“All those rules and regulations”

Why the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist chose to build their new convent in Texas instead of California

Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz (right) and Mother Assumpta Long, both foundresses of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. The sisters take vocations as young as 18 and up to about age 33. “My whole community’s basically millennials except for the foundresses,” Sister Bogdanowicz said. (Ashley Landis/Staff Photographer)

Texas attracted another corporate expansion this year, one that could have an impact on a major institution in this state, and one that flew under the radar of state leaders in Austin. The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are growing so rapidly, they had to build a second convent for the nuns. And they chose the Hill Country town of Georgetown.

The sisters, who founded their order in Ann Arbor, Mich., might seem like ordinary Catholic nuns, if the word ordinary could ever be applied to someone who takes such extraordinary vows. They wear long, white habits. They keep a regimen of prayer and worship throughout the day. Their mission is to teach schoolchildren. They smile kindly and talk a lot about God’s will.

But do not be fooled by their gentle ways. These 140 nuns have tapped in to the earnest energy of a new generation of millennial recruits seeking a sense of community, permanence and joy. As Americans’ trust in institutions dims and our skepticism of long-term commitment grows, the sisters have added so many young women to their order that they need more space. The order that was established when four nuns moved to Ann Arbor in 1997 has grown to 140 (average age 32), more than the convent in Michigan can hold.

“We were out of room and so we had to go someplace,” said Mother Mary Assumpta Long, prioress general and a founder of the order, in a recent interview at the new facility. “We had property in California, we had property here and you always want to do God’s will. Where does God want us to land and build a community? But California we found was too, it was too difficult to build there because of just, issues.”

“All those rules and regulations,” Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, also one of the four founders of the order, said in the interview.

The exterior of a new Dominican Sisters of Mary convent in Georgetown, Texas. (Ashley Landis/Staff Photographer)

“So we thought God wants us in Texas,” Mother Assumpta Long said.

So they raised $30 million and built a convent on land that had been donated outside of Georgetown. Twelve nuns have moved in, and there’s room for 56. The sisters built living quarters and a large building with space for gathering and eating, with a temporary chapel. They plan to build a full chapel with housing for 115. For that they need to raise more money. They express no doubt that the expansion project will continue.

She said: “So again, just coming down to Texas, everything about this spirit is just kind of out there. What you see is what you get, and they say what they mean and they mean what they say and that’s a very Dominican type of spirituality. We just said, the Texans just get it. They’re just kind our type people. Let’s think big and do big things for God. One lifetime’s kind of short. Let’s get moving.”

Full story at Dallas News.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Wonderful news! Great news for Texas! May California be next on their expansion list! Many Catholic families will be so blessed, to have these wonderful nuns teach their children!

  2. anonymous says

    California people just doesn’t get, do they? Satan is at work and California is buying him hook line and sinker!

  3. Joel Fago says

    California is a killing state.

  4. I remember when they tried to build on donated land near Lincoln, CA. The planning commission and some vocal minorities did everything they could to keep them from building. Our loss, Texas’s gain. We need these nuns in CA.

  5. A certain bit of irony in that the Nuns are a part of an organzation noted for its myriad rules and regulations.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says

      OK mike m, I appreciate most of your comments here, but you gotta admit, the permit process for new construction in SF, anyhow, is a major contributor to our housing problems. By the time someone gets through the hurdles, either their financing has fallen through or the economics have changed or the developer gets involved in another project. I think everyone – left, right, and center – have agreed that CA has gone a bit too far in SOME of its regulations.

  6. YFC, I agree a lot of Calif development rules are beyond what might be necessary. I pray the Marines stay in Camp Pendelton. Otherwise we would have shore line urbanization from San Ysidro to north of Santa Barbara. Perhaps this general rule applies to religious organizations.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.