Dominican Sister to discuss religious life at Attleboro parish


By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff
kensouza@anchornews.org

ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Sister Joseph Andrew, O.P., the vocation director for the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, will be coming to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Attleboro on Monday, January 14.

Sister-Joseph-Andrew

Sister Andrew will be giving a presentation on the vocation of women religious in the Catholic Church beginning at 7 p.m.

While the presentation is open to all seeking to learn more about religious life, the talk is specifically geared towards young woman who may be questioning, interested in, or actively discerning a call to religious life in the Catholic Church.

“I’ll be speaking primarily to young women of all ages, and I’m sure their moms,” Sister Andrew recently told The Anchor. “I’m very excited about coming to the diocese.”

The Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist is one of the most rapidly growing communities of religious Sisters in the country. Their membership is also among the youngest. The order’s Motherhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich. today counts more than 100 members with an average age of 28.

According to its website, the origins of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist can be traced back to 1996, when St. Pope John Paul II wrote his apostolic exhortation, Vita Consecrata, calling for a renewal of religious life. Inspired by his words, Mother Mary Assumpta Long, former superior of the Nashville-based Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and three other Sisters of her community — Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, Sister Mary Samuel Handwerker, and Sister John Dominic Rasmussen — set off to “undertake a new initiative.”

“Four of us founded this community in the Dominican order,” Sister Andrew said. “When a community is doing well, it is sometimes called by God to send out another group to begin a smaller branch.” 

On Feb. 9, 1997, John Cardinal O’Connor established the new foundation as a “Public Association of Christ’s Faithful” in the Archdiocese of New York. After their canonical establishment, the Sisters accepted an invitation by Bishop Carl Frederick Mengeling to teach in the Diocese of Lansing, Mich. and began to administer the Spiritus Sanctus Academies located in Ann Arbor, Mich. and Plymouth, Mich.

In 2010 the congregation was considering the purchase of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. to be used as a house of studies, but instead opted to build a Motherhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The community’s main apostolate is Catholic education and in addition to the Spiritus Sanctus Academies, they staff Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lansing, and also have small groups of Sisters teaching in the dioceses of Sacramento, Austin, Phoenix, Peoria, Chicago, Columbus, Gavelston-Houston, and Rome.

They also offer Spiritual retreats and spread the Christian faith by giving talks at colleges, universities, Catholic groups and vocation fairs. The Sisters also host a catechetical series on EWTN entitled “Truth in the Heart” for elementary school-aged children.

The congregation fully embraces the “charism and Spirituality of the Order of Preachers,” the Dominican Order. They have a devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration is an important part of their Spirituality. They also have a “total filial entrustment to Mary, the Mother of God.”

Through a profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, along with a contemplative emphasis on Eucharistic Adoration and Marian devotion, this community exists for the Salvation of souls and the building of the Church throughout the world.

Today, 22 years after its founding, the average age of a woman entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist is 21 and they currently have 144 members worldwide, with an average age of 32. In August, they welcomed a group of 13 new postulants.

“They come from all over the United States, from Canada, some from Europe, and one from Australia, so God has really blessed us with wonderful young women,” Sister Andrew said. “They are very talented, well-educated, and some are right out of high school or college. We even have a valedictorian from Harvard. We have all kinds of women with all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of interests and I think God knows if we’re starting a new community, there has to be a variety of talents and abilities. And He truly has given us a rich, garden variety of different women.”

The Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist are currently expanding geographically, with missions in California, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and Rome.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish is located at 71 Linden Street in Attleboro.
For more information, including directions, visit www.stvincent-attleboro.org or call 508-226-1115.


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