Some may have good intentions, but could be running from something, rather than running to Someone.

With seminaries, it depends. In some dioceses, there are gatekeepers who literally screen out anyone with a hint of orthodoxy. Though this has slowly been changing in other dioceses. Where there is very low to nil enrollment, you can bet your boots men have applied over the years, and were not accepted, even though they may very well have been called.

God help anyone who screens out a potentially legitimately called young man or woman due to orthodoxy and reverent worship practices painted as "too rigid".

Diane said...

I should add that when the gatekeepers are gone, suddenly the seminaries swell.

Wimsey said...


In response to your question about the sister forming new communities or being still tied to the Motherhouse in Ann Arbor: My understanding from my many friends who are in that convent is that part of the formation process is to prepare the sisters to be founders of new convents, not just satellite daughterhouses of the convent in Ann Arbor, but independent convents. As far as I know, however, the missions that the sisters are currently on to South Carolina, Phoenix, etc. are just that and no sisters have yet left to establish a new convent. I think that it will be a few years still before that happens. I hope that they will come to my diocese eventually - I'll have to mention it to my Bishop!

By the way, over at Theological Investigations, we have links to the numerous orders who studied with us at Christendom College this summer - an incredible experience to have all the brothers, sisters and priests with us. All in habit, all full of joy and serenity. Some of orders have been mentioned here already, including the Norbertines who run the institute.

Diane said...

That's wonderful news about Christendom. These young people are witnessing the faith, and enabling others to "hear" their calling - something so stifled for the last 40 years.

I know many my age and up regret no such opportunities when we were of an acceptable age. I'm 44. Most communities, but not all, end acceptance at 35.

Also, thanks for providing information on the "satelitte" vs. "new community" issue. I had a feeling it was at the very least, a temporary satellite community. But with the growth rate of that order, they will eventually be prompted by the Holy Spirit to launch new "motherhouses", just as the "Phoenix 5" from Mother Angelica's Monastery in Alabama had to do. With most cloisters the numbers are set at a limit.

I hope we see more traditional Franciscan, Benedictine, Salesion, and other orders. It's good to know about the Norbertines, as well.

DilexitPrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The traditional communities that accept "older/belated" vocations are out there ~
you just have to dig deep to find them ~ and above all... never give up. I FINALLY FOUND ONE FOR ME!