ABOUT DOMINICAN LIFE…
Our foundation draws from the dynamism of the “new”, the vitality of the New Evangelization, and the rich heritage of the “old”, the cherished tradition of the Order of Preachers.
While we espouse the impetus of Pope John Paul’s exhortation, Vita Consecrata: “…the Church needs the spiritual and apostolic contribution of a renewed and revitalized consecrated life…” we hand down the Dominican charism.
We are consecrated women first, and so our foremost model is Mary, the Mother of God. Inspired by the spirit and energy of St. Dominic, our prayer comes first so that our apostolic work overflows from a contemplation nourished before the Eucharist.
Our apostolate follows upon the “old” of preaching and teaching the Truth in order to gain souls for the Kingdom of Christ. We accept the demands of our culture and society today, giving “new” voice and flesh to the Gospel, which we carry to all those we meet.
While our Motherhouse is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our apostolic endeavors frequently bring us to other parts of the United States and beyond.
We invite you to learn more about our involvement in the New Evangelization, rooted in the enduring Dominican tradition, through this website.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” —Mt 13:52
In accord with these words of St. Catherine of Siena, “God grant that I may always be a lover and proclaimer of truth,” the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist fully embrace the charism and spirituality of the Order of Preachers. We seek to first love the Truth, by means of an intense and prayerful study of the Word of God and the truths of our Catholic tradition. Following in the footsteps of our founder, St. Dominic, and the many dynamic saints of the Order, we strive to be authentic proclaimers of the Truth, to a world that is starving for real encounter with the Person of Jesus Christ. For the sake of these two necessary tasks, our lives are committed to the point of heroic self-sacrifice and the shedding of our blood, if God so wills.
Our pattern of life is inextricably bound up with the monastic observances given us by our Dominican tradition. We espouse the common life, cloister, times and places of silence, the choral Divine Office and daily Mass, while wearing the black and white habit so characteristic of the Order of Preachers. These exterior practices are signs of our deeper consecration and pursuit of holiness, fired by a constant zeal for souls. As obedient daughters of the Church, we seek to give fresh vitality to the timeless Dominican spirituality by our love and study of Veritas (truth) and sharing with others, through preaching and teaching, the abundant fruits of our contemplation.
We are preachers of the Word only because we are first contemplatives of the Word, living intensely the spirituality of our Dominican tradition.
“God grant that I may always be a lover and proclaimer of truth, and that for the sake of truth I may die.” —Saint Catherine of Siena —Mt 13:52
It should not come as a surprise that as Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist we have deep and ardent love for the most Holy Sacrament of the altar! Christ’s Eucharistic Heart is at the very center of our being. “The one thing the foundresses had in common was a deep hunger. They ached for the Eucharist, for God-with-us and within-us, and they wanted Him to be the heart of all they did . . . Quite literally, they wrote this hunger for Christ’s Body and Blood into the constitutions of the community.” (Sr. Teresa Benedicta, O.P.)
Seeking to maintain and invigorate our love for our Divine Spouse, each Dominican Sister of Mary rejoices to begin her day with a daily hour of Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The first Friday of every month finds us before the Divine throne for night Adoration. Our monthly “Retreat Sunday” includes a full day of Eucharistic Adoration and our week-long yearly retreat offers the same.
The Eucharist is present, not only in the chapel of our Motherhouse, but also in the chapels of all of our mission houses. Wherever we go we always find ourselves at home because He is there.
We depend greatly on the presence of our Eucharistic Spouse to help us in our prayer and our work, and we could not live without Him. Our vocation to live the evangelical counsels for the glory of God, the salvation of souls, and the transformation of the world only arises from the graces received from His Divine Eucharistic Presence. As Pope St. John Paul II says, “Only through the Eucharist is it possible to live the heroic virtues of Christianity: charity, to the point of forgiving one’s enemies; love for those who make us suffer; chastity in every age and situation of life; patience in suffering and when one is shocked by the silence of God in the tragedies of history or of one’s own personal existence. You must always be Eucharistic souls in order to be authentic Christians.”
“[Christ’s Eucharistic sacrament and sacramental presence] is the heart of the Church’s life, and also of the consecrated life. Frequent and prolonged adoration of Christ present in the Eucharist enables us in some way to relive Peter’s experience at the Transfiguration: It is well that we are here.” —Vita Consecrata 95
Marian Devotion + Total Consecration
The Sisters seek to imitate Mary’s receptivity to the love and will of God in their lives by offering their own unique “Fiat” or “Yes” to the Lord. No one was more faithful to Jesus than Mary. That is why the Sisters have taken her as their special patron in all they are and do. Marian devotion has been an integral part of the Church since her very beginning and it has guided the Dominican Order for over 800 years. Mary continues to be the “royal road” on which the Sisters travel to Christ. As a community, the Sisters live out St. Louis Marie Gringon de Montfort’s spirituality of “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin”. By offering to Mary, according to Monfort’s prayer, their body and soul, their goods both interior and exterior and even the value of all their good actions past, present and future without exception, for the greater glory of God, the Sisters’ allow their whole lives to be transformed by her love and more securely obtain their final end – Jesus Christ.
Every morning the Sisters renew together the consecration to Mary according to the De Montfort method. They delight in preparing for the anniversary of our consecration on the feast of the Assumption by a full 33 days of preparation. They strive to do all their actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary, so that we may do them all the more perfectly by Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus.
“Truly, the consecrated life lived in its fullness is Marian, because Mary lived her life united to the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we want to bring that aspect of the Church to a deeper respect and understanding among young women.” (Sr. John Dominic, O.P.)
The power of Jesus’ dying words – His words spoken from the Cross – are undeniably defining to the lives of those who join Mary and John at the foot of the Cross. In total consecration to Mary, a Fiat is said to Jesus’ dying words. Thus, ultimately a radical devotion to Mary is rooted in fidelity to Christ. His last words from the Cross guided our eyes to the image of Mary “Behold your Mother”. She returns this gaze of the heart to us as He concludes: “Behold your son”.
St. Catherine of Siena gives us a helpful analogy of an overflowing fountain: each of us is a fountain, receiving the water which is Christ through contemplation, and then letting the water overflow onto others through our apostolate. Our prayer and contemplation comes first in our lives because it is only through these that we will have anything to give those we serve.
“We are consecrated women first, and so our foremost model is Mary, the Mother of God. Inspired by the charism of St. Dominic, our prayer life comes first so that our apostolate overflows from a contemplation nourished before the Eucharist.” —Mother Assumpta Long, O.P.
A Sister of Mary looks to Our Lady, whose “yes” to the Word was but a response to His yearning to be received and pondered in her heart. Through union with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament she claims as her own the desire of her Spouse: that all people may “behold his glory” and know the Father’s infinite love for them. She understands that the Truth she is called to preach is the One who is jealous for her heart and longs to fill it with Himself. Only after encountering Him in the intimacy of the sanctuary and the cloister does she, like St. Mary Magdalene, go out and proclaim to the world, “I have seen the Lord!”
“To contemplate and to give to others the fruits of our contemplation.” —St. Thomas Aquinas
In the providential time of grace following the Second Vatican Council and leading up to the new Millennium, God called our community into being under the Pontificate of Pope St. John Paul the Great. Deeply attuned to the needs of the Church today, our community is familiar with many rooftops from which to proclaim the Gospel. It is only through our strong contemplative life that we have the strength to go out to all the world, quite literally, well aware of the admonition of Saint Dominic that grain is meant to be scattered.
While we continue the great Dominican tradition of teaching in schools around the country, we are also to be found proclaiming Christ in sundry ways all over the country: the Sisters offer vocations talks to school children, visit college campuses, host discernment retreats, and send Sisters out every summer to parishes for catechesis camps.
In addition to all of this, our community remains open to following the call to evangelize wherever it may lead us. It is an exciting time to be in the Church, for, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in an address to catechists, “New evangelization means … to dare, once again and with the humility of the small grain, to leave up to God the when and how it will grow.”
“The new evangelization, like that of all times, will be effective if it proclaims from the rooftops what it has first lived in intimacy with the Lord. It calls for strong personalities, inspired by saintly fervor.” —Vita Consecrata 81
One who is called to live consecrated virginity does not leave behind a vocation of motherhood, but rather lives it on a supernatural level. If a religious does not view her life through the lens of wife and mother she will not be happy and will not bear fruit that will last. One who departs from the world to live a poor, chaste and obedient life does not do so to remove herself from human relationships but rather to perfect her communion with souls. She is called to pour herself out for the Divine Spouse. She is called to receive and be vulnerable to Him. Her “sincere gift of self” takes on a universal scope. Because she is the bride of the Savior of the world, she must be a mother to all those He came to save. She must seek for her Spouse in every person and empty herself for Him.
For the Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, this takes on a particular expression in the classroom and in the other works of the apostolate. Our spiritual motherhood is also never more manifest than in our care of priests. As our charism is intensely Marian and Eucharistic we take seriously our role in fostering and supporting the priestly vocation through our life of prayer and sacrifice. We hear the words of Christ on the Cross as a call for us: Behold your son. With realistic knowledge of the many temptations and trials that priests encounter, we seek to be spiritual mothers by leading them to the Mother and by encouraging them to carry the Cross as Christ would desire them. Often this means suffering with them in the way Our Lady suffered when she saw those rejecting and crucifying her Son.
Venerable Fulton Sheen once said that when he got to heaven God would ask him “Where are your children?” This is a question every Sister knows will be asked of her. May He grant each of us a real spiritual fruitfulness.
Spousal love – with its maternal potential hidden in the heart of the woman as a virginal bride – when joined to Christ, the Redeemer of each and every person, is predisposed to being open to each and every person. —Mulieris Dignitatem
The Gospel of Life
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, holds a special secret beneath her folded hands.The black sash tied about her waist is an Aztec custom indicating that she is with child… and not just any child, but the Child. Standing protectively over the entire community at prayer, the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe in our Motherhouse Chapel reminds us daily of our community’s deeply pro-life heart.
Every religious woman gives her life away for the love of Him who gave His life for her and by virtue of her self-offering proclaims the immeasurable dignity of the human person, redeemed by Christ and called to communion with God. Wrapped within the mystery of our name, Mother of the Eucharist, witnessing to the Gospel of Life is an integral part our identity.
In a world permeated by the culture of death, the Dominican Sisters of Mary seek to restore the dignity of the human person and work to build up a culture of life through how we live, what we teach, in participating in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., the Walk for Life in San Francisco and pro-life events in other parts of the country, supporting and encouraging families and most especially through our daily fidelity to the consecrated life and our prayers.
We look to our Heavenly Mother and patroness, Mother of the Eucharist for a perfect model of spiritual motherhood and openness to life. Under Mary’s tutelage and in her school of love, each Sister discovers the secret for extending her heart to all humanity in a universal all-embracing love. “The one who accepted Life in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; She is thus most clearly and personally associated with the Gospel of life…” For this reason, Mary “like the Church of which she is the type, is a mother of all who are reborn to life. She is in fact the Mother of Life by which everyone lives, and when she brought it forth from herself she in some way brought to rebirth all those who were to live by that life. As the Church contemplates Mary’s Motherhood, she discovers the meaning of her own Motherhood and the way in which she is called to express it.” (Evangelium Vitae)
“The one who accepted Life in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; She is thus most clearly and personally associated with the Gospel of life.” —Evangelium Vitae