Preaching with Their Lives: Dominicans on Mission in the United States after 1850 9780823289660

This volume tells the little-known story of the Dominican Family—priests, sisters, brothers, contemplative nuns, and lay

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Preaching with Their Lives

catholic practice in north amer i ca ser ies editor: John C. Seitz, Associate Professor, Theology Department, Fordham University; Associate Director for Lincoln Center, Curran Center for American Catholic Studies This series aims to contribute to the growing field of Catholic studies through the publication of books devoted to the historical and cultural study of Catholic practice in North America, from the colonial period to the present. As the term “practice” suggests, the series springs from a pressing need in the study of American Catholicism for empirical investigations and creative explorations and analyses of the contours of Catholic experience. In seeking to provide more comprehensive maps of Catholic practice, this series is committed to publishing works from diverse American locales, including urban, suburban, and rural settings; ethnic, postethnic, and transnational contexts; private and public sites; and seats of power as well as the margins. ser ies a dv isory boa r d: Emma Anderson, Ottawa University Paul Contino, Pepperdine University Kathleen Sprows Cummings, University of Notre Dame James T. Fisher, Fordham University (Emeritus) Paul Mariani, Boston College Thomas A. Tweed, University of Texas at Austin

Preaching with Their Lives d ominic ans on mission in the united s tates af ter 1850 Editors

Margaret M. McGuinness and Jeffrey M. Burns

for dh a m u ni v er sit y pr ess New York 2021

Copyright © 2021 Fordham University Press All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Fordham University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. Fordham University Press also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Visit us online at Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available online at Printed in the United States of America 23 22 21 First edition

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Dedicated to Sister Janet Welsh, OP Her enthusiasm, encouragement, faith, and prayers made this book possible. She truly preaches the Gospel through her life.


Introduction: Dominicans on Mission Jeffrey M. Burns


dominicans in the world

A Joyful Spectrum of Ser vice: The Order of Preachers in New York James T. Carroll


“In the Midst of Sorrow and Death”: The Work of the Dominican Sisters in Tennessee during the Yellow Fever Epidemics Margaret M. McGuinness


Reclaiming the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ Legacy of Catholic Progressive Education Ellen Skerrett and Janet Welsh, OP


Walking in Solidarity: Dominican Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in the Modern United States Heath W. Carter


A Corporate Stance for Social Justice: The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California, and the 1980s Sanctuary Movement Cynthia Taylor


Aggiornamento on Campus: William Blase Schauer, OP, and the Las Cruces Experiment Christopher J. Renz, OP


being dominican

Call and Response: American Dominican Artists and Vatican II Elizabeth Michael Boyle, OP



con ten ts

Afire with the Itinerant Spirit: Paradigm Shifts in the Foreign Missions Donna Maria Moses, OP


Dominican Monasteries: Ever Ancient, Ever New Cecilia Murray, OP


More Than a Mustard Seed: The Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission Diane Kennedy, OP


From Teacher to Tutor: Adapting a Historic Ministry of Education to Contemporary Realities Arlene I. Bachanov


Samuel Mazzuchelli, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, and the Making of American Saints Kathleen Sprows Cummings


List of Contributors




Preaching with Their Lives

Introduction Dominicans on Mission jeffrey m. bur ns

The Dominican family has made significant contributions to the history of the Catholic Church in the United States and to the history of the United States. Unfortunately, this history has been largely ignored or forgotten. In 1990 the Dominican Leadership Conference in the United States gathered together “a team of Dominican historians and researchers” to organize Project OPUS to remedy this situation. OPUS was charged with directing the researching and writing of a family history of the Order of Preachers in the United States (OPUS), a history that was to include the role of Dominican priests, sisters, brothers, contemplative nuns, and laypeople. As the preface of its first volume asserted, “For the sake of present and future ser vice to the Church, there is need to know the history of the Dominican family on mission together, beginning in the earliest years of the nation.” In 2001, Project OPUS celebrated a major achievement—the publication of Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865,1 the first volume of a projected multivolume history of the order, edited by Mary Nona McGreal, OP. The first volume told the story of the Dominican family’s pioneers and pioneer institutions, and their role in the creation of the early republic in the United States. The first volume covered the order’s many accomplishments and establishments through the Civil War. Our second volume, Preaching with Their Lives: Dominicans on Mission in the United States after 1850, picks up where the first volume left off—in the middle of the nineteenth century. But the second volume takes a vastly different approach. Rather than attempt a unified, chronological narrative as volume 1 had done, volume 2 takes a thematic approach through twelve essays examining Dominican contributions in a number of areas: parish ministry, preaching, health care, education, social and economic justice, liturgical renewal and the arts, missionary outreach and contemplative prayer, ongoing internal formation and renewal, and models of


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sanctity. Throughout the twelve essays, the Dominican lived virtues shine through—preaching the Gospel in word and deed, caring for the poor and marginalized, proclaiming the reality of an incarnational God who dwells in our midst, an appreciation of beauty, spirituality, and lively community. Preaching with Their Lives covers an era of immense change and painstaking development for both the United States and the order. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the nation was transformed from a rural, agricultural nation into an urban, industrial giant. It received a massive influx of immigrants as it emerged as the world’s leading economic power; it experienced two world wars, a great economic depression, postwar recovery and prosperity, and more than a decade of turbulent social and political change, culminating in its emergence as the world’s lone superpower. Throughout the century and a half that this volume covers, the Dominican family was present, doing its part, responding to the country’s needs, sharing its triumphs and challenges, and attempting to shape US culture according to the vision of St. Dominic, that is to say, the vision of the Gospel. As the country grew and developed, so did the Dominican family. Dominicans responded to the needs each era generated. When the country was swept by wave after wave of immigrants from around the world, and cities experienced unchecked growth, Dominicans responded by providing multiple educational institutions; community, social, and religious centers; health care; and social ser vices. In an era in which there was no social safety net, Dominicans acted to fill the breach. When epidemic disease—yellow fever, influenza, typhoid, and cholera—hit various locales, Dominicans responded with nursing care and spiritual sustenance. As the United States grew and became more complex, and social inequities and iniquities appeared, Dominicans cried out for social and economic justice. Amid the ugliness and social dislocation of modern society, Dominicans offered beauty through the liturgical arts, the fine arts, music, drama, and film—all designed to enrich the culture and hold social ennui at bay, reminding the world of the Incarnation. As globalization became a reality, the Dominican vision expanded, as Dominicans created programs of missionary outreach abroad and interior outreach through contemplative prayer at home. Through it all, the Dominicans cultivated their own identity, undergoing regular self-examination and renewal, striving to answer

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the central question: Where is God calling the Dominican family? Dominicans have contributed much to church and nation, not the least of which are the models of sanctity they have produced. Some have officially been acknowledged as saints by the church, but most have not. This volume hopes to bring to light some of the stories of this unsung multitude. Preaching with Their Lives seeks to explore the vast diversity of the Dominican family, the vast diversity of gifts, challenges, and ministries. It attempts to tell the story of those who have gone before. More important, it seeks to inspire future generations. Firmly grounded in the achievements of the past, the Dominican family can confront the challenges of the future with renewed vigor. But the essays are more than celebratory—the essays make a significant contribution to US Catholic historiography as well. We have divided the book into two parts: the first six chapters begin with what we call “Dominicans in the World.” These essays explore the interconnection and interaction of the Dominican story with the larger narrative of US history. These essays look outward. The second part, “Being Dominican,” takes a closer look at developments that occurred within the order and are more particular to the Dominican family. These essays tend to look inward, but they also intersect and are dependent on the larger history of the United States. These latter essays may seem more celebratory than those in the first part and of more interest to the Dominican family, but they too make an important contribution in laying out a story that has not previously been told. Our story begins in the second half of the nineteenth century in the nation’s largest and most important urban center, New York City. In “A Joyful Spectrum of Service: The Order of Preachers in New York” James T. Carroll examines the Dominican response to US modernization brought on by industrialization, immigration, and urbanization. All branches of the Dominican family—priests, sisters, nuns, brothers, and laity—were established in New York City during this era. They encountered the all too common effects of modern urban life: poverty, abandoned women, orphans, the sick, the elderly, and the forgotten. Dominicans responded in traditional ways with schools, hospitals, and social ser vices but also with innovative responses such as settlement houses. They also provided for the city’s spiritual needs by creating “mission bands” of preachers who went from site to site and by fostering devotions. Carroll contends that Dominicans


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were creative thinkers who did not simply rely on rote responses, but thought innovatively. One innovation gave birth to a third order (distinct from the cloistered second order), which could work directly in the community to address specific social needs. Carroll addresses several areas that will be treated in later chapters—the work of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (“Samuel Mazzuchelli, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, and the Making of American Saints,” by Kathleen Sprow Cummings), the founding of the Maryknoll Sisters (“Afire with the Itinerant Spirit,” by Donna Marie Moses, OP), and the establishment of contemplative houses (“Dominican Monasteries,” by Cecilia Murray, OP). In “ ‘In the Midst of Sorrow and Death’: The Work of the Dominican Sisters in Tennessee during the Yellow Fever Epidemics” Margaret M. McGuinness examines the work done by the Dominican community of sisters in response to repeated yellow fever epidemics in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. McGuinness addresses two traditional weaknesses in US Catholic historiography—the neglect of the important contribution of women religious, as well as the neglect of the geographical location of her study, the South. McGuinness relates the extreme difficulties and dislocations the sisters faced in establishing the order in Tennessee: the disruption of the Civil War, followed by repeated epidemics. The order survived through “hard work, strategic leadership, and prayer,” but not without cost. McGuinness records the suffering the sisters endured. For instance, “Sisters Joseph McKernan, who had volunteered to nurse patients [in Memphis in 1873], was the first member of the St. Cecilia congregation to die from the disease during this epidemic. Sisters Martha Quarry and Magdalen McKernan (Sister Joseph McKernan’s biological sister), who died within twelve hours of each other, followed her.” The cost of discipleship was more than a remote ideal for the Dominican women of Tennessee. Nonetheless, McGuinness claims, the order was established successfully, despite adverse conditions. In “Reclaiming the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ Legacy of Catholic Progressive Education” Ellen Skerrett and Janet Welsh, OP, address another lacuna in US and US Catholic historiography—the role of women religious in US educational history. They write, “To an extent that historians of education—as well as ‘baby boomers’—have not fully appreciated, These Are Our Friends presented a positive view of American Catholic life for thousands of children enrolled in parochial schools in the United States

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in the 1940s and 1950s.” Two unheralded grammar school teachers, Sisters Joan Smith, OP, and Mary Nona McGreal, OP, were the driving forces behind the development of what became the standard curriculum guide for Catholic schools in the United States, Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living, published in three volumes between 1944 and 1946 by the Catholic University of America Press. Smith and McGreal benefited from a Dominican tradition of progressive education, which recognized the individuality of the teacher and the student alike, was not limited to learning by rote, encouraged learning by doing, and taught the children to think through the use of the Socratic method. They attempted to balance church doctrine and secular subjects. As with other Catholic educators of the era, Dominican educators sought to create good Catholics and good citizens. Skerrett and Welsh examine and explore little known aspects of Catholic educational history—the interplay of strong pastors and strong Dominican women superiors and principals, Dominican women pursuing advanced study at premier secular universities such as the University of Chicago and Columbia University, exchanges between women religious and secular educational authorities, and the mixing of various orders of women religious in educational training and advancement, which contributed to collaborative efforts between the orders. Skerrett and Welsh argue that historians have undervalued the role of women religious, and in this case, Dominican women, in US educational history. Their essay, in contrast, celebrates the contributions of the Dominicans. The next essay, “Walking in Solidarity: Dominican Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in the Modern United States,” addresses another lacuna: the role of women religious in promoting and developing Catholic social teaching in the twentieth century in the United States. According to Heath W. Carter, this lacuna points to a larger problem—the neglect of the Catholic Church in the new histories of capitalism currently being written. In this essay, Carter examines the surprising history of one of the giants of the era who has been all but neglected by historians, Sister Vincent Ferrer Bradford, OP, a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa. Working for the US Bishops’ Social Action Department, Sister Vincent was of such renown that she once was highlighted in a talk by Communist leader Earl Browder, earning her the unfortunate nickname, the “Communist Sister.” Using Ferrer as his primary example, Carter argues that, contrary to popular perceptions, “women religious have played essential roles in the fight


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for a more economically just society.” Indeed, women religious who worked with the poor and working class seemed more inclined to support organized labor than to get caught up in abstract debates about socialism and in antisocialist crusades as many clerics did. Ferrer’s distinguished career “startled” many who found it difficult to believe a Catholic sister could be so expert and well-spoken on economic issues and Catholic social teaching. Carter concludes his essay with what might be considered a legacy of Sister Vincent—the Adrian Dominicans’ contemporary attempt to live out the teachings of the papal social encyclicals by implementing the call for a living wage in their communities and institutions. It is not easy. The next essay continues to focus on the difficulties of living out the demands of the Gospel and Catholic social teaching. In “A Corporate Stance for Social Justice: The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California, and the 1980s Sanctuary Movement” Cynthia Taylor probes the development of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael’s decision to take a corporate and public stance in favor of the sanctuary movement in support of Salvadoran refugees in the 1980s. Taylor charts the history of the congregation through three eras: the pioneer era in which strong hierarchical authority contributed to the order’s establishment in California; the second period, in which the traditional ministries of education and health care were developed; and the third period, which sought the implementation of the directives of the Second Vatican Council. The postconciliar era saw two significant changes—first, the transition from a hierarchical authority structure to a more democratic one that placed more importance on dialogue and consultation, and second, the development of a communal social consciousness that privileged concern for the poor. In the 1980s, as the civil war in El Salvador escalated, the flow of refugees from El Salvador increased. The US government declined to acknowledge them as refugees, and so they were designated as “undocumented” immigrants, officially regarded as being in the United States illegally. Numerous groups defied the law and provided sanctuary to the refugees. The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael underwent a six-stage discernment process that resulted in the community’s taking a corporate and public stance in favor of sanctuary, and in making the motherhouse an actual sanctuary refuge by taking in a refugee family. The decision was a courageous one. First, the community openly dissented from stated US governmental policy, and

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second, they broke the law. Taylor’s essay once again highlights the risks of following the Gospel. “Aggiornamento on Campus: William Blase Schauer, OP, and the Las Cruces Experiment ” takes us in a different direction—to Dominican contributions to the liturgical renewal movement. Christopher Renz, OP, explores the underappreciated life of Dominican friar William Blase Schauer, founder of what came to be popularly known as “Liturgy in Santa Fe.” Schauer was a disciple of the liturgical movement, and before the Second Vatican Council he sought to implement the new liturgical principles at the Newman Center at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He considered the campus a type of laboratory where he pursued what he called “adventures in liturgy,” mixing tradition with experimentation, attempting to integrate the liturgy with daily life. Schauer saw the importance of and made use of the local cultural heritage. He stressed the importance of the liturgical environment and adopted a multimedia approach that made use of art, music, drama, chant, slides, symbols, and paintings. Surprisingly, Schauer was not overly enthusiastic about some of the changes brought on by the council and the way they were being implemented. As he put it, he preferred “evolution, not revolution.” Schauer summed up his appreciation for the liturgy: “In liturgy, all the great truths of faith are embodied, are celebrated, and are enhanced by art, symbol, and imagery,” and liturgy is “the greatest teaching instrument the Church has.” Through the life of Father Schauer, Renz explores the difficulties and promises of liturgical reform, Dominican style. The second part of this volume examines what it means to be Dominican from the US perspective. In “Call and Response: American Dominican Artists and Vatican II” Elizabeth Michael Boyle, OP, examines the development of Dominican art following the Second Vatican Council. Like Schauer, Boyle explores the intersection of experimentation and tradition. Boyle presents a variety of postconciliar Dominican artists—liturgical artists, musicians, painters, architects, poets, and filmmakers—and concludes with the groundbreaking work of the Dominican Institute for the Arts. Dominican artists have created inspired artworks in multiple media that proclaim the reality and presence of God in and to the modern world. As such, they are fulfilling the primary Dominican charism, preaching. Good music is preaching. Good art is preaching. Good architecture is preaching. Moreover, good art is a form of prayer. The Second Vatican


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Council freed artists to experiment with new forms and modalities, though the teaching remained essentially the same. Nonetheless, several Dominican artists have used their art to explore the demands of social justice, to serve as voices for the unheard, the poor, and the oppressed. The medium of filmmaking has been utilized by several Dominican men to explore sensitive and thought-provoking topics. Despite using vastly different forms and approaches of art, Boyle concludes, all Dominican art is incarnational. “Like silence, Dominican art calls us to an experience of God.” In “Afire with the Itinerant Spirit: Paradigm Shifts in the Foreign Missions” Donna Maria Moses, OP, presents a thorough history of the missionary efforts of US Dominican women beginning in the early twentieth century. In 1908, the Vatican no longer designated the United States a “mission country.” With its newfound maturity the church in the United States began to look outward and sponsored missionaries to foreign lands. Several Dominican congregations sent sisters abroad. By the end of the twentieth century as many as twelve US Dominican congregations had sent missionaries to more than fifty-five nations. Most significant was the foundation of Maryknoll, the Foreign Missionary Society of St. Dominic, affiliated with the Dominican Order in 1920 by foundress Mother Josephine Rogers. Initially formed as a society in 1912, the women were not allowed to send missionaries abroad until 1921, when the first sisters were sent to China. Over the next century, Maryknoll and other Dominican congregations expanded to other parts of Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Moses charts the triumphs, challenges, and transformation of mission work that led to changes in the mission paradigm that directed the Dominican mission over the course of more than a century. While experiencing the exhilaration of community and solidarity, Dominican missionaries also experienced persecution, and even martyrdom, at the hands of Communist China, Latin American dictators, and others. In each land and era, it was the sisters’ work with the poor and marginalized that made them vulnerable and dangerous. Moses concludes with the challenges brought on by declining numbers of sisters. In “Dominican Monasteries: Ever Ancient, Ever New” Cecilia Murray, OP, probes the Dominican response to the American longing for the contemplative life. For many Americans, cloistered life seemed strange or exotic; for others, it provided an answer to a call. Murray provides a detailed chronology of the foundation and expansion of Dominican monasteries

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for women throughout the United States. By the 1890s, Murray asserts, there were “two networks of contemplative women: one dedicated to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the other to perpetual recitation of the rosary.” Both traditions grew in numbers and expanded across the United States until the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, when decline, and at times closure, became the norm. Several monasteries closed in response to divisions caused by debates over the implementation of Vatican II within their monasteries. Despite the decline, Dominican monasteries have given a witness to Dominican prayer and contemplation in the midst of a frenzied world. The next essay turns inward to look at the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission. Parable was a direct result of the Second Vatican Council’s mandate for the renewal of religious orders. In “More Than a Mustard Seed: The Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission” Diane Kennedy, OP, lovingly tells the story of Parable’s foundation, remarkable growth, and ultimate demise. From 1976 to 2008, Parable attempted to create collaborative efforts and projects involving Dominican men and women, who were to meet on an equal basis. It sought nothing less than the renewal of Dominican life and mission, and the renewal of Dominican spirituality. Research, study, spirituality, collaboration, and community were the key words of the movement. Particularly effective were the Encounter with the Word retreats, in which Dominican men and women came together to pray, reflect on the Word, and explore their common calling. Over the thirty-two years of Parable’s existence, thousands of Dominicans either attended or participated in the planning of the retreats. Despite its enormous success, the Parable Conference began to flounder amid the changing demographics of the order. By the early 2000s Dominican men and women began to drift apart. Dominican women were aging and had increasingly adopted a feminist lens to view the work of the conference and order. This conflicted with many of the younger Dominican men, who increasingly entered the order with conservative tendencies. Collaborative efforts became difficult. The official reason for the demise of Parable was that it was no longer fiscally viable. Nonetheless, for more than thirty years, Parable injected life into the Dominican family. As Diane Kennedy concludes, “For more than three decades the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission dramatically influenced the shape of the Dominican family in the United States.


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Its legacy continues to live on in the many forms of collaboration evolving to meet the changing needs of the order and the world that it serves. In the 1980s and 1990s Parable had become a symbolic center of the American Dominican family, a center of influence rather than a center of authority and power.” Though Parable passed from the scene, it had reaped an abundant harvest. In “From Teacher to Tutor: Adapting a Historic Ministry of Education to Contemporary Realities” Arlene I. Bachanov tells the story of the creation of Dominican Literacy Centers by the Adrian Dominicans in the late 1980s. By that time, the majority of Adrian Dominican Sisters (570) were sixty-five years old or older. Many had retired from formal ministry but were not ready for complete retirement. Fortuitously, the sisters became aware of a major problem in Detroit and other urban centers—adult illiteracy, a problem in which the sisters saw an opportunity to make use of their traditional charism, teaching. As they had done in previous eras, Dominican women responded to a perceived need: They established and staffed the Dominican Literacy Center in Detroit. The center was a major success, and the concept spread rapidly to other locations. Like the more traditional Dominican educational ministries that had preceded them, the centers transformed lives. The final chapter serves as a conclusion for the book in which the past meets the present. Underlying Dominican ministry, for both men and women, was the desire to live out the Gospel, to proclaim the Word of God in a specific time and place. In a sense, all Dominican ministry is preaching. In “Samuel Mazzuchelli, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, and the Making of American Saints” Kathleen Sprows Cummings concludes the book with the stories of two US Dominican candidates for canonization, Samuel Mazzuchelli and Rose Hawthorne Lathrop. Their lives, Cummings notes, reflect “the capaciousness of the Dominican spirit and the extraordinary ways it has manifested itself in the United States.” Mazzuchelli was a missionary to the Upper Midwest, where he built churches, preached to Native Americans and to European settlers, and established the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary of the Order of Preachers (Sinsinawa Dominicans). Lathrop began a hospice for patients suffering from incurable cancer in New York City and created the Dominican congregation “Servants for the Relief of Incurable Cancer.” Both have been proposed for sainthood. Both led holy lives, but, as Cummings points out, holiness is not the only

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consideration. The canonization process reflects “what captures the Catholic imagination in particular times and places.” Mazzuchelli was a pioneer builder during an era in which Catholic Americans still had their citizenship questioned and continued to seek acceptance. Lathrop represented a later era, in which Catholics had been assimilated and accepted; as such, they felt more at ease critiquing the nation’s policies and culture. Lathrop’s loving care of those dying of cancer made her a prime model of defending the dignity and sanctity of life, in the midst of what some considered a culture of death. Cummings concludes that Mazzuchelli and Lathrop, “from different starting points, combined a dedication to meaningful service, an openness to the broad diversity of American society, and an unflinching embrace of their faith. These have been the markers of so many sons and daughters of St. Dominic.” Preaching with Their Lives attempts to share these untold or underappreciated stories of the sons and daughters of St. Dominic in the United States. These unsung men and women have contributed to the building of the church and nation. Confronted by turbulent and changing times, Dominican men and women responded in earnest wherever they saw a need. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, they responded to the “signs of the times.” Often this led them to side with the poor and the marginalized, the sick and the elderly, the oppressed, those seeking educational opportunities, and with the ordinary person seeking beauty and meaning in an often difficult and discouraging world. In the end, the Dominican family is a family of preachers, preaching the Good News as told through the lens of St. Dominic through their words and through their lives. Preaching with Their Lives tells their story. Note 1. Mary Nona McGreal, OP, ed., Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865, vol. 1 of The Order of Preachers in the United States: A Family History (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001).

A Joyful Spectrum of Service The Order of Preachers in New York ja mes t. ca rroll

On August 26, 1853, four Dominican sisters arrived in Manhattan, New York, after a month-long journey that started at the Holy Cross Monastery in Regensburg, Germany. They were expecting to be met by a German Benedictine priest who would transport them to Pennsylvania to minister to German immigrants. A combination of happenstance and miscommunication left the women to their own devices during their first hours on American soil. In short, the priest was not at the pier, forcing the sisters to seek out the Redemptorist Fathers at the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer on East 3rd Street, a short distance from where they disembarked. This event changed the entire future direction of Dominican life in New York. The women found temporary housing in New York and New Jersey, and Father John Stephen Raffeiner, pastor of Holy Trinity Church and Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn, recruited them to work in his parish in Williamsburg. This Brooklyn neighborhood was home to a growing population of German immigrants, mostly Catholics, who were crossing the East River to escape the slums of the Lower East Side. It was an ideal setting for the German-speaking sisters from Bavaria. More important, however, for this story, Saint Alphonsus School in Williamsburg became the first permanent foundation of Dominicans in New York.1 The original group of Dominican sisters arrived in Brooklyn at an opportune time. Within two months of taking up residence in Williamsburg, they witnessed the creation of the Brooklyn diocese, welcomed the installation of Irish-born John Loughlin as the first bishop, and tethered their community’s future with the affairs of the diocese.2 Amid all this Catholic activity, in 1853 the sisters faced the stern realities of rapid assimilation, shouldered significant debt to establish a school and convent, confronted intense anti-Catholicism and xenophobia when local KnowNothings menaced the convent and school and even used a battering ram


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on the door of the convent, happily to no avail. The tenacious attributes of resiliency, adaptability, accommodation, and resourcefulness that the sisters forged in these early years served them ably as they considered new apostolic endeavors, navigated clerical interference and intrusion, eliminated monastic practices over time, and supported the creation of new communities to minister to the Catholic faithful in New York. The first new endeavor of the fledgling community took place in 1859 when the sisters arrived at Saint Nicholas Parish and opened Holy Rosary Convent on East 2nd Street in Manhattan. Slightly over a decade later this convent would lay the foundation for two new Dominican congregations— Newburgh (1869) and Caldwell (1881). This essay briefly sketches the growth and development of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in the New York area from the end of the American Civil War in 1865 to the US entry into World War I in 1917. The focus includes friars, nuns, sisters, and tertiaries who assisted the Catholic Church in responding to the temporal and spiritual needs of the faithful during a very tumultuous period in US history. Brooklyn and Manhattan receive significant attention since dense pockets of Catholic faithful during the Gilded Age and Progressive eras lived in these areas. At the same time, several communities of Dominican sisters established convents and motherhouses in healthier settings outside of the city—Amityville, Blauvelt, Newburgh, and Sparkill—as well as continental expansion to Caldwell, New Jersey; San Jose, California; Great Bend, Kansas; Tacoma, Washington; St. Louis, Missouri; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. New York was the only place in the United States that included all branches of Dominican life in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. The Friars (First Order) were present on the Upper East Side, nuns (Second Order-Contemplative) at Corpus Christi Monastery in the Bronx, nine congregations of active sisters working in a number of ministries (vowed members of the Third Order), and a vibrant group of tertiaries (lay members of the Third Order) operating from Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena parishes. The various communities of the Order of Preachers (“Dominicans”) arrived in New York City at the midpoint of the nineteenth century when both the city and the nation faced significant challenges. By the mid-1850s New York City’s population was growing exponentially—between 1850 and 1860 the population increased by 58 percent—and an increasing num-

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ber were listed as foreign-born. The immigrant population, primarily Irish and to a lesser extent German, tallied one-half of the city’s population in the 1860 census. Steadily and quietly New York City emerged as the center of American Catholicism in the United States. However, these Catholic New Yorkers were impoverished, marginalized, and vilified for their religious beliefs and ethnic practices. The tensions between the immigrants and nativists in New York City turned violent on a number of occasions in the 1850s and 1860s. The pressing spiritual and temporal needs of immigrants in New York City could not be met by the church hierarchy without the assistance of religious orders. Between 1860 and 1890 the number of religious orders and congregations ministering in New York increased significantly, responding to the multiple needs of the immigrant population. The three major factors influencing New York during the Gilded Age (1870–1900) were immigration, industrialization, and urbanization. These forces formed the life and ministry of Dominican men and women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As noted above, the Dominican sisters from Regensburg, Germany, were the first to arrive in New York in transit to work with German Catholic immigrants in Pennsylvania. Happily, due to mishaps and miscommunication New York was their terminus. They settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, epicenters of both industrialization and urbanization. Amid opening schools and asylums, the Dominicans responded to cholera outbreaks, racist riots during the American Civil War, tragic tenement fires, and nativist attacks on many institutions founded by the Dominicans.

Challenges and Blessings: Dominican Friars in Gilded Age New York The Dominican Sisters of Brooklyn provided an ambitious and insightful roadmap for the Dominican friars and sisters who emerged after the American Civil War to assist in preserving, maintaining, and spreading the spiritual and temporal endeavors of Catholicism. The end of the war ushered in rapid changes across the entire nation. However, the epicenter was New York City. The triad of urbanization, immigration, and industrialization—the clearest markers of the Gilded Age—made a visible


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imprint on New York City. The demographics shifted from lower Manhattan to uptown environs as well as a significant migration to Brooklyn. The conspicuous wealth of the era was present in the erection of urban mansions, museums, and parks, which dotted the skylines of Manhattan and Brooklyn. However, these excesses competed with the rise of notorious slums, hazardous factories, and tenements, and the presence of thousands of poor immigrants. The ministry of the Dominicans would stretch from the opulence of the Upper East Side to the squalor of the East Village and would range from parish ministry and mission bands—teams of Dominican preachers assigned to preach parish missions and retreats in the northeastern United States—to homes for abandoned babies and vulnerable women. The Dominican spirit of generosity and ser vice prompted both the friars and sisters to assist those people on their doorsteps by developing ministries and strategies to alleviate suffering, to provide for the temporal needs of the impoverished, and to ensure that Catholics had clear access to the sacraments. The Dominican friars of Saint Joseph Province were invited by Archbishop John McCloskey in 1866 to deliver a series of parish missions in the Archdiocese of New York. The “mission band” was developed by the Dominican friars to enliven the faith of local Catholics and to counter Protestant revivals that were increasingly popular in the second half of the nineteenth century. These parish missions were so successful—and thoroughly treated in both the secular and religious press—that almost immediately an invitation was extended for the Dominican friars to staff a parish in the archdiocese.3 The Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer, “mother church” of the New York Dominicans, was established in 1867.4 Although both church and priory were located at 65th Street and Lexington Avenue and included some wealthy Catholics, the majority of the parishioners were working-class first- and second-generation Irish who lived in modest accommodations nearer to the East River in what was dubbed “Shanty Town.” The Dominican friars at Saint Vincent Ferrer worked quickly to build a church and, equally important, to develop innovative approaches to serving a vast and diverse parish population. The priests responsible for parish missions on the East Coast were assigned to St. Vincent Ferrer from the inception of the church, which ensured high-quality preaching and drew the acclaim of both Catholics and non-Catholics.5 The parish not

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only expanded to include a parochial school under the direction of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Columbus, Ohio,6 but extended its reach to include the founding of the Holy Name Society for men and the Rosary Apostolate (Rosary Altar Society) for women; opening and funding the mission church of Saint Catherine of Siena to accommodate an exploding Catholic population (1898); and encouraging the establishment of Saint Rose Settlement House to serve poor Italian women by providing language classes, instruction in domestic sciences, and child care (1898). The Holy Name Society, a sixteenth-century Dominican-sponsored confraternity of the laity committed to performing the corporal works of mercy, was introduced to the parish in 1885. The friars recognized that many of their parishioners, especially men, were drawn to various political, social, and labor organizations common in the closing decades of the nineteenth century and they wanted to provide an additional option, a decidedly Catholic one.7 Father Charles McKenna, OP, the “apostle” of the Holy Name Society of the United States, was assigned to the parish as a member of the “mission band” and served as moderator of the society for over two decades. The group became the largest men’s fraternal organization in the archdiocese and proved beneficial to the growth of the parish by spearheading successful fundraisers, reaching out to prominent Catholic men throughout New York City, and encouraging religious vocations. On the national scene, New York Dominicans commenced publication of The Holy Name Journal (1907), and Father McKenna authored the widely distributed Pocket Manual of the Holy Name Society (1909). These efforts, along with a papal decree, allowed the Holy Name Society to reach virtually every parish in the United States.8 In 1903, the Pittsburgh Catholic noted that President Theodore Roosevelt opined that the Holy Name Society typified “one of those forces which tend to the benefit and uplifting of our social system.”9 The Rosary Altar Society was also a prominent organization at Saint Vincent Ferrer. Initially, this pious society endeavored to increase devotion to the Blessed Mother through a regular recitation of the rosary. However, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the society had broader and more public objectives. These women—likely more visible in the parish than their counterparts in the Holy Name Society—raised funds for the school, assisted in the physical care of orphans and abandoned children, readied vessels for mass and religious ceremonies, and supported


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Catholic efforts to enact laws alleviating the suffering of the poor, especially women and children.10 The minutes of the weekly meetings are replete with assignments for Sunday and daily masses, yet their efforts to assist Sacred Heart Home for the Aged, Holy Rosary Convent (orphans), Saint Ann’s Maternity Hospital, the New York Foundling Hospital, Saint Dominic’s Guild for Girls (women’s residence), and the Catholic Center for the Blind—all within the territorial boundaries of the parish—are often overlooked. The presence of such a diverse set of institutions gives credence to Jay Dolan’s observation that “as the city expanded and immigrant neighborhoods developed, the parish was transformed into a community institution, and as the parish became a community institution numerous societies were founded with a greater diversity of purpose. These societies or organizations had explicit social, recreational, charitable, and educational goals.”11 Moreover, the growth and popularity of both pious societies reflected wider societal shifts occurring in the United States. Arthur Schlesinger dubbed the Gilded Age and Progressive Era as a “Golden Age of Fraternity” during which people sought to be members of formal associations and to affiliate with various voluntary groups. The priests and parishioners at Saint Vincent Ferrer certainly observed firsthand the immense popularity of German nationalist associations in nearby Saint Joseph’s Parish in Yorkville (East 87th Street) and the growth of the 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association. The establishment of parish-based associations reflected these desires and served as a way to create a sense of community and to connect laypeople with the parish. By the 1890s the parish was “huge in numbers and predominantly Irish, at least, in descent.” Seven thousand people crossed the church threshold on an average Sunday. “Masses were celebrated upstairs and down and all were packed to the doors.”12 The need for a “mission church” within the parish was clear to Patrick Hartigan, OP, pastor and prior, who received enthusiastic support from Archbishop Michael Augustine Corrigan, who suggested dedicating it to Saint Catherine of Siena. The chapel, located on East 68th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A (now York Avenue), opened in 1896. Clement M. Thuente, OP, a widely respected Dominican, was named the first administrator, and he smoothly integrated the mission into the wider parish.13 In 1906 the mission was elevated to

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an independent parish, and the school was opened under the direction of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill.14 The newly built mission church instituted traditional devotions and fraternal organizations, but the needs of the people nearer to the East River presented some challenges. Saint Catherine’s had greater ethnic diversity and higher rates of poverty that called for quick and efficient ways of meeting the temporal needs of the people. The Italian Catholics were of particular concern since they lacked established charitable organizations in the United States, tended to be cast aside by the predominantly Irish clergy, and were inclined to associate with Protestants. Father Thuente was captivated by the settlement house movement that was blossoming at the end of the nineteenth century and decided that this was an appropriate vehicle to address many of the needs of his parishioners. This movement was not popular in some quarters of the Catholic hierarchy, who feared it eroded traditional piety and allegiance to church teachings, yet Archbishop Michael Corrigan supported Thuente. In 1898, Saint Rose’s, the first Catholic settlement house in New York City, opened on East 69th Street with two clear objectives: “promoting fellowship among Catholics of different social grades and counteracting the diffusion of sound Catholic teaching.”15 Marian Gurney, an Episcopalian convert who would later found the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine, was entrusted with the dayto-day operations, and she quickly arranged religious and social programs for men and women that took place from early morning to the later night hours. The endeavor was a success, and Gurney could boast that in 1900 nearly 3,500 Italians were participating in activities at St. Rose’s.16 In time this important and unique ministry would be taken over by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill. The US entry into World War I was a critical moment in the history of both churches on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena were in the midst of celebrating significant milestones—the fiftieth anniversary of Saint Vincent’s and the twentieth for Saint Catherine’s. The Dominicans had much to boast of and celebrate in 1917. Two large churches and equally imposing parochial schools met the religious and educational needs of the faithful. Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena had more than 15,000 parishioners and were the two largest parishes in the province.17 At the same time,


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Catholic social ser vices provided within the boundaries of both parishes were remarkable and unparalleled: a maternity hospital and care of newborns, orphans, abandoned children, poor women, the blind, and the aged were all available. The reform ideals of the Progressive Era were alive and well in both places and, likely unknowingly, the Dominican friars contributed to the development of the “New York System” of public welfare— public money funding private institutions—and the future growth of the welfare state.18 Both parishes supplied hundreds of patriotic recruits to the armed ser vices as well as several military and Knights of Columbus chaplains to attend to the spiritual needs of Catholic soldiers.19 In the remote environs of Westchester County, New York, a small group of Dominican friars escaping clerical persecution in France, accepted Archbishop Corrigan’s invitation in 1894 to establish a House of Studies in the archdiocese. They built a monastery in Hawthorne honoring the Most Holy Rosary and Saint Michael, and commenced the preparation of young Dominican friars. The French Dominicans—Province of Lyons— established Holy Name Mission in Valhalla (1896) and accepted responsibility for two parishes: Holy Innocents in Pleasantville (1897) and Holy Rosary in Hawthorne (1900). The interactions between the French and American friars were minimal, and improved political conditions in France allowed most of the friars to return to Europe by 1900. The last French Dominicans departed in 1915 and Saint Joseph’s province assumed all responsibility for affairs in Westchester.20

Guardians of Faith: Dominican Sisters in New York (1865–1900) Steven Avella opined in a review of Catholic settlements in Chicago: The Roman Catholic Church thrived in American cities, and its influence extended far beyond sanctuary walls. The church carved out miniempires within urban neighborhoods, creating houses of worship, schools, and agencies of social provision that contributed to progress and generated amenities that made life more agreeable.21

This crisp description captures the efforts of Dominicans in New York during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. The work of the Dominican friars cemented sanctuaries at two parishes in Manhattan, but schools and

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social ser vices were the ministerial domains of Dominican sisters. A total of eleven communities served in New York in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some of the communities were composed of sisters from Regensburg, Germany; others were established by Dominicans who were born in the United States. In each case, these communities exhibited Christian charity and a spirit of generosity that are characteristic of the Dominican life and apostolate.22 The critical role of parochial schools in the history of American Catholicism has received much deserved scholarly attention in recent years by those seeking to explain the growth and development of the largest nonpublic charitable endeavor in US history.23 In all treatments, Catholic sisters emerge as both the anchor and impetus of the movement. The Dominican Sisters in New York contributed to Catholic education at all levels. They founded academies, staffed parish schools, provided catechetical instruction, and opened colleges. Although tallying numbers of schools under the care of Dominican sisters in New York may be a bureaucratic exercise, it does provide a concrete measure of the role that these sisters played in Catholic education. By the start of World War I, Dominican sisters were conducting more than sixty schools in New York.24 Equally important, the sisters recognized that poverty, abandonment, vulnerability, and disease were obvious reminders of the dark side of the Gilded Age. The sisters responded quickly to meet the material needs of the people they met on the street or who presented themselves at their doors. They accepted abandoned children into their convents, opened charity hospitals, treated tubercular patients (including a fair number of Dominican sisters), attached asylums to their schools, staffed day nurseries, provided hostels for needy women, nurtured newborns, and purchased parcels of land in rural settings to provide a healthier environment for young children. These endeavors created pervasive demands that called for broad-minded leadership, financial astuteness, institutional flexibility, and an abundance of common sense. Fortunately, these essential qualities were present among the Dominican sisters in New York. What are some common factors that instilled and promoted this broad agenda among Dominican communities in New York? First, many of the sisters were immigrants and had empathy for those struggling to survive in New York City; second, diverse demands of convent life and ministry called for independent and creative thinking; third, New York’s enormous


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diversity and oppressive poverty downplayed ethnic and religious differences and required interdenominational cooperation; fourth, these communities needed to assimilate in order to attract native-born vocations; and finally, there was a natural inclination to a more active apostolic life in the United States. These are qualities associated with “frontier Catholicism,” yet they have clear applicability to the urban frontier of faith and ser vice set forth by the Dominicans in New York.25 The first superiors and sisters in Williamsburg and East 2nd Street were German immigrants. They joined the largest mass international migration in history departing from Europe for the shores of the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. These sisters joined their neighbors in negotiating the pressures of assimilation and navigating the challenges of mere survival. Holy Trinity (Williamsburg) and Saint Nicholas (East 2nd Street) were German parishes, which provided the sisters with some cultural comfort in the early years. However, Sisters Josepha Witzlhofer and Seraphine Staimer, the first superiors in Williamsburg, recognized that a positive future for the community depended on some accommodation to their new circumstances. They accepted wise counsel and actively sought English-speaking candidates, pondered approaches to reconcile monastic life with an active apostolate, marshaled financial resources to expand their ministries, and supported the founding of new Dominican congregations. In 1869 the sisters at Saint Nicholas Convent on East 2nd Street, led by Sister Augustine Neuhierl, petitioned to separate from the Williamsburg community. Ecclesial officials supported this request since they understood that “it was custom for Second Order monasteries to separate once a daughter house fulfilled the canonical conditions for independence: reliable means of support and a sufficient number for the observance of regular life.” Some issues, mostly related to property, personnel, and finances, needed to be negotiated, but in the end both groups “separated in peace and amity,” and the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary came into existence. The work of the new community was mainly in the area of education, yet the traditions from Williamsburg moved across the East River.26 The sisters at East 2nd Street continued to solicit food donations to provide meals out of the convent and to care for abandoned children. In 1883 the community opened a girl’s academy in Newburgh, Sullivan County, which would serve as both novitiate and motherhouse.

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Mary Sammon, an Irish immigrant, was recruited by Sister Augustine and joined the new community in 1869. Her English-language skills and knowledge of the Lower East Side neighborhoods were immediately recognized, and she quickly emerged as a significant member of the fledgling community. Her early experience in Ireland during the nadir of the famine drew her to the plight of abandoned and orphaned children wandering the streets of New York City. During her assignment at East 2nd Street, she gathered scores of children and cared for them in the convent. Her empathy and commitment to these wards, forged out of her famine experience and immigrant roots, was well known among church and civil officials, who frequently called on her for assistance. In time, she opened Saint Joseph’s Orphan Asylum in Blauvelt, New York, and in 1890 founded the Blauvelt community to care for these children. The new foundation attracted large numbers of Irish and Irish American vocations, owing, in part, to Mother Mary Ann’s ethnicity and the obvious fact that an overwhelming majority of the abandoned children at the asylum were Irish. The Dominican Sisters of Brooklyn, Newburgh, and Blauvelt were Second Order communities bound to monastic practices and the rules of enclosure. The active ministries and living arrangements of the sisters in New York required ongoing modifications of these requirements with tacit

Sr. Berchans Realmuto, OP, served as cottage mother at St. Dominic’s Orphanage, Blauvelt, New York, Christmas 1925. Archives, Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York.


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approval of ecclesial authorities. The historical record on this issue is somewhat convoluted since Bishop Loughlin considered the Brooklyn community to be independent and under his jurisdiction as early as 1860. However, the diocese did not pursue formal procedures to change the sisters’ canonical status. In 1863 Holy Trinity Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, organized an Orphan Home Society to provide financial support for orphans and abandoned children, prompting the sisters to open their convents to these children. They quickly found themselves housing more than one hundred children. The arrival of the orphans began a gradual transition to an even more active apostolic life for the sisters under the tutelage of Mother Seraphine Staimer. This development received verbal approval and enthusiastic support from Bishop Loughlin, who realized that “the rigorous monastic life of the Second Order was never intended for those in active work.”27 In private, Loughlin maintained that active work and the monastic regimen compromised the health of many sisters and even caused some premature deaths. The communities were officially declared Third Order congregations in 1896 when Bishop Charles McDonnell completed all of the necessary paperwork required by canon law. The Master General of the Dominicans granted formal affiliation in 1906.28 The first American community of Dominican Sisters in New York was started by Alice Thorpe (Mother Mary Catherine Antoninus), an English convert to Roman Catholicism, in 1876. Thorpe attended lectures at Saint Vincent Ferrer and received sound guidance from John Antoninus Rochford, OP, who arrived in the parish in 1873 to serve a term as provincial. Thorpe and Rochford were very aware of the poverty and suffering of many Catholics in New York City, particularly unattended and abandoned women who were present in vast numbers. The church provided little care for these women, and both Rochford and Thorpe decided to highlight the dangers facing them to solicit philanthropic support and to implement a practical ministry to address this pressing need. The financial assistance came from Mrs. McLaughlin, who provided a furnished residence near 37th Street and Second Avenue; it became Saint Joseph’s Mission Home. Shortly after the opening of Saint Joseph’s, Father Rochford concluded his term as provincial and was transferred to Washington, DC, and Mrs. McLaughlin withdrew her support in a conflict over community governance. These two setbacks affected the direction and growth of the

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community for nearly a decade. Nonetheless, they continued to assist poor women and expanded their efforts to include the sick and orphaned in several other locations. Mother Antoninus died in March 1879 and was succeeded by Sister Mary Agnes, her biological sister, who lacked strong administrative skills and requested leave from her duties in 1880. The financial setbacks, lack of clerical guidance, and erratic leadership were difficult challenges that threatened the future of the community. However, these problems proved providential and quickly resulted in a community on a firm financial and canonical footing with a slightly different ministerial focus. The resignation and departure of Sister Mary Agnes, who joined the newly formed Dominican Sisters of Catherine de Ricci in Albany, New York, challenged the sisters to rethink their future and to identify a leader with vision and administrative ability. In April 1880, Monsignor William Quinn, vicar general and community supervisor, issued a harsh ultimatum to the sisters: Become solvent or disband and join other Dominican communities in the archdiocese. He selected a real black horse to lead the community, Mother M. Dominic Dowling. Dowling, an Irish immigrant, served as mother general of the community from 1880 to 1893 and 1896 to 1900. Her administrative abilities produced quick and impressive results, including placing the finances in good order and building Our Lady of the Rosary Convent on East 63rd Street. While serving as general superior, she determined that the more important work was caring for orphans and unattended children. Without completely abandoning needy women, the main work of the sisters moved to child care by 1882. Mother Dominic had intimate knowledge of the twin scourges of tuberculosis and cholera that ravaged the inner city with morbid regularity and carried away large numbers of young children. To improve the health of the children and to avoid the ravages of disease, she purchased a thirtyacre plot in Sparkill, New York, where Saint Agnes Home for Boys opened in 1884. Boys abandoned by their parents for a broad range of reasons and those remanded by the court system filled the home. Saint Agnes provided an academic and practical curriculum, encouraged extracurricular activities, and attempted to inculcate a family-like environment by housing the children in small cottages under the supervision of a sister. This establishment would be a hallmark of Mother Dominic’s leadership and vision;


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she arranged the financing and construction of the institution, served as superior of the home, and rebounded after a devastating fire destroyed the entire campus on August 28, 1899.29 By 1900 the sisters were serving at Saint Agnes Home (neglected and abandoned boys under age fourteen), Saint Benedict Home (African American children), Saint Joseph’s Home (babies), and four parochial schools. Mother Dominic realized that these sudden shifts in work required retraining the sisters, reallocating resources, and rethinking institutional settings. Her broad view of the human condition and her willingness to address new challenges situate her in the mold of a progressive woman.30 The Dominican women of the Gilded Age witnessed the pain and poverty of people in New York and set out to form religious communities to remedy, in part, the glaring and overwhelming needs of those under their care. The founders and early superiors inspired the manner that the individual communities chose to meet these needs. To some extent, the worldview of these pioneers was shaped by their immigrant roots—German, Irish, and English. The experience of coming to a new place with little hope of ever returning to their native lands emboldened these women to see severe setbacks as a source of renewed opportunities and to inculcate pervasive empathy among the sisters for those abandoned and without recourse. The founders also recognized that religious life in America demanded flexibility and a relaxation of monastic practices, required innovation to fund their apostolic works, necessitated reasonable accommodation to cultural norms to attract native vocations, and called for a complete embrace of an active apostolic life to respond to the new needs of the people that arose regularly. The successful navigation of these challenges through flexibility, innovation, accommodation, and the active life set the stage for a successful transition to a progressive-minded era in the opening decades of the twentieth century.

Vanguards of Progress: Dominican Sisters in Progressive Era New York, 1900–1917 The dawning of the Progressive Era in the opening years of the twentieth century is a logical juncture for a retrospective on how Dominican friars and sisters shaped the growth and expansion of the church in New York.

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In 1900 the Dominicans served the sacramental needs of parishioners in two large parishes in Manhattan and had extended their ministry to several places in Westchester County. In typical Dominican fashion, these parishes included a large number of societies and organizations. The various communities of Dominican sisters continued their works in social ser vices, child care, and education. The reforms of the Progressive Era, particularly in regard to institutional child care, required the sisters to rethink their child care philosophies and implement structural changes at their institutions. At the same time, most of these communities were overwhelmed with requests to staff schools throughout the region to address a decree promulgated by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884) that parochial schools expand to the point where every Catholic child could receive a Catholic education.31 These new challenges required superb leadership, incisive judgment, wise stewardship, and an open mind. These were qualities cultivated in the Gilded Age and extended into the Progressive Era among the various communities of Dominican sisters. The decision to accept numerous invitations from bishops and pastors to staff and administer parochial schools was the transformative moment for the communities of Dominican sisters. While teaching was always an important ministry among the sisters, the explosive growth of these schools resulted in a complete rethinking of their mission and their place in the Catholic Church in New York. Slightly over a dozen schools were under the auspices of Dominican sisters in 1900; in 1917 they were responsible for two academies and more than sixty parochial schools.32 Equally challenging were changes taking place in child care. Except for the Dominican Sisters in Newburgh, all of the communities administered child care institutions. Progressive reformers thoroughly scrutinized these types of settings because they wanted to change outmoded practices, minimize the length of time that a child spent in an institutional setting, and introduce methods aimed at reuniting families. The Dominican sisters embraced the professionalization of child care that was sweeping the nation and started to institute reforms at their institutions. The term “asylum” was gradually replaced by “home” to reflect a child-centered focus and to demonstrate the goal of replicating a family-like environment. Also, academic and vocational training for the children became the norm in all child care settings.


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The Dominican Sisters of Brooklyn opened Nazareth Trade School (boys) and Saint Rose Industrial School (girls) in 1900 and 1907 respectively. Both institutions were located in rural Suffolk County, New York, which was a much healthier environ for the children and had sufficient land to build sprawling campuses. The courts referred many of the children residing at these schools for an array of reasons, including improper guardianship, pervasive poverty, or the death or incarceration of a parent. In both places, the children received a standard elementary school education and training in various marketable skills. The sisters encouraged participation in athletics, marching bands, music, and drill teams to replicate family life and to provide wholesome extracurricular activities for the students. Saint Agnes Home in Sparkill reopened in 1902 in a thoroughly modern brick-faced structure that accommodated five hundred children. In short order, the home became overcrowded and required a significant expansion and the elimination of the small girls’ department. Mother M. Thomas Gargan, the first American-born mother general of the congregation, was committed to the new ideas on child care, and promptly extended academic preparation to the ninth grade and directed that able students enroll in the local public high school. The sisters continued to operate Our Lady of the Rosary Home for dependent girls on East 63rd Street. By the opening years of the twentieth century, Saint Dominic’s Home in Blauvelt was the only coeducational child care institution under the direction of Dominican Sisters. In some cases, this allowed brothers and sisters to live in the same place, and if that were not possible, there were many family connections between Saint Dominic’s and Saint Agnes’s Homes, which were separated by only a couple of miles. Lucy Eaton Smith, a prominent New Yorker and convert to Roman Catholicism, shared Mother Antoninus’s concern regarding dangers faced by unaccompanied and wayward women. In 1880, guided, in part, by Lucy Thorpe, who had left the Sparkill community, she founded the Dominican Congregation of Catherine de Ricci to establish women’s residences and to provide retreat houses for women. The community started in Albany, but the sisters quickly expanded their work to several dioceses. In 1911 the sisters opened the Saint Dominic’s Guild for Business Girls on East 71st Street. “The Guild accommodated 50 young women providing private

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and semi-private rooms with two meals daily at a very nominal rent. The residents range[d] in age from 18 to 40, ha[d] varied religious backgrounds, and c[a]me from all over the country and the world.”33

Courageous Ministries: Foreign Missions and Care of the Sick In 1868 the Dominican Sisters of Brooklyn were asked by diocesan officials to consider building and staffing a hospital in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This request was very reasonable and provided the sisters with an opportunity to expand their work beyond schools and child care. However, preparing sisters to staff a hospital was a daunting task, and more important, it was impossible to preserve Second Order obligations in a hospital setting. In 1869, the community admitted a limited number of candidates to the novitiate who would profess simple vows as members of the Third Order in order to staff Saint Catherine’s Hospital, which opened in 1870. This venture into health care opened new prospects for the sisters yet threatened practices and traditions of the congregation. The hospital sisters modified their rules and customs to accommodate the normal activities of running a hospital. The sisters were not bound to recite the Divine Office, were allowed to speak with laypeople on business and patient-related matters, and were permitted to break the canonical hour of meditation if necessity dictated. The opening of Saint Catherine’s Hospital was a harbinger of events that would eventually lead to formation of a Third Order community.34 The sisters in Brooklyn extended their hospital work with the opening of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, Queens, in 1902. Both hospitals quickly added schools of nursing. In 1899 Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, a recent widow and convert to Catholicism, opened Saint Rose’s Free Home for Incurable Cancer on Cherry Street in Manhattan.35 This was a unique and indispensable endeavor that was and is thoroughly aligned with the Dominican impulse to meet the temporal needs of those who have no recourse and to provide a sense of dignity in time of need. At Saint Rose’s “there was no question as to creed or faith or race.” In 1901, Lathrop, known later as Mother Alphonsa, founded the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer, a Third Order of the Sisters of Saint Dominic, “who stand on the border between lay sisters and those who have consecrated themselves for life to the ser vice of the


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Church.” The tendency to marginalize and abandon those who had cancer in the early twentieth century moved her to establish a sisterhood to “relieve their sufferings and to make their last days as cheerful and happy as possible under the circumstances.” The sisters refused any payment for their ser vices and only “admit those who have nobody to care for them or who are neglected by their families.” The community extended their ministry by opening Rosary Hill Home located in Hawthorne, New York, in 1901.36 The Brooklyn sisters operated a charity hospital, and the Hawthorne community attended to those in “constant proximity of death in its most loathsome and painful forms,” but the needs of the sick and impoverished in the squalid tenements of New York City were left unserved. Mary Walsh, an Irish immigrant employed in domestic endeavors, worked in elegant settings with every fixture of wealth, yet she also encountered the desperately poor who had little access to medical care and lived in fear of being evicted onto the streets. After completing her formation as a Dominican Lay Tertiary in 1879 at Saint Vincent Ferrer, she secured a small rental and commenced a door-to-door ministry providing health care to those living in tenements on the West Side of Manhattan. She quickly attracted some followers and expanded her work to other parts of the city. The “sisters”37 supported themselves by taking in laundry, thus aligning themselves closely with those they served, and later received support from the Friends of the Sick Poor and the Society of the Immaculate Conception.38 On August 4, 1910, the community was formally affiliated with the Orders of Friars Preachers and was named the American Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor of the Immaculate Conception.39 The sisters cared for incurable patients in tenement apartments and provided extended nursing care (day and night) to thousands of impoverished people. They treated a range of diseases, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, and cancer. The Spanish-American War (1898) provided an opportunity for several communities of Dominican sisters to open missions in former Spanish territories. In 1900 the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of Saint Catherine de Ricci (Albany, New York) accepted an invitation from Bishop Donato Sbaretti to open a Negro Orphan Asylum in Havana, Cuba.40 A decade later the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Brooklyn were approached by Louis Theissling, OP, provincial in Holland, and asked to staff a school

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in Puerto Rico. Initially, Bishop McDonnell refused to release any sisters for ser vice outside the diocese, but in time he relented and provided “provisional approval” for this mission. The first group of sisters arrived in Puerto Rico in 1910. The sisters from Blauvelt opened a school, hospital, and farm in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1911. The major Dominican imprint on foreign missions and evangelization, however, commenced with the arrival of Mary Josephine Rogers at Maryknoll in 1912. Father James Walsh, director of the Propagation of the Faith in Boston, who spoke at Smith College while she was teaching at her alma mater, engendered Rogers’s interest in foreign missions. The talk highlighted his efforts to establish a seminary in the United States to prepare priests for ser vice in the foreign missions. This proposal was approved by the US hierarchy in 1911, allowing for the formation of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. Father Walsh was very impressed with Mary Rogers and predicted at their first meeting that “I think that you and I are going to be friends.” 41 The friendship between them, nurtured by regular correspondence and a shared desire to serve the foreign missions, convinced her to assist him in this endeavor. On January 6, 1912, “three wise women came to take up secretarial work” for the new mission society; one of them was Mary Rogers. These women set up a small house and worked at a variety of secretarial and household tasks and expressed a strong desire to become a religious congregation to serve the needs and aspirations of Maryknoll.42 Initially, the women were lay associates dedicated to Saint Teresa of Avila and called the “Teresians of Maryknoll.” Cardinal John Farley approved the honorarium and simple dress of the Teresians and encouraged them to examine the constitutions of other sisterhoods to guide their deliberations regarding the creation of a religious congregation. The group decided to adopt the rule and practices of the Third Order of Saint Dominic because the “ideals of contemplation and action” were precisely suited to their desired work in the foreign missions. On February 7, 1917, seventeen Teresians were enrolled in the Third Order by John McNicholas, OP, and were called Dominican Tertiaries of Maryknoll.43 In 1919 Archbishop Patrick Hayes approved forming a diocesan community and opening a novitiate.44 Sister Fidelia Delaney, OP, a Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, was appointed as novice mistress to train the women in the spirit and traditions of the order while allowing their unique mission to evolve freely.


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She quickly captured the spirit and purpose of Maryknoll and was dubbed by Father Walsh as “Maryknoll’s grandmother.” 45 In 1920 the Maryknoll sisters were allowed to pronounce religious vows and start their missionary endeavors. Mother Mary Joseph dispatched the first group of sisters to serve the Japanese populations in Seattle and Los Angeles. The rapid growth of the community convinced Father Walsh and Mother Mary Joseph that an international “departure” was the next step in the progression of the sisters’ community. On September 4, 1920, six sisters departed for China, which started the international missionary enterprise of the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic.46

“The Spirit of the Gospel Is Superior to That of the World”: Contemplative Dominicans in the Bronx As noted earlier, New Yorkers benefited in many ways from the four branches of Dominican life: friars, nuns, sisters, and secular lay members. Whereas most vowed members were engaged in active ministries, the Dominican Sisters of Perpetual Adoration carried on the long tradition of contemplation and enclosure to provide prayer and support for the active ministries of the Dominicans.47 These nuns were invited by Michael Augustine Corrigan, Archbishop of New York, to establish a monastery in the Bronx with the specific purpose of praying for both the seminarians and priests of the archdiocese. These contemplative pioneers arrived in Soundview, the Bronx, on May 26, 1889, led by Mother Mary Jesus (Julia Crooks), a close confidant of Corrigan from his days serving in Newark, New Jersey.48 The early successes of Corpus Christi Monastery are attributed to her sound leadership, financial acumen, the unwavering support of the archbishop, and common sense garnered from a liberal education in Europe and the United States and her close associations with barons of the Gilded Age. Her father succeeded John Jacob Astor as president of the American Fur Company. Corrigan considered the construction of Saint Joseph’s Seminary and the establishment of a contemplative monastery of Dominican nuns as his main contributions to the Archdiocese of New York. He never faltered in advancing the importance of contemplative communities for the welfare of the church, despite growing pressure among members from the hier-

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archy to support active ministries that met the varied and pressing material needs of the Catholic population.49 Corrigan’s convictions bore fruit as evidenced by securing an unexpected donation to establish Corpus Christi Monastery in 1889, opening the seminary in 1896, and welcoming growing numbers of priestly and religious vocations. He credited these developments to the prayers of the nuns in the Bronx and the devotion of perpetual adoration, which commenced on Easter Sunday 1891.

Lay Dominicans: The Third Order Movement in New York The Third Order was established in 1285 to foster religious devotion and to align laypeople more closely with the spirit and mission of Saint Dominic. The Dominican lay members—referred to as tertiaries—led their ordinary lives yet followed a specific constitution, made a formal profession of vows, wore religious habits at prescribed times, recited the Office of the Dead, and elected their superiors. However, the primary purpose of the Third Order was to exhibit holiness, perform charitable works, and encourage fidelity to church teachings while living an active life in the world and assessing the needs of the times. The Third Order was open to men and women, both married and single, who felt a need for a deeper connection with the wider church and the Dominican order. The Dominican friars who served as spiritual directors to the lay Dominican chapters were outstanding preachers, committed confessors, wise confidants, and respected members of the province. Specifically, John Antoninus Rochford, OP, Theodore Clement Thuente, OP, Michael Dominic Lilly, OP, and John Timothy McNicholas, OP, were all associated with the New York City chapters of the lay Dominicans and influenced the founding of several congregations of Dominican sisters. Rochford encouraged Alice Thorpe to care for neglected and abandoned women in New York and inspired several others to join in the work, including Margaret Dowling and Catherine Gargan, who played prominent roles in the growth of the Sparkill community. Father Thuente assisted Rose Hawthorne Lathrop and Alice Huber “to found a society for the care of destitute persons with incurable cancer.” He remained a close adviser to the community and maintained keen interest in their work.50 Father Lilly and Mary Walsh were both Irish immigrants committed to caring for the poor and sick in the parish. Her decision to seek him out as a spiritual director was hardly


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surprising, and he prepared her for reception into the lay Dominicans in 1879. This started a steady progression leading to the founding of the Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor in 1910. The relationship between the first Maryknoll sisters and Father McNicholas was both spiritual and diplomatic. He prepared the women for admission to the lay Dominicans and accepted their vows, yet of greater importance was his political astuteness in securing official recognition of the community by the Master General of the Dominicans.51 These dedicated women received spiritual guidance and fraternal support from the lay Dominican chapters in New York City. A group of inspiring, insightful, and competent spiritual directors laid a firm path for the founding of several Third Order congregations of Dominican sisters committed to a range of works which responded to many pressing needs in New York and beyond. The 450 women laboring in these groups in 1917 affirmed the founding vision and spiritual vitality of these sisterhoods, as well as the importance of laypeople in Dominican life in New York.

Conclusion The history of the Order of Preachers in New York in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries manifests the four pillars of Dominican life: community, prayer, study, and ser vice. These attributes propelled friars, nuns, active sisters, and secular members to address the temporal needs of those on the streets of New York, to develop communal bonds of common fraternity, to provide spiritual opportunities for average people, and to offer sound and timely analysis of church teachings. The followers of Saint Dominic in New York replicated and echoed their founding goal of “working for both the material and spiritual welfare” of those under their care.52 Theodore Clement Thuente, OP, determined that a Catholic settlement house was needed and shielded the endeavor from some vocal opponents; Mother Alphonsa reached out to incurable cancer victims and preached that they were not outcasts; and Mother Seraphine modified and modernized the common life of the sisters and defended her decisions to those members who feared a loss of tradition and communal harmony. These are only a few examples of the Dominican spirit of surveying the needs of the people and developing appropriate responses.

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The breadth of Dominican life in New York depended on a commitment to history and tradition, yet required a “cutting away” of observances that impeded effective work and eroded community life.53 The move from Second to Third Order status among several communities of women was heartrending and painful, but acknowledged the growing incompatibility of monastic practices and active ministry. The overwhelming needs of the people in New York enkindled flexibility among Dominicans who responded by developing door-to-door outreach to the sick poor, gathering incurable patients into a wholesome environment, teaching in scores of classrooms, mentoring wayward women, and preaching missions. Despite these wide-ranging forms of ser vice, the Dominicans remained anchored to shared goals of prayer, community, and study. By the end of World War I the canonical status and ministerial activities of the various branches of the Dominican family in New York were well established, allowing them to view their future with a degree of calm and reflection that was not possible in the past. The Dominicans expanded the size and scope of their ministries and recognized that they had become communities that were thoroughly American and deeply rooted in the fabric of New York Catholicism. Notes 1. See Cecilia Murray, OP, “A Call Heard in Bavaria,” in Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865, vol. 1 of The Order of Preachers in the United States: A Family History, ed. Mary Nona McGreal, OP (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001), 265–68. 2. The Diocese of Brooklyn was formed in 1853 and included all counties on Long Island—Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk. 3. “The Dominicans in New York City,” New York Freeman’s Journal and Catholic Register, June 1867, 4. The mission at Transfiguration Parish (Manhattan) lasted for three weeks and included 16,000 confessions. It is important to note, however, that Thomas Martin, OP, arrived in New York City in the 1840s to assist Archbishop John Hughes in regularizing the affairs of several financially troubled parishes. Martin’s excellent reputation along with Hughes’s strong support was the reason that McCloskey extended an invitation to the Dominican Fathers. For a complete discussion see Vincent Francis O’Daniel, OP, The Dominican Province of Saint Joseph (New York: National Headquarters of the Holy Name Society, 1942), 101–4. See also “Sermon Notes of Sermon


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Preached by Rev. J. H. Slinger, OP, in April 1908, on the Labor of Dominican Priests in the [Arch]diocese of New York,” Saint Vincent Ferrer, Misc. Sermons and Historical Sketches, Dominican Archives-Province of Saint Joseph, Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island (hereinafter cited as DAPSJ). 4. H. P. Ralph, OP, to J. A. Bokel, OP, May 25, 1867, regarding the approval of William O’Carroll, OP, provincial, to establish a parish in the Archdiocese of New York. 5. Dominican Novices, “Dominicana-Seventh Centenary Number” (Somerset, Ohio: Rosary Press, 1916), 65. 6. The first two pastors, George Wilson, OP, and Michael Lilly, OP, had strong connections with this community. Lilly’s sister was a member of the community and taught at Saint Vincent Ferrer at the time of his death in 1901. In 1897 they founded Dominican Academy, an academic high school for girls, which has been in continuous operation since 1897. 7. It is also evident in the record that the growing enthusiasm for joining the Knights of Columbus (founded in 1882) and the St. Vincent de Paul Society for Catholic men was an additional motivation for creating the Holy Name Society in the parish. In April 1882 Charles McKenna, OP, gave a lecture in Brooklyn on the “Object and Aims of the Catholic Knights of America” to respond to complaints of Catholic men that the church offered no alternative to Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and so on. “Lecture by Rev. Charles McKenna, OP,” Freeman’s Journal, April 15, 1882. 8. In 1896 Pope Leo XIII allowed bishops to dispense with the regulation that only one confraternity operate in a town or city. By World War I the membership of the Holy Name Society in the United States exceeded two million. In 1905 Hyacinth M. Cormier, OP, Master General, extended a concession allowing Theodore Clement Thuente, OP, to fill out diplomas of the Confraternities of the Rosary, Holy Name, and Living Rosary in the United States. 9. “40,000 Proclaim Devotion,” Pittsburgh Catholic, October 11, 1915, quoted in Timothy Kelly, “Suburbanization and the Decline of Catholic Public Ritual in Pittsburgh,” Journal of Social History 28, no. 2 (1994): 312. 10. See Mary J. Oates, “The Role of Laywomen in American Catholic Philanthropy, 1820–1920,” US Catholic Historian 9, no. 3 (1990): 249–60, for a complete discussion of women’s role in Catholic philanthropic efforts. 11. Jay P. Dolan, “The Irish Parish,” US Catholic Historian 25, no. 2 (2007): 18. 12. Roland McCann, OP, “Dominican Fathers, St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, New York City, Centennial, 1867–1967,” 9. 13. See Theodore (Clement) Thuente, OP, “Personnel File,” File #1, DAPSJ for a complete discussion of his work at Saint Catherine’s and his

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role in establishing Saint Rose’s Settlement and assisting Rose Hawthorne Lathrop in founding a Dominican community to serve those with incurable cancer. 14. Saint Catherine of Siena School was a milestone in the evolution of the Sparkill Dominicans. It was their first institution in Manhattan and the first school in a parish operated by the Dominican Fathers. See Mary Lucille Collins, OP, The Vision Is Tremendous (Sparkill, NY: Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary, 1975), 108–9. See Clement Theodore Thuente, OP, to L. F. Kearney, Provincial, May 18, 1906, for a summary of a meeting with Cardinal Farley on the history and status of Saint Catherine of Siena. Permission was granted to erect the parish. “Saint Catherine of Siena Correspondence, 1914–1976,” DAPSJ. 15. “Constitution-St. Rose’s Settlement of the Catholic Social Union,” Theodore (Clement) Thuente, OP, “Personnel File,” File #1, DAPSJ. St. Rose’s served as a Catholic alternative to the East Side House Settlement on East 76th Street which opened in 1891. 16. See Margaret M. McGuinness, Neighbors and Missionaries: A History of the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012) and Margaret M. McGuinness, “Body and Soul: Catholic Social Settlements and Immigration,” US Catholic Historian 13, no. 3 (1995): 63–75, for a complete discussion of Catholic settlement houses and the founding of the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine. 17. Reginald Coffey, OP, The American Dominicans: A History of Saint Joseph’s Province (New York: St. Martin de Porres Guild, 1969), 551. 18. See Elizabeth McKeon, and Dorothy Brown, “Saving New York’s Children,” US Catholic Historian 13, no. 3 (1995): 77–95. 19. “Dominicans in the War,” Catholic News, March 9, 1918, and Coffey, American Dominicans, 640–44. 20. See “Thirtieth Anniversary Year Book of The Holy Rosary Church (1902–1932),” 11–14; Coffey, American Dominicans, 506–7; and O’Daniel, Dominican Province of Saint Joseph, 476, for a full discussion of the French Dominicans in New York. 21. Steven Avella, review of More Than Neighbors: Catholic Settlements and Day Nurseries in Chicago, 1893–1930, by Deborah A. Skok, American Historical Review 113, no. 4 (2008): 1180. 22. The communities of Dominican sisters in New York: Dominican Sisters-Congregation of Holy Cross (Amityville, NY, 1853); Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary (Newburgh NY, 1869); Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary (Sparkill, N.Y., 1876); Dominican Sisters of Catherine de’ Ricci (Albany, NY, 1880); Dominican Sisters-Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Caldwell, NJ, 1881); Dominican Sisters of Saint Mary of the


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Springs (Columbus, OH, 1888); Dominican Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Bronx, NY, 1889 and Albany-1915); Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt (Blauvelt, NY, 1890); Dominican Sisters of Perpetual Rosary (Buffalo, NY, 1904); Dominican Sisters-Congregation of Saint Rose of Lima (Hawthorne, NY, 1900); Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor of the Immaculate Conception (Ossining, NY, 1910); Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic (Ossining, NY, 1912); and Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa (Bronx, NY, 1917). 23. See H. A. Buetow, Of Singular Benefit: The Story of Catholic Education in the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1970); Timothy Walch, Parish School: American Catholic Parochial Education from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Crossroad, 1996); and Thomas Hunt and Timothy Walch, eds., Urban Catholic Education: Tale of Twelve American Cities (Notre Dame, IN: Alliance for Catholic Education Press, 2010). 24. The Dominican Sisters of Brooklyn, Newburgh, Sparkill, and Blauvelt were primarily teachings orders. See The Official Catholic Directory, 1915 (New York: P. J. Kenedy and Sons), 164–65, 302, for the schools conducted by the various communities. The Dominican Sisters of Brooklyn became overwhelmingly associated with German-speaking parishes during this period; the other communities were thoroughly Americanized. 25. See Thomas McAvoy, CSC, “Americanism and Frontier Catholicism,” Review of Politics 9, no. 3 (1943): 275–301, for a full discussion of these distinctive characteristics. 26. Mary Cecilia Murray, OP, Other Waters: A History of the Dominic Sisters of Newburgh, New York (Newburgh, NY: Dominican Sisters of Newburgh, 1993), 42–43. 27. See McGreal, Order of Preachers in the United States, 276. Bishop Loughlin’s style of leadership was to run the diocese on verbal permissions. The extant record says little about formally dispensing the sisters of their religious obligations until 1893 when Father George Mundelein, secretary to Bishop McDonnell, commenced the process of officially establishing the sisters as a Third Order congregation. 28. See Margaret Briody, OP, “The Congregation of Holy Cross Study of the Change from Second Order to Third Order,” April 1980, Sisters of Saint Dominic of Amityville Archives, Amityville, NY (hereinafter cited as OPAA) for a complete history of the transition to Third Order status. See also Murray, Other Waters, 133–45, for a detailed discussion of the practical changes in prayer and community associated with the transition to the Third Order. 29. See Stu Beitler, “Sparkill, NY, St. Agnes Convent and Orphanage Fire, August 1899,” Brooklyn Eagle, New York City, August 28, 1899. 30. Collins, Vision Is Tremendous, 61–65.

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31. See “Pastoral Letter, Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, December 7, 1884,” for a complete citation of the decree. 32. The Official Catholic Directory provides the statistical data for the various communities. In the Archdiocese of New York: Newburgh (one academy and eleven parochial schools); Blauvelt (ten parochial schools); Sparkill (one academy and five parochial schools); and Brooklyn (four parochial schools). In the Diocese of Brooklyn, the sisters had twenty-nine parochial schools. The Sinsinawa Dominicans took charge of teaching boys at Our Lady of Mercy School in the Bronx in 1917. See Mary Eva McCarty, OP, The Sinsinawa Dominicans: Outlines of Twentieth Century Development, 1901–1949 (Dubuque, IA: Hoermann Press, 1952), 138–42. 33. Marie-Anne Timbal, “Religious Institutions within the Parish,” Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish, New York, Centennial, 1867–1967, 47–48. 34. Mother M. DaFrose, OP, “Saint Catherine’s Hospital, 1870–1945,” 1946, OPAA. 35. “Sketch of Aims and Work of St. Rose’s Free Home for Incurable Cancer,” n.d., Box 9, Folder 13, Writings about Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Archives of the Hawthorne Dominicans, Hawthorne, NY (hereinafter cited as OPH Archives). See also “Samuel Mazzuchelli, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, and the Making of American Saints,” by Kathleen Sprows Cummings, which is the last chapter in this volume. 36. Edwin Bjorkman, “Noble Sacrifice of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Daughter,” New York Times, March 5, 1905, p. SM3. See also Annette S. Driscoll, “Mother Alphonsa: An Historical Women and Religious Foundress,” Rosary Magazine 49, no. 5 (1926): 1–4. Box 5, Folder 8, Writings about Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, OPH Archives. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop purchased from the French Dominicans who closed their House of Studies in 1901. 37. Mary Walsh and her early companions were referred to as “sister” by those in their neighborhood and among those they served long before the church recognized the congregation. 38. “Annual Report, 1905,” Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, Dominican Sisters of Hope Archive, Ossining, NY (hereinafter cited as HOPE Archives). 39. Anne Cawley Boardman, Such Love Is Seldom: The Story of Mother Mary Walsh, OP, Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor (Ossining, NY: Mariandale, 1950), 150–51. See “Diploma of Affiliation with the Dominican Order,” HOPE Archives. 40. “For Cuban Orphans: Dominican Sisters of Albany to Build an Asylum,” New York Times, September 17, 1900, 12. 41. Claudette LaVerdiere, MM, On The Threshold of the Future: The Life and Spirituality of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Founder of the Maryknoll Sisters (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011), 6.


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42. “Outline of History of Maryknoll,” Mother Mary Joseph Rogers Papers (MMJ), Box 8, Folder 8; “Mary’s of Maryknoll,” June 29, 1922, MMJ, Box 17, Folder 11; and “From ‘Secretaries to Maryknoll Sisters,’ ” Field Afar 3, no. 5 (1936): 184–87, MMJ, Box 17, Folder 11, Maryknoll Sisters Archives, Maryknoll Mission Archives, Maryknoll, New York (hereinafter cited as MMA). 43. The early history of Maryknoll included several close associations with the Dominicans. Father James Walsh lived with the French Dominicans in Hawthorne while working to establish the mission society and developed a close personal relationship with John McNicholas, OP, who provided astute and providential guidance in the creation of the Maryknoll Sisters. He would later serve as socius to the master general and was named the bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, in 1918. In both positions he was a staunch supporter of the sisters. See Coffey, American Dominicans, 624–36 for a full biographical treatment of Father McNicholas. See “Teresian Diary, 1916,” 14, MMA, for a concise discussion on choosing affiliation with the Dominican Order. 44. See “References to Archbishop [John T.] McNicholas, OP,” Mother Mary Joseph Rogers Papers, Box 8, Folder 10, MMA. 45. LaVerdiere, Threshold of the Future, 19. 46. “Outline of the History of Maryknoll,” 8, MMJ, Box 8, Folder 8, MMA. 47. See Cecilia Murray, OP, “Dominican Monasteries: Ever Ancient, Ever New,” in this volume for a complete treatment of the second order communities. See also John Marie Devaney, OP, “The Dominican Nuns: First American Foundations,” Dominicana (Fall 2013). 48. The quote in the subhead above, “The Spirit of the Gospel is superior to that of the world,” is from a letter from Michael Augustine Corrigan to Mother Mary of Jesus, July 9, 1880, in Corpus Christi Monastery, 1889–1989 (Bronx, NY: Corpus Christi Monastery, 1989). 49. Corrigan extended an invitation to the nuns at Saint Dominic’s Monastery in Newark, New Jersey, to establish a monastery of prayer and perpetual adoration in the Archdiocese of New York. This occurred at the same time that Bishop Loughlin was endeavoring to relieve the monastic regulations of the Dominican Sisters in Brooklyn. 50. See Thuente, Theodore (Clement), OP, “Personnel File,” File #1, DAPSJ. He was also a friend, guide, and adviser to Miss Marian Gurney who founded the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine. He was also a confidant to the Medical Mission Sisters in Washington, DC. 51. Coffey, American Dominicans, 630–31. 52. O’Daniel, Dominican Province of Saint Joseph, 4. 53. Coffey, American Dominicans, 629.

“In the Midst of Sorrow and Death” The Work of the Dominican Sisters in Tennessee during Yellow Fever Epidemics m a rga ret m. mcguinness

“Fifty years ago men and women of various religious orders assembled at the altar of Christian Charity and, like their Divine Model, undertook to serve and solace a sorely tried people,” Francis Borgia Steck, OFM, wrote in his foreword to a book celebrating “the heroic sacrifices of Catholic priests and religious during the yellow fever epidemics” that swept Memphis during the 1870s.1 These “heroes and heroines,” Steck contended, had never received the historical attention they deserved. “In some cases not even a tomb-stone marks the spot where they have been resting from their labors all these years, and awaiting the day of final reckoning.”2 Steck’s assertion that religious women and men who worked with the victims of yellow fever in the 1870s had not received proper recognition was correct, but accounts of the epidemics in Memphis and Nashville are not the only instances in which the role of women religious has been ignored. Sisters have often been omitted from standard histories of both American and Catholic history. It is not unusual, for instance, to find histories of education that ignore the ways in which women religious contributed to the development and growth of the parochial school system; and historians of US health care have paid little attention to the religious congregations who built, administered, and staffed Catholic hospitals. Even traditional studies of American Catholicism have focused on the role of bishops and priests, often excluding the sisters who served—and continue to serve—as the face of the Catholic Church for many Americans. In addition, Catholic historians have often consigned the story of the Catholic Church in the South to the margins of history, focusing instead on urban, ethnic Catholic enclaves in the Midwest and Northeast that came to be viewed as the main—and sometimes only—lens through which to view the church in the United States.


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The omission of the work of Dominican sisters in Tennessee’s major cities during the second half of the nineteenth century from secular and religious historical chronicles, is one example of the way in which women religious have not been incorporated into the study of significant historical events. To some extent, their work during the second half of the nineteenth century followed the trajectory of congregations of religious women: They were sought after by priests and bishops anxious to establish schools and orphanages. The circumstances surrounding the arrival and subsequent work of the Dominicans in Memphis and Nashville, however, differed dramatically from those of many of their counterparts in other parts of the United States. The sisters’ early years in Tennessee, for instance, were marked by the devastation resulting from Civil War battles fought on or perilously close to their properties. Following the war, Memphis and Nashville Dominicans experienced three outbreaks of yellow fever within a decade, as well as financial struggles that placed them in danger of being forced to abandon their schools and orphanages. Hard work, strategic leadership, and prayer kept the congregation in Tennessee, and today they remain a presence in the state’s two major cities.3 Dominicans living and working in Tennessee sought to meet the many needs—physical and spiritual—of those they had come to serve. Examining this congregation’s early decades in Tennessee offers a view into how women religious managed to accomplish their work despite adverse conditions. At the same time, their story serves as a reminder that the history of Catholicism in the United States is not limited to urban centers of the Northeast and Midwest, and that parts of this story can even be found in unlikely places.

From Ohio to Tennessee When the Dominican friar Samuel Wilson, an English missionary to the United States, in February 1822 invited the young women in his Kentucky congregation to consider becoming a part of a new community of Dominicans that would lead an active rather than a contemplative life, he probably was not at all sure that anyone would accept his offer.4 Although they may not have realized exactly what their future would hold, nine women expressed an interest and on April 7, 1822, four young women were “formally received into the Order of Preachers,” and became the first Domin-

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ican women to minister in the United States.5 Six additional candidates joined the original four sisters in August of that same year. The new community was an active, rather than a contemplative, Dominican congregation. Although the friars living on the Kentucky frontier understood that a cloistered congregation was not feasible in that part of the country, the sisters’ original schedule can best be described as rigid and monastic. They were required, for instance, to recite the Divine Office at midnight, and participate in meditation and morning prayer at five o’clock in the morning, followed by mass. “This routine, combined with teaching, was so strenuous that it had to be modified.” 6 By June of 1823, Angela Sansbury, who was the first woman to pronounce vows in the new community, had been appointed prioress of St. Mary Magdalene in Kentucky, the first Dominican convent in the United States. Sansbury and her sisters quickly learned that there was a great demand for American women religious to staff schools, and they soon found themselves establishing educational institutions. On July 23, 1823, the sisters opened their first school, St. Mary Magdalene Academy near Springfield, Kentucky. The school grew rapidly; by February 1824, twenty-nine boarders, seven novices, and seven sisters were associated with the academy.7 By 1830, in response to a request from Cincinnati Bishop Edward Fenwick, OP, four sisters from Kentucky moved to Somerset, Ohio, and opened St. Mary’s School. Reflecting on their arrival in Ohio, Sister Benvenuta Sansbury (Sister Angela’s biological sister), whose name was often shortened to Benven, wrote, “The Dominican Sisters created quite a sensational stir among the citizens,” most of whom had never seen a Catholic sister before.8

Memphis Thomas Langdon Grace, OP, arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1846 at the direction of Nashville Bishop Richard P. Miles, OP, and served as assistant pastor and pastor of St. Peter’s Church until he was named bishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1861. In 1851, Grace requested Dominican sisters from Kentucky and Ohio to assist him in his work ministering to the Catholics of that city and its environs. A total of six Dominican sisters were sent to Memphis—three from the motherhouse of St. Catherine, Kentucky, and three from St. Mary’s in Ohio—arriving on January 1, 1851.


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The historical marker for St. Peter Catholic Church acknowledges that during three yellow fever plagues of the 1870s, eight Dominican priests and eleven Dominican sisters died while caring for the needs of the people of Memphis, Tennessee. Historical marker erected by the descendants of Shelby Early Settlers, Memphis, Tennessee. Courtesy of Jordan McAlister.

According to a history of the Memphis Dominicans written in 1951, newspaper accounts depicted the sisters arriving in the city wearing their white habits, but “it is almost certain that they made the journey in secular clothing. In those days it would have been unsafe for religious to travel in any other garb.”9 Arriving past midnight after spending four days on a steamboat, the six sisters—Ann Simpson, Lucy Harper, Vincentia Fitzpatrick, Magdalen Clarke, Emily Thorpe, and Catherine McCormick—had nowhere to sleep on their first night in Memphis. “Father Grace,” according to Dominican historian Loretta Petit, OP, “managed to sustain conversation in his parlor throughout the night,” in order to keep the sisters entertained.10 The following morning, Grace accompanied the sisters to a private residence,

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where they remained until they could move into a permanent home ten days later.11 The sisters established St. Agnes Academy, located about one mile from the center of Memphis, shortly after their arrival. According to the convent’s annalist, “The Sisters opened their school on February 4 with 20 boarders and 15 or 20 day scholars.”12 The Dominican sisters and priests working in Memphis before the Civil War discovered that the number of epidemics that swept through the city on a regular basis negatively affected the work they were trying to accomplish. Writing during the 1855 yellow fever epidemic, a Dominican sister explained that “the Sept. Session of ’55 opened with rather a slender attendance, owing to the presence of yellow fever in the City. . . . Some half dozen of our pupils took flight in consequence and went home, but returned in Nov with a large increase of new scholars.”13 Other stories of Dominicans in the city during this era were not so positive. John Cleary, OP, for instance, was the first Dominican friar to die of yellow fever in Tennessee during the epidemic of 1855. St. Agnes remained open during the Civil War, and contemporary reports indicate that the sisters were usually not harassed by Union troops after Memphis surrendered in June 1862. At the end of July, Union General William T. Sherman—who was baptized Catholic and raised his children Catholic—pitched his tents on the grounds of the academy. Although it is not clear to what degree the general and the sisters interacted, Sherman allowed the sisters to leave their property in order to care for wounded Union troops.14 Since soldiers were camped on the grounds of St. Agnes, the sisters lived in close proximity to the occupying army and occasionally came into uncomfortably close contact with Northern troops. One Christmas eve, several inebriated Union soldiers demanded entrance to the convent, but their superior officers later denied that the men had been authorized to seek admittance to the sisters’ residence. On occasion, however, they were reminded of their situation, such as when “their horses were confiscated . . . by the soldiers.”15 Like other congregations of women religious, the Dominican sisters at St. Agnes found themselves serving as nurses during the Civil War. At the request of James Whelan, Bishop of Nashville (1860–1863), they assumed responsibility for the City Hospital in Memphis, which had been transformed into a facility to care for wounded troops. Although many of the


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wounded had never even seen a Catholic sister before, “numbers requested baptism in their dying hours, having learned to love and reverence the faith that inspired such charity as was exemplified by their devoted nurses.”16 After the war ended in 1865, the enrollment at St. Agnes Academy continued to grow. In response to overcrowding, the sisters opened St. Agnes Day School—its name was later changed to La Salette Academy—in September 1864. When an addition to St. Agnes was completed in 1893, La Salette merged with St. Agnes, and all of the students could again be housed at one location.17 In addition to administering and staffing St. Agnes, La Salette Academy, and St. Peter’s grade school, the sisters found themselves caring for an increasing number of children who had been orphaned as a result of the recurrent epidemics. Their charges were originally housed with the academy’s boarders until St. Agnes Orphanage was opened in December 1851.18 When Father Grace moved the orphanage outside of Memphis in 1854, the sisters not only cared for the children, but also hosted picnics and fairs to support the institution, now known as Gracewood. (The name would be changed to St. Peter’s Orphanage about a year later.) Their fundraising activities did not cover all of the costs associated with the orphanage, however: “Were it not for the farm belonging to St. Peter’s, which the Fathers kindly allowed them to cultivate and to retain the produce, not half the number of orphans could be supported.”19 Several years later, in 1862, the orphanage moved back into Memphis, and the Dominicans remained in charge until 1884 when “owing to the ravages of the yellow fever, they found themselves unable to supply a sufficient number of Sisters to take proper care of the institution.”20 Administering and staffing a school and orphanage meant that Dominican sisters were often in short supply in Memphis. In 1859, Anthony Gangloff, OP, recruited five additional sisters from St. Catharine’s in Kentucky for the mission in that city in order to rectify the shortage of sisters. Joseph Augustine Kelly, OP, who served as American provincial from 1858 to 1862, was convinced that the sisters would be happy in Memphis. “The location of St. Agnes Academy is perhaps the most beautiful in the city,” Kelly reported, and further noted that the sisters were planning to expand their work.

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We have been thinking of having a common and select school for sisters somewhere near the church of St. Peters [sic], and I have looked for ground convenient for that purpose. I have advised our sisters to sell out their place at St. Agnes and purchase elsewhere. The proceeds of their ground would purchase double the quantity they now have, build them an academy worth 30 or 40 thousand and leave a balance on hand.21

Although this plan was never implemented, it is clear that Kelly believed the city was going to continue to increase in both size and prestige. Kelly’s views on St. Agnes were echoed by the convent’s annalist, who wrote, “St. Agnes is emphatically the gem of Memphis, the garden of Ten. [sic], the Eden of the inmates, the abode of the Muses and the consecrated spot around which cluster all the Memphian associations of beauty and poetry.”22

Nashville In 1860, Nashville Bishop James Whelan, who had served as provincial for the Dominican Order in the St. Joseph Province from 1854 to 1858, requested sisters from St. Mary’s Convent in Somerset, Ohio, to open an academy for girls in his diocese. Four sisters, Columba Dittoe (who was named superior), Lucy Harper, Philomena McDonough, and Frances Walsh left Ohio on August 15, 1860, accompanied by Whelan and two sisters from Regensburg, Germany. After a journey that included travel by stagecoach, train, and steamboat, the sisters arrived in Nashville three days later. Since the sisters did not yet have a permanent convent in which to reside, they stayed with the Sisters of Charity, who were already operating a hospital in the city.23 St. Cecilia Academy opened its doors in October 1860 less than two months after the sisters’ arrival. “It was not without forethought that the young academy was called St. Cecilia,” Mother Frances Walsh wrote in a retrospective sketch of the congregation, “for St. Cecilia is the patroness of music and the Southern people love music.”24 The four sisters were responsible for serving as administrators and teachers, acting as prefects for boarding students, offering lessons in music and art, ensuring that the business affairs of the congregation were in order, and supervising those


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responsible for cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the property. This work, coupled with an increase in students—by September of 1861 the school had reached its capacity—led to the assignment of two additional sisters to the Nashville community.25 Whelan was clearly pleased with the role he played in the establishment of St. Cecilia’s. In his 1863 annual report, the bishop wrote: Knowing that a first class Academy, such as only Catholic Sisters can conduct, would do an immensity of good, and be liberally supported, I spared no labor, no pains, no necessary expense to ensure the accomplishment of the undertaking. It soon became evident that my efforts would be crowned with success, and I am happy to be able to say that St. Cecilia’s Academy . . . has already secured the patronage of an extensive and wealthy portion of the country, where the Catholic system of education was not much appreciated.26

Although students continued to enroll at St. Cecilia’s after the outbreak of the Civil War, the school struggled as the sisters attempted to respond to both shortages of personnel and money. In 1862, Union troops occupied Nashville, and sisters and students found themselves disconnected from family members and friends living outside of the city. Although there is no record that the Northern army treated the sisters poorly, their situation in Nashville during the Civil War was difficult, to say the least. According to an anonymous member of the congregation, the school’s “beautiful grounds and buildings were neglected, her patrons were bankrupt, her finances depleted; martial music blended with the sweet tones of the matins and vesper bells, and the armed sentinel kept his vigil near the little rustic chapel.”27 Bishop Whelan resigned his position in 1863. In his final report, he noted that the Dominican sisters owed the Bishop of Nashville $2,600 for various expenditures related to St. Cecilia’s. (The debt was actually much larger than Whelan reported.) In addition, although classes were held during the war years, “financially the war had devastated the young academy.”28 When Sister (later Mother) Ann Hanlon was assigned to St. Cecilia’s in 1866, she reduced the major debts related to the building of the academy within a year. St. Cecilia’s was still considered financially unstable, however, and in 1867, with the help of benefactors, Bishop Patrick

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Feehan purchased the school at auction for $20,300, and gave it to the sisters to use. They eventually paid back all of their creditors.29 The financial situation had not improved by the following year, but somehow the school remained open. “The Academy’s patrons, bankrupted by the war, could not pay the sisters for the education of their daughters and notes on the property could not be met.”30 Several sisters, assuming that the school would be closed, left to teach at a new Dominican school in Washington, DC. Mother Ann continued to serve the community as prioress, however, and by the mid-1870s the debts had been nearly eradicated. The remaining debt was paid in 1875 when Mother Ann and Sister Angela Robinson were sent to Chicago on a fundraising mission that proved successful.31 Rev. J. A. Kelly, OP, served as the administrator of the diocese for two years after Whelan’s departure. One of Kelly’s main concerns was the care of children who were considered orphans. (Although a traditional definition of orphan is one whose parents are deceased, at this time some children for whom Kelly believed the church should assume responsibility had fathers serving in the military.) A note found in the orphanage’s annals reports that in November 1863, three men arrived at the cathedral planning to donate money for necessary repairs to the building. Kelly, wondering if there was a better way to spend the money, showed them three young orphans sleeping. One parent had died “on the field of battle, the other by a broken heart.”32 At a meeting held on November 15, 1863, Kelly and other leading Nashville Catholic citizens agreed to establish a Catholic orphanage in the city. A society was organized “for the purpose of contributing personally and procuring subscriptions from others, not only for the purpose of erecting, but also, if possible, of supporting permanently a Catholic orphan asylum in our city.”33 St. Mary’s Orphanage was designed to be “an asylum for those stray little waifs of humanity who would other wise have perished by an untimely death or grown up to lead a life of ignorance, wretchedness and crime.”34 Kelly and his supporters went ahead with their plans to open an orphanage, despite difficulties in securing building materials and finding a location that was not in close proximity to military quarters and parade grounds. Following the example of his predecessor, he asked the Dominican sisters in Somerset, Ohio, to provide two or three sisters for the new


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orphanage, and his request was granted. Sisters Benven Sansbury, Joseph McGary, and Gertrude O’Meara arrived in the city on May 17, 1864, and immediately began to prepare for children to be placed in their care.35 “The Sisters are putting the house in order with all possible dispatch,” a contemporary noted, explaining that although the newcomers were feeling “somewhat lonely,” they “will get over it.”36 The first orphan was placed in their care two days later by Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee (later President of the United States). By July 1 of that year, the sisters were caring for fourteen orphans between the ages of three and seventeen. Eight of the children were identified as Catholic; the remaining six were Protestant.37 Several months after St. Mary’s opened, a Union officer warned the sisters that a battle was about to take place in the vicinity of the orphanage, and they were at risk of being harmed if they did not seek shelter elsewhere. “Got warning this evening that the Orphan Asylum was in danger from the batteries,” Kelly wrote. “Got five government wagons, an ambulance, etc. some officers and citizens; . . . we were all night engaged in moving the orphans, Sisters and their effects into the city.”38 With the assistance of Kelly and the chaplain of the Fourth US Calvary, the sisters and their charges were relocated to the basement of the cathedral, where they remained for four weeks. Although St. Mary’s was severely damaged during the Battle of Nashville, the US government repaired the damage as promised, allowing the sisters and children to return to the building within a reasonable time after being evacuated.39 Shortly after the orphanage reopened, an unknown chronicler of St. Mary’s wrote: Day and night its portals are open to the homeless and friendless little applicants from every clime and country, one or more of whom present themselves almost every week for admission; and no sooner do they seem to pass its peaceful threshold than their tears dry up, their sorrows and privations seem to be forgotten, the rosy flush of health returns to their cheeks and the smile of contentment and happiness is seen again on their infant lips.40

Interrupted by Epidemics The Dominican sisters in Memphis and Nashville, like most women religious throughout the United States, were involved primarily in adminis-

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tering schools and caring for orphans. Many sisters, however, found their ministries interrupted when epidemics of yellow fever struck both cities several times in the decades immediately following the Civil War. At the end of the nineteenth century, most Americans did not know what caused outbreaks of this deadly disease. A newspaper article explained that some say it was from bad fish in the Wolf River, . . . some say it creeps in from the local swamps at night but most people believe it was spread from the sick and dying coming off the boats from Vicksburg and New Orleans. All we know for sure is that the Yellow Fever plague is once again upon us.41

The disease is actually spread by pregnant females of a small type of mosquito known as Aedes aegypti. If the insect bites a person suffering from yellow fever, the virus will multiply within his or her tissues, and anyone subsequently bitten will be infected with the disease. The disease spreads very rapidly because the pattern repeats itself. “If the human population is dense enough and at least one person has yellow fever, any number of bugs can pick it up and infect several victims daily.”42 The only way to end an epidemic during the latter half of the nineteenth century was to wait for the onset of cold weather; frost killed the mosquitos and stopped the spread of the disease until the seasons changed again. Those who contracted yellow fever suffered a great deal before they died. Early symptoms included “chills, constipation, nausea, severe pains in the head and back, and high fever.” When the fever subsided, a few victims recovered and lived the remainder of their lives immune from the disease. For most, however, the fever returned along with more severe symptoms, including jaundice, internal bleeding, and severe vomiting. The end result was a painful death.43 Memphis experienced yellow fever epidemics several times in the years immediately following the end of the Civil War, and the Dominican residents of the city were often among the casualties. During an outbreak that occurred in the fall of 1866, for instance, Sister Mary Joseph McKernan, the prioress of St. Agnes’s convent, asked the novices if they were willing to nurse the city’s yellow fever patients. The young sisters agreed and during the time they were engaged in this work, three novices received the habit in the city’s St. Peter’s Church. The community annals report that Sister Agnes Ray—who had contracted the disease as a result of her nursing


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ministry—died a few hours after professing her vows. Sister Agnes, the annalist sorrowfully reported, “by her piety and talents gave promise of becoming a most useful member [of the community] and those who knew her felt her death very much.” 44 On September 14, 1873, city officials declared that an epidemic of yellow fever had once again broken out in Memphis. City schools were closed, including St. Agnes and La Salette academies, and the latter was converted into a hospital. Some of the boarding students, however, were unable to return home and “every day they and the Sisters in charge went in procession around the grounds imploring Our Lady’s help for protection from the dread disease. Their prayers were surely heard, since no case of yellow fever occurred at St. Agnes that year.” 45 Sister Joseph McKernan, who had volunteered to nurse patients, was the first member of the St. Cecilia congregation to die from the disease during this epidemic. Sisters Martha Quarry and Magdalen McKernan (Sister Joseph McKernan’s biological sister), who died within twelve hours of each other, followed her. The sisters’ metal caskets were donated to the community by an organization of volunteers dedicated to managing the way in which the epidemic was handled; they were buried almost immediately.46 Dominican sisters in Nashville found themselves working with victims of cholera and yellow fever in 1873. During the cholera epidemic, the sisters worked with the Robinson Society, which had been established to report cases of the disease to city officials and nurses. The response to Mother Ann’s (the Superior) letter stating that the sisters would be working with the society was very positively received and “was said to have had the effect of a bugle call in time of war, as, shortly after its publication many other Nashville citizens volunteered their ser vices.” The sisters continued to nurse those who had contracted the disease until the end of July.47 The yellow fever epidemic of 1878 was especially severe. On July 27, it was confirmed that yellow fever was claiming victims in New Orleans, causing Memphis civic leaders to examine those traveling into the city. On August 13, Kate Bionda, who operated a small shop along the river, died, and her doctor confirmed that she was a victim of the disease. Within two days, twenty-two cases were reported. By August 23, the city was in the middle of a full-blown epidemic of yellow fever.48 One man, writing to his sister, described the situation: “The fever [is] raging & spreading all

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over the city. . . . It has now nearly two months to run before frost. . . . Our people are falling [in] every direction. . . . God help us. . . . Where will the end be?” 49 Within one week after the Board of Health announced the epidemic, more than 25,000 people had fled Memphis. “Of the 20,000 who remained, 17,600 were reported as having been stricken.” 50 Until the outbreak of Covid-19, it was difficult for twenty-first-century Americans to imagine Memphis—or any city in the United States—during such a severe epidemic. Dominican sisters ministering in the city would have seen “coffins piled up in wagons or on sidewalks outside houses, waiting to be driven to the cemetery; hospitals (one permanent, two temporary) [one designated for African Americans] . . . loud with the wails of the patients; and homes where whole families had died before doctors could arrive.” 51 For some observers, however, the worst part of the epidemic was the emptiness of the city. One contemporary report remembered: “At night it [Memphis] was as silent as the grave, by day it seemed desolate as the desert. . . . Even the animals felt the oppression and fled from the city. Rats, cats, or dogs were not to be seen.” 52 One of the ways in which city and medical officials attempted to stem the spread of the disease was through the establishment of “refugee camps” outside of the city. Residents of Memphis who had nowhere else to go in order to escape the disease were able to find shelter in these camps where, it was hoped, one would be safe from yellow fever. Camp Father Matthew, for instance, was housing between three and four hundred people within a few days of the official declaration that yellow fever had broken out in Memphis once again. The records of the Dominican Sisters at St. Agnes Academy describe the place of religion in Camp Father Matthew: “As is ever the case in time of desolation, Catholics turned to the priest for guidance. . . . Catholics who for years had never sought the inside of a church, came on bended knees imploring and praying for aid.” 53 People were desperate to stay away from the disease, and even those who were no longer practicing Catholics sometimes turned to their church to see them through this difficult time. In addition to women religious, several groups within the city worked to alleviate the suffering of the victims. Along with the Howard Association, a group of prominent businessmen that came together when yellow fever broke out in order to organize and supervise medical personnel, a Citizens’ Relief Committee helped provide and distribute necessary supplies


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such as food, candles, and bedding. Religious organizations, including the Catholic Church, helped wherever they were needed. Bernard Weisberger contends that about “twenty-five priests struggled to give comfort and last rites.” Approximately fifty women religious served as nurses during the epidemic; this number included Dominican sisters residing at St. Agnes Convent.54 Memphis priest Rev. Joseph Kelly’s diary for 1878 contained only one entry, and the topic was yellow fever. The year had been eventful, Kelly noted. “We had the yellow fever scourge in the worst shape ever known here. I buried four priests from St. Peter’s and as in 1873 was again left to do the work of half a dozen.” Three of the priests, John R. McGarvey, John A. Bokel Jr., and Patrick Scannell, were Dominican friars.55 When the only other Dominican priest in the city, Emile Reville, died in the epidemic that broke out in 1879, Kelly requested that no additional friars be assigned to the city until the epidemic had run its course.56 Kelly and others clearly understood that it was essential for members of many religious denominations to cooperate with each other in order to serve all those in need. When the only rabbi in Memphis asked a man what he could do to help, he was told that the man’s wife was dying and needed a priest. The rabbi later remembered that he “accompanied [Kelly] as he carried the Sacrament [the Eucharist] with great respect down the forsaken streets of afflicted Memphis. I showed him the house and room, and remained until the father had administered the rites.” 57 Mother Alphonsa, superior of the Dominican convent, was away from the city when she heard that yellow fever had broken out in the city. As a precaution, she directed the novices to move temporarily to Nashville in hopes that they would escape the epidemic. By the time Sister Rose— acting in Mother Alphonsa’s absence—received a telegram from the sisters at St. Cecilia’s in Nashville telling her to send the novices to them, it was too late; some of the sisters at St. Agnes had already contracted the disease.58 According to the convent annals, At 2 P.M. on the 24th Sr. Veronica and Sr. Cecilia asked to lie down. At seven Sr. Veronica (Prioress) was so ill that she had to be carried down stairs and placed in another room on the gallery. The doctor (Dr. Willett) was sent for and he pronounced both cases yellow fever. Fr. McGarvey, our chaplain, was also taken down that night. . . . On the afternoon

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of the 24th Sr. Vincentia was sent out to St. Agnes with the pupils in the hope that they might there escape the fever.59

Mother Alphonsa returned from her trip to find many members of the community in various stages of the disease; several were so ill that a priest was called to administer last rites. After the priest left, Mother Alphonsa told the sisters to prepare to move out of the city until the epidemic subsided. Those sisters too old or frail to nurse victims of the disease were sent to Springfield, Kentucky; others were sent, along with the orphans, to St. Cecilia’s convent in Nashville until the situation in Memphis improved. If they remained at home, Mother Alphonsa told the sisters, they would die. When the sisters left the city the next day, the annalist recounted, “They often heard the exclamation, ‘ There go the sisters running from their post!’ Those who said this did not know that their ‘post’ was obedience; had they known it they probably would have spared them the unkind thought.” 60 The Dominicans who managed to stay healthy during the epidemic sometimes found it difficult to provide a proper funeral and burial for their sisters. When Sister Veronica died, for example, Mother Alphonsa ordered her coffin, and was surprised when “the hearse and carriage drove up with it.” The undertaker informed the sisters that the city required that she be buried immediately. Mother Alphonsa and Sister Rose followed the hearse, and asked the driver to stop at St. Peter’s Church, “but there was no priest there except the two who were sick.” As a result, no priests were available to celebrate Sister Veronica’s funeral mass.61 Other sisters did not even receive the ser vices of an undertaker. When Sister Bernardine, who had served as the infirmarian for most of her religious life, died on September 11, “they carried her out on the mattress and laid her in the room opposite the chapel.” The following morning, a ser vice was held and Sister Bernardine was carried out for burial. “Under the circumstances nothing more could be done, for the living demanded all that the poor sisters had strength to do.” 62 For many years, it was difficult to document completely the full impact of this epidemic on the Memphis Dominican sisters because the turmoil surrounding this era resulted in records that are sometimes far from complete. Although all of the Dominicans who died in Memphis as a result of the yellow fever epidemics have now been identified, as late as 1929 Leo


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Kalmer, OFM, reported that it was difficult even to determine the names of the sisters who succumbed to the disease. According to Kalmer, the chronicle of St. Agnes’s convent states, for instance, that “Sr. Alphonsa, aged 34, Mother Superior of St. Agnes’, died Sept. 6th, 1878 the seventh of that Order,” but according to Kalmer, only six names are recorded.63 The seventh, Kalmer speculates, “must be Sr. Catherine Kintz, who, with Sr. Joseph McCary . . . took the fever at St. Peter’s Orphanage and was brought with Sr. Joseph to La Salette to be nursed.” 64 In addition, Kalmer states that the Chronicle reports “a Sister Winkelman” also died of yellow fever during this epidemic. Noting that only her family name is listed, Kalmer quotes the Chronicle’s explanation, “The (Sister’s) story is told in the words of St. Louis: She was not here long enough (for us) to even learn her age and scarcely her name.” It is not at all clear, he continues, that she was a Dominican.65 St. Peter’s Orphanage, which was administered by the sisters, was also affected; approximately thirty children died from yellow fever during this epidemic. Since sisters and priests were among the sick and dying, the two groups cooperated in keeping the orphanage open during the epidemics of 1878 and 1879. On September 16, accompanied by Sister Mary Thomas, about fifty boys and girls from infancy to about thirteen years of age began a journey to St. Mary’s Orphanage in Nashville in the hope that they would be kept safe from yellow fever. Although very few people wanted to be near anyone who had been in Memphis, several offered assistance that Sister Thomas gratefully accepted. One man ran up to Sister Mary Thomas and handed her ten dollars; another gave her a bucket filled with coffee so the children would have something to drink on the journey. When the train reached Nashville, city officials refused to let the children into the depot, so the train “was backed up until they were in front of the Asylum and with the kind assistance of some gentlemen, those who were too small to walk were carried across the fields” to the orphanage.66 Since several sisters from St. Agnes had already moved to the orphanage to escape the epidemic sweeping Nashville, the children were cared for in a separate building, “as it was not thought safe for them to mingle with the orphans of St. Mary’s.” 67 They remained in Nashville until the middle of November when it was determined that the sisters and children could return to Memphis. As soon as the orphans left

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Memphis, Father Kelly brought an additional thirty-two boys and girls into the space that had been vacated. The following year, he purchased twenty-five acres of land outside of the city, and moved the orphans and five sisters to the new property in hopes that they would escape future epidemics. His strategy was successful; during the epidemic of 1879, only one child residing in the orphanage died of yellow fever.68 Several newspaper articles published during this time accused the Memphis Dominicans of abandoning the people they had come to serve. According to the community annals, the St. Louis Watchman claimed that every sister in Memphis had contracted yellow fever except for “those who fled.” 69 In order to counteract these stories, Sister Mary Thomas organized those sisters who did not have yellow fever—or who had recovered from the disease—into a program designed to visit city residents in need. The sisters ministered to Catholics and non-Catholics living in all areas of Memphis. “In one instance, they found a father laying out his own child and although in good circumstances before the fever, his necessities were such that he gratefully accepted a few dollars to provide for the family that was spared to him.” By early November 1878, the epidemic had abated and those sisters who had been sent to other convents—Kentucky and Nashville—to avoid contracting yellow fever were allowed to return to Memphis. On November 11, the community—in an attempt to return to a normal lifestyle—elected Sister Mary Thomas as prioress, and the sisters returned to St. Agnes on November 17. About eight months later, in July of 1879, members of the community “were beginning to breathe freely,” when Father Kelly informed them that it was possible yellow fever had again broken out in Memphis. His fears were confirmed by newspaper headlines the following day. Although the sisters continued with plans for their annual retreat, they heard rumors that city officials were issuing mandatory evacuation orders in order to ensure the safety of the city’s residents. At last the dreaded time came for us. . . . The retreat was to close the next morning and the sisters were making their meditation, the subject of which was, “Our dear Lord’s Flight into Egypt.” Mother [Thomas], feeling that there was no time to be lost, knocked on the chapel door and called them out. She told them that they must prepare to go to


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Nashville that night. There was no alternative the annalist, reported. “It was either go or die.” 70

All but twelve sisters left for Nashville to stay at either St. Cecilia’s Academy or St. Mary’s Orphanage; those who remained ministered wherever they were needed. “From early dawn till late at night,” a chronicler of the yellow fever epidemics wrote, “the white habit of the Dominicans could be met with in the lonely and almost deserted streets. Yet they were fearless for who should molest them?” 71 Within a few days, most of the remaining sisters were also told to evacuate the city. The sisters did not think they would be allowed to return to Memphis, and actually decided to open a school in Jackson, Mississippi, in order to maintain their community.72 Dominican Father Emile Reville, OP, remained in contact with the sisters who left Memphis to escape the epidemic. Writing to Sister Louise on September 12, 1879, Reville informed her that the epidemic seemed to be ending, but the sisters who remained in Memphis “are well and zealously going the rounds of the city visiting the sick and picking up orphans.” 73 Reville was optimistic about his own health, explaining that “I principally rely on God to escape the contagion; at the same time, however, I am prepared to do His Holy Will whatever it may be.” 74 Reville contracted the fever and died around September 22, according to those reconstructing the events related to the Dominican sisters in Memphis and the yellow fever epidemic of 1879. Members of the congregation remained in “exile” until November 8; St. Agnes reopened on November 17. “It was, as of course expected, very small but they struggled on confiding in Him who has to sustain His servants.” 75 By November 21, three postulants had entered the congregation, and the community was attempting to devote itself to the ministries that had brought it to Memphis.

Conclusion After the 1879 outbreak of yellow fever, the St. Agnes annals do not mention the disease again until 1897. During that epidemic, the students were either sent home or taken to St. Catharine’s in Kentucky in order to protect them from the disease that had killed so many during the 1870s. The sisters expressed their willingness to nurse those stricken with yellow

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fever, but the bishop would not grant them permission to do so because they were not trained nurses.76 Despite several decades that included the Civil War and periodic outbreaks of yellow fever epidemics, the Dominican sisters in Tennessee continued to serve the Catholic Church in ordinary and extraordinary ways. Administering and staffing schools and orphanages were their “ordinary” ministries, but their willingness to care for victims of yellow fever while protecting those in their care from the disease can best be described as extraordinary. In 2020, the Dominican Sisters continue to maintain a presence in Memphis and Nashville. Although St. Agnes Academy in Memphis was severely damaged by fire in 1878 and 1900, it survived and continues in operation today as St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia own or administer several schools in Nashville and Memphis, including St. Cecilia Academy in Nashville, as well as Aquinas College, founded in 1961. The ways in which children in need are cared for has changed since the first Dominicans in Tennessee opened orphanages in Memphis and Nashville. After serving the children of St. Mary’s for about ninety years, the Dominicans withdrew from the orphanage, and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth took their place. The story of the first several decades of the Dominican sisters’ work in Memphis and Nashville may appear to be quite different from the histories of other congregations of women religious as they established schools, hospitals, and orphanages throughout the United States, but it is important to emphasize that other religious communities also served in Memphis and Nashville during these difficult times. Kalmer’s 1929 history of the epidemics, for instance, documents the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Daughters of Charity (Emmitsburg), Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate (Illinois), Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, and Sisters of St. Mary of the Third Order of St. Francis as they nursed victims of yellow fever in Memphis during the 1870s. The Civil War and the series of epidemics that swept through the area in the years following the cessation of hostilities meant that these sisters—Dominicans and others— worked under a set of adverse circumstances over which they had no control. At the same time, their story demonstrates that Dominican history, as well as the larger history of women religious, is indeed part of American history, and deserves a place in the larger narrative.


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Notes 1. See Francis Borgia Steck, OFM, Foreword to Stronger Than Death: Historical Notes of the Heroic Sacrifices of Catholic Priests and Religious during the Yellow Fever Epidemics at Memphis in 1873, 1878 and 1879, by Leo Kalmer, OFM (n.p.: Quincy College, [1929]), n.p. 2. Ibid. 3. Although it is beyond the scope of this essay, it is worth noting that the Dominicans also nursed yellow fever victims in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1878, as well as caring for cholera patients during several epidemics that struck Tennessee cities in the second half of the nineteenth century. 4. Most women religious during this era, especially in Europe, were contemplative and cloistered; their primary ministry was prayer, and they rarely, if ever, left their convent or monastery. See Margaret M. McGuinness, Called to Serve: A History of Nuns in America (New York: New York University Press, 2013), 2–6. 5. Loretta Petit, “Friars and Sisters on the Frontier,” in Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865, vol. 1 of The Order of Preachers in the United States: A Family History, ed. Mary Nona McGreal, OP (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001), 97. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid., 140. St. Mary Magdalene was the first school administered and staffed by Dominican women in the United States. 8. Ibid., 127. 9. Meeting the Needs of the Times: A Short History of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Memphis, 1851–1951 (Memphis: n.p., 1951), n.p. 10. Loretta Petit, “Founding the Church in Tennessee,” in Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation, 1786–1865, ed. Mary Nona McGreal, OP (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001), 183. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid. 13. Quoted ibid., 184. 14. Sister Margaret Hamilton, “History of St. Agnes Academy, Memphis, Tennessee, 1851–1926 (Memphis: John Gasser, [1926]), 34. 15. Petit, “Founding the Church in Tennessee,” 189. 16. Hamilton, “History of St. Agnes Academy,” 32. 17. Ibid. 18. Petit, “Founding the Church in Tennessee,” 183. 19. Quoted ibid. 20. Hamilton, “History of St. Agnes Academy,” 40. This source refers to the orphanage as St. Peter’s Orphanage.

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21. Quoted in Rose Marie Masserano, “Profile: Ann Hanlon,” in Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865, ed. Mary Nona McGreal, OP (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001), 197. 22. Quoted in Petit, “Founding the Church in Tennessee,” 185. 23. See Mother Frances Walsh, OP (recounted by), A Short Sketch of the Foundation and Growth of the Saint Cecilia Congregation (Nashville, TN: Saint Cecilia Congregation, reprint 2001), 1–6, for an account of the sisters’ journey to and arrival in Nashville. 24. [Sister Miriam Walsh], A Brief History of the Origin and Development of the St. Cecilia Congregation of Dominican Sisters (hereafter St. Cecilia Congregation) (Nashville, TN: n.p. [1935]), 4. 25. Ibid. 26. Quoted in Petit, “Founding the Church in Tennessee,” 187. 27. St. Cecilia Congregation, 5. 28. Masserano, “Profile: Ann Hanlon,” 199. 29. Ibid. 30. Ibid. 31. Ibid. 32. “Out of the Past,” typescript of a note taken from the Annals of St. Mary’s Orphanage, November 15, 1865. Archives, Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. 33. St. Cecilia Congregation, 38. 34. A History of Saint Mary’s Orphanage in Commemoration of Its 100th Anniversary, 1864–1964 (Nashville, TN: n.p., 1964), n.p. 35. St. Cecilia Congregation, 37–39. 36. History of St. Mary’s Orphanage, n.p. 37. It was not unusual for Catholic schools and orphanages to accept non-Catholic children. 38. Quoted in Petit, “Founding the Church in Tennessee,” 190. 39. St. Cecilia Congregation, 40–41. 40. “History of St. Mary’s Orphanage,” typescript, 1866, 12. 41. “Yellow Fever Plague Strikes, City Taking Precautions,” Supplement to West Tennessee Catholic, 125, Anniversary of “The Yellow Fever Epidemic in Memphis in 1878” (2003), 2. 42. Bernard A. Weisberger, “Epidemic,” American Heritage: A Medical Picture of the United States A Special Section (October/November 1984): 58. 43. Ibid. 44. “Annals of St. Agnes Convent and Academy, Memphis, Tennessee,” 1866, 3–4, typescript, Sister Mary Nona McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies, Dominican University; Kalmer, Stronger Than Death,19. Kalmer describes her as a “senior novice,” who made her vows “upon her death-bed.”


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45. “Meeting the Needs of the Times,” n.p. 46. Kalmer, Stronger Than Death, 19–20. 47. St. Cecilia Congregation, 15. 48. Weisberger, “Epidemic,” 60. 49. Quoted ibid. 50. Quoted in Kalmer, Stronger Than Death, 7. 51. Weisberger, “Epidemic,” 60. 52. Ibid., 61. 53. Quoted in Kalmer, Stronger Than Death, 12. 54. Weisberger, “Epidemic,” 62. 55. John Vidmar, OP, Fr. Fenwick’s “Little American Province”: 200 Years of the Dominican Friars in the United States (New York: Dominican Province of St. Joseph, 2005), 50. 56. Ibid. 57. Kalmer, Stronger Than Death,16. 58. “Annals of St. Agnes Convent and Academy, Memphis, Tenn.,” 10. 59. Ibid. 60. Ibid., 11. 61. Ibid., 11–12. 62. Ibid., 16. 63. Kalmer, Stronger Than Death, 21. 64. Ibid. 65. Ibid. 66. “Annals of St. Agnes Convent and Academy, Memphis, Tenn.,” 17. 67. Ibid. 68. Vidmar, Fr. Fenwick’s “Little American Province,” 53. 69. “Annals of St. Agnes Convent and Academy, Memphis, Tenn.,” 18. 70. Ibid., 20. 71. Kalmer, Stronger Than Death, 21. 72. “Annals of St. Agnes Convent and Academy, Memphis, Tenn.,” 20–21. 73. Quoted in Kalmer, Stronger Than Death, 21. 74. Quoted ibid. 75. “Annals of St. Agnes Convent and Academy, Memphis, Tenn.,” 22. 76. Ibid., 35.

Reclaiming the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ Legacy of Catholic Progressive Education ellen skerrett a nd ja net w elsh, op

When historians write about progressive education, they invariably invoke Dr. John Dewey (1859–1952), who popularized the concept of “learning by doing.” A friend and admirer of Chicago social settlement leader Jane Addams, Dewey began his career as an educational reformer in 1894 at the University of Chicago and enjoyed a long tenure at Columbia University in New York (1904–30).1 So closely identified is Dewey with the idea of child-centered learning that it comes as a surprise to historians to discover that Dominican Sisters developed their own ideas of progressive education and that their work enjoyed national influence through the Commission on American Citizenship. Formed in 1938 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, the commission responded to Pope Pius XI’s call for developing “a constructive program of social action” that would apply “principles of justice and charity . . . [to] the most pressing problems of the day.”2 With the support of Catholic bishops, the commission embarked on an ambitious plan to publish a curriculum to be used in connection with the new elementary school texts known as the Faith and Freedom series. Writing in the Journal of Educational Sociology in 1943, Msgr. George Johnson, director of the Department of Education of the National Welfare Conference and Catholic University professor of education, emphasized: The aim of the whole project is to help the Catholic child to understand the fact that he cannot be a good Catholic if he is not a good citizen in the broadest and deepest sense of that term. His obligation to love, and cherish all men, regardless of race or color or creed, is constantly brought to his attention.3

What makes this story of Catholic progressive education even more compelling is that two grammar school teachers, Sister Joan Smith, OP (1890–1976), and Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, OP (1914–2013), were its


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architects. Between August 1944 and April 1946, Sr. Joan and Sr. Nona coauthored the three-volume Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living. Affectionately known as “the green bible” because of its cover and widespread popularity, by 1958 it was in its fifth printing. This innovative curriculum strove to balance Christian doctrine with secular subjects—literature, science, history, geography, mathematics, music, art, and physical education—and it also addressed problems of social justice. Students and teachers alike were expected to play an active role by acknowledging “the prejudices and bigotry that threaten the unity of our American people.” 4 Unfortunately, the surviving papers of the Commission on American Citizenship barely mention the contributions of Sr. Joan and Sr. Nona to a curriculum that represented a milestone in Catholic US education. In effect they have been written out of their own history, a fate shared by countless women religious whose work has gone unacknowledged and unattributed. This essay draws on never-published correspondence and annals in the archives in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, that shed light on Dominicans’ ideas of progressive education from the 1890s through the late 1930s. Reconstructing this “women’s work” is a crucial first step in understanding how immigrants and the daughters and granddaughters of immigrants created schools that met the needs and aspirations of American Catholics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Dominican story challenges the progressive narrative of public schools as the only authentic education suitable for Americans. Despite what educational reformers believed, Catholic schools created and staffed by Dominican Sisters were not “ghetto” institutions that kept children from joining the mainstream. On the contrary. Their curricula and pedagogy focused on transforming students into citizens who were equally Catholic and American.

Cosmopolitan Roots To reclaim the Dominicans’ legacy, it is necessary to understand the sisters’ own education and engagement with secular institutions in the nineteenth century. The congregation that Sr. Joan Smith and Sr. Mary Nona McGreal joined as young women had been founded in Wisconsin in 1847 by Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP (1806–1864). A native of Milan who was edu-

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cated by the Dominicans in Rome, he emigrated to the United States in 1828 at the invitation of Bishop Edward J. Fenwick, OP, of Cincinnati, Ohio. During his journey alone from New York to Philadelphia and Baltimore, Mazzuchelli “realized the great inconvenience of not knowing the English language.” According to his 1844 memoir, he had learned French before setting sail on the Edward Quesnel, and he mastered the English language after six months of intensive study in 1829.5 A trip to Bardstown, Kentucky, the first foundation of the Dominicans in America, made a deep impression on the young Italian, who was familiar with “the churches and sanctuaries of Florence, Bologna, Milan, Genoa, Lyons, Paris [and Rome].” He noted, approvingly, that the Dominicans had purchased large tracts of land and that “the Church of St. Rose is large and much frequented by the surrounding people.” What especially caught his attention, however, was the nearby Dominican convent where sisters taught young girls, “most useful for the propagation of the Faith and cultivation of the mind.” 6 After ordination in 1830, Mazzuchelli became a missionary priest working with Native Americans in Michigan and Wisconsin and Catholics “in the rising cities of Galena [Illinois] and Dubuque [Iowa].” 7 In contrast to missions run by New England Protestants where Indian children were taught only to read and write in English, his 1831 Plan for Indian Education aimed to instruct “grown persons as well as children” using nativelanguage texts. Believing that schools must honor the Menominee culture, Mazzuchelli sought Native teachers, usually Metis women, who could teach “reading and arithmetic, geography and history.” 8 Following an extended trip to Europe after serving as Bishop Mathias Loras’s theologian at the 1843 Provincial Council in Baltimore, he returned to Wisconsin, where he purchased 800 acres of land in Sinsinawa. The “Mound” high above the Mississippi was located about eight miles from Dubuque and twelve miles from Galena.9 In 1844, Mazzuchelli claimed this part of Wisconsin as Catholic space and laid broad foundations for Catholic education. Unabashed in his admiration for the principle of the separation of church and state, Mazzuchelli acknowledged that the Catholic Church in America enjoyed “absolute freedom in educational matters” and could build day schools and colleges without seeking permission from civil authorities. Moreover, there were no restrictions on “the subjects to be taught, the books, the teacher


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[or] the system of teaching.”10 Although the college he founded in 1847 was closed shortly after his death in 1864, the Convent of Sinsinawa Mound survived and prospered under the leadership of Mother Emily Power.

Irish, Female, and Catholic Born Ellen Power in Tramore, Waterford County, Ireland, in 1844 during the Great Famine, Mother Emily arrived in New Orleans in 1852. Not long after, her father, David, died in the cholera epidemic. Bridget Power took her five daughters, Catherine, Anastasia, Ellen, Margaret, and Alice, and her stepson, Michael, to live near Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, where another stepson, Thomas Louis Power, was a Dominican brother at St. Thomas College. Emily was a pupil of Father Mazzuchelli’s at St. Clara Academy in Benton, and experienced firsthand his intriguing lectures on religion, natural philosophy, science, and astronomy. He brought to life “the great figures of the Old Testament,” and when teaching ancient history, “he painted verbal murals of Greece and Rome until the Acropolis and the Colosseum gleamed for his listeners.”11 The study of the sciences was the most extraordinary dimension of St. Clara’s curriculum and a testimony to the Dominicans’ progressive educational vision. The students listened to Fr. Mazzuchelli’s lectures on the solar system, centrifugal and centripetal forces, electricity, and the general properties of matter, and they performed weekly experiments using the latest scientific equipment from New York City. Indeed, the nascent University of Wisconsin could not claim such a “cabinet of scientific apparatus.”12 In their academy, the sisters endeavored to implement the Dominican priest’s philosophy of making school “as much like home as [possible],” with special attention paid to art and music.13 At the time Emily Power enrolled there were fewer than fifty students at St. Clara’s, which meant that students and teachers knew each other well. She entered the community as a novice in 1861, and six years later at the age of twenty-three she was elected prioress. At a time when married women were unable to buy property in their name, Mother Emily’s first major act was to sell real estate in Benton and move St. Clara Academy to Sinsinawa.14 During her long ser vice as head of the Dominican Sisters (1867–1909), Mother Emily directed the expansion of the “Mound” and worked closely

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with pastors to open parochial schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, and Washington, DC.15 Sinsinawa functioned as the motherhouse and common novitiate for the growing community, which increased from 121 members in 1877 to nearly 400 by 1900. Teacher preparation became a defining characteristic of the Sinsinawa Dominicans, with sisters returning to Wisconsin for Summer Institutes beginning in 1884.16

The Dominicans Reach a National Audience In 1891–92, sisters from Sinsinawa found themselves the subject of national press coverage during the controversy popularly known as the “Faribault Plan.” In order to keep Catholic schools in two Minnesota towns functioning, Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul agreed to an arrangement whereby the Catholic sisters became employees of the local school board, teaching children secular subjects from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and religion afterward. Although an official investigation determined that classroom work under the sisters was “uniform and exacting and thorough,” Protestant opposition ended the experiment.17 An angry letter-writer in the New York Times on May 29, 1892, questioned, “What kind of unbiased secular instruction can be expected of such teachers?”18 The experience was not lost on Mother Emily, who understood that many Americans regarded Catholic education as inferior to that of the public schools. The 1893 World’s Fair, or Columbian Exhibition, in Chicago offered the Dominican Sisters, among other teaching orders, the opportunity to challenge conventional wisdom that parochial schools were interested in teaching only religion. Three years in the making, the Catholic Educational Exhibit covered nearly 30,000 square feet of floor space in the Building of Manufacturers and Liberal Arts, in close proximity to educational displays by the University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia.19 The exhibit featured student essays, scientific displays, and artwork from 1,337 Catholic grammar schools, academies, and colleges in the United States. Its aim? To show the public that “the work of Catholic schools compares favorably with that from secular and state institutions” and that its teachers “are abreast with pedagogical science.”20


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Mother Emily Power appointed Sr. Borromeo Stevens, OP, one of the most influential members of the order, to coordinate the work submitted from the small network of Dominican schools in the Midwest. A former pupil of Mother Emily’s, Clara Louisa Stevens (1850–1912) converted to Catholicism as a result of her student days at St. Clara Academy. Although her early childhood was spent in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where her father, Chase Stevens was a prominent lawyer, publisher, and land agent, in 1869 Clara was living at 10 Pinckney Street in Boston’s fashionable Beacon Hill. Former residents on the block included Louisa May Alcott who lived at 20 Pinckney Street when she published her first book, Flower Fables, in 1854, and Elizabeth Peabody, who opened the nation’s first Englishspeaking kindergarten at 15 Pinckney Street in 1860. Clara Stevens joined the Dominicans shortly after her confirmation on May 25, 1869, in St. James Church.21 Unusual for a member of a religious congregation, Sr. Borromeo Stevens wrote under the pen name “Carola Milanis.” Her literary skill, if not her identity, was acknowledged by Brother Maurelian, FSC, who hired her to collaborate on several volumes documenting the Catholic exhibit at the Columbian Exposition.22 In a letter to her colleagues in August 1892 about the normal (teacher-training) dimension of the exhibit, Sr. Borromeo encouraged them to participate, framing the opportunity as “a chance for originality; the teacher is free to plan her own work, and to do the kind of work that will best display her peculiar talent, or skill.”23 For her part, Mother Emily invited all Dominicans to travel to Chicago in the summer of 1893 to visit the exposition and spend time in the “departments [that] will help you.” She reminded the sisters that they could “do much for the schools during the vacation by being among the people and the children,” and “put in a word for our own [institutions] . . . personally or by writing to your friends.”24 A familiar figure at the 1893 exhibit, Sr. Borromeo also served as correspondent for the New World, the weekly Catholic diocesan paper published in Chicago. In a series of articles she provided commentary on the beautiful wall displays as well as on the bound volumes of grade work that documented “the extraordinary advancements of our schools, in methods and in results.”25 That the Dominicans were thinking broadly about Catholic education in the United States is evident in the sixty-eight-page pamphlet written by Sr. Borromeo and published in 1893. The Course of Study for Dominican

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Schools acknowledged that because many children did not continue their schooling beyond the primary grades in public or parochial schools, sisters needed to provide “the greatest and the best attention” to young students. The guide was aimed at unifying the curriculum in the order’s “widely scattered” schools, but not at the expense of the individuality of students or teachers. Reflecting perhaps her own classical education, Sr. Borromeo encouraged her Dominican colleagues to employ the Socratic method of questioning, develop “exercises requiring inventive power and [original] activity of mind” for children, and focus on “subjects and principles instead of [memorized] paragraphs and pages.” Composition remained a priority, and teachers were reminded to give students, especially boys, “subjects that they will like” for their descriptive sketches, such as the circus, baseball games, “horses, dogs, and soldiers, also an occasional tiger and elephant.” Corporal punishment was regarded as “a last resort,” but if employed, the teacher was expected to “give a weekly report, as to the number, cause and amount of same,” to either the parish pastor or school principal.26 The Dominicans’ graded course of study for elementary students differed significantly from the rote learning then widespread in American public schools. Their guiding principle was to “begin always with what is near and common, with facts which are known, and proceed thence, step by step, to what is remote and unknown.” Whether studying arithmetic, history, natural science, or geography, children were also urged to “reproduce in their own language” the substance of what they read. From the earliest grades, students were encouraged to “draw what they see,” and great emphasis was placed on phonics, reading, and originality of expression in composition. When it came to mathematics, teachers were reminded that “requiring pupils to explain examples by set formulas is vicious in the extreme.” Moreover, the Dominicans regarded spelling as “a matter for the eye, not for the ear,” and believed that “it is mainly by writing that spelling is to be taught.”27 Acknowledging that “history arouses the interest of children” especially when presented as biography, sisters also were urged to have students read accounts of the same event from different sources, thereby helping them “distinguish the important from the unimportant.” The history curriculum devoted an entire month to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War and another month to the history of slavery. In addition to studying


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government—national, state, and local—students in the seventh and eighth grades were expected to visit art galleries and public museums. The mission of the Dominican Sisters was to create a “truly Catholic education” so that children could become “faithful sons and daughters of the Church, loyal citizens of the State, useful and accomplished members of society.”28

Deepening the Dominicans’ Influence Although it is difficult to trace the reach of the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ vision of progressive education, it is significant that within ten years of its publication, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee adopted Sr. Borromeo’s curriculum—word for word—in its guidelines for parochial schools.29 In Chicago, their success in creating a standardized system of education was all the more impressive because their “footprint” remained small. Their first foundation in Chicago in 1869 was located in Immaculate Conception parish on the city’s North Side, a few blocks from the large German Redemptorist parish of St. Michael. Both parishes suffered the loss of their churches and schools in the Great Fire of 1871 but rebuilt within a few years’ time. The link between church and school in Chicago was already a reality in 1884 when the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore issued its decree mandating parochial schools in parishes. At the time that Archbishop Patrick Feehan was appointed to head the new Archdiocese of Chicago in 1880, thirty-two of the city’s forty parishes supported Catholic schools. The Sisters of Mercy had led the way in 1846, followed by the Jesuits (1857), the Religious of the Sacred Heart (1858), the Redemptorists (1860), the Benedictine Sisters (1861), the School Sisters of Notre Dame (1862), and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1867).30 From the outside, Catholic education in Chicago appeared to be a monolith, but in practice, parochial schools varied widely and reflected the ethnic and economic backgrounds of their congregations. Whereas large German and Polish national parishes pointed with pride to enrollments of over 1,000 students, grammar schools in the English-speaking territorial parishes of the Irish were conducted on a much smaller scale. For example, in 1890, the Sinsinawa schools in the Chicago diocese included St. Jarlath on Jackson Boulevard (310 pupils); Immaculate Conception on Franklin

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Street (250 pupils); St. Thomas Apostle in Hyde Park (88 pupils); St. Mary in Evanston, Illinois (98 pupils); Immaculate Conception in Waukegan, Illinois (110 pupils); St. Patrick in Lemont, Illinois (170 pupils); St. Mary’s in Freeport, Illinois (120 pupils); and St. James (95 students) and St. Mary’s (200 pupils) in Rockford, Illinois.31 Dominican Sisters played a crucial, if unacknowledged, role in parish life, but what they could accomplish was inextricably linked to the commitment of individual Catholic pastors who paid their salaries and made decisions about their living and working conditions. For example, the convent in many US parishes paled in comparison with the rectory, and it was not unusual for sisters to be “responsible for cleaning the school rooms and tending the coal stoves . . . the altar, the sacristy . . . laundering the altar linens and baking the altar breads.”32 In 1896, Sr. Borromeo painted a vivid picture of the difference the Dominicans had made in Freeport, Illinois. Although located more than 100 miles from Immaculate Conception in Chicago, St. Mary’s was no backwater. Thanks in great measure to an ambitious building campaign supported by parishioners, a modern—free—school and hall with a seating capacity of 600 was constructed at the same time as a new church. “Heated by steam, lighted by electricity, and admirably ventilated,” the cornerstone of the two-and-a-half-story stone structure bore the inscription, “Religion, Science, Peace, 1891.” Although St. Mary’s congregation included many families of Irish descent, the school’s curriculum as well as its furnishings reinforced the idea of American identity. A portrait of George Washington shared space with religious images in each classroom and the drop curtain of the stage in the auditorium, painted by a Chicago artist, depicted Francis Scott Key and the Star Spangled Banner “proudly floating over [Fort McHenry outside Baltimore].”33 One of the defining characteristics of the Sinsinawa Dominicans was their engagement with parish life, whether in urban neighborhoods or small towns. For example, in Freeport, beyond their classroom duties, Dominican teachers were directly responsible for organizing “school exhibitions, dramatic entertainments, lectures and concerts, parties and bazaars.”34 Sr. Borromeo’s work at St. Mary’s included a weekly reading circle in 1897 with Protestant and Catholic public school teachers, an unusual example of civic cooperation across religious lines. In a long feature story, the London (Catholic) Mirror praised the methods used by “Carola


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Milanis” for the study of Dante and Shakespeare. In addition to charting “the divisions of ‘The Inferno,’” she raised questions that the young women spent the next week answering, “this being the usual procedure.”35

Creating the Future, Sister by Sister Since the order’s foundation in Sinsinawa in 1847, the personal contact students enjoyed with their teachers resulted in many new vocations. Between 1890 and 1899, 177 young women, mostly from the Midwest, joined the congregation, an increase that enabled the Dominicans to open new schools and establish St. Clara Academy as a college in 1901.36 Mother Samuel Coughlin, who succeeded Mother Emily as superior general in 1909 and led the congregation for the next forty years, represented a living link to the community’s earliest days. Ellen Coughlin, the daughter of Famine Irish immigrants from Cork, was born in 1868 in Faribault, Minnesota. Educated by the Dominicans, Ellen was one of five students in the first graduation class in 1885 from Bethlehem Academy and the recipient of gold medals in arithmetic and conduct. When she arrived as a postulant in Sinsinawa in 1886, she spent her first days “visiting with my old teachers” and exploring all the buildings that made up “the Mound . . . viewing from all sides the great expanse of rolling land half wooded, half tilled fields.”37 Although she was the first member of her congregation to receive the name “Samuel,” after Father Mazzuchelli, she was accorded no special privileges. She spent thirteen years as a grammar school teacher, first in Lemont, Illinois, and then in Minneapolis. Elected bursar general of the order in 1901, Sr. Samuel returned to Sinsinawa where she took on greater roles as director of St. Clara Academy and College in 1904, in addition to her duties as an English teacher. Elected to the Dominican Council in 1907, she worked closely with sisters in the college to implement an examination program for classroom teachers in the elementary and secondary schools. While in her thirties, she began to take courses in graduate school, as a correspondence student at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin.38 Ensuring that sisters obtained advanced degrees became a priority of Mother Samuel’s. Not only was she well aware of requirements that affected accreditation of Dominican teachers and schools in different states,

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but her plans to transfer St. Clara College from Sinsinawa to a new campus in the Chicago suburb of River Forest demanded that more of her colleagues earn master’s and doctoral degrees. Five Dominicans had been among the first sisters admitted to Catholic University’s summer school in 1911, and two others “matriculated as charter members of the Sisters’ College” that fall.39 In 1917, Mother Samuel authorized the purchase of property in Fribourg, Switzerland, for a House of Studies, a residence for American women students as well as Dominican sisters studying at the University of Fribourg, with nearly twenty-five convents contributing $10,000 ($203,900.86 in 2016 currency) for the down payment.40 Closer to home, she paid for graduate study for talented women such as Sr. Mary Ellen O’Hanlon, OP. Already a credentialed public school teacher when she joined the order in 1912, the former Catherine O’Hanlon received an MS degree in botany from the University of Wisconsin in 1919. Appointed chair of the new botany department at Rosary College in 1922, she continued her graduate studies during the summers, receiving her PhD, magna cum laude, from the University of Chicago in 1925. In her unpublished autobiography, Sr. O’Hanlon recalled that during a sabbatical year abroad in 1934–35, she was challenged about America’s treatment of the Negro. On her return to the United States she began to think and write critically about race. Her publications—Racial Myths (1946), Color, Caprice, and Circumstance (1947), and The Heresy of Race (1950), became highly influential among Catholic interracialists and members of her own Dominican order.41 Like Catherine O’Hanlon, Sr. Joan Smith, OP, had extensive experience as a teacher when she entered as a novice at Sinsinawa in 1915. Born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1890, in Kilkenny, Minnesota, to Irish American parents, “Annie” Smith attended public schools and graduated with a BA degree from Mankato State Teachers College in 1914. She chose to enter the Dominicans because of their reputation as good teachers. According to one account, “she knew the congregation by name only, having never met a Sinsinawa Dominican.” Assigned to Sacred Heart Academy in Washington, DC, a secondary school opened by the Dominicans in 1905, she recalled taking Mother Samuel’s advice to heart, “seeing every thing the capital city had to offer.” 42 St. Thomas Apostle Parish in Hyde Park, Sr. Joan’s first assignment in 1916, proved to be a turning point for her personally and for Sr. Nona


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McGreal, OP, who joined her on the faculty in 1937. But as documents in the Sinsinawa archives make clear, none of this would have happened without the personal commitment of Rev. Thomas V. Shannon, the parish pastor. The correspondence between Father Shannon and Mother Samuel over the next twenty-five years, a lively give-and-take on the part of two forceful Irish American Catholics, provides a rare look at the transformation of an ordinary parochial school into a Catholic progressive institution. Although almost nothing in the way of personal or biographical details about Sr. Joan and Sr. Nona emerges from the letters, they help reconstruct the challenges facing grammar school teachers in an urban parish between the world wars.

A Progressive Chicago Parish Founded in 1869, St. Thomas Apostle remained almost a small country parish until the 1890s when the surrounding Hyde Park area experienced rapid development. Linked by commuter railroad to downtown Chicago, the emerging city neighborhood was soon associated in the public mind with the University of Chicago’s new campus, financed by Baptists and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, and the 1893 World’s Fair in nearby Jackson Park. The Sinsinawa Dominicans had been a presence at St. Thomas’s since 1873, but their convent and classrooms left much to be desired. All that began to change in 1916 when Chicago’s new archbishop George W. Mundelein transferred Father Shannon from St. Francis Xavier parish in suburban Wilmette on Chicago’s North Shore to Hyde Park. Shannon was no stranger to St. Thomas’s, having served there as an assistant in 1902, but he was shocked to discover the condition of the parish. Calling the school “a blot on the neighborhood,” he sent the Dominican Sisters back to Sinsinawa in July 1916 and temporarily closed the convent for two months. The pastor’s first letter to Mother Samuel began by pointing out that the parish’s location near the University of Chicago “makes it a very conspicuous place.” As editor of the New World, Shannon understood the important role Catholic churches and schools could play in Chicago and reminded Mother Samuel that they had a duty to make St. Thomas Apostle “one of the finest parishes in the city.” Writing on July 17, 1916, he insisted on having “the best teachers you can give me,” women who can “win back the confidence of the people,” and he implored

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Progressive classroom, St. Thomas Apostle, Chicago, 1939. Archives of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.

the Mother General not to send a superior for the convent who was “an old fogey or a chronic office holder.” Acknowledging that the “shortcomings of this place have been visited on the sisters as well as on the pastor,” Father Shannon promised better living and working conditions for her Dominican teachers.43 Wasting no time, the pastor leased a former Chicago public school at 5731 S. Kenwood Avenue and installed a huge sign proclaiming it St. Thomas Apostle School. He reported his progress to Mother Samuel on September 2, 1916, noting that he was “installing $600 worth of art in it. To-morrow we are having a reception for the parishioners.” 44 In addition to providing news coverage in the New World, Shannon chronicled his experience in the Ecclesiastical Review, a journal read by Catholic priests and bishops throughout the United States. As he later recalled, his 1919 article was widely circulated and discussed in clergy conferences, which helped put St. Thomas Apostle “on the map.” 45 In his letters to Mother Samuel over the years, the pastor referred to St. Thomas Apostle as “my school.” Like the manager of a baseball team discussing players with the owner, Shannon questioned the expertise of


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individual sisters and their performance and remained unapologetic in his demands for credentialed teachers. No matter how talented the postulant, he beseeched the Mother General not to send him any. Moreover, Shannon regarded the eighth grade teacher as “the crucial one of the school,” and in 1920 he asked Mother Samuel to send one “with real ‘ginger,’ . . . a real top-notcher,” who would lead the faculty and school with inspiration and enthusiasm.46 The pastor did not hesitate to express his disapproval of young women who joined the Dominican order after only two years at St. Thomas Apostle High School because it reinforced the perception that Catholic sisters were “not adequately prepared.” He thought it made more sense for them to finish their secondary education while living at home, and he reminded Mother Samuel that state regulators were increasing teacher requirements. Shannon pointedly asked, “If a vocation is lost in the last two years of high school I wonder if it really existed?” 47 But with his criticism came an unusual offer: He would pay tuition for Dominican Sisters to attend the University of Chicago. In 1922 Shannon suggested that Mother General Samuel appoint five sisters to enroll at the university during the summer. The arrangement proved to be a pragmatic solution to a thorny problem, and by the close of the 1927 summer session, Sisters Joan Smith, Mary Marcelle Henneberry, and Mary Imeldine Daley had received their AB degrees.48 Shannon observed and honored the tradition of parish boundaries, but St. Thomas Apostle was not a Catholic enclave or “ghetto.” In 1920, he announced his intention to build a $400,000 modern recreational building, the “Guildhall,” that was to be “nonsectarian, nonpartisan, nonexclusive.” Architect Barry Byrne, a former draftsman for Frank Lloyd Wright, drew up plans for a Prairie School structure containing a swimming pool, running track, basketball and handball courts in addition to a library, music rooms, and domestic science rooms. Hyde Park residents would also be welcome in the café, the 700-seat auditorium, and the day nursery. According to the Chicago Tribune, 250 leading citizens, including Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, had endorsed the plan.49 Possibly because of opposition from Archbishop Mundelein, the ecumenical facility was never built. Undaunted, Shannon forged ahead with his vision of a modern church unlike any other in the Chicago diocese. Acutely aware that St. Thomas was the only Catholic institution in Hyde

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Park, the pastor “made no little plans,” by hiring Byrne and Italian sculptor Alfonso Iannelli. Although congregational histories rarely mention competition between denominations, Hyde Park Protestants and Jews traveling busy 55th Street could not have missed the yellow brick Prairie Style church with its terra cotta ornament that rose on Kimbark Avenue between 1922 and 1924. Equally significant, the Dominican Sisters and their students encountered a very different Catholic aesthetic in St. Thomas Apostle Church that challenged traditional ideas of architecture and worship. Within a few short years of its dedication by the “first Cardinal of the West” on October 12, 1924, St. Thomas Apostle enjoyed a national reputation. The noted critic Lewis Mumford praised Barry Byrne’s design as “reconcil[ing] tradition and innovation,” calling his commissions “a genuine bequest to American architecture.” The church’s interior, radical for the day, provided an unobstructed view of the altar, and its stations of the cross by Alfeo Faggi were not paintings but bas-reliefs in bronze. Even the stained glass windows defied convention: Gregory the Great bore the face of Father Shannon; St. Augustine Archbishop Mundelein’s likeness; St Bede’s face was that of President Calvin Coolidge; St. John Chrysostom’s was that of George Washington; and St. Bernard’s face was that of Thomas Jefferson.50 Shannon perceived Mother Samuel’s plans for expanding the Sinsinawa Dominican network of schools as a threat to his dreams for St. Thomas Apostle Parish. In 1925, he lamented the opening of a new Dominican school “near me,” chiding her that “the first interest of your community ought to be for the missions already in existence.” This situation was by no means unusual. Every community of women religious in the United States seemed to be involved in the same balancing act, sending enough staff for current schools at the same time responding to requests for schools in new parishes. In 1927, Cardinal Mundelein sought more uniformity in the Catholic school system by appointing one nun from each teaching community to supervise her order’s grammar schools. Mother Samuel wrote to Msgr. Shannon, asking his permission to assign Sr. Joan because of her unusual credentials: Not only did she have extensive experience in the higher grades, but her “excellence as a primary teacher will make her very valuable to the Sisters who are in the lower grades in our various schools.” Although Msgr. Shannon claimed to have agreed “cheerfully”


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three days later, his praise of Sr. Joan was far from effusive: “She is certainly most capable, and her diffidence and sympathy are not harmful.”51 Losing a dedicated faculty member was problematic at any time, but especially since the pastor had just received permission from Cardinal Mundelein to build a new school. He confided to Mother Samuel that he wanted “the best and the latest, so that there might be at least one model school in Chicago.” 52 Although no record exists of Sr. Joan’s reaction to her new appointment, she spent the next ten years working closely with Msgr. Daniel Cunningham, superintendent of schools, and becoming familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of primary and secondary education in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Mother Samuel was well aware that she would have no role in the actual construction of the new St. Thomas Apostle School, but she took the opportunity to remind Msgr. Shannon that students had to practice their music “in the corridors” of the rented facility on Kenwood Avenue. With typical understatement, the convent annals for 1929 note that “the new school was ready for classes at the usual time in September.” The threestory structure contained fourteen classrooms for the elementary grades and twelve classrooms and a laboratory for the high school, as well as three music rooms. Reflecting the Dominicans’ long-standing ideas of progressive education, space had been set aside as “an opportunity room . . . for giving children help in small groups and individually.” 53 The Depression notwithstanding, Msgr. Shannon continued to exhort Mother Samuel about advanced degrees for her sisters. In a letter on August 18, 1930, that came close to challenging her, he noted: There were five Jesuits at the University of Chicago during the past semester. Doesn’t it seem rather curious that those who have equal interests in education are excluded simply and solely because of their sex? Or is there a conspiracy to systematically keep the nuns out of educational opportunities?54

Building on the Chicago Experience in New York For Sr. Joan, 1934 began a new chapter in her life that had far-reaching consequences for the Sinsinawa Dominicans. “Wonders will never cease,” she wrote to her colleague, Sister DeRicci Fitzgerald. “Here I am studying at Columbia [University] as a student, a thing which I have hoped for

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but never dreamed would happen.” 55 Since 1912, Sr. DeRicci had been instrumental in establishing standards and courses of study for Dominican schools as well as identifying promising teachers. Increasingly in the 1920s and 1930s, Mother Samuel had come to rely on her when she left the Mound for Dominican business elsewhere in the United States and in Europe. Sr. Joan’s letter captures the excitement of her student days at Teachers College in New York and the scope of her course work with progressive educators such as Roma Gans, her adviser, and Florence Stratemeyer, whose expertise was practice teaching. What particularly excited Sr. Joan was the opportunity to observe students and teachers in the prestigious Horace Mann School for Boys and the experimental Lincoln School and to discuss those visits with her classmates, who included two Ursuline Sisters. Knowing of Sr. DeRicci’s interest in curriculum development, Sr. Joan kept her updated on the “high sounding theory” she encountered during an elementary school conference at Horace Mann that brought together “so many of the prominent educators of today.” She thanked Sr. DeRicci for making it possible for her to continue studying through the summer and assured her that she was “really getting some very helpful work.” 56 During the year she earned her master’s degree at Teachers College, Sr. Joan lived with the Dominican Sisters at Our Lady of Mercy convent, leaving every morning at 7:45 a.m. and returning in the evening in time to say the office prayers with the community. Years later, she could still recall the thrill of taking courses in a building directly across the street from Corpus Christi Church and school and being “entertained by what was going on there . . . the bulky janitor sitting out in front with his chair tilted against the wall while the steps and surrounding walks were cluttered with litter.” 57 As Sister Joan discovered, the arrival of Rev. George Barry Ford as pastor of Corpus Christi in 1935 signaled a dramatic change for the parish and, before long, a unique opportunity for the Sinsinawa Dominicans. Appointed the first Catholic counselor to students at Columbia College in 1929, Father Ford also had been head of all the Newman Clubs in New York. One of his first acts at Corpus Christi was to close the school, demolish the existing parish buildings, and make plans for a modern complex on 121st Street near Broadway. In a letter to Cardinal Patrick Hayes


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on January 14, 1936, Father Ford outlined his ambitious plans, arguing that Corpus Christi’s proximity to Teachers College of Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Riverside Church, and the Juilliard School of Music “give it a national . . . character.” Developing a closer relationship with Teachers College was critical because its graduates included “most superintendents of schools in the United States and those whose influence and importance determine the public school program throughout the nation.” 58 Fr. Ford detailed the many reasons why the Dominicans of Sinsinawa ought to replace the Sisters of Charity and lay teachers at Corpus Christi School. First and foremost, they held master’s or doctorate degrees from the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, or Teachers College of Columbia University. Equally important, he informed Cardinal Hayes, “they speak the language of religious and secular education and are familiar with and employ approved and valuable methods of instruction.” The new pastor spoke with authority, having been impressed with the work of Dominican teachers in the parish schools of Our Lady of Mercy and Our Lady of Refuge in New York City.59 What becomes abundantly clear in reconstructing the story of Sister Joan and the Dominicans at Corpus Christi is the challenge they faced: Not until June 8, 1936, did Cardinal Hayes and his consultors formally grant permission for an institution set to open in fifteen weeks’ time. Sr. Joan, who had been working back in Chicago, arrived in late July and began collaborating with the faculty to identify curriculum materials and develop lesson plans for kindergarten through eighth grade. According to one published account, the Dominican Sisters had never worked together at the same school before their assignment in New York, but as Sr. Joan acknowledged, they were “busy every moment of the day, and way into the night.” Professors at Teachers College offered their assistance as the sisters created a “Tentative Plan for Guiding the Growth of Children in Corpus Christi School.” Especially helpful was Sr. Joan’s former adviser, Dr. Roma Gans, who designed the classroom furniture. Instead of desks bolted to the floor, children would sit at tables carefully constructed for their size, with each room “having its own individuality.” 60 With only weeks to go until classes began, Sr. Joan reported to Sr. DeRicci about her unexpected meeting on the street with Mary Harden, director of curriculum at Horace Mann Boys School and coauthor of The

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Horace Mann Plan for Teaching Children. During a dinner that followed, Harden offered advice that the sisters took to heart, ensuring that the first grade is “the strategic one for the future,” keeping “to the fundamentals from third grade on,” and making sure that seventh and eighth grade students mastered subject material for the New York Regents exams.61 In advance of opening day, Sr. Joan obtained from Father Ford the names of children whose parents were professors at Columbia and Teachers College, including “non-Catholics and Anglicans,” but she assured Sr. DeRicci that the students also included “good old Irish stock and no high brows that we need fear.” True to its “open door” policy, Corpus Christi School invited parents and children and neighbors for a reception in the school auditorium on Sunday, September 13, 1936. Sr. Joan stood in a formal receiving line with eighteen Dominican Sisters, Father Ford, and four curates, “from three to six o’clock.” They greeted “a steady flow of triple lines continuously and we grinned until our faces were stiff, our arms sore, and our knees almost immobile.” 62 Mother Samuel traveled to New York for the official dedication of Corpus Christi on the Feast of Christ the King, October 25, 1936. She painted a vivid picture of the new modern colonial-style church on the second floor of the school building, informing all 1,300 Dominicans in the congregation that its interior was “very bright, considering that it is wedged in between apartment houses with perhaps only six feet of open space on either side.” Acknowledging the historic nature of the day, she recounted the procession into the church that included President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University and about seventy “distinguished university men and women in academic costume.” 63 She noted how gratifying it was to see Catholic and non-Catholic professors alike following the mass in the “Leaflet Missals” provided in each pew by Fr. Ford. She was also pleased by Rev. John Monaghan’s excellent sermon, “delivered in faultless English as to suit Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler.” Whether it was Mother Samuel’s decision or not is unclear, but she informed her colleagues that “we Sisters of course were not at the luncheon” that followed the official ceremonies.64 Sr. Joan returned to Corpus Christi as classes ended in 1937, reflecting on “a year that has . . . made many people see Catholic education in a new light, and has brought many souls close to God.” 65 Unusual for its day, Corpus Christi’s “open door” policy for visiting educators meant that


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the faculty and students were constantly in the public eye. The result, as Fr. Ford reported to Mother Samuel in June 1938, was that the school is “truly known now from coast to coast, praised and spoken of everywhere.” But, he noted, the public acclaim “has aroused tremendous jealousy from two of our ecclesiastical officials [in New York],” who “know absolutely nothing about the merits of an activity program in comparison with the regimented, formal and traditional type of school.” Converting Catholics to the idea of progressive education would be a long battle, and one that would involve the cooperation of Dominican Sisters, parish priests, and Catholic educators.66 Not to be outdone by Corpus Christi School in New York City, in 1937, Msgr. Shannon embraced the concept of Catholic progressive education in St. Thomas Apostle parish with enthusiasm, spending an estimated $30,000 (over $500,000 in 2019 figures) to furnish classrooms with “new tables and chairs . . . [and] new books and equipment for the varied activity program.” 67 Mother Samuel agreed to reorganize the faculty with “well selected” teachers, but could not resist razzing her longtime friend and colleague. Without mentioning Father Ford by name, she reminded Msgr. Shannon, “We were able to do a similar task for a Priest who was an entire stranger to us.” 68 In a city still weathering the effects of the Depression, the blessing of the school program on September 19, 1937, generated positive press coverage. The Chicago Tribune published photos of the modern school furniture and informed readers that “the emphasis on music, art and physical education will be trebled.” In another newspaper, reporter Frank Edwards acknowledged that “freedom and motion [to move around the classroom] intelligently guided by the trained Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, will be the essence of the method.” 69 For Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, the assignment to St. Thomas Apostle in the fall of 1937 was yet another “adventure” for a young woman who had come into contact with the Sinsinawa Dominicans as a student at Immaculate Conception School. The oldest of six, she was born on April 20, 1914, to Thomas McGreal and Margaret Kehoe McGreal and grew up in Waukegan, Illinois, a town some forty miles north of Chicago. Her father, second-generation Irish, was a postal carrier during World War I, but shortly thereafter he ran a grocery store on North Avenue and lived nearby with his growing family.70 Nona joined the Sinsinawa Dominicans

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at age seventeen, following her graduation from Holy Child Jesus High School. After a year teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, she was transferred to St. Brendan School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, which she later described as “a culture shock.” She enjoyed teaching the children of Irish immigrants but recalled the poverty of the sisters and their reliance on students to buy chance cards for a dime. During her four years at St. Brendan’s, her first grade class of forty, “a very small class,” grew to sixty.71 As was the practice at Corpus Christi School, the Sinsinawa Dominicans at St. Thomas Apostle welcomed educators to their classrooms, many from the nearby University of Chicago and Chicago Teachers College. Sr. Nona recalled getting used to having daily visitors but found it unsettling “when 15 or 20 students would come in armed with their notebooks and write down every word you said. You wondered what they were writing because instead of listening they just wrote it all down.” Daily life in the Hyde Park parish was often full of surprises because Msgr. Shannon would bring in British luminaries such as the Jesuit philosopher Martin D’Arcy and actor Robert Speaight, “who sat in one of the few overstuffed chairs that we had, a green one, and proclaimed for us the Christmas sermon of Thomas Becket in ‘Murder in the Cathedral.’ ” Carrying out her duties as sacristan, Sr. Nona recalled seeing “Jacques Maritain praying in the beautiful church.” 72 The internationally acclaimed French philosopher was part of the Thomistic revival then under way during President Robert Hutchins’s tenure as president of the University of Chicago. Like so many other sisters in American cities, in addition to her classroom duties, Nona McGreal continued her own education during the summers at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and later at Rosary College. Her world changed dramatically at Christmas 1941 when she received word that Mother Samuel had assigned her to work with Sr. Joan at Catholic University in Washington, DC, on the American Citizenship project. As Sr. Nona recalled in 1984, even though she hadn’t yet officially finished her bachelor’s work, she began taking graduate courses in philosophy with Ignatius Smith, OP, and the “Social Thought of the Epistles and Gospels” with Rev. Paul Hanly Furfey. For the first time in her life she experienced “the international aspect of the Church,” attending classes and worshiping with “men and women who were from all over the world.”73


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Still in her twenties, Sr. Nona began to collaborate closely with Sr. Joan to bring “the social teachings of the Church into all of the subjects of the curriculum.” Forty years after beginning her “long and hard work” with the commission, Sr. Nona recalled that it “had been a liberal education the whole time for me.” She remembered lively conversations she and Sr. Joan had with Msgr. George Johnson and Msgr. Francis J. Haas, dean of Catholic University’s School of Social Science, and the excitement of working with experts in every field from religion to math and science.74

Creating a Catholic Progressive Curriculum Although the three volumes of Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living published in 1944–45 bear the names of Srs. Joan and Nona as primary authors, the Sinsinawa archives and records of the Commission on American Citizenship shed no light on their working relationship or their source material. However, as their preface makes clear, they regarded curriculum not as a syllabus but as “all the guided experiences of the child under the direction of the school.” From the outset, Guiding Growth was, as its title announced, a framework that would provide Catholic principals, teachers, and parents with a comprehensive understanding of the child’s relationship “to God and the Church, to his fellow men, nature, and himself.” 75 These four elements of the Dominicans’ child-centered philosophy had been articulated by Samuel Mazzuchelli in the 1850s and refined by Sr. Borromeo Stevens in the 1890s. In the 1940s they took on new meaning as Catholics embraced the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. This theological concept, emphasizing the unity of all Catholics through the Eucharist, was not confined to Sunday sermons or classroom lessons. Far from it. In Chicago, as Suellen Hoy notes, belief in the Mystical Body “became the hallmark of [Catholic Action] programs and inspired the extraordinary ferment in the city’s Catholic circles.” 76 In Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living, Sisters Joan and Nona acknowledged the influence of the family in cultivating “good will towards persons of other races, creeds, and nationalities,” but argued that the church, the school, and the community also had a crucial role to play in forming young men and women as Christians and Americans. In their view, the Catholic school ought to be “a happy place to which the child likes to come every day,” as well as a place where every student could be

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assured of “just treatment.” 77 Moreover, far from regarding the Catholic parish or school as a world unto itself, they encouraged teachers to create study trips for their students, introducing them to “inexhaustible sources of information and enjoyment” to be found in public libraries and museums, “the zoo, parks and gardens, stores and open-air markets; the post office, banks, broadcasting station, and newspaper offices; railway stations, airport, docks, and bus terminals . . . [as well as] places of local or national interest.” 78 Regarded as the “authoritative” publication from the American Citizenship Committee, Guiding Growth enjoyed a wide audience thanks in large measure to Sisters Joan and Nona’s indefatigable efforts. Not only did they teach summer courses at Rosary College and Stella Niagara in New York, but they took an active role in discussing the curriculum at conferences, teacher institutes, and workshops throughout the country. For example, during the 1940s Sr. Nona offered educators from five New York state dioceses (Albany, Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Rochester, and Syracuse) courses of study based on the “green bible.” She informed Mother Samuel that the New York superintendents had “voted unanimously to adopt the curriculum,” a move she characterized as “a real milestone in US Catholic education.” 79 School Sister of Notre Dame Mary Theola of the Novitiate House in Baltimore, Maryland, was among the many who sought Sr. Nona’s assistance. Asking a year in advance, she promised that a hundred first grade teachers would show up at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in July 1946 to hear Sr. Nona “cover all the outstanding points in the Curriculum.” 80 The Dominicans of Grand Rapids, Michigan, regarded Guiding Growth as essential for classroom teachers and kept tabs on its publication. Bulletins from the supervisor’s office at Marywood in October 1946, for example, heralded the appearance of volume 3 and advised that “these books should be found in every Convent.” Mother M. Eveline Mackey, OP, who invited her sisters to a conference in Bay City, Michigan, in August 1947, reminded them to “bring your lunch as usual,” and insisted that: “You will need [Guiding Growth] at every turn this year.” 81 Sr. Nona McGreal’s letters in the Sinsinawa archives leave no doubt that women of many different religious communities enthusiastically responded to the challenge of teaching readers of Guiding Growth and the Faith and Freedom. More than a decade before the opening of Vatican II, American sisters were already crossing parish boundaries and returning


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to their classrooms with new ideas about Christian social living. Writing from Plattsburg, New York, on July 12, 1950, Sr. Nona described a vivid picture of a curriculum workshop. “If you could come to visit,” she told Mother Evelyn, “you would see habits of blue, white, black, brown and tan (the latter belonging to a Grey nun) among the busy committee who are working on language and literature, spelling and handwriting. The thirty-four Sisters here represent twenty communities, ‘all living as one,’ as they like to say.” 82 The enthusiasm generated by Guiding Growth was not lost on bishops and priests. In addressing “members of the American hierarchy” in 1945, Rev. Msgr. P. J. McCormick, president of the Commission on American Citizenship, reported: “Demands have been so great that a second edition of Volume I has been issued and a second edition of Volume II ordered.” 83 Rev. Joseph T. Moriarity, dean of the Sisters College of Cleveland, wrote Sr. Nona that she and Sr. Joan deserved “a sabbatical year after the last line of Volume III is finished,” although no such rest was in their future.84 After all, Sr. Nona was also a student at Catholic University, working to complete requirements for a master’s degree and writing her thesis about Samuel Mazzuchelli and Indian education on the frontier. And Sr. Joan’s expertise was in great demand as a consultant for the innovative Faith and Freedom series of readers published by Ginn and Company.85 Producing Catholic school textbooks had been one of the primary aims of the Citizenship Commission, and Sr. Joan and her colleagues did not disappoint. In less than five years’ time they created basal readers for the elementary grades, beginning with These Are Our Friends, published by Ginn and Company in 1942. Written by Sr. M. Marguerite, SND (1904– 1993) with color illustrations, it set the tone for the textbooks that followed. Entirely focused on children’s experience, the readers introduced concepts of Christian social living in the day-to-day lives of David and Ann and their family and friends. As notes to the classroom teacher made clear, each child “is led to see the Providence of God working in his life through the love and kindness of others,” with special emphasis placed on such characteristics as “unselfishness, courtesy, respect for others, gratitude, thoughtfulness, and responsibility.” 86 Without extant correspondence it is difficult to determine the nature of the collaboration between Sr. Joan as curriculum consultant and the

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author of the first Faith and Freedom reader in the series. However, records about Sr. Marguerite, SND, in the archives of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Christ the King Province, Chardon, Ohio, provide a few clues about her background.87 In 1938, Sr. Marguerite was head of the Department of Primary Education at Sisters College in Cleveland when she was invited to become a charter member of the Commission on American Citizenship. Born in Canton, Ohio, Rose McArdle was the daughter of an Irish immigrant from Cork, and a mother from Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from Notre Dame High School in Cleveland in 1922, and joined the Sisters of Notre Dame two years later, taking the name Sr. Marguerite. This community of women religious, founded in Coesfield, Germany, in 1850, put down roots in the United States in 1874 during the Kulturkampf. Like the Dominicans, the Sisters of Notre Dame encouraged their members to become certified by the state and to pursue advanced degrees. Sister Marguerite’s transcript confirms that she was a student at Notre Dame College in Cleveland from 1923 to 1927 and that she received her certification in 1928 after taking classes at Columbia University in New York. In addition to her primary school classroom teaching, she completed coursework for a bachelor of arts degree from St. Louis University in 1933 and received her master’s degree from Catholic University in 1934. The first Faith and Freedom reader created by Sr. Marguerite was visually appealing with a modern sensibility. That was no accident. Since 1940, Eleanor Campbell’s illustrations for the Dick and Jane reader used in public schools had set the standard. Undaunted, artists Corinne Malvern (1901–1956) and Charlotte Ware (1906–1999) collaborated to produce colorful, lively renderings of Catholic children and their world. Malvern was a rising star in the world of children’s literature, soon to become famous for her work on the Little Golden Books. Ware had achieved success as a commercial artist, and her colorful paper dolls, including Jazz Age women, were a popular feature in the Boston Sunday Post in the late 1930s. She was also the mother of four children.88 To an extent that historians of education—as well as “baby boomers”— have not fully appreciated, These Are Our Friends presented a positive view of American Catholic life for thousands of children enrolled in parochial schools in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. Not only did the book feature middle-class boys and girls confidently navigating their


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way through local streets to their parish school, but it was Sister Ruth— not a priest—who emerges as a main character, enthralling the children with stories of Jesus as a child, welcoming a handicapped boy to her classroom, and leading students on a trip to the neighborhood firehouse. The fictional, beautiful Sister Ruth could have been a model for Ingrid Bergman in the 1945 film Bells of St. Mary, albeit without the interference of parish priests. In creating Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living, Sisters Joan and Nona drew on their Dominican legacy of progressive education to shape the experience of Catholic children in the 1940s and 1950s. The three volumes were not written with the intention of keeping Catholics rooted in place—or longing for a mythic golden era. Just the opposite. Influenced by the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ as well as by the virtues of American democracy, the “green bible” encouraged teachers and students alike to question “the falsehood and injustice that help to build prejudices against the Negro, the Jew, the Oriental, and others who, like ourselves are created to the image of God . . . the injustice of employers or employees who refuse certain kinds of work to men because of their race, color, or national background.” 89 A major reason why Guiding Growth remains an unknown story is that unlike progressive educators such as John Dewey and Jane Addams, Sr. Joan and Sr. Nona never wrote about their collaboration. Like so many of their colleagues in the front lines of Catholic education, they had no time for such an endeavor after leaving Washington, DC, for new positions at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.90 Instead of summers spent in quiet reflection, they could be found helping sisters from various congregations teach the curriculum they created. One of the unintended consequences of this selfless “women’s work” is that their pioneering contributions are barely a footnote in the history of US Catholic education. There is no question that Catholic sisters were familiar figures in urban neighborhoods, but social reformers had little understanding of their professional lives as educators. As Rima Lunin Schultz has argued, Jane Addams and other civic leaders were “ignoran[t] about what was actually happening in [Catholic schools].”91 Few, if any, women’s religious congregations were able to challenge such bias, but, as this essay makes clear, the Dominicans left records that will enable historians to shed new light on their contributions to progressive education.

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Notes The authors gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance of archivist Sister Lois Hoh, OP, who provided hundreds of pages of correspondence and documents from the Dominican Archives at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. 1. “Dr. John Dewey Dead at 92: Philosopher a Noted Liberal,” New York Times, June 2, 1952. For background information on John Dewey and the University of Chicago, see Katherine Camp Mayhew and Anna Camp Edwards, The Dewey School (New Brunswick, NJ; Aldine Transaction, 1965); Laurel N. Tanner, Dewey’s Laboratory School (New York: Teachers College Press, 1997); and Anne Durst, Women Educators in the Progressive Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). 2. The Commission on American Citizenship (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, c. 1946), 4. 3. George Johnson, “The Commission on Catholic Citizenship of the Catholic University of America,” Journal of Educational Sociology 16, no. 6 (1943): 384. 4. Sister Mary Joan Smith, OP, and Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1946), 3:207. 5. Samuel Mazzuchelli, The Missionary: An Italian Priest’s Remarkable Journey of Faith on the Frontiers of the New World, ed. Paul Dennis Sporer (Chester, NY: Tarxien Press, 2005), 13, 15. 6. Ibid., 14–15. 7. Ibid., 128. 8. Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Samuel Mazzuchelli: American Dominican (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 97. 9. Mazzuchelli, Missionary, 246. 10. Ibid., 269. 11. Mary Synon, Mother Emily of Sinsinawa: American Pioneer (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1955), xi, 66. 12. Janet Welsh, OP, “Where the Spirit Dwells: Catholic and Protestant Women and the Development of Christianity in the Upper Mississippi River Valley Lead Region, 1830–1870” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 1995), 237–38. 13. Sister Mary Paschala O’Connor, OP, Five Decades: A History of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary Sinsinawa, Wisconsin (1954; Sinsinawa, WI: Sinsinawa Press, 1995), 56. 14. Ibid., 122. 15. Alice O’Rourke, OP, Sinsinawa Dominicans, 1847–1997: 150 Years of Preaching and Teaching (Sinsinawa, WI: Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, 1997), 69–71.


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16. Ibid.; Synon, Mother Emily, 116; Sr. Mary Joan Smith, OP, “The Sinsinawa Dominican Education Conference through a Century, 1874–1947,” 5. Copy in Dominican Archives in Sinsinawa, WI. 17. O’Connor, Five Decades, 159, quotes Faribault Democrat, Jan. 22, 1892, cited in Bonaventure Foley, CSC, “The Faribault School Plan” (MA thesis, University of Notre Dame, 1944), 14. 18. “The ‘Faribault Plan’: Are the ‘Concessions’ Made of Real Value?” New York Times, May 22, 1892. 19. Catalogue Catholic Educational Exhibit with Supplementary List of Errors and Omissions, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (Chicago: RookerO’Donnell, 1894). 20. The Catholic Educational Exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (Chicago: J. S. Hyland, 1896). 21. Mary Synon, LLD, a well-known writer who had been educated as a child by the Dominicans at St. Jarlath School in Chicago, described Clara Stevens as “probably the most brilliant as well as the most dramatic” student in Benton Academy.” Synon claimed that Sr. Borromeo grew up in a “sternly Presbyterian Boston household” (Mother Emily, 74–75). We thank Thomas Lester, archivist for the Boston Archdiocese, for help in verifying the confirmation of “Clara Louisa Stephens” by Bishop John Williams on May 25, 1869, at St. James the Greater Church, then located at Albany and Harvard Streets. According to the Boston Herald, May 24, 1869, confirmation occurred as part of a Catholic revival by the Jesuits. Sr. Borromeo (aka Carola Milanis) described her experiences at St. James in Little Essays for Friendly Readers (1910). The April 1910 Catholic World regarded her reminiscences as “the most interesting part of the book” (22). References to Chase A. Stevens appear in Myer Katz, Echoes of Our Past: Vignettes of Historic La Crosse (La Crosse, WI: La Crosse Foundation and Washburn Foundation, 1985); Milwaukee Sentinel, March 12, 1864; and Daily Milwaukee News, April 8, 1865. According to the 1869 Boston Directory, Chase A. Stevens conducted business at 32 Pemberton Square and lived at 10 Pinckney Street. On Louisa May Alcott at 20 Pinckney Street see Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Letters, and Journals, ed. Ednah D. Cheney (Boston: Little, Brown, 1914), 76–77, 79. For Elizabeth Peabody at 15 Pinckney Street see Agnes Snyder, Dauntless Women in Childhood Education (Washington, DC: Association for Childhood Educational International, 1972), 41. We are grateful to Anne Kenney and her colleagues in the O’Neill Library at Boston College for their assistance in obtaining digitized copies of the Boston Pilot. 22. The Catholic Educational Exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893: Illustrative and Descriptive (Chicago: J. S. Hyland, 1896), “edited

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by a well known Catholic writer, under the special supervision of the Rev. Brother Maurelian, FSC.” 23. Sr. Borromeo to “my dear Sisters,” August 28, 1892, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 24. Mother Emily to “My dearest Sisters,” June 19, 1893, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. “Our Educational Exhibit,” New World, July 1, 1893. 25. “Our Educational Exhibit,” New World, July 1, 1893. Special thanks to Suellen Hoy for copies of “Carola Milanis” articles on the Catholic Exhibit, New World, June 24, July 8, and July 15, 1893. The Catholic exhibit received national attention in publications such as the Boston Republic, July 8, 1893, which praised “the work of the pupils of the Catholic diocesan schools.” 26. Quotes from Sr. Borromeo Stevens, OP, A Course of Study for the Dominican Parochial Schools, 1893, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. See also the discussion of the course of study in O’Connor, Five Decades, 299–301. 27. Stevens, Course of Study. 28. Ibid. 29. Manual of the Graded Course of Studies for the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (Milwaukee: The Edw. Keogh Press, 1903). The seven-member clerical committee also adopted Sr. Borromeo’s recommended prayers and religious songs. 30. For more information on Catholic schools in Chicago, see Ellen Skerrett, “Windy City Catholicism,” in Urban Catholic Education: Tales of Twelve American Cities, ed. Thomas C. Hunt and Timothy Walch (Notre Dame, IN: Alliance for Catholic Education Press, 2010); and James W. Sanders, The Education of an Urban Minority: Catholics in Chicago, 1833–1965 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977). 31. Statistics based on James J. McGovern, Souvenir of the Silver Jubilee in the Episcopacy of His Grace, the Most Reverend Patrick Augustine Feehan, Archbishop of Chicago, 1890 (privately printed, 1891), 242–53. 32. For the experience of Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lincoln, Illinois, see M. Jane Coogan, BVM, The Price of Our Heritage (Dubuque, IA: Mount Carmel Press), 114–15. In a 1939 speech at the National Catholic Education Association in Washington, DC, Rev. Thomas R. Reynolds, pastor of St. Matthew’s in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, discussed the responsibility of pastors in “The Pastor and His Parish School” (NCEA Bulletin 36, no. 1 1939: 441–49). He criticized Catholic sisters for being too focused on the successful achievement of their students in diocesan examinations and questioned their ability to teach religion, emphasizing that “the Parish Priest is the motive power, the driving force of his school” (italics added).


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33. Carola Milanis, History of Catholicity in Stephenson County, Illinois (Freeport, IL: F. Charles Donohue, 1896), 74, 76. Rev. William A. Horan, responsible for the building campaign, came to Freeport from St. Thomas Apostle parish in Chicago, where he had been pastor from 1882 to 1890. 34. Ibid., 74. 35. C. O’Connor, “The Catholic Reading Circle Union,” [London] Monitor and Catholic Standard and Ransomer, June 4, 1897. 36. For names of Dominican Sisters and their dates of profession and death, see O’Connor, Five Decades, appendix 1, 344–48. 37. Sr. Alice O’Rourke, OP, Your Will Be Done: A Biography of Sister Mary Samuel Coughlin (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1995), 13, 25–26, 33. 38. O’Connor, Five Decades, 344–348; and O’Rourke, Your Will Be Done, 37, 44, 51, 52. 39. Sr. M. Joan Smith, “The Sinsinawa Dominican Education Conference,” 1947, lists the five sisters as M. Evelyn Murphy, Philip Sweeney, Ruth Devlin, Marie Alphonse McKelly, and M. Eva McCarty. Sr. Thomas Aquinas O’Neill and Sr. Mariola Dobbin matriculated in September 1911. Cloistered Religious of the Sacred Heart at Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois, earned BA and MA degrees from Loyola University Chicago. See Martha Curry, RSCJ, Barat College: A Legacy, a Spirit, and a Name (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2012). Kathleen Sprows Cummings notes that 78 percent of women entering the Sisters of St. Joseph between 1909 and 1916 “had an eighth grade education or less” (New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009], 142). 40. O’Rourke, Your Will Be Done, 58–67, 72–74. 41. Rima Lunin Schultz and Benventua Bras, OP, “Sr. Mary Ellen O’Hanlon,” in Women Building Chicago, 1790–1990, ed. Rima Lunin Schultz and Adele Hast (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 643–46. According to information on advanced degrees compiled by Sr. Lois Hoh, OP, Sister Mary Daniel Conway, OP received a PhB from the University of Chicago in 1921 and Sr. Mary Aquinas Devlin, OP was awarded the PhD in 1925. 42. Biographical material on Sr. Joan Smith, “Preaching Justice through Education,” Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 43. Rev. Thomas V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, July 5 and July 17, 1916, both on letterhead of The New World. 44. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, September 2, 1916. 45. [Rev. Thomas V. Shannon], “The Parish That Came Back,” Ecclesiastical Review (July 1919): 25–37. St. Thomas the Apostle: The History of Our Church and School [privately printed, 1935].

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46. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel re postulants, July 6, 1924, and Feb. 5, 1925; T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel re eighth grade teacher, May 29, 1929; T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel re “my place,” September 30, 1928, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 47. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, May 8, 1921, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 48. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, May 15, 1922, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. It is not clear that Sr. Alita Ford or Sr. Girardo continued advanced study at the University of Chicago. 49. Rev. F. L. Gratiot, “Guildhall for Hyde Park,” Chicago Tribune, March 14, 1920. 50. For information on Barry Byrne and St. Thomas Apostle Church, see Lewis Mumford, “A Modern Catholic Architect,” Commonweal, March 2, 1927; Eugene Gluckert, “Dreams in Concrete,” St. Anthony Messenger, January 1945; George A. Lane, SJ, Chicago Churches and Synagogues (Chicago; Loyola University Press, 1982), 164–65; and Vincent Michael, The Architecture of Barry Byrne: Taking the Prairie School to Europe (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013). St. Thomas Apostle Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. 51. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, February 5, 1925, likely regarding the opening of St. Barnabas school farther south of Hyde Park in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Chicago, which opened in January 1925. Mother Samuel to T. V. Shannon, July 5, 1927, and T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, July 8, 1927, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 52. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, July 8, 1927, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 53. Mother Samuel to T. V. Shannon, July 10, 1927; St. Thomas Apostle convent annals, 1929; and Church of St. Thomas the Apostle Bulletin, August 25, 1929, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 54. T. V. Shannon to Mother Samuel, August 18, 1930, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 55. Sr. Joan Smith to Sr. DeRicci Fitzgerald, OP, February 8, 1934, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 56. Sr. Joan to Sr. DeRicci Fitzgerald, February 8, 1934, and March 29, 1934, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. For a description of Teachers College and its connection to Horace Mann and Lincoln Schools, see Catalogue of Columbia University, New York, 1936–1937, 172–74. 57. Page 10 of typewritten notes about Corpus Christi School, c. 1970s, by Sr. Joan Smith, OP, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 58. Copy of a letter from Rev. George B. Ford to Patrick Cardinal Hayes, January 14, 1936, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives.


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59. Copy of a letter from George B. Ford to Cardinal Hayes, January 14, 1936; Corpus Christi convent annals, 1936; Mother Samuel to the Sisters, June 28, 1936, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 60. George B. Ford to Mother Samuel, May 20, 1936; Sr. Antoine [Goodchild], OP, to Mother Samuel, May 27, 1936; Mother Samuel to George B. Ford, June 5, 1936; J. Francis A. McIntyre to George B. Ford, June 8, 1936; Mother Samuel to George B. Ford, July 19 and July 21, 1936; Sr. Joan to Sr. DeRicci, August 3, 1936, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. Roma Gans, “The New Education in Catholic Living,” Religious Education, April–June 1938; Frances G. Sweeney, “A Catholic Progressive School,” Commonweal, September 23, 1938, 548. 61. Sr. Joan to Sr. DeRicci, August 3, 1936, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. Rollo George Reynolds and Mary Harden, The Horace Mann Plan for Teaching Children (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1932). 62. Sr. Joan to Sr. DeRicci, September 18, 1936, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 63. In December 1931, Nicholas Murray Butler had been awarded the Nobel Prize along with Jane Addams, co-founder of Chicago’s Hull House Settlement; “Jane Addams to Divide Nobel Peace Award,” Chicago Tribune, December 10, 1931. 64. Mother Samuel to “all the Sisters,” November 16, 1936, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. According to Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, “Proud Legacy,” Catholic New York, December 23, 1999, Monaghan was a teacher at Cathedral College “who introduced a whole generation of future New York diocesan priests to the social teaching of the Church. In 1937 he was also instrumental in the founding of ACTU, the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists.” 65. Sr. Joan to Sr. DeRicci, June 15, 1937, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 66. Elizabeth Vesburgh, “Corpus Christi School,” Curved Horn, February 1937, Teachers College, Fordham, New York; “Parochial School Here Looked Upon as Model,” Catholic News, July 16, 1938; Mother Samuel to “all the Sisters,” November 16, 1936 on the visitors’ policy; George B. Ford to Mother Samuel, June 28, 1938, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. One of Corpus Christi’s most famous graduates was comedian George Carlin (1937–2008), whose archives have been donated to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY. In his memoir Last Words, Carlin recalled that his second grade teacher, Sister Nathaniel, organized a tribute to Joe Louis and Eleanor Roosevelt. In front of a large audience at the Horace Mann School, “I stepped out in front of the [Corpus Christi] band for ‘March of the Little Lead Soldiers,’ and . . . nailed it to the wall.” Not only did his Dominican teachers “encourage [him] to study and excel simply for the joy of discovery,” but years later they defended his controversial use of language in his routines.

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67. St. Thomas Apostle annals, 1937–38, p. 51, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 68. Mother Samuel to T. V. Shannon, February 23, 1937, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 69. Frank Gardner, “Parish School Pupils to Learn in Achievement” (undated news clipping in Sinsinawa Dominican Archives), and Virginia Gardner, “School to Put Its Scholars in Easy Chairs,” Chicago Tribune, September 26, 1937. 70. In 1930, the McGreal family lived at 1006 North Avenue in Waukegan. By 1942, according to Thomas McGreal’s draft registration, the family had moved to 1332 Ash Street. The single family home was located in the new parish of St. Anastasia, founded in 1926. 71. Sr. Nona McGreal oral interview, August 22, 1984, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives, 2. 72. Ibid., 3–4. 73. Ibid., 5. 74. Ibid., 6. 75. Sr. Mary Joan, OP, and Sr. Mary Nona, OP, Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1944), 1:v, vi. 76. Suellen Hoy, Good Hearts: Catholic Sisters in Chicago’s Past (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), 111. 77. Sr. Mary Joan, OP, and Sr. Mary Nona, OP, Guiding Growth (1944), 1:81. 78. Ibid., 1:286. 79. Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, to Mother Samuel, April 12, 1947, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 80. Sr. Mary Theola, SSND, to Sr. Mary Nona, July 17, 1945, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 81. We are grateful to Sr. Mary Navarre, OP, and Sister Michael Ellen, OP, for combing the Grand Rapids archives and providing us with bulletins and letters about the Dominican Sisters’ enthusiastic embrace of Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living. 82. Sr. Nona McGreal, OP, to Mother Evelyn, OP, July 12, 1950, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. For Doris Kearns Goodwin’s positive experience of religion classes in 1950 with Dominican Sister Marian in St. Agnes parish in Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York, see Wait Till Next Year (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997), 84–92. 83. Rev. P. J. McCormick report of the Commission on American Citizenship, November 12, 1945, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives. 84. Rev. Joseph T. Moriarity to Sr. Nona, Pentecost Sunday [May 20, 1945], Sinsinawa Dominican Archives.


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85. Sr. Nona McGreal’s MA thesis, “Samuel Mazzuchelli and Indian Education on the Frontier,” was published by Catholic University of America Press in 1946. 86. Brochure on Faith and Freedom, “The Great New Catholic Basic Reading Series” (Ginn, n.d.), Sinsinawa Dominican Archives, and “To the Teacher,” These Are Our Friends (Ginn, 1942). 174. Copies in Dominican Archives in Sinsinawa, WI. 87. Special thanks to Sr. Mary Elizabeth Wood, SND, archivist, Sisters of Notre Dame, Chardon, Ohio, for confirming the identity of Sr. Mary Marguerite McArdle, SND, and providing us with biographical material, academic transcripts, and newspaper articles. Information on the McArdle family was accessed through 88. Auction information on Eleanor Campbell’s artwork for the Dick and Jane reader, .ai. Social security information with birth and death dates for Corinne Malvern and Charlotte Ware was accessed through Corinne Malvern bio from Wikipedia. The 1940 census lists Charlotte Ware as living in Medford, Massachusetts, with her husband, Hollis, and four children, Colin, 12; Martha, 11; Rose, 7; and Anne, 2. Judy M. Johnson has compiled and restored “The Wonderful Whimsical Paper Dolls of Charlotte Ware.” 89. Sr. Mary Joan, OP, and Sr. Mary Nona, OP, Guiding Growth (1946), 3:207–8. 90. In 1946, Sr. Joan was assigned to Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and played a key role in its development from a sisters’ training school into a four-year liberal arts institution. During her twenty-three-year tenure at Edgewood she taught curriculum and served as registrar. Shortly after receiving her PhD from Catholic University in 1950, Sister Mary Nona was appointed president of Edgewood College. She led the drive for its accreditation by the North Central Association of College and Secondary Schools and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Her dissertation on the Sinsinawa Dominicans, “The Role of a Teaching Sisterhood in American Education,” was published by Catholic University of America Press in 1951. 91. Rima Lunin Schultz, “Public School ‘Secularists’ vs. Women Religious: Competing Visions for Educating Immigrant Catholics in Jane Addams’s Progressive Era Chicago, 1890–1925,” in Crossings and Dwellings: Restored Jesuits, Women Religious, American Experience, 1814–2014, ed. Kyle B. Roberts and Stephen R. Schloesser (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 373. On Jane Addams’s alleged secularism and her embrace of and engagement with cultural Protestantism see Rima Lunin Schultz, “Jane Addams, Apotheosis of Social Christianity,” Church History 84, no. 1 (2015): 207–19.

Walking in Solidarity Dominican Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in the Modern United States heath w. ca r ter

Sister Vincent Ferrer, OP, never saw it coming. One can only speculate as to who first broke the news and how exactly she reacted, but it’s easy to imagine that shades of red lingered on her face even as consternation faded into bemusement. It was one thing to be quoted by the press, as she so often was over the course of her decades in the public eye. It was quite another to be quoted favorably by a Communist, and not just any Communist at that—by Earl Browder, the general secretary of the Communist Party of the United States. But sure enough, there lay the endorsement, in black and white, atop the fifth page of A Message to Catholics, a 1938 penny pamphlet in which Browder, eager to increase his party’s palatability to the members of the nation’s largest church, emphasized the affinities between Catholic and Communist social teaching: “Sister Vincent Ferrer of Rosary College expresses our point of view when she declares: ‘Since women have become a permanent part of the working forces of modern industry, higher wage standards and shorter hours should be established by legislation as well as by trade unions.’ ”1 The Catholic hierarchy had never tolerated Marxist radicals in its ranks, but Ferrer was no Communist and those in her inner circles knew as much.2 The prioress of her congregation, Mother Samuel Coughlin, OP, pointed out that Browder had cited a number of other respected American Catholic leaders as well. Making light of the whole affair, she told Ferrer, “Don’t worry about it—as I see it you are in very good company.”3 Of course, such private assurances did not stop others from jumping to conclusions. When, well after the fact, Ferrer gave a talk at Chicago’s famed Hull House, a woman in the audience startled her by waving Browder’s pamphlet in the air and inquiring, “Are you the Communist sister?” 4 In most cases, it was Ferrer who did the startling. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s she spoke to audiences across the United States, becoming in the process a noted advocate for peace and economic justice.5 As her


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reputation grew, so did others’ incredulity. Ferrer earned her BA in the social sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and MA in history at Catholic University, and was moreover a longtime stalwart of the economics and political science departments at Rosary College (since 1997, Dominican University). But for most of her contemporaries, the notion that a habit-wearing Dominican sister might also be a real expert in such worldly, masculine realms seemed nothing short of far-fetched. When Alice Hamilton wrote her in 1940 with an invitation to speak at Hull House, she related, At our committee meeting I spoke of your ability and of your understanding of the problems of the wage earner. Most of the group could hardly believe that a Nun could have such every day, comprehensive understanding of the world in which men and women struggle against problems beyond their ability to cope with. So if you are willing and able to come it will be a two-fold education for the delegates.6

Hamilton’s colleagues were hardly alone. When Ferrer represented the Social Action Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference at an Industrial Relations Institute for Christian Leaders in 1945, her erudite contributions stunned the other attendees. At one point during the meeting an Episcopal minister approached her and asked the question at the top of many minds: “Sister, you have us puzzled, just who are you?” 7 It was not just men who expressed such astonishment. Even the young working women who took classes from Ferrer in a series of summer industrial institutes could scarcely believe their eyes and ears. A postmortem on the 1947 institute acknowledged, “That a Nun should have wide interest in economic problems and so much information on the subject seemed a revelation.” 8 It remains a revelation today, or so one might think, given the shape of the emerging literature on Christianity and capitalism in the twentiethcentury United States. This bustling historiographical intersection has, in recent years, been the site of a number of vital intellectual breakthroughs. Scholars have unearthed the longer histories of “corporate evangelicalism” and of working-class faith, and have moreover illuminated the unpredictable ways that religion shaped Americans’ responses to the privations of the Great Depression.9 Perhaps most significantly, historians in this field have helped to demystify the origins of the modern right, locating them

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in a religiously infused backlash to the New Deal, which proved so wildly successful that, for countless believers, the idea that free enterprise was the Christian way of doing business assumed the guise of common sense.10 These studies have tremendous explanatory power, and yet they focus almost exclusively on Protestants—this, despite the fact that the Catholic Church boasts a painstakingly elaborated tradition of thought and praxis vis-à-vis capitalism, one that dates all the way back to the Gilded Age encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891); and, moreover, that Catholic women, men, ideas, and institutions have exerted extraordinary influence on modern American life. As it stands, the “new” history of capitalism has a blind spot the size of the nation’s largest denomination. This essay seeks to address this gap by casting women religious such as Sister Vincent Ferrer as vital characters in the story. Although this claim might raise eyebrows among the new historians of capitalism—a response to which Ferrer was well accustomed, I might add—it builds on a growing body of work that suggests that, far from passive or retreating, women religious have played essential roles in the fight for a more economically just society.11 Even as they devoted themselves to the corporal works of mercy, they mounted a response to capitalist exploitation that was more than merely palliative. Indeed, we now know that, in building a vast charitable empire of schools, hospitals, asylums, and more, they laid the groundwork for the welfare state.12 But their pathbreaking efforts were not limited to the realm of social ser vices. Ferrer was an expert interpreter of Catholic social teaching with decided interests in economic policymaking. Her prominence in such conversations was unusual for a Dominican sister, but her commitment to bringing the encyclical tradition to life on the ground and to bear on economic structures was not. This chapter uses Ferrer’s life and work to show how, throughout the heyday of the New Deal, some women religious fought tirelessly to sustain and popularize a distinctly Catholic critique of laissez-faire capitalism. It concludes with two more contemporary examples that underscore some of the serious challenges that Dominican sisters face in keeping this countervailing tradition alive in our new Gilded Age. When Pope Leo XIII looked out at the industrializing world in 1891, the sight grieved him. Although new machines and modes of production were generating unprecedented wealth, venerable safeguards of the poor were giving way in the face of an appallingly exploitative regime. “By


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degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition,” he lamented.13 The pope’s words were hardly news to countless Dominican sisters, scattered across the United States in communities where they witnessed the traumas of industrialization firsthand. Three years before Leo XIII promulgated his encyclical, in September of 1888, a contingent of five sisters from the congregation at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, arrived in Spring Valley, Illinois, where they promptly assumed responsibility for the education of two hundred and fifty students (one hundred more than anticipated) at the local Catholic school.14 The following spring the mining town plunged into crisis, as local mine operators intent on breaking the union locked out their workers and closed the company store, initiating an eight-month-long battle that culminated in a bitter loss for the miners.15 The sisters encountered the immense suffering entailed in this protracted fight every day in their classrooms. Chicago-based reformer Henry Demarest Lloyd reported from Spring Valley in September of 1889: The sisters who teach in the Catholic school said that their children gave unmistakable evidence of not having sufficient food. They were paler than the year before and they could not study as well. Children would frequently fall asleep at their desks from weakness. . . . In some cases the sister superior said when food was taken by some such child it was immediately rejected by the stomach, showing how far the exhaustion of hunger had gone.16

In addition to their support of the miners’ children, the sisters threw themselves into the collection and distribution of aid for affected families and even volunteered as nurses for those requiring medical assistance. One historian later reflected that the whole Spring Valley affair left a lasting impression on the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ Mother General, Sister Emily Power, “deepen[ing] her natural sympathy for the men who lived under such conditions, and help[ing] to make her an able and active interpreter of the Rerum Novarum when it appeared a few years later.”17 Insofar as Mother Emily emphasized the encyclical’s pro-labor provisions, she broke sharply with the American Catholic hierarchy, which fixated instead on Pope Leo’s antisocialism.18 Across the urban north, Catholic clergy long worried that trade unions would serve as gateways

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out of the church and into the clutches of godless socialists. Such fears help to account for why, in late-nineteenth-century Chicago, a notorious hotbed of working-class radicalism, archdiocesan leaders kept their distance from labor.19 The sisters at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, were more than 170 miles removed from the city’s urban core, where throughout the Gilded Age battles so often raged in the streets: during the 1867 general strike, the 1877 railroad riots, the 1886 Haymarket bombing, and the 1894 Pullman Strike, not to mention countless other less dramatic instances of upheaval. Their distance from the action may have made them less prone to the antisocialist frenzy that swept through the church’s ranks in the first decade of the twentieth century. In any case, when Sister Vincent Ferrer first came to the Mound, a common name for the Sinsinawa Motherhouse, in the 1910s, she would have found there a community with a history of supporting organized labor. Ann Helen Bradford entered the Dominican order in 1912 and took the name Sister Vincent Ferrer in 1914, the same year that she professed her vows. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, the daughter of Margaret Hayes Bradford, a lifelong Catholic, and Benjamin Franklin Bradford, a descendant of William Bradford, the famed second governor of Plymouth Colony. Her father converted to Catholicism only late in his life, but there is no evidence he objected to her mother’s decision to have her baptized in the church. Bradford would go on to attend the University of Wisconsin– Madison, where she majored in political science, while playing left field on the women’s baseball team and becoming involved in a variety of other student organizations.20 There is no record of the multitalented young woman’s discernment around the decision to join a religious order. But after taking her vows, Ferrer taught for three years at St. Clara’s, a Dominican women’s college located in Sinsinawa, before moving to Washington, DC, where in 1918 she completed her master’s in history at Catholic University. Afterward, she returned to teach at St. Clara’s, which in 1922 relocated to River Forest, Illinois, just eleven miles west of Chicago’s Loop.21 The move was motivated in part by the sisters’ interests in pressing issues of urban justice. While still in the exploratory stages of the process, Sinsinawa’s prioress, Mother Samuel, wrote to Chicago Archbishop George Mundelein, “We should desire, even more than the success of our Arts and Letters and Music Departments, a development of strong and safely Catholic Courses in Social Sciences and Practical Charities, that our


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students may learn to help actively and personally in the religious and material betterment of the multitudes of God’s poor in that great city.”22 Ferrer would embrace this mission with gusto, though her horizons would end up extending well beyond the newly renamed Rosary College and its Chicago environs. The very same year that Ferrer and her colleagues moved to River Forest, the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC)—an organization that, in the words of historian Thomas R. Greene, “embodied the Catholic social tradition”—founded a new initiative called the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems (CCIP).23 It was the brainchild of Father Raymond McGowan, who had spent the previous two years working with one of American Catholicism’s leading economic progressives, John A. Ryan, in the NCWC’s Social Action Department. McGowan recognized that, more than thirty years after Rerum Novarum, most Catholics had little inkling of Pope Leo’s prescriptions for the industrial age, which contradicted both unregulated capitalism and Marxian socialism. The encyclical defended the right to private property and valorized freedom of contract, but nevertheless cautioned that “there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner.” It insisted that “the State must not absorb the individual or the family,” even while it held that wage earners “should be specially cared for and protected by the government.” It championed workers’ associations.24 McGowan believed that Rerum Novarum contained the answers to the crises of the industrializing world, and he envisioned the CCIP as a vehicle for familiarizing laypeople with its contents. The idea was to promote the formation of local industrial conferences, as well as to sponsor regional and national meetings for the dissemination of Catholic social teaching. The latter, especially, would present Ferrer with a series of extraordinary opportunities. In the late 1930s and the 1940s Ferrer spoke at more than a dozen CCIP conferences across the country, including regional meetings in Indianapolis, Chicago, Dubuque, Davenport, Detroit, Hartford, St. Louis, Atlanta, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, San Francisco, Cincinnati, San Antonio, Toledo, and Butte, as well as national gatherings in Milwaukee and Cleveland. These were heady decades for the organization and for US proponents of Catholic social teaching more broadly. They received a major

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boost in 1931 when Pope Pius XI promulgated Quadragesimo Anno, an encyclical timed to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum. Although Pius’s teaching departed from Leo’s in some important ways, the new encyclical followed the old in stressing the incompatibility of Christianity with either socialism or laissez-faire capitalism.25 On the latter front, it railed against “the individualist spirit in economic life,” urging Catholics to “see and deplore” the ills of the economic system: “Free competition has destroyed itself; economic dictatorship has supplanted the free market; unbridled ambition for power has likewise succeeded greed for gain; all economic life has become tragically hard, inexorable, and cruel.” Pius called for “reconstruction of the social order,” including, for example, the implementation of an “occupational group system” of industrial planning councils consisting of owners, managers, and laborers. Above all, he longed for “public institutions . . . to make all human society conform to the needs of the common good; that is, to the norm of social justice.”26 The encyclical resonated with presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, who proclaimed it was “just as radical as I am” and who went on as president to gain the admiration of many in the CCIP.27 Like countless American Catholics, they threw their weight behind the New Deal.28 Its strong economic planning arm, the National Recovery Association, seemed especially consonant with the vision of Quadragesimo Anno, and so the excitement in CCIP circles during those years was palpable. For Ferrer, the opportunity to be involved with the organization was nothing short of exhilarating. She later reflected, “[My participation] made it possible for me to hear all of the talks, take part in the discussion and meet some of the outstanding men of the country.”29 If the CCIP conferences offered her the chance to rub elbows with key figures in the worlds of government, church, and social reform, they moreover vaulted her into the public eye as a formidable proponent of Catholic social teaching. Her early speeches were covered mainly in the NCWC’s own publications, but it was not long before she began to gain wider recognition.30 The September 30, 1941, edition of the San Francisco News included a photograph of Ferrer with a beaming smile taken at the city’s CCIP conference. The caption included the title of her address, “The Encyclicals and Industrial Life Today,” in which she enjoined the audience, even as wartime production was pulling the nation finally out of the Great Depression, “let us not lose sight of the fact that the real purpose of


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economic life as stated by Pius XI is to give each and all that high standard of living they need for physical, mental, moral and spiritual strength and development.”31 In San Antonio the following year Ferrer once more issued an urgent call for Catholic leaders to hew to their tradition’s social teaching. “Many of our leaders are aware of the danger which Hitler’s world revolution presents to Christian civilization but seem not at all conscious of the more insidious menace that modern capitalism has constituted for all spiritual values,” she avowed. Ferrer concluded with the exhortation, “For each one of us the task is clear—Make ourselves Christian, thoroughly Christian.”32 The city’s papers swiftly carried word of her speech to even larger audiences, along with photos of her standing alongside luminaries such as John Ryan. The tide of publicity would not recede anytime soon. In mid-December of 1942 the New York Times quoted from her address in Cincinnati, in which she argued that intensive wartime cooperation between management, labor, and the federal government should continue during times of peace. “With the common welfare as the objective, the same men, the same machines and resources could be organized to bring about full production, full employment and an abundance of consumers’ goods, which would make possible a decent standard of living for everyone,” Ferrer insisted, very much in keeping with Quadragesimo Anno’s proposed “occupational group system.”33 Less than two months later, meanwhile, she was right back in the Times, which carried news of her remarks at a CCIP conference in Atlanta. Much to the delight of both the city’s bishop and its leading newspaperman, Ferrer critically engaged the champions of free enterprise, relating, Recently a newly elected chairman of one of our major political parties asserted his party stands for the orderly supervision and regulation of economic life, an end to bureaucratic hampering of decent industry and honest business, opening the door of betterment and opportunity, protect private property and savings, and bring about harmony among capital, labor and agriculture.34

Continuing on, she declared, I say to the gentleman that the very best means and the only means to attain these objectives is to support the occupational group system of Pius. Orderly regulation of economic life will follow, for it provides

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for genuine self-government in industry by putting direction in the hands of those most competent to assume it, of the men and women engaged in it and not investment bankers.

Not just this, but all of Ferrer’s concrete policy recommendations sprang from a fundamental assumption. As she matter of factly informed the audience that day, “Economic life must be inspired with Christian principles.”35 Ferrer expounded upon the source of this conviction in a 1944 speech in Butte, Montana, that went off to rave reviews within the CCIP and landed her on the front page of the Butte Daily.36 In her view, the encyclical tradition contained the decisive answer to the question of what Rome had to do with Wall Street. As she explained, “Over fifty years ago in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII called attention to the dangers and evils of the social system of that time and warned the whole world against the dangerous mistakes of the Socialist theories, and against the fatal consequences of economic liberalism so often unaware or forgetful or contemptuous of social duties.” She went on to argue that “the effect of Rerum Novarum in the last fifty years is immense. . . . It settled once and for all that it is not only the right but the duty of the church to speak with authority on social and economic problems.” Ferrer contrasted this view with “the essentially pagan doctrine that the church should have nothing to say about business, that bishops and priests should preach the gospel and let industrial questions be discussed by parties concerned.”37 In the context of the 1940s in the United States, this “doctrine” was more Protestant than pagan. A backlash against the social gospel-infused New Deal was already gaining momentum in both evangelical and mainline circles. In the years ahead this countermovement would gain robust Catholic support as well, but for the time being the Catholic-Liberal alliance that helped to power the New Deal remained at center stage.38 As her colleague Linna E. Bresette wrote to Ferrer in advance of the 1945 CCIP conference at Cleveland, “It is imperative that we have seven or eight typed copies of excerpts from your talk. . . . The papers are begging for copy.”39 If Ferrer did not know what lay around the corner, already in the 1930s and 1940s she shared the worry of many Catholic leaders that the laity had little understanding of the church’s teaching on economic issues.40 CCIP conferences were one antidote, but they were not enough. Consequently,


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Industrialists, labor leaders, educators, clerics, and governmental representatives were present in May 1944 when the two-day Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems opened in Butte, Montana. James J. Leary, secretary-treasurer of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, Denver; Sister Vincent Ferrer Bradford, OP, Rosary College, Illinois; the Most Rev. Joseph M. Gilmore, Bishop of Helena, Montana, sponsor of the conference, and R. H. Glover, Western Counsel for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Butte. Back row: Mayor Barry O’Leary, D. M. Kelly, vice president of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company; B. I Steinmetz, president of the Trades and Labor assembly, Great Falls; Rev. Father J. J. O’Connor, Butte, conference chairman, and John R. Lawson, Denver. Archives, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

even as she traveled around the country giving speeches, she also poured her energies into an annual Institute on Industry for women workers. Cosponsored by the National Council of Catholic Women and the National Catholic School of Social Ser vice, these week-long seminars, which began in 1937 and ran through the early 1950s, were usually held in Washington, DC. They attracted a diverse array of working women as well as the occasional college woman. Most were in their early twenties and hailed from northern, industrial cities. Many, though not all, were Catholic. Some were unionized, while others were not (and even in the former camp, some were AFL, others CIO). Some were skilled, while others were

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not. Ferrer later recalled the eclectic mix of participants, “There were factory workers, laundry workers, hat and bag makers, and telephone operators. Girls from the Arrow Shirt factory came for three or four summers. Two Pittsburgh girls were from the Catholic Radical Alliance, an outgrowth of the Catholic Worker movement.” 41 Each cohort had the opportunity to enjoy a week of recreation, touring, and communal living, but at the heart of the experience was a full immersion in Catholic social teaching. As Ferrer understood it, “The purpose was to provide an opportunity for some women workers to understand more fully their place in the economic sphere, ground them in Christian principles and train them in the facility of defending these principles.” The Institute on Industry’s sponsors hoped that this intensive education would both grow the labor movement and help to steer it away from the enticing but dangerous shoals of radicalism. In Ferrer’s estimation, the idea was, “As leaders [the women workers] could go back to their jobs prepared to take active and constructive participation in formulating and controlling the action of their union in securing justice for the workers. In this way they would spread Christian influence as well as combat Marxism.” Over the course of its life the institute featured guest faculty members such as Frances Perkins, who was at the time serving as Secretary of Labor, and Monsignor John Ryan, one of the most influential Catholic proponents of the New Deal. But Ferrer especially enjoyed the opportunity to teach alongside major figures in the women’s labor movement, including Elizabeth Christman, Mamie Santora, Esther Peterson, and Agnes Nestor.42 Ferrer was a regular staff professor and a stalwart of the program year after year, offering minicourses that framed a variety of labor-related issues in light of the church’s teaching. At the 1938 institute she delivered a series of five lectures on wages: “Wages—A Problem of Distribution,” “Catholic Principles on Wages,” “Present Wage Levels—Wages of Men— Wages of Women,” “Wages and Family Life,” and “The Wage Earner—an Industrial Citizen.” 43 The following year Ferrer stuck with the same theme and Linna E. Bresette, the longtime director of the institute, recalled, “She emphasized the dignity of labor, the pride in work and the responsibility of the worker to her job. She spoke of conscience as part of the necessary equipment of worker and employer.” 44 Ferrer connected easily with her students, who found her sessions absorbing. When Frances Engel, a


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participant from Buffalo, filled out an evaluation of the 1938 institute, she made a point to note that Ferrer’s lectures were the most beneficial.45 After the 1939 institute, Bresette wrote to Sinsinawa’s Mother Samuel: This year there were twenty-five young women in attendance, sixteen of whom were Trade Unionists. It would be difficult to tell you how these girls hung on every word Sister Vincent said. She was one of them and spoke their language . . . disseminating Catholic Social Teaching among them and making them see that the answers to their problems must be found in religion and the pronouncements of the Church.46

In 1944 the organizers moved the institute to Rosary College for a year, hoping to “attract a larger group because of its more central location.” 47 As the plans came together and it became apparent that a prior commitment would, ironically, keep Ferrer away, Bresette was beside herself. In a letter to Rosary’s president she emphasized Ferrer’s centrality to the whole enterprise, writing, “I am so disappointed that Sister Vincent Ferrer cannot be with us. She really was the inspiration of the Institute.” 48 In total, only a few hundred women had the opportunity to attend one of these summer institutes, and yet their impact was far from negligible. News of them spread far and wide through unions, churches, fraternal organizations, the Diocesan Councils of Catholic Women, and even the YWCA.49 By all accounts, the program succeeded in its goal of raising the consciousness of wage-earning women about the church’s economic teachings—and it did so at a time when unprecedented numbers of women were entering the workforce. A 1941 Washington Post report emphasized the enthusiasm the participants infused into the seminar. Women such as Rita Crippen, a paper-bag maker from Toledo, Ohio, and Dorothy Gorman, a bakery employee from New York City, were using precious days off to participate. Josephine Fanelli, an unemployed garment worker from Cleveland, was taking days off from her job search. Moreover, the participants were “following the serious discussions with an interest that surprises the leaders.” 50 Bresette always contended that the institute was an effective means of spreading a distinctly Catholic pro-union gospel. In the wake of the 1941 seminar, which included twenty-one women, only nine of whom were unionized, she reported:

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When one of their number suggested she was not interested in labor unions, her education was immediately undertaken by the nine who were members. Others who did not belong to unions wanted to know what good they were and whether workers had any responsibility in joining them. The unions were vigorously defended by the members who were not slow to point out the statements of Pope Leo and Pope Pius about workingmen’s organ izations. To their credit, it must be said they knew not only their unions but they knew their encyclicals.51

Alumnae of the program confirmed Bresette’s sense that the program was accomplishing its mission. One declared, “I never knew that the Catholics took such interest in labor problems,” while another reflected, “It has shown me the interest the Catholic Church has taken in the promotion of better living and social conditions and the knowledge it has spread for the betterment of social reconstruction and love of man through the Papal encyclicals and the necessity of Catholic Action.” 52 Such testimonies energized Ferrer for the daunting work ahead. When she was not traveling for CCIP or summer institute purposes, she was managing the responsibilities of being a full-time faculty member at Rosary College while sustaining a deep level of engagement with the wider Chicago community. The two often went together, given the college’s strong commitment to extending its teaching mission beyond its gates. Ferrer and her colleagues regularly offered enrichment courses for adults, an undertaking that she considered to be “a splendid opportunity as well as responsibility to make individual laymen and women more cognizant of Christian social thought and motivate them to be exponents of it in their respective social and economic groups.” 53 In addition to the extension classes she offered on campus, Ferrer taught standalone sessions across the metropolitan area and beyond. She later recalled, “I talked either in the afternoon or, more often, in the evening to groups of adults in Portage, Madison, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine, Merrill, Springfield, Streator, Bloomington, Freeport, Winnetka, River Forest, Elmhurst, Sioux Falls, Omaha and to the Catholic Honor Society meeting in Chicago.” 54 From time to time, she committed to spending a longer season with a given community. She ran a weekly study club for the women of the South Side’s Visitation Parish one year and did so for the Catholic Women’s Club in Evanston another year. The latter was especially fulfilling because, as she


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remembered it, “These women had developed an alert sense of social responsibility and were deeply interested in the economic problems of the day.” 55 She relished the opportunity to facilitate an ongoing adult learning experience at the West Side’s St. Angela’s parish “during the time of extreme popularity of Father Charles Coughlin, the radio priest,” who famously turned against Roosevelt and the New Deal in the mid-1930s. As she went on to explain, “On more than one occasion I was delighted to be able to refute much of what he had said especially in regard to his theories on money and credit and later to oppose his Anti-Semitism which fostered intolerance among his listeners.” 56 In light of her interests and passions, it was hardly a surprise that Ferrer volunteered to serve on the teaching staff of Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. Sheil’s School of Social Studies when it opened in downtown Chicago in 1943. The school charged no fees, and the month before it commenced operations, the Tribune announced, “Interest in the future of American democracy is the only prerequisite for admission.” 57 Ferrer resonated deeply with Bishop Sheil’s conviction that, as she put it, “it was hypocritical to speak of democracy while [we] still had in our midst racial discrimination and economic justice,” and so in addition to her regular teaching at Rosary, she taught weekday evening and morning classes at the new school.58 Her course “Christian Social Thought” was among the most popular offerings, and in the eight years that followed she taught a variety of other classes, which attracted more than 1,600 students.59 In 1944, Bishop Sheil recognized Ferrer’s vast contributions by making her the firstever recipient of the Leo XIII award for outstanding work in Christian social education.60 The accompanying citation read, “As professor of economics at Rosary College she has for many years given her students not only instruction in economic science but inspiration as well as practice of Catholic social action in their lives.” 61 By that point, of course, her “students” were not just at Rosary and the Sheil School but scattered all over the nation. Ferrer’s expertise, experience, and credentials long continued to catch new acquaintances off guard—who knew that a Dominican sister could be such a commanding presence in the realms of economics and politics? There was no doubt that she had made her mark on both church and society. By the 1950s the reforming zeal that accompanied the New Deal’s early days had waned, and organizations such as the CCIP and the Institute on

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Industry were sputtering toward their end. As a result, the flood of invitations for Ferrer to speak at regional and national meetings began to subside. But there is little indication that, even at that point, she was content to slow down. As late as April 5, 1966, just three days before her seventyseventh birthday, she responded enthusiastically to a speaking request from her prioress, writing in a letter, “I shall be happy to give some lectures to the student Sisters on the social teaching of the church. It is so important.” As she continued on, her deep well of devotion to the encyclical tradition spilled out on to the page: “In section 222 of Mater et Magistra Pope John said, ‘We strongly reaffirm that Christian social doctrine is an integral part of the Christian conception of life.’” Having built her life on that conviction, Ferrer added, “As citizens [the student Sisters] should be aware of the fact that the principles may serve as [a] guide in the solution of the domestic and world problems confronting the American people.” 62 When she turned eighty, Ferrer wrote some short reflections on her life and times. From her vantage, looking back across the decades, it appeared that history was trending in the right direction. “Between the date of Quadragesimo Anno and our time, we have passed through an economic and social revolution,” she declared, triumphantly. She proceeded to observe, “The majority of the workers by means of organizations of their own choosing began to secure their rights. In this year of 1969, efforts are being made to extend these same rights to the migratory farm workers.” 63 Ferrer’s sanguine assessment was not entirely off base. If anything, historians have in recent years only confirmed her sense of the New Deal era as an exceptional season in American history, marked by uncharacteristic openness to organized labor and an expansive social welfare state.64 But even at the moment that she wrote, countervailing forces were multiplying. William F. Buckley, a devout Catholic, was building a conservative network around and through his increasingly influential magazine, the National Review. One faithful subscriber, California Governor Ronald Reagan, had just months before referred to striking grape workers, organized through Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta’s United Farm Workers, as “barbarians.” 65 Less than a decade after Ferrer’s 1972 death, the Reagan revolution would begin to fundamentally change the shape of American political and economic life. That so many Catholics—including not just well-known figures such as Buckley, but countless unknown laypeople—would come to cheer the resurgent GOP’s neoliberal economic


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policies, which in many cases flatly contradicted the encyclical tradition, would have disheartened Ferrer. It would, moreover, complicate the lives of those who followed in her footsteps. In 1971, the final year of Ferrer’s life, a number of Dominican sisters were integrally involved in establishing NETWORK, an organization of and by women religious interested in becoming more politically engaged. Nothing would have delighted Ferrer more. Fully twenty-five years before, in an interview with the Hartford Times, she had argued, “It is the duty of all women to be concerned with the social problems of the day. . . . Whether a woman is a nun, a mother, a business woman—or a newspaper reporter, she should study the problems of the day.” When the paper’s editor pressed her on the particular matter of “a nun’s taking the lead in the turbulent field of labor relations,” she responded, “I can’t understand why people should consider it unusual for a nun to be interested in knowing something about supply and demand. We’re women, we’re students and we’re teachers, and we must therefore be interested.” 66 By the early 1970s, a large and growing number of women religious were. The idea for NETWORK first emerged at the August 1971 meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, where Monsignor Geno Baroni, having tried unsuccessfully to mobilize his fellow priests for social action, urged those gathered to take up the work of changing public policy. Two Dominicans from the congregation headquartered at Adrian, Michigan, Carol Jean McDonnell, OP, and Marcella Hess, OP, responded enthusiastically to Baroni’s call for a strategic planning session in Washington DC, in December. Marjorie Tuite, OP, the founder and first chair of the social concerns committee of the National Assembly of Women Religious, encouraged that body’s regional representatives to attend the meeting as well. Forty-seven women religious showed up for the meeting in DC.67 There, Tuite gave an impassioned opening address, her fellow Dominican and attendee, Carol Coston, OP, recalled: Margie, who was a formidable presence from the onset, paced back and forth across the classroom urging us to action. In her commanding voice she stated that it was time for sisters to move from ser vice to change!—That we needed to be self-determining and involved at the base and in the centers of political power!—Out of the convents and into the streets and the halls of Congress!68

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More conversation and meetings with political leaders ensued, and before the meeting adjourned several days later, Coston offered a motion that the sisters “form a political action network of information and communication.” It was resoundingly approved, 43–3, with a single abstention. NETWORK would go on to become a strong proponent of Catholic social teaching inside the Beltway, rating legislators on every thing from their votes on Vietnam to their support for migrant and farm workers’ rights. It also distributed literature on the encyclical tradition and its implications for the contemporary moment.69 NETWORK’s emergence spoke to major shifts in both the wider Catholic world and in the possibilities for women religious. The kind of public career Ferrer enjoyed had once been the exception, but in the era of the Second Vatican Council it became apparent that the rule was changing. By the time Pope Paul VI promulgated his encyclical Octogesima Adveniens (1971), which included a “fresh and insistent call to action,” women religious were already in the process of mobilization.70 They discovered theological justification for their activism not only in the encyclical tradition but also in scripture, in the teachings of liberation theology emanating from Latin America, and, closer to home, in the Synod of Bishops’ statement “Justice in the World.” 71 Just as important, they found in the flowering of second wave feminism in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States both energy and resources to reimagine their role and position within church and society.72 Yet if the late twentieth century afforded new opportunities for women religious to become involved in the public sphere, it also presented distinct challenges. For one, their communities were shrinking. In 1966, the historical high-water mark, there were 181,421 women religious in the United States. By 1980, that number had declined precipitously to 126,517 and the freefall would continue unabated in the decades that followed.73 But even beyond the problem of their diminishing human resources, women religious who answered church leaders’ calls to action often encountered stiff resistance from the same. Coston reflected in the late 1990s, “It is one of the ironies of the last three decades that United States women religious have been so criticized and hampered by some of their ecclesial leaders for how we responded to their own directives.” 74 In reality, the dynamics were even more complicated. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Dominican sisters who sought to bring Catholic


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teaching on economic issues to life on the ground—much as Ferrer had done in the decades before—faced not only opposition from the male hierarchy but also from laypeople and even at times from their fellow sisters. The Grand Rapids congregation’s success at implementing a living wage on its main campus suggests that, at the local level at least, the obstacles were surmountable. Two sisters, Ann Walters, OP, and Barbara Hansen, OP, catalyzed the effort. They were steeped in the encyclical tradition, which since its emergence with Rerum Novarum has argued for the moral necessity of the living wage, and they were determined to translate their ideals into material realities. They would encounter stiff resistance at nearly every step along the way. Hansen served as the congregation’s Councilor of Finance in the early ’90s, which was when she first suggested that the leadership team pursue implementation of a living wage for the campus’s employees. The idea got no traction at that point, but she was not content to let it die. When the congregation sold three hundred acres of land in New Mexico, yielding a major influx of capital, she was among a number of sisters who argued that the proceeds should be reinvested in social justice work. By the late 1990s, with Hansen then serving as prioress and Walters as Councilor for Finance, there was consensus on the leadership team that a living wage should be among those initiatives. But if the endeavor was to go forward, the congregation’s director of operations, Carole Nugent, would also have to be convinced. It was no easy task. As a laywoman with little exposure to Catholic social teaching, she initially found the whole notion strange. Looking back, Nugent reflected, It took me three years to internalize enough before I had the energy to start pursuing it because it was so confusing to me. I came from a corporate background, CPA, and it was so countercultural. I spent a long time, a lot of tears at night and prayers, saying, if I can’t buy into this, there is no way I’ll ever be able to convince our employees that this is a good thing.75

It was her relationship with Hansen and Walters that changed her perspective. As Nugent put it, “The more I worked with them, the more I saw them living the gospel values and that I could do that too. . . . [Hansen’s] got this vision of the kingdom on earth and between the two of them they impressed me so greatly that I began to internalize [the rationale for the living wage].” 76

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Convincing Nugent was just the beginning of an uphill battle, contested on multiple fronts. But the next step, before engaging others, was to develop a plan. Not finding any well-elaborated models for the implementation of a living wage in the wider world, Nugent worked closely with the leadership team to generate one tailored to the congregation’s distinctive values. One of the most significant challenges was determining what a “living” wage was in the first place. Together, they developed an algorithm that estimated common expenses—housing, food, transportation, utilities, health care, clothing, savings, vacation, entertainment, and more—for a family of three, including one wage earner and two dependents. What they came up with in the spring of 1999 was that a living wage for a typical Grand Rapids employee was a minimum of $11.29 per hour.77 Both the Michigan state and federal minimum wages at that point were $5.15 per hour.78 The congregation’s proposed wage appeared extravagantly generous by comparison, even it did not account for the possibility of childcare expenses. The model only worked when the wage earner’s dependents were in full-time public school, a compromise that Nugent and the leadership team, confronted by the financial exigencies of paying the campus’s bills, reluctantly agreed to make.79 Whatever its pragmatic concessions, their plan struck many in their immediate and wider circles as dangerously idealistic. The congregation’s operations advisory committee included a number of affluent lay Catholics who, like Nugent, had little prior exposure to the encyclical tradition’s teaching on economic issues. To some of them, the living wage proposal smacked of “Communism.” Nugent prodded them to temper their rhetoric—“eventually I got them to call it socialist,” she noted— but at least one member of the committee got so angry at one point that he informed her he never wanted to hear about the living wage again.80 The congregation’s members were in some cases no easier to convince. “Some sisters didn’t buy in,” Walters recalled, as they worried it would prove detrimental to the community’s long-term financial health. Over time, however, and between the leadership’s ebullient confidence that “we can do this” and its persistent emphasis on how the proposal sprung from the congregation’s deepest values, an affirmative consensus began to emerge among the sisters. The hardest task remained still ahead: convincing the congregation’s lay employees of the merits of the living wage. Nugent acknowledged, “I


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had a whole group of [department] directors who had to internalize it themselves and some of them didn’t and fought it the whole way.” The central concern for those in management was salary compression. Prior to the implementation, Nugent made six times more money than the federal minimum wage; afterwards, she made only twice as much. In the proposed model, many supervisors would make only one dollar more per hour than those who worked under them, despite vast differences in terms of their credentials and degrees of responsibility. The leadership team’s attempt to sell the idea using the lens of Jesus’s parable about the workers in the vineyard, who all got paid a denarius, despite working different lengths of time, provoked an uproar, as some employees complained that the moral of that story did not comport well with a basic notion of fairness. When Nugent reframed the proposal in terms of the Rule of Augustine, which in turn cites the apostolic church’s commitment to sharing “all things in common” (Acts 2:44), she found less resistance. The plan’s proponents drove home the notion that all employees were “co-ministers” and that “everybody plays a critical role, nobody plays a minor role.” Beyond these matters of principle, they also underscored that a living wage would translate into a higher quality, lower turnover campus workforce. It was not an easy fight. Nugent remembers that she “lived it constantly,” adding, “I just have to say that . . . [Hansen] is the epitome of bravery and she took criticism like I couldn’t believe.” The whole affair weighed heavily on Walters, who recalls, “I shed many tears to God, saying, are we crazy?” But, as she went on to say, “the answer that kept coming back was no.” 81 The Grand Rapids Dominicans began to implement a living wage across their campus in 2000. The fact that this once marginal vision came to full fruition remains a marvel to many of those who were involved from the early stages of the process. “It was so countercultural and it still is,” Nugent reflects. In significant ways, even though the living wage is now standard for the congregation’s employees, the challenge to extend and even maintain it continues. Several years ago, the congregation contracted out its residential care program for elderly sisters and in so doing accepted that those workers would not make a living wage. Meanwhile, larger questions about the economic sustainability of the living wage continue to linger. The congregation’s current prioress, Sister Maureen Geary, OP, acknowledges, “We have to keep looking at its affordability, especially given

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that there are realities of diminishing resources.” Today, the congregation pays its workers a minimum of $13.70 per hour. It sometimes loses out on opportunities to host events on its campus due to its higher catering fees, which spring in turn from higher labor costs. Worries circulate around the congregation that donors who do not believe in the practice will be less inclined to give. Geary rushes to assure, “I totally believe in [the] living wage, I absolutely do, and there’s no waffling on that, because of its fundamental fairness in reflecting the dignity of work.” Yet behind that assurance lurks a question about whether the practice will remain viable in perpetuity.82 If the climate in the United States in the early twenty-first century was not especially congenial to the living wage, it was more straightforwardly inhospitable to organized labor, as underscored by plummeting union enrollments.83 The experience of Mary Priniski, Dominican sister and labor activist, suggests that the prevailing skepticism about unions existed not just outside but also within Dominican congregations. As a young woman she joined the Adrian Dominican congregation, which boasted a long history of involvement in progressive causes. She had grown up in the upper reaches of the Midwest, and an early parish she served there was situated in a small town with a significant number of iron miners. She did not come from a union family and knew little about the encyclical tradition, but her surroundings piqued her interest in labor. “I got interested in workers’ issues because it made it possible for me to do the work of justice,” she recalls. During her time at that parish in the 1970s she found small ways to disrupt the congregation’s overwhelming quietism, taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the liturgical calendar to draw attention to the struggles of some of the miners in their midst.84 The church did not prove especially responsive to her provocations and in 1979 she jumped at the chance to join forces with the labor movement in the South. The thirty-year-old sister moved to South Carolina, where she joined in the work of a regional organization called Southerners for Economic Justice. The organization was attempting to support the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union’s (ACTWU) organizing efforts in two local textile plants. Sister Mary’s job was to visit pastors and encourage them, in the interests of the community, to throw their weight behind the union. Most of the churches she visited were evangelical or Pentecostal.


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White ministers proved particularly resistant to her message, which they deemed to be too overtly political. Black clergy were more receptive, but even then, her mission yielded little in the way of concrete results. In the end, the mill operators successfully thwarted ACTWU’s campaign by using race as a wedge to fragment the workforce and by threatening to leave the community altogether if the plants were successfully unionized. Despite the disappointing outcome, she stayed in the South for thirteen years, becoming heavily involved with civil rights campaigns and also with faithbased community organizing efforts across the region. She went on to get her doctorate in missiology, writing a dissertation that called for believers involved in social ministry “to stand with, not to do for.” 85 Given her background and expertise, it was no surprise when in the mid-1990s she was invited to serve on the board of a leading organization in the fight for worker justice. Shortly thereafter she approached her chapter assembly—a smaller governing unit within the larger congregation— about sending a letter to a health care system in the process of being organized by a union. The letter would ask management to refrain from filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board in the case that workers opted to form a union. Her fellow sisters agreed, so long as they could send an identical request to the union, in the case that the workers chose not to unionize. Not long after, one of the sister’s friends at that union asked her to come on board as an employee dedicated to the hospital organizing effort. She was thrilled that she had the opportunity to help bring about a positive relationship between Catholic hospital systems and unions and worker organizing campaigns. However, Sister Mary’s congregation owned four of the hospitals that the union was trying to organize, and when the congregation’s prioress heard that she had taken the job, she summoned her to a meeting. When they sat down together, the prioress informed Sister Mary that one of the roles of prioress was to foster unity in the congregation. She felt that if Sister Mary worked directly with the union in organizing their hospitals, there would be division among the sisters and also that it would challenge the institutions that carry out the mission of the congregation. The prioress then ordered her to resign from the union within two weeks or else come under discipline. Sister Mary consulted a canon lawyer to inquire about her rights, but faced with the real possibility of being ousted from

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the Dominican order altogether, she quit her job. The whole experience was profoundly dispiriting. New leadership was elected the following year and eventually permitted her to return to the union, though she was pulled off the hospital campaign.86 It was one thing to endorse the church’s social teachings in principle—the Adrian congregation’s mission statement includes commitments to “challenge heresies of local and global domination, exploitation, and greed” and to “walk in solidarity with people who are poor and challenge structures that impoverish them”—but it was another thing to sustain them consistently in practice. In 2013, when Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio rose to the papacy, Catholic social teaching gained a phenomenally popular global ambassador. Pope Francis’s personal choices—opting for the Vatican guesthouse over the Apostolic Palace, for example—not to mention his unwavering condemnations of any “economic model which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit,” 87 have called new attention to the encyclical tradition and its distinctive social ethics. The reality, of course, is that this tradition has enjoyed much more significant and long-standing influence in American life than many experts, including the new historians of capitalism, realize. This influence was especially pronounced during the New Deal era, thanks not to so much to the Vatican’s stature during those years as to the confluence of an economic emergency and concerted efforts by Catholic proponents such as Sister Vincent Ferrer, who worked doggedly to bring the encyclicals to life on the ground. Those who followed in Ferrer’s footsteps would find the going often tougher in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as a resurgent conservative movement gained sufficient converts at the grassroots and in the halls of power to implement its neoliberal economic agenda. But even in the wake of the Reagan Revolution, some Dominican sisters continued to explore creative ways of implementing a social Catholic vision in their communities. The results were sometimes satisfying, as at Grand Rapids, sometimes frustrating, as the experience of Sister Mary Priniski underscores. If the arcs of these various stories do not all point in precisely the same direction, they nevertheless illustrate that when it comes to capitalism, Dominican sisters have preached the gospel with their lives. Their remarkable witness matters still today.


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Notes 1. Earl Browder, A Message to Catholics (New York: Workers Library, 1938), 5. 2. Consider, for example, the experience of socialist priests Thomas J. Hagerty and Thomas McGrady. See John J. O’Brien, George G. Higgins and the Quest for Worker Justice: The Evolution of Catholic Social Thought in America (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), 42–44. 3. The Rosarian 25, no. 2 (1961), housed in the Dominican University archive. 4. Sister Vincent Ferrer, OP, “Memoirs of a Social Activist of the Thirties and Forties” (1969), 26, in Vincent Ferrer Bradford, OP, Creative Works Collection, Box 1, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives, Sinsinawa, WI. 5. This essay focuses exclusively on her economic advocacy. 6. Letter from Alice Elizabeth to Sister Vincent Ferrer, January 11, 1940, in Vincent Ferrer Bradford, OP, Creative Works Collection, Box 2, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives, Sinsinawa, WI. 7. Ferrer, “Memoirs of a Social Activist of the Thirties and Forties,” 11. 8. Linna E. Bresette, “Two Summer Institutes,” Catholic Action 29, no. 8 (1947): 17. 9. See Timothy E. W. Gloege, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015); Christopher D. Cantwell, Heath W. Carter, and Janine Giordano Drake, eds., The Pew and the Picket Line: Christianity and the American Working Class (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016); Jarod Roll, Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010); and Alison Collis Greene, No Depression in Heaven: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). 10. For exemplary studies in this vein see Darren Dochuk, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism (New York: Norton, 2011); Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015); Darren Grem, The Blessings of Business: How Corporations Shaped Conservative Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Kevin Kruse, One Nation under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (New York: Basic Books, 2015); and Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). 11. For a brief introduction to the new historians of capitalism and their efforts to bring white collar history back into vogue, see Jennifer Schuessler, “In History Departments, It’s Up with Capitalism,” New York Times, April 6,

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2013, -its-up-with-capitalism.html. 12. See Carol K. Coburn and Martha Smith, Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); Maureen Fitzgerald, Habits of Compassion: Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York’s Welfare System, 1830–1920; and Suellen Hoy, Good Hearts: Catholic Sisters in Chicago’s Past (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006). 13. Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor), _15051891_rerum-novarum.html. 14. The Dominican sisters were long renowned, first and foremost, for their important contributions as educators and builders of educational institutions, particularly academies for women. For more on this theme see Mary Nona McGreal, OP, ed., Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865, vol. 1 of The Order of Preachers in the United States: A Family History (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001), and especially pages 219–32. 15. For more on the lockout see Craig Phelan, Divided Loyalties: The Public and Private Life of Labor Leader John Mitchell (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 15–16. 16. Henry D. Lloyd, “The Crisis at Spring Valley,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 29, 1889. For more on Lloyd’s involvement in the whole affair see John L. Thomas, Alternative America: Henry George, Edward Bellamy, Henry Demarest Lloyd, and the Adversary Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1983), 215–17. 17. Mary Synon, Mother Emily of Sinsinawa: American Pioneer (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1955), 210–11. 18. For more on this theme see Aaron I. Abell, “The Reception of Leo XIII’s Labor Encyclical in America, 1891–1919,” Review of Politics 7, no. 4 (1945): 464–95. 19. See Heath W. Carter, Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). 20. These organizations included the Women’s Athletic Association, the Self-Government Association, and a women’s society called Castalia. For a record of her activities at the University of Wisconsin see, for example, Walter G. von Kaltenborn, ed., The 1909 Badger 23 (1909): 424; James S. Thompson, ed., The 1910 Badger 24 (1910): 242, 245; Carroll O. Bicklhaupt, ed., The Badger 25 (1911): 170. All of these are available via the digitized University of Wisconsin collection: 21. For an excellent overview of Ferrer’s biography, see Rima Lunin Schultz and Adele Hast, eds., Women Building Chicago, 1790–1990: A Biographical Dictionary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 108–11.


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22. Letter from Mother Samuel to the Most Reverend George W. Mundelein, DD, Archbishop of Chicago, April 24, 1916, in “Correspondence—Mother Samuel with the Archdiocese of Chicago,” Dominican University Archive, River Forest, IL. 23. Thomas R. Greene, “The Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems in Normalcy and Depression,” Catholic Historical Review 77, no. 3 (1991). 24. Rerum Novarum. 25. For more on the differences see John McGreevy, Catholicism and American Freedom: A History (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003), 150–51. 26. Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, /encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19310515 _quadragesimo-anno.html. 27. Quoted in McGreevy, Catholicism and American Freedom, 151. 28. For more on the crucial role of Catholic support for the New Deal, see, for example, Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919–1939 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990); and Kenneth J. Heineman, A Catholic New Deal: Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999). 29. Sister Vincent Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties Foreshadowing Future Development,” 1–2. Unpublished manuscript available at the Sinsinawa Dominican Archive, Sinsinawa, WI. 30. See, for example, Proceedings of the First National Catholic Social Action Conference (Milwaukee, WI, May 1–4, 1938); Linna E. Bresette, “CCIP Meeting at San Francisco,” Catholic Action 23, no. 11 (1941): 27; and “Archbishop Lucey Sponsors Meetings of the CCIP and CAIP—Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems,” Catholic Action 24, no. 5 (1942): 19 31. “Industrial Problems Opened for Study at Catholic Conference,” San Francisco News, September 30, 1941. The news article is housed in Box 37, Folder 4, the Social Action Department papers, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives (hereafter ACUA), Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. A copy of Ferrer’s entire address is included in Box 37, Folder 6. 32. The full text of the speech is contained in Box 37, Folder 28, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. 33. “Economic Choice Put to Catholics,” New York Times, December 15, 1942. On this point Ferrer agreed with her NCWC colleague John Ryan, who touted the National Recovery Administration as a model of what Pius had in mind long after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. See Harlan R. Beckley, ed., Economic Justice: Selections from Distributive Justice and a Living Wage (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), xvii.

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34. After the conference Bishop Gerard P. O’Hara wrote to Ferrer, “I had the privilege of hearing your beautiful address on ‘The Crisis of Civilization and the Encyclicals.’ I could not help admiring your complete mastery of your subject. It was truly edifying.” Letter from Gerard P. O’Hara, Bishop of Atlanta, to Sister Vincent Ferrer, February 20, 1943, in Vincent Ferrer Bradford, OP, Creative Works Collection. Box 1. Sinsinawa Dominican Archives, Sinsinawa, WI. Meanwhile, Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, noted in an editorial, “On Monday a nun from one of the Catholic Schools in Illinois delivered a talk which was as bold and as stark a challenge to all who heard her, not to let this nation fall into the post-war errors of the 1919–29 period, as has ever been said. It minced no words.” Ralph McGill, “One Word More,” Atlanta Constitution, February 10, 1943. 35. “Urge Cooperation of Capital, Labor,” New York Times, February 9, 1943. 36. The NCWC’s Linna E. Bresette wrote to Ferrer’s superior at Rosary College, “She performed beautifully in Butte. Really she makes a wonderful impression and meets all questions so calmly and so satisfactorily. It is great to have the knowledge she has and the gift of imparting it to others.” Letter from Linna E. Bresette to Sister Mary Peter, OP, June 29, 1944, Dominican University Archive, River Forest, IL. 37. “Bishop Gailmore of Helena Formally Opens Catholic Industrial Session,” Butte Daily, May 22, 1944. 38. For more on the Protestant backlash see Dochuk, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt; Fones-Wolf and Fones-Wolf, Strug gle for the Soul of the Postwar South; and Kruse, One Nation under God. On the rise of Catholic conservatism see Patrick Allitt, Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950– 1985 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993). 39. See the September 6, 1945, letter from Linna E. Bresette to Sister Vincent Ferrer, OP, Box 37, Folder 60, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. For additional coverage in leading newspapers, see also a piece in the Boston Globe about her speech to a Catholic Charities group: “Noted Catholics Discuss Youth in Post-War World,” Daily Boston Globe, October 1, 1942, as well as CCIP related clippings in Box 36, Folder 22; Box 37, Folder 52; and Box 38, Folder 20, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Washington, DC. 40. As her CCIP colleague Linna E. Bresette explained in 1939, “We are still making very liberal use of the papal encyclicals, because, in spite of opinions and statements to the contrary, ignorance of Catholic principles is still alarmingly rife.” See Proceedings of the Catholic Social Action Congress (1939), 538. 41. Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties.” The application cards from Marie Connolly and Florence Ley, the two


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women affiliated with the Catholic Radical Alliance, can be found in Box 29, Folder 49, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. 42. Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties.” 43. See itinerary in Box 29, Folder 47, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. 44. Linna E. Bresette, “The 1939 N.C.C.W. Industry Institute,” Catholic Action 21, no. 7 (1939): 18. As a regular staff professor she also taught sessions on labor legislation and labor problems, among other topics. For mention of her courses see “Mass Today Opens Industry Institute,” Washington Post, June 20, 1938; “1942 Institute on Industry,” Catholic Action 24, no. 7 (1942): 9, 31; and Linna E. Bresette, “Two Summer Institutes,” Catholic Action 29, no. 8 (1947): 17. In 1945 she taught alongside her Rosary colleague, Sister Thomas Aquinas, OP. For mention of that see Linna E. Bresette, “Two Institutes—Two Types of Education,” Catholic Action 27, no. 7 (1945): 14. 45. See evaluation form contained in Box 29, Folder 50, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. 46. Letter from Linna E. Bresette, Director of the Institute, to Venerable Mother M. Samuel, OP, June 28, 1940, Sinsinawa Dominican Archive. In 1951 Bresette’s successor, Katherine B. Kelly, sent a similar letter, writing in part, “As a student last year I realized what a wonderful teacher [Sister Vincent] is and upon taking Miss Bresette’s position was indeed glad to know that she would be with us again.” See Katherine B. Kelly to Reverend Mother Evelyn, Mother General, June 21, 1951, Sinsinawa Dominican Archive. 47. Letter from Linna E. Bresette to Sister Peter, March 9, 1944, Dominican University Archive. 48. Letter from Linna E. Bresette to Sister Mary Peter, OP, 17 May 1944, Dominican University Archive. For more correspondence surrounding the planning of this particular institute see the folder titled “NCWC-NCCWEighth Annual Institute on Industry,” Dominican University Archive. In 1948 she hammered this point home yet again, writing, “I must say Sister Vincent Ferrer has done a remarkable piece of working teaching in our Institutes each year. Her influence has been far-reaching.” See the July 16, 1948, letter from Linna E. Bresette to Mother Mary Samuel, OP, in Box 29, Folder 69, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. 49. “1942 Institute on Industry,” Catholic Action 24, no. 7 (1942): 9. 50. Lucia Giddens, “21 Working Girls Study Labor Aims: Young Students from Other Cities Forgo Vacations to Enroll in Institute Classes,” Washington Post, June 21, 1941.

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51. Linna E. Bresette, “The 1941 Women’s Industrial Institute,” Catholic Action 23, no. 8 (1941): 15. For similar testimony see also Linna E. Bresette, “Institute on Industry Notable Success,” Catholic Action 22, no. 7 (July 1940): 27. The ratio of unionized to non-unionized in 1941 may have been typical. Consider that in 1944, only nine of the twenty-five attendees were unionized. See “Industry Institute Scores Another Triumph,” Catholic Action 26, no. 9 (September 1944): 17. 52. Linna E. Bresette, “NCCW’s Third Industry Institute,” Catholic Action 21, no. 5 (1939): 19. 53. Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties,” 29. 54. Ibid., 30. 55. Ibid. 56. Ibid., 29. 57. “Social Studies School to Open at CYO Center,” Chicago Daily Tribune, January 10, 1943. 58. Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties,” 30. 59. “Sheil School Plans 7 Week Summer Term,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 20, 1943; and “The Sun Salutes Sister Vincent Ferrer,” Chicago Sun, February 6, 1944. 60. “Sister Vincent Ferrer Is Named Recipient of Sheil School’s Award,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 2, 1944. 61. Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties,” 31. 62. Letter from Sister Vincent Ferrer to Mother, April 5, 1966, Sinsinawa Dominican Archive. 63. Ferrer, “Aspects of Catholic Thought and Action in the Thirties and Forties,” 2. 64. See for example Jefferson Cowie, The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). 65. Marco G. Prouty, Cesar Chavez, the Catholic Bishops, and the Farmworkers’ Strug gle for Social Justice (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008), 30. 66. “Nun Prods Women to Social Studies,” Hartford Times, September 16, 1946. See clipping in Box 38, Folder 20, Social Action Department papers, ACUA, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. 67. This showing was better than Baroni, for one, had anticipated, though it may indicate some resistance. When Tuite polled the Women’s Caucus at the Catholic Committee for Urban Ministry’s autumn 1971 meeting, only seven of the thirty-seven present raised their hands. See Carol Coston, OP, “Women Religious Engage the Political Process: Working for Social Justice from the


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1960s to the 1990s,” in Journey in Faith and Fidelity: Women Shaping Religious Life for a Renewed Church, ed. Nadine Foley, OP (New York: Continuum, 1999), 203. 68. Coston, “Women Religious Engage the Political Process,” 204–5. Baroni also spoke at the meeting’s outset, but the next day one of the women asked why men were playing such central roles in a women’s movement. Heeding her concern, he assumed a place in the back of the room for the remainder of the gathering (205). 69. For more on these developments, see ibid. 70. See Octogesima Adveniens, _letters/documents/hf_p-vi_apl_19710514 _octogesima-adveniens.html. On the impact of Vatican II within a particular Dominican congregation, see Mary Navarre, OP, ed., Tapestry in Time: The Story of the Dominican Sisters, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1966–2012 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2015), 238–58. 71. “Justice in the World,” /synodjw.htm. For mention of the significance of these particular sources of justification see Coston, “Women Religious Engage the Political Process,” 207–8. 72. See Mary J. Henold, Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008). 73. See Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 438. 74. Coston, “Women Religious Engage the Political Process,” 210. 75. Author interview with Carole Nugent, Sister Maureen Geary, OP, Sister Barbara Hansen, OP, and Sister Ann Walters, OP, September 22, 2015. 76. Ibid. 77. See “Living Wage—Attachment A,” in Leadership Team Minutes, Grand Rapids Dominican Archive, Grand Rapids, MI. 78. See Department of Labor Statistics, Wage and Hour Division, http:// 79. Author interview with Nugent, Geary, Hansen, and Walters. 80. Ibid. Nugent also mentioned that the plan got pushback from members of the local business community who were not on the committee but who nevertheless worried about the impact the congregation’s implementation of the living wage would have on the larger Grand Rapids commercial environment. 81. Ibid. 82. Ibid.

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83. For a vivid illustration see, for example, “50 Years of Shrinking Union Membership in One Map,” /385843576/50-years-of-shrinking-union-membership-in-one-map. 84. This narrative about Sister Mary Priniski is based on an author interview with her, conducted November 3, 2015. 85. Ibid. 86. Ibid. 87. See -corruption-and-unbridled-capitalism-in-south-america _us _ 55a1e4cce4b0ecec71bc4f3d.

A Corporate Stance for Social Justice The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California, and the 1980s Sanctuary Movement cy nthia taylor

The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael are as old as California, the thirty-first state of the United States, admitted into the Union in 1850. The simultaneity of these two origin stories—the birth of a Dominican faith community and the establishment of a unique state and one of the most powerful states of the United States—is probably the most basic fact necessary in appreciating this particular group of women religious. The Dominican Sisters’ California frontier story is only one phase of a more than 165-year history that continues to this day. In fact, it is the first phase of at least three transformative periods of their history: first, their tumultuous pioneer days from 1850 to the late 1880s as they established their community in three different early California settlements—San Francisco, Monterey, and Benicia (where they established a motherhouse); second, an expansive period from 1887 to the 1960s as the Dominican Sisters established an educational and health care ministry in San Rafael, California; and finally, the period from the 1960s to the present, when, responding to the social, political, and economic crises of the 1960s in the wake of Vatican II, the sisters reinvigorated their ministry by taking public stances on social justice issues confronting the communities they served. If asked to explain their longevity, the San Rafael sisters would probably cite the courageous and intelligent leadership of several remarkable pioneer women: Mother Mary of the Cross Goemaere (1809–1891) in the earliest days, and Mother Mary de Sales Kirk (1857–1934) and Mother Mary Louis O’Donnell (1852–1931) in the first half of the twentieth century, when they built an educational and health care infrastructure.1 The San Rafael sisters prospered in their early ministries because of their obedience to and acceptance of a hierarchical power wielded by their mother superiors. Since the 1960s, the San Rafael sisters have favored a democratically governed leadership style that not only allows individual sisters to pursue a variety of ministerial interests and community projects but

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also requires the sisters to build group consensus through prayerful and thoughtful analysis of local social conditions before making community decisions known as corporate stances. This leadership style was most evident in their participation in one of the most critical social movements of the late twentieth century: the 1980s sanctuary movement, in which, as a corporate community, they took a leading role in the movement’s epicenter, California’s Bay Area region. This essay begins by examining some aspects of the first two historical phases to better understand the transformational effect that Vatican II has had on the sisters’ faith community today. The history of the first period starts with the dynamic partnership between the first archbishop of San Francisco, Joseph Sadoc Alemany, OP, and Sister Mary of the Cross Goemaere. Alemany, a Spanish Dominican priest, accepted the new bishopric that extended over Upper and Lower California when California was designated a diocese with the withdrawal of the Mexican government and the 1848 discovery of gold. Alemany’s arrival was captured in one midwestern Dominican priest’s observation that “[Bishop] Alemany will find many willing to go for the gold either of this or of the next world.”2 In the fall of 1850, before departing for his newly formed episcopal see in California, Alemany visited the Monastery of the Cross in Paris, and met a forty-year-old Dominican novice, Catherine Adelaide Goemaere, from Belgium. Originally slated for ministry in Ohio, Alemany ordered Mother Mary Goemaere to abandon her original plans, and along with fellow Dominican priest Francis Vilarrasa, the three arrived in San Francisco after an arduous journey across the Isthmus of Panama.3 By the winter of 1851, Bishop Alemany, Father Vilarrasa, Mother Mary Goemaere, and a few other Dominican friars established residency in Monterey, where over the next three years, a convent community and a school with eighty-two students began to flourish. In the summer of 1854, when the California diocese was divided between Monterey and San Francisco, Bishop Alemany moved to San Francisco while Father Vilarrasa ordered Mother Mary Goemaere to move to Benicia, California. As historian Anne Butler described Mother Mary’s circumstance, “Her Monterey patronage lost, she rented a schooner, packed up the sisters, school materials, and furnishings, and set out on a costly voyage north along the Pacific coast, across San Francisco Bay, and through the Carquinez Strait to Benicia.” 4 In her history of this period, Sister Patri-


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cia Dougherty, OP, concluded that “one can question Vilarrasa’s choice of Benicia, . . . a small lazy town founded in 1847. But it blossomed during the 1850s. With the presence of the military and their families and the continual influx of Forty-niners, the city continued to expand [and] became for a few months the state capital.” 5 For the next thirty years, under Mother Mary Goemaere’s dedicated leadership, the Dominican Sisters established St. Catherine’s Convent and Academy, a complex that included a large convent, a novitiate, and a boarding school. Despite incredible hardships, the sisters established educational and health care institutions in the region, as far as San Francisco and Stockton, California, and Reno, Nevada.6 However, as the sisters strug gled to establish St. Catherine’s and their other enterprises, they continually faced financial problems that culminated, according to historian Anne Butler, in a “poisonous disagreement” over the original loan the sisters received from Archbishop Alemany.7 In the relationship between Alemany and Goemaere, Butler noted a “threefold authority” that the archbishop exerted over Mother Mary Goemaere: first, his social status as priest; second, his power position as archbishop; and third, his spiritual authority as a Dominican provincial in the United States.8 Sister Carla Kovack, presently the Prioress General of the San Rafael sisters, emphasized the difficult economic factors and the “terrible financial problems” the sisters faced in Benicia, which remained “a sleepy little town with nothing there.” According to Sister Carla, by the late 1880s, the sisters’ inability to pay back Archbishop Alemany’s loan was primarily due to the limited economic resources of their location, and a growing realization that if the “sisters stayed in Benicia, they would starve.” Sister Carla argued that the sisters, by astutely reading the economic “signs of the times,” courageously risked taking on a mortgage to start over in San Rafael, whose good weather and proximity to San Francisco appeared promising.9 For her part, Mother Mary Goemaere never left Benicia and actually objected to moving the motherhouse, which further siphoned off the youngest and most active sisters to San Rafael.10 In the move to San Rafael, a new generation of Dominican Sisters continued to rely on a faith that encouraged them to take the risks necessary to meet the challenges of their times.

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Formative Years in San Rafael: From the 1890s to the 1960s In one of their early congregational histories, the San Rafael sisters described their second period as a “narrative of constant progress and prosperity,” especially in their endeavors to establish educational foundations in the Bay Area and beyond.11 In 1887, Mother Louis O’Donnell, recognizing California’s shifting economy due to the closing of mines and the industrializing impact of the railroad, led her Benicia congregation closer to San Francisco. Mother Louis envisioned a religious community centered on the traditional convent community that would branch out into higher education.12 Gaining a reputation as excellent educators, their educational ministries in California and Nevada expanded, and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael staffed and administered schools in different areas of California and Nevada, including San Rafael, San Leandro, Livermore, San Francisco, Vallejo, Daly City, Stockton, Oakland, Lodi, Napa, Los Angeles, Pacific Grove, and Reno, Nevada.13 In his book Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America, journalist John Fialka emphasized the incredible, but often overlooked, contribution Catholic sisters and nuns made in the building of American society. These “feminists,” were the “first cadre of independent professional women” and the “first large network of female professionals,” who, as nurses and teachers, “created and managed new charitable organizations, including large hospitals and colleges.”14 As Catholic nuns and sisters adopted progressive and scientific perspectives, they set about becoming professionals in their chosen fields. The San Rafael sisters described their own adaptation to modernity as they experienced the “new demands of a growing republic, [and] new developments in the education of youth,” especially after 1900 when the “demand . . . [for] greater definiteness and standardization of curricula, a greater explicitness in subjects and methods . . . [made] accreditation a necessity for recognition.” They understood the necessity of keeping “pace with higher and broader state requirements and with a wider vision.”15 By 1889, within two years of their move, the sisters dedicated the College of the Roses, and later renamed it Dominican College. In this modern environment, the sisters made another astute decision. As historian Anne Butler observed, “Well versed in archdiocesan politics, the unhappy


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finances of the past and the creep of a bishop’s control, the sisters protected the new operation by incorporating their College of the Roses under the laws of the State of California.”16 The San Rafael Sisters credited the wisdom of Mother Mary de Sales Kirk for this development, who in “her quiet, solicitous way,” and with her “clear-sighted understanding of the situation,” saw the advantage in 1890 “of establishing the College as a corporation under state laws.”17 Sister Carla Kovack, who joined the San Rafael Dominicans at the end of this historical phase, recalls this period as a “time of expansion,” as they established “two hospitals, several high schools, [and] more than fifteen elementary schools,” based on their expertise in education.18

The Impact of Vatican II: The 1960s to the Present Sister Sharon Cross explained, in her brief history of the San Rafael sisters, the powerful impact Vatican Council II had on her faith community. Although the sisters continued to support their traditional ministries in education and health care, there was a dramatic shift when they realized that “their education, training, and experience led [them] to understand that many needs of people, especially the poor, were not always being met.” With this realization the “sisters expanded their professional skills into areas such as psychology, social work, spiritual direction, missionary work, parish and diocesan administration, theology, canon law, and preaching, as well as education and healthcare ministries, to bring the compassion of Christ to the world and to preach the Word.”19 In an addendum to Sister Sharon’s brief history, Sister Patricia Corr emphasized that it was the publication of the Vatican II document Perfectae Caritatis that particularly inspired the San Rafael sisters to undergo “a long period of renewal.” Within this framework of spiritual renewal, and based on the charism of reflection and study, a fundamental Dominican value, Sister Patricia Corr remembered the activism of the 1960s and 1970s as a period of intense experimentation in San Rafael’s Dominican community, when different individuals had the freedom to pursue nontraditional ministries.20 During this period, Sister Patricia Bruno recalled, there were “experimental houses where we could try out things.” These houses, originally cloistered, opened up and were governed democratically by groups of

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sisters rather than by a mother superior in the earlier hierarchical structure. This led to a gradual change in clothing and dress. Sister Patricia Bruno believed that “it was the strength of our tradition since Vatican II that has enabled us to meet recent challenges without violence and anger.” As a result of Vatican II, Catholic biblical theology developed as Catholics rediscovered the Bible, and the San Rafael sisters began practicing “a hermeneutics of suspicion.” As they read the gospels through the lens of liberation theology, social justice issues took on greater importance in their ministries.21 Sister Carla Kovack described how Perfectae Caritatis not only inspired the sisters to return to the gospels for inspiration but also motivated them to return to the charism of St. Dominic, the founder of their order. Through these lenses, the sisters of San Rafael sought new ways to adapt their ministries to society in their time. Sister Carla stated: By going back to the gospels, it became clear that God was calling us to follow Jesus’ ministry, which meant going to the margins where the poor and those most in need of justice, lived. By studying Dominic, and our own charism, we found inspiration in what Dominic did: Dominic sold his books when he became aware of poverty; he established houses that would feed the poor; he organized institutions that began systemic change. Dominic was all about freedom. He didn’t see authority as top-down but as coming from the community. Dominicans made decisions together as a community.22

The San Rafael sisters encountered the same societal pressures experienced by other women religious of the time. Scholar Amy Koehlinger described how after 1965, most facets of religious life were in flux, open to negotiation between individual sisters and their congregations. Distinctive religious garb, religious observance, enclosure, living arrangements, and the financial maintenance of sisters—all were open for renegotiation and radical revision.23 As the sisters shifted to serving the poor in a variety of ways, their governmental structures changed as they developed processes that came out of individual stands. The sanctuary movement was one of the first issues that emerged for the San Rafael sisters as they made several “corporate stances” on nuclear disarmament, the death penalty, and human trafficking. Dominican life was no longer understood for the few, but became more inclusive as more Americans in general protested the Vietnam War and participated in the civil rights movement. The San


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Rafael sisters’ first corporate stances focused on nuclear disarmament and sanctuary.24 The 1980s sanctuary movement emerged with the 1980 Refugee Act and the political crisis of Central America during the Reagan administration and lasted through the early 1990s, with the signing of the 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords that brought peace to El Salvador. The historical record, written primarily in the 1980s at the height of the movement’s strength, focuses mostly on two centers: first, the Tucson, Arizona, movement under the charismatic leadership of Quaker activist Jim Corbett, John Fife, pastor of the Southside Presbyterian Church, and the Tucson Ecumenical Council; and second, the Chicago movement led by the Chicago Religious Task Force. Although some scholarship provides a wider view of the movement’s national scope and range, this essay about the Dominican Sisters reveals how they lived at the movement’s epicenter: the California Bay Area. Much has been written about how Fife’s church was the first to publicly declare sanctuary on March 24, 1982, the second anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s assassination, but actually Fife’s congregation joined five Californian congregations from Berkeley: University Lutheran Chapel, Newman Hall Holy Spirit Parish, Trinity Methodist, Saint Mark’s Episcopal, and Saint John’s Presbyterian.25 The term “sanctuary” and the emphasis on making a public declaration originated in the Bay Area. It was later that Jim Corbett defined the term as the “protective community with people whose basic human rights are being violated by government officials. As a declared practice, it incorporates prophetic witness into a protective community; that is, in addition to protecting the violated from the state, the public practice of sanctuary holds the state accountable for its violations of human rights.”26 From these Bay Area roots the ancient biblical concept of “sanctuary” had emerged more than ten years before, in 1971, when Berkeley’s University Lutheran Chapel (ULC) elected to publicly declare itself a sanctuary for military personnel struggling with the decision of whether or not to fight in Vietnam. The distinctive feature of “sanctuary” was to engage entire faith communities to make a “corporate and public declaration.” This act of public declaration, which followed a thorough “educational and decisionmaking process,” set sanctuary apart from other antiwar movements. Before becoming a public sanctuary, the ULC congregation had designed a series of workshops that studied the moral, political, legal, and historical

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issues presented by the war, and then invited experts to share a variety of perspectives on the war, which encouraged their members to examine the theological dictates of their faith tradition and to apply these to the historical context in which they lived. At the end of this educational process, ULC publicly declared sanctuary and provided shelter, food, legal counseling, and moral support for the variety of problems soldiers and others faced by participating in the war.27 The San Rafael sisters experienced three stages of development leading to the transformation of their congregation into a public sanctuary for Central American refugees. In the first phase, from 1968 to 1975, the sisters began responding to the new demands brought about by the foundational and philosophical changes instituted by Vatican II. At this stage, the sisters followed the ULC’s model toward public declaration of sanctuary by undergoing a reflective and thorough study of the country’s current social and political situation. Given the great diversity of opinion among the sisters about the momentous changes facing them since Vatican II, the sisters had decided to adapt slowly and “incrementally” to modern lifestyles in order to maintain unity and consensus as a community. During this period of trial and renewal, the sisters focused less on institutional building and more on serving real people, especially as they discerned human needs and methods outside traditional institutional structures. By the 1980s, the sisters began to unite behind the theme: “To Hear the Cry of the Poor.”28 The “Cry of the Poor” theme had surfaced several years earlier when Mother George, the prioress general, opened a Special General Chapter of thirty-seven delegates on July 24, 1968. Commenting on the confusing and critical times in which they were living “ because all around us eternal values seem to be changing,” Mother George asked the duly elected delegates to deliberate before taking action. She advised the delegates with these words: “When our deliberations become a matter of record for an interim period, we will more readily be able to accept the reconciliation between differing points of view, not as a solution that lacks integrity but as a compromise that has become a better valid way.”29 Although Mother George believed that “true renewal . . . will come about only if we follow the mind of the Church,” it was clear that the delegates eagerly reexamined many traditional aspects of community life, including governmental structure, vow-taking, monthly allowances, prayer, the care of the sick,


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silence, the Dominican habit, and their leisure time. As Mother George stressed, “We must listen to each other in true dialogue . . . in an atmosphere of mutual and profound respect.”30 From Pope Paul VI’s invitation for deeper reflection, the sisters became quite adept at dialoguing together about practicing the four Dominican values: study, reflection, community, and ser vice. Ultimately, the sisters’ decision to declare public sanctuary came from their Dominican values and beliefs, although their actions proved to be compatible with the actions of other Bay Area faith communities of the time. Of the seventeen papers presented at this Special General Chapter, two papers were particularly prophetic for the sisters’ future actions: a paper titled “Apostolate” by Sister Anna Louise Lavoy, and Sister Susannah Malarkey’s paper titled “Poverty.”31 In her focus on the new ministry for the poor, Sister Anna Louise cited the church’s “growing social conscience about the poor,” which she defined as those individuals who were “culturally deprived [and] underprivileged.” Quoting from the Document on Education, Sister Anna Louise emphasized that “the sacred Synod earnestly entreats pastors of the Church . . . to show special concern for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of the world” (her emphasis). She urged the delegates to consider their ministry to the poor in these words: I would suggest that . . . one of the primary tasks of the Chapter in this next year [is] to combine searching evaluation with courageous planning in order that we as a Congregation can break through whatever impedes our own authentic living of Christ’s poverty, and our witness and ser vice to the world; and that we search for those new forms which can give fresh and contemporary expression to the freely given life of love and ser vice which is the heart of our Dominican vocation.32

Ending with a final plea to “be honest . . . and really ask ourselves about our intentions for future involvements,” Sister Anna Louise confidently concluded, “Surely we cannot lose by directing ourselves more into the area of the poor.”33 Sister Susannah Malarkey, later active in the formation of the social justice committee, with its leadership role in the sisters’ eventual corporate stance for sanctuary, commented on how Sister Anna Louise’s paper “stimulated a strong response in its plea that the Congregation make a very

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clear statement on our Apostolate to the poor.” Sister Susannah challenged the delegates with this question: How can “a life of poverty, which in imitation of Christ, must be poor ‘both in fact and in spirit’ (as Vatican II unequivocally states) . . . be realistically [lived] today within a large, stable, secularly structured Congregation such as ours?” She suggested they adopt three principles. First, she recommended an honest evaluation of the community’s present “living of poverty.” Second, she urged the sisters to “courageously establish priorities in our individual and corporate living of evangelical poverty.” Finally, Sister Susannah challenged the sisters to develop the “willingness to take risks,” because it was “here precisely in the concept of Christian risk that our approach to the problem of poverty would come closest to resolution and find a solution most in keeping with our Dominican way of life.” Like Sister Anna Louise, Sister Susannah ended her remarks by directing her community of sisters toward the future: One of the primary tasks of the Chapter in this next year [should be] to combine searching evaluation with courageous planning in order that we as a Congregation can break through whatever impedes our own authentic living of Christ’s poverty, and our witness and ser vice to the world; and that we search for those new forms which can give fresh and contemporary expression to the freely given life of love and ser vice which is the heart of our Dominican vocation.34

As they thought more deeply about their ministry to the poor, the San Rafael sisters formed a social justice committee, which acting in tandem with the general council, set about making the theme “To Hear the Cry of the Poor” a priority of their ministry.35 In this second phase of spiritual renewal, starting in the mid-1970s and under the dual leadership of the general council and the social justice committee, the sisters made their first corporate stance for nuclear disarmament. But taking a corporate stance for sanctuary, especially a public one, was much more serious and scary. As Sister Bernadette Wombacher, pointed out, “Although we had a history of helping refugees in the past, the issue this time was about breaking the law,” and key to their willingness to take such a momentous step was that “we had so many people who were walking with us.” Most crucial was the sisters’ partnership with Eileen Purcell, a full-time organizer for Catholic Social Ser vice in San Francisco, who, as a young person, had


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attended the Dominican school, St. Rose in San Francisco, and knew the sisters very well.36 Under the direction of Purcell, an experienced sanctuary organizer, the sisters took the first step in an extensive six-step discerning process. Purcell secured the second step of the discerning process when the sisters agreed to undergo an educational process with her, which “might include adopting the Covenant of Sanctuary.” Purcell insisted that “the process was as important as the outcome,” and the sisters had complete freedom to accept, or not, the decision to support sanctuary. Purcell explained how the process was a genuine, authentic invitation for soul-searching, each sister had to ask herself: “What does my faith call me to do?”37 The third step, the educational process, which included four class sessions, provided the sisters with (1) general historical background on the sources of violence and conflict in Central America; (2) an encounter with Central American refugees who told their personal stories of why they fled their country and what they faced if they were to be deported back to their homeland; (3) a session on various options the sisters had in taking either a private or public stance for sanctuary in their response to the Central American refugee crisis; and (4) a final meeting that examined the moral, political, and legal ramifications that the sisters might face in taking a sanctuary position.38 This extensive educational process was to fully inform the sisters of the consequences of their actions should they declare public sanctuary. Sister Bernadette recalled the purpose of this educational process was to teach them how “we just didn’t break the law; we studied the meaning of breaking the law.”39 After completing the educational process, the San Rafael sisters proceeded to the fourth step: the decision-making process of either declaring public sanctuary or taking an alternative position. Purcell and other sanctuary organizers believed that “the corporate learning process [was] valuable in and of itself as a conscientization process” that ultimately led to an informed action. If the community elected not to take a public sanctuary stance, there were alternative stances it could take. The process was not intended to be judgmental or dogmatic but a journey informed by both the refugees’ experiences and the community asking to participate in that journey.40 On September 21, 1983, Sisters Anne Dolan, Bernadette Wombacher, and Susannah Malarkey, representing the social justice committee, sent the congregation a six-page document outlining

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the steps they needed to consider in making a corporate stance declaring public sanctuary. Reminding the congregation of the steps they had already taken, the committee stressed the congregation’s future responsibilities if they made a “positive decision” for sanctuary. Attached to these instructions was a ballot that specified the choices “Yes,” “No,” or “Not Ready.” The original proposal accepted by the 1982 Chapter stated that a corporate stance would have to be approved by two-thirds of those voting and constitute at least 50 percent of the congregation, including the novitiate.41 By October 5, twenty-two ballots had been returned with 19 yes votes, 2 no votes, and 1 not ready. The social justice committee decided to extend the voting process another five weeks because several houses had requested more time and information before casting their ballots. The committee reiterated that “a vote for a congregational stance on Sanctuary is not a vote for individual participation in the Sanctuary action; it is a vote for a public congregational position on this question in view of the plight of Central American refugees.” 42 The members of the social justice committee estimated they needed 97 returned votes, and 65 of them “yes” votes in order to declare public sanctuary. They received 112 ballots and of those, 83 were “yes” votes, so that 74 percent of the sisters eventually supported a public stance for sanctuary. Sister Bernadette believed the “no” or “not ready” votes “were not against doing the proposal, as much as they wanted more time for further reflection because breaking the law was such a serious step.” 43 Sister Patricia Bruno recalled the tumultuous effect the vote for public sanctuary had on the congregation. Just before the vote, there was a liturgy, which included a very emotional song, performed through hand signs and pantomime, on the theme of the “Cry of the Poor.” Sister Patricia believed that this emotionally charged musical performance might have positively influenced the vote.44 In the fifth step of the discerning process, the sisters had to make decisions on the many issues raised by taking a public stance: dealing with the media, setting up committee structures, and cooperating with other sanctuary congregations.45 At this time, in the fall of 1983, a press conference, held in San Francisco, announced Archbishop John Quinn’s pastoral letter on Central America, in which he went on public record in support of sanctuary workers reaching out to refugees fleeing the desperate situation in Central America. Noting the special tie between Central Americans


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and “our own Archdiocese” in San Francisco, where in the last four years the Salvadoran population had increased by 30,000 refugees, the archbishop urged “parishes and Religious communities to see to what extent they might be able to offer such sanctuary, mindful of the words of our Lord, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25:35).” Eileen Purcell believed that the “Archbishop’s timely letter was crucial in getting the Sisters to take their own public corporate stance for sanctuary.” As the San Rafael sisters weighed their collective stance, his pastoral letter was a powerful reinforcement to taking this risky step.46 Purcell and Catholic Social Ser vices actively supported the sisters at this critical step.47 Unfortunately, in November, Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua, then chair of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, publicly announced the NCCB’s opposition to the growing sanctuary movement because of its questionable legality and the potentially negative impact sanctuary might have on the church’s relationship to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and US government. This made the San Rafael sisters’ plans to go public with their own press conference problematic. Although under intense pressure to retract his public support for sanctuary, Quinn never retreated from his position. For their part, based on some church opposition, the sisters decided not to hold their own press conference but to proceed with their plans to give sanctuary. As Sister Bernadette recalled, “We were allowed to go ahead to give sanctuary; we voted for it,” but at the same time they took Archbishop Quinn’s advice to not initiate contact with the media. Over the next few years, the sisters kept this policy and received a lot of local and national media attention, without ever initiating any publicity themselves.48 In the third stage, beginning in 1984 until the 1992 Peace Accords ending the civil war in El Salvador, the Dominican Convent of San Rafael became an actual sanctuary. During the movement’s peak years (1984– 86), the sisters played an active and visible role in the Bay Area movement. On March 4, 1984, the San Rafael sisters planned a welcoming ser vice for their first refugee family of seven and three single young men.49 One announcement circulating in the convent at the time, described a “welcoming prayer ser vice” for the first group of refugees, including guests Archbishop John Quinn and members of various Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish communities. At the ceremony, the sisters read statements sent by supportive churches.50 Local newspaper reports emphasized how the “de-

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fiant churches” faced serious risks. As one reporter noted, “Risking possible imprisonment for breaking federal law, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael granted sanctuary . . . to ten Salvadorans seeking political asylum.” But judging from the support they were getting, Sister Raya Hanlon, the sisters’ designated spokesperson, predicted that “we are going to see a far stronger sanctuary movement in Marin County in the next few months.” 51 At first, the terms “illegal” and “aliens” were the way newspaper accounts described the refugees hosted by the sisters. The “Dominican nuns are harboring an alien family at the convent on the campus of Dominican College in San Rafael,” read one report.52 One outraged local resident sent a letter to the sisters berating them for their naïveté and for “encouraging lawlessness in the country.” 53 But this negative response was the exception rather than the rule. In her media responses, Sister Raya emphasized the “significant support, both spiritual and practical” that the sisters received from the time they took their public stance.54 As for “harboring illegal aliens,” Sister Raya consistently offered this perspective: “They are clearly political refugees. They have not come here for economic reasons. Most were much better off in their country . . . and want to return.” 55 Sister Martin Barry admitted that when the social justice committee, with the consent of the general council, presented the issue of granting Salvadorans sanctuary “there was reason for hesitation among the Sisters.” 56 Sister Raya’s comments in the media reports also stressed that it “was not an easy decision to break the law.” 57 With the increasing threats of confrontation with the INS, the sisters wrote up specific steps to take if an INS agent came to the convent. These instructions were kept on a table near the motherhouse entrance.58 From their legal counsel, the sisters had learned the importance of having a “common procedure to follow” should an agent come calling.59 These precautions coincided with the shocking news of the indictment of sixteen sanctuary workers in Arizona in January 1985. Sister Bernadette, Sister Anne, and Sister Raya discussed at length with their latest refugees, Solomon and Morena Teos, the potential ramifications of the INS actions against Salvadoran refugees and sanctuary workers. The Teos family had been living with the sisters for more than a year since their arrival in 1984. With their two young children, eight-year-old Leyla and five-year-old Jorge, the Teos family found sanctuary with the


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The Teos family left El Salvador in the 1980s. The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California, provided sanctuary for Morena Romagozzo, her husband, Salom Teos, and their children, Leyla and Jorge. Archives, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California.

sisters for the duration of the Salvadoran civil war. When asked if they wanted to move, the Teos family assured the sisters that they wanted to remain in San Rafael where they felt loved, supported, and understood. Solomon served as a maintenance worker for the convent grounds, and Morena worked as an assistant nurse and kitchen helper in the Lourdes

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Convent, which housed elderly sisters. Leyla and Jorge attended local schools, where they quickly adapted to American culture. Over the next eight years, the Teos family and the San Rafael sisters developed a strong emotional bond, that of an extended family.60 Despite the increasing risks, support for the sisters from their local community only increased. Some reports expressed surprise that the Dominican Sisters had “taken such a seemingly radical political position,” but from the sisters’ perspective their actions naturally proceeded from their Dominican values and traditions. As the situation intensified, the sisters justified their public stance in the following ways. First, they understood themselves as members of a church that had spoken out on unjust social conditions. Second, they had formal and democratic structures within their congregation that allowed the expression of multiple political viewpoints. Third, they had taken other corporate stances on political issues. Finally, they continually wrote letters to Congress, the State Department, and the White House on social issues that they perceived as unjust. Aware that the public might consider them “fanatically religious and simplistic” pursuing “any popular issue,” the sisters insisted their public stance came after a long and thoughtful process based on study and prayer.61 In their defense, the San Rafael sisters began to distinguish between private charity and public justice. Traditionally, charity had been considered private, and the sisters believed charitable acts should remain private, but as Sister Raya said, “You can’t work for change unless you put yourself out there.” Besides taking in a refugee family, the sisters were involved in various activities of the larger Bay Area sanctuary movement: Sister Bernadette attended regional sanctuary meetings; Sister Anne Dolan participated in a public refugee caravan from the Mexican border to the Bay Area; and the sisters’ house council granted permission to provide overnight sleeping space for fifty people, mostly Salvadorans and some sanctuary workers, who were marching on Sacramento.62 Their greatest concern about the riskiness of taking a public stance, at this time, was the impact it would have on the Teos family, especially the children to whom the sisters had grown very attached.63 This groundswell of community support, evident in the local media coverage at the time, coincided with the government’s crackdown on other sanctuary communities. By this time, local newspaper accounts replaced inflammatory terms like “illegal aliens,” with “political refugees,” and


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“harboring” with “sheltering.” While local media reported on the moral and spiritual motivations of sanctuary supporters, the national media reported a hostile public response toward the movement. Newsweek reported the recent guilty verdict of sanctuary workers from Texas, whose sanctuary meeting had been infiltrated by the INS, as well as other news from sanctuary communities around the United States. Featured in this article was the San Rafael convent with a photograph of Sister Adelaide Kieffer standing with Solomon and Morena Teos, who were wearing bandanas masking their faces. Newsweek concluded that “the movement must face the bleak consequences of civil disobedience in an era that seems largely unmoved by moral example.” 64 On March 12, 1985, Archbishop Quinn wrote a second pastoral letter indicating his continued support of sanctuary and showing that his position of support had not changed since his original statement in October 1983.65 Eileen Purcell recalled how the archbishop’s second pastoral letter, which defended the indicted sanctuary workers, simulta neously supported the San Rafael sisters’ public stance. Purcell believed that powerful institutional support and the Bay Area’s broad-based support for the movement ensured that there would be no indictments in San Francisco or the Bay Area.66 By the fall of 1985, the four-year-old sanctuary movement continued to gain momentum. Because of their early corporate stance, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael were now noted for their early leadership role in the movement, especially in Marin County. The local newspapers reported how initially the decision to declare sanctuary was neither unanimous nor easy for the sisters. As Sister Susannah Malarkey recalled, they had to wrestle with two issues: first, the question of legality and, second, the issue of taking a “public” stance. As Sister Raya explained, “The [traditional] religious mentality is that charity is done in one’s home, quietly,” or privately, and that the problem had not been about sheltering refugees but making it a “public” issue. By overcoming these obstacles, the Dominican Sisters were seen as role models for other groups wanting to join the movement. One local editorial stated, “The Dominican nuns are showing great courage in putting themselves on the line on a matter of principle. Anyone who agrees that peace is better than war and that all people have a right to live in safety should support the San Rafael sisters.” 67

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On December 24, 1985, the New York Times reported that “San Francisco approves bill to designate it a sanctuary.” According to the article, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted eight to three to adopt a resolution declaring the city a sanctuary for refugees from Central America. At the time, an estimated 80,000 people from Guatemala and El Salvador lived in San Francisco. Similar resolutions passed in three other California cities: Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Berkeley. Other sanctuary cities were Chicago, St. Paul, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Claiming that they were not doing anything illegal, Supervisor Nancy Walker was quoted as saying, “We have got to extend our hand to these people. If [they] go home, they die.” Stating that they were not meddling in foreign affairs, Supervisor Willie Kennedy said, “I think we’re dealing with human rights issues, not foreign affairs.” 68 In January 1986, Archbishop Quinn traveled to El Salvador at the invitation of Archbishop Rivera y Damas of San Salvador, and on his return, Quinn offered written testimony to the US Congress Sub-Committee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. He wrote, “I am sorry to report that, in my view, very little has changed in any substantial way in El Salvador.” 69 In their support of the archbishop’s testimony, Sister Bernadette requested that the San Rafael Dominican community start a letter-writing campaign to Representative Michael Barnes, the chair of this congressional subcommittee. Sister Bernadette met workers from Tucson’s “Underground Railroad,” who told her how the presiding judge would not allow them to cite their religious faith, the 1980 Refugee Act, the Geneva Convention, US policy in Central America, or the stories told by the refugees themselves, in their legal defense. This situation galvanized the San Rafael sisters’ letter-writing campaign.70 As part of the original discerning process that had resulted in their public stance, the San Rafael sisters had agreed to participate in an ongoing evaluative approach of continual reflection and education.71 To meet this obligation, on March 3, 1986, the sisters held a prayer ser vice of “Recommitment” to their corporate stance made four years before. Consisting of singing, scriptural readings, and a time for reflection, the main point consisted of a written statement of their continuing commitment to support “political refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala by means of Public Sanctuary,” as well as their belief that they acted in accordance with the United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to Refugees and the


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Refugee Act of 1980. Standing in “solidarity with our Salvadoran and Guatemalan brothers and sisters,” the sisters expressed gratitude to be able to see the world “through the eyes of the poor and the powerless,” thus “empowering us to work for a more just society.” 72 Shortly after the ser vice, Sister Susannah Malarkey, with a small delegation organized by Eileen Purcell and Catholic Social Service, made a trip to El Salvador to observe firsthand the situation there. With the recent intensification of bombings of the Salvadoran civilian population, the Archdiocese of San Salvador “extended an invitation to Bay Area Churches” and sanctuary workers to come and gather information about this rise in repression, and to share their findings with their communities, congressional representatives, and the broader community.73 Remarking on the indomitable spirit of the Salvadoran people, Sister Susannah told a reporter, “Anybody who has two eyes and goes there can see there are terrible injustices. Just from one human being to another you can’t just stand by and let it happen.” 74 Along with the recommitment ceremonies, sanctuary supporters held several celebrations and national conferences to maintain the movement’s momentum. For example, on April 17, 1986, a benefit program and dinner for the San Francisco Sanctuary Covenant, called “A Celebration of San Francisco, City of Refuge,” was held at the Congregation Sherith Israel. The program listed fourteen “sanctuary communities,” and the Dominican Sisters topped the list.75 Sister Susannah, sharing her recent experience in El Salvador, conveyed a sense of urgency that “added to the already-swelling local sanctuary effort,” despite the recent indictment of the Tucson sanctuary workers. The San Rafael sisters also actively supported the movement at the national level. Sisters Patricia Bruno and Susannah Malarkey attended the National Conference of Women and Men Religious, held at Mundelein College in Chicago, August 21–23, 1986. Consisting of three hundred participants who explored the theme “The Rising Cost of Discipleship,” the San Rafael sisters wrote up a substantial report on the meeting titled “Echoing: Social Justice Concerns.” At the meeting, the conference participants called upon US Catholic bishops and the US Catholic Church to “accompany the Central American people and to walk with them on the path to justice.” This report referred to another national meeting held in Washington, DC, the following month, September 26–29, called “Sanctuary Celebration: From Captivity to Covenant.” In attendance at the

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Washington, DC, conference were San Rafael Sister Katherine Hamilton and Solomon Teos. In dialogue form, and with the translation help of Sister Anne Dolan, Sister Katherine and Teos described their encouraging experience at the Washington conference.76 In November, the sisters also hosted a planning meeting of all sanctuary congregations in Northern California, the purpose of which was to celebrate the sanctuary ministry and decide crucial organizational issues for the future, as well as provide structural and programmatic responsibilities to the Northern California steering committee.77 After 1986, at the movement’s apex, the sanctuary movement continued its protest activities until the 1992 Peace Accords. In 1988, Sister Patricia Bruno, as the congregation’s promoter of peace and justice, worked full-time in sanctuary activities, often giving talks to other congregations on how to establish sanctuary congregations. By this time, the sisters’ leadership role in the movement was well known, and they were recognized as the first congregation to declare public sanctuary in the Bay Area and the second women’s religious community to do so in the United States. With an eye on a lasting peace solution in El Salvador, Sister Patricia gathered support among the sisters for a moratorium peace scroll, supported by men and women Dominicans throughout North America.78 On January 15, 1990, Sister Patricia Bruno stood on the steps of San Francisco’s Federal Building and once again publicly pledged the Dominican Sisters’ continuing support for Salvadoran people “by joining in prayer and fasting for a just and lasting peace in El Salvador.” 79 With the signing of the 1992 Peace Accords, the ten-year anniversary of the sisters’ corporate stance for public sanctuary, the bloody civil war in Central America drew to a close. Local newspapers gave updated reports on the Teos family, who ten years before had fled El Salvador and taken sanctuary at the Dominican convent. In 1990, a fire destroyed the one-hundred-year-old San Rafael convent, a community landmark, and the sisters and the Teos family were forced to move. Eventually establishing their residence in Richmond, California, Solomon and Morena Teos continued to work on the convent grounds. As the report stated, “With a peace accord signed, they think it could soon be safe to return” to El Salvador.80 Despite the peace accord, the sisters remained committed to sanctuary. As Sister Cathy Murray, then serving as the congregation’s promoter of peace and justice, stated, “Our Sanctuary corporate stance is ongoing. We


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committed ourselves to providing housing and care for Central Americans fleeing from persecution—as well as advocating on their behalf here in this country—and to commit ourselves to changing US foreign policy which contributes to their oppression.” 81 Eileen Purcell attributes the sisters’ successful corporate stance for sanctuary to the fact that they are “dialogic to the core.” According to Purcell, the sisters were able to internalize the essential costs of joining the movement by basing their activism on four foundational principles based in their Dominican faith and their response to the events of the time. First, their charism of community and ser vice honors a corporate decisionmaking process based on dialogue and consensus building. Second, their charism of study and reflection insists on real life evidence of the human condition, which in this case were the Salvadoran refugees’ personal experiences and painful stories. Third, their activism benefited from the broad support and tremendous institutional backing from Archbishop Quinn and the larger ecumenical support of the Bay Area sanctuary community.82 Finally, their understanding of the “signs of the times” helped them unite with the prophetic church in El Salvador, with its living examples of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the four slain churchwomen who gave their lives for the social justice of the poor and marginalized.83 In her assessment of the San Rafael sisters’ engagement with the 1980s sanctuary movement, Sister Patricia Bruno understood it as their response to a “Kairos moment, a decisive moment; when we had the best leadership, the best discipline, the best theology, and the best hearts.” 84 Today, more than thirty years after the 1980s sanctuary movement, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael remain committed to their corporate stance for public sanctuary. In the last few years, evidence of a new sanctuary movement has emerged due to the continuing problems over US immigration policies. The San Rafael sisters remain informed and deeply interested in these new developments.85 With the 2016 presidential election in the United States, the idea of another sanctuary movement has once again surfaced among faith communities as a viable response to US immigration policies and the many innocent refugees around the world caught in the middle of political instability and unrest.86 The story of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and their corporate stance for social justice in the 1980s sanctuary movement can serve as a model for faith communities seeking to help refugees of today.

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Notes 1. The Dominicans of San Rafael: First Chapters in the Story of the Dominican Congregation of the Holy Name of Jesus in California (San Rafael, CA: Dominican Convent of San Rafael, 1941), 3–54. 2. “Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, to Matthias Loras, Bishop of the Diocese of Dubuque,” September 26, 1850, in John Bernard McGloin, SJ, California’s First Bishop: The Life of Joseph Sadoc Alemany, OP, 1814–1888 (New York: Herder and Herder, 1966), 103. 3. See Sister Sharon Cross, OP, “A Brief History of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael,” in Karen Marie Franks, Strength of Our Roots, Faith in Our Vision: Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 1850–2000 (San Rafael, CA: Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 2000, 2002), ix. 4. Anne M. Butler, Across God’s Frontier: Catholic Sisters in the American West, 1850–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 155. 5. Sister Patricia Dougherty, OP, “On to California!” in Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865, vol. 1 of The Order of Preachers in the United States: A Family History, ed. Mary Nona McGreal, OP (Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2001), 247. 6. Franks, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 1850–2000, 1. 7. Butler, Across God’s Frontier, 155–57. 8. Ibid., 154–59. 9. Interview with Dominican Sister of San Rafael, Sister Carla Kovack, June 8, 2016. 10. Butler, Across God’s Frontier, 158. 11. “A Brief History of Our Congregation to 1935,” n.d., from the Archives of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California (hereafter ADSSR). 12. Cross, Strength of Our Roots, x–xi. 13. Ibid., xi. 14. John J. Fialka, Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003), 1. 15. Dominicans of San Rafael, 55–56, 86. 16. Butler, Across God’s Frontier, 157–58. 17. Dominicans of San Rafael, 63–64. 18. Interview with Sister Carla Kovack, June 8, 2016. 19. Franks, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 1850–2000, xi. Sister Sharon Cross’s experience as a Dominican Sister of San Rafael corresponded with the emergence of a generation of women religious known as the “New Nuns.” See Amy L. Koehlinger, The New Nuns: Racial Justice and Religious Reform in the 1960s (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), 24–26. Koehlinger examines how Catholic sisters had historically “supported vigorous apostolic


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activities” in the founding of schools, hospitals and charitable societies, but this created, in the first half of the twentieth century, an “insular ‘convent culture’ that dominated religious life for women from 1920s to the 1950s.” 20. Interview with Sister Patricia Corr, archivist of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, June 1, 2016. 21. Interview with Sister Patricia Bruno, June 21, 2016. 22. Interview with Sister Carla Kovack, October 15, 2014. 23. Koehlinger, New Nuns, 43, 47. Koehlinger writes, “Pope Paul VI addressed religious congregations directly in Perfectae Caritatis (released October 28, 1965), challenging religious to adapt themselves to the circumstances of the modern world. Developing ‘general principles of the adaption and renewal of the life and discipline of Religious orders,’ the document encouraged religious orders to return to the original spirit of their founders as a way of guiding the processes of change. Perfectae Caritatis outlined distinct duties and responsibilities for different members of religious orders. Significantly, superiors were asked to reimagine their approach to leadership. The primary role of superiors had been to maintain order in the congregation and advance the work of the institute; now, Perfectae Caritatis oriented superiors toward the development and well-being of their ‘charges.’ ” 24. Interview with Sister Carla Kovack, October 15, 2014. 25. Sophie H. Pirie, “The Origins of a Political Trial: The Sanctuary Movement and Political Justice,” Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 2, no. 2 (1990): 391–95; Miriam Davidson, Convictions of the Heart: Jim Corbett and the Sanctuary Movement (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988); Robert Tomsho, The American Sanctuary Movement (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1987); Gary MacEoin, ed., Sanctuary: A Resource Guide for Understanding and Participating in the Central American Refugees’ Struggle (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 22–23. 26. Jim Corbett, The Sanctuary Church (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill, 1986); Deena Guzder, Divine Rebels: American Christian Activists for Social Justice (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2011), 107. 27. Eileen Purcell, “The Public Sanctuary Movement: An Historical Basis of Hope,” Sanctuary Oral History Project, /special-collections/featured-collections/sanctuary-movement. MacEoin, Sanctuary, 22–23. 28. Interview with Sister Carla Kovack, June 8, 2016. 29. “Opening Address for the Decree on The Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, Perfectae Caritatis, proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965,” by Mother Mary George, OP, in Interim Directives, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Summer 1968, in the ADSSR. 30. Ibid.

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31. Both Sister Anna Louise Lavoy, who joined the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael in 1938, and Sister Susannah Malarkey, who joined in 1951, devoted their lives to education and teaching. Sister Anna, who taught in several Dominican-sponsored schools in the Bay Area, eventually served as the assistant to the dean of students of Dominican College. Sister Susannah Malarkey taught at both the high school and college level, and was very active in the San Rafael Sisters leadership, serving as First Councilor under Sister Peter Damian, major superior. In an interview with Sister Patricia Bruno, June 21, 2016, Sister Patricia emphasized how “Sister Peter Damian was [an] important leader that steered [the San Rafael Sisters’] path in social justice.” 32. “Apostolate,” by Sister M. Ignatius, OP (Sister Anna Louise Lavoy), Interim Directives in the ADSSR. 33. Ibid. 34. “Poverty,” by Sister M. Augustine, OP (Sister Susannah Malarkey), Interim Directives in the ADSSR. 35. The General Council is the leadership group within the congregation, which over the years has consisted of four to six sisters who work in conjunction with and support of the prioress general. Sister Patricia Bruno commented on the critical link between the social justice committee and the council. She recalled it was the council that organized the social justice committee because “someone from the Council also had to serve on the Social Justice Committee.” Since Sister Bernadette Wombacher served on both the council and the committee, she served as the leader of their public sanctuary activities. Interview with Sister Patricia Bruno, June 21, 2016. 36. Interview with Sister Bernadette Wombacher, June 20, 2016. 37. Interview with Eileen Purcell, June 9, 2016. 38. “Sanctuary, the Discerning Process for a Faith Community,” in Personal Files of Eileen Purcell (hereafter PFEP). 39. Interview with Sister Bernadette Wombacher, June 20, 2016. 40. Interview with Eileen Purcell, June 9, 2016; “Sanctuary, the Discerning Process for a Faith Community,” PFEP. 41. “Dear Sisters from the Social Justice Committee,” September 21, 1983, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 42. “The Social Justice Committee to the Sisters,” October 10, 1983, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR; Social Justice Committee Meeting Minutes, October 5, 1983, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 43. “Interview with Sister Bernadette Wombacher, OP, April 6, 1999, Sanctuary Oral History Project. 44. Interview with Sister Patricia Bruno, June 21, 2016. 45. “Sanctuary, the Discerning Process for a Faith Community,” PFEP.


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46. Interview with Eileen Purcell, June 9, 2016; “Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Quinn on Central America, October 10, 1983, PFEP; “Memorandum to Pat Cannon and Will Lightbourne from Eileen Purcell,” August 5, 1983, PFEP; “Press Conference Panel,” October 10, 1983, PFEP. Accompanying Eileen Purcell at the press conference were Tom Ambrogi, Henri Nouwen, and Reverends James Curtain, Ronald Burke, and Anthony McGuire. 47. “Patrick Cannon to Archbishop John Quinn,” October 14, 1983, PFEP; “Critical Quinn Letter May Spur Parish Action on Latin America,” San Francisco Examiner, October 11, 1983, PFEP. 48. “Some Reflections on Archbishop Quinn’s Position on Sanctuary,” November 1983, PFEP; Interview with Sister Bernadette Wombacher, OP, April 6, 1999, Sanctuary Oral History Project. 49. “Some Reflections on Archbishop Quinn’s Position on Sanctuary,” November 1983, PFEP. 50. “Announcement at Mother House, February 27, 1984,” Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 51. “Giving Sanctuary,” Pacific Sun, March 23–29, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR; Vicki Schwartz, “Dominicans Give Refugees Sanctuary,” Union of College of Marin and the Indian Valley Echo, March 21, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR 52. Mary Leydecker, “Sanctuary for Illegal aliens,” Marin Independent Journal, September 1, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR 53. “Dear Sisters from Linda Galvin, A LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN,” September 8, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 54. Mary Leydecker, “Sanctuary for Illegal aliens,” Marin Independent Journal, September 1, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 55. Ibid. 56. Sister M. Martin Barry, “Flight and Sanctuary,” September 11, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 57. Mary Leydecker, “Sanctuary for Illegal Aliens,” Marin Independent Journal, September 1, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 58. “PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IF AN AGENT OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE (INS) SHOULD COME TO THE MOTHER HOUSE DOOR,” December 1, 1984, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 59. “Dear Sisters from Sister Raya,” January 15, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 60. Ibid. 61. Beth Ashley, “Dominicans Take Risk for ‘Higher Value,’ ” Marin Independent Journal, January 19, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 62. “Dear Sisters from Sister Ignatius and the House Council,” February 12, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR.

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63. Ashley, “Dominicans Take Risk,” Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 64. “No Hiding Place Here,” Newsweek, March 4, 1985, 14–15. 65. “When I Was a Stranger: A Pastoral Statement of Archbishop John R. Quinn on Our National Response to the Refugees of Central America,” PFEP. 66. Interview with Eileen Purcell, June 9, 2016; “Archbishop Still Backs Sanctuary Churches,” San Francisco Examiner, March 13, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR; “Sisters of Mercy: Birth of a Sanctuary,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR; Susan Sward and William Carlson, “Salvadorans in US Live in Fear,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 1985, 25. 67. “Editorial: Sanctuary at Marin Convent,” Marin Independent Journal, September 6, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR; Betty Dietz, “Moral Need Seen for Sanctuary but It Hasn’t Been Easy for Sisters,” Marin Independent Journal, September 2, 1985, A3; D’Arcy Fallon, “Local Convent Puts Its Faith in Strength of ‘Sanctuary,’ ” San Francisco Examiner, October 20, 1985, B2. 68. “San Francisco Approves Bill to Designate It a Sanctuary,” New York Times, December 24, 1985, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 69. “Congressional Testimony of the Most Reverend John R. Quinn, Archbishop of San Francisco, California,” May 14, 1986, Testimony to US Congressional Sub-Committee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, PFEP. 70. “Letter Writing Campaign to Representative Michael Barnes, Chair of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, Washington, DC,” n.d., Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 71. “Sanctuary, the Discerning Process for a Faith Community,” PFEP. 72. “Prayer Ser vice of Recommitment,” March 3, 1986, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 73. “Sister Susannah Malarkey’s Report of Trip to El Salvador, March 18– 25, 1986,” Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 74. Joan McRobbie, “Sanctuary,” Pacific Sun, May 16–22, 1986, 10–12, 24. 75. “A Celebration [of] San Francisco, City of Refuge,” April 17, 1986, PFEP. 76. “Echoing: Social Justice Concerns, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael,” October 1986, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 77. “Companeros and Campaneras from Bob McKenzie,” October 15, 1986, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR; “Echoing: Social Justice Concerns, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael,” October 1986, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 78. Sanctuary: The Newsletter of the San Francisco Sanctuary Covenant 2, no. 8, (September 1988), Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 79. “Press Conference Statement,” January 15, 1990, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 80. Betty Dietz, “Salvadorans Want to Return Home,” in Marin Independent Journal, December 13, 1992, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR.


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81. “Dear Sisters from Sister Cathy Murray,” December 6, 1994, Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 82. “A Celebration [of] San Francisco, S[outh] City of Refuge,” April 17, 1986, PFEP. As mentioned earlier, the Dominican Sisters participated in a benefit program for the San Francisco Sanctuary Covenant, which celebrated San Francisco’s decision to become a city of refuge. This benefit indicated how the Dominican Sisters participated in a broad ecumenical movement in the Bay Area. Included in the sponsorship of this benefit were the Northern California Board of Rabbis, the Northern California Ecumenical Council, and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Besides various Catholic communities of the Bay Area, the Dominican Sisters worked with Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Unitarian church communities. 83. Interview with Eileen Purcell, June 9, 2016. 84. Interview with Sister Patricia Bruno, June 21, 2016. 85. “Declaration of Sanctuary Movement 2014,” n.d., Sanctuary Files, ADSSR. 86. “US Churches Offer Safe Haven for a New Generation of Immigrants,” All Things Considered, National Public Radio, February 9, 2016; “Sanctuary Churches Brace for Clash with Trump Administration,” Morning Edition, National Public Radio, February 16, 2017.

Aggiornamento on Campus William Blase Schauer, OP, and the Las Cruces Experiment christopher j. renz, op

In the preface to his book Religion as Poetry, sociologist Father Andrew Greeley offers a brief summary of one of the more fascinating cultural groups in the United States, the Sangre de Cristo Catholics of northern New Mexico. Although their precise story has been the center of scholarly debate, these Hispanos self-identify as having a unique blend of Spanish, Catholic, Jewish, and Native American cultures. They are the direct descendants of the conversos, those Jews who, in the fifteenth century under Ferdinand and Isabella, were forced from Spain to the New World, after having submitted themselves (either voluntarily or not) to conversion.1 As Greeley describes them, The northern New Mexico community, for weal or woe, had no theology, very little propositional religion, no overarching religious institution, and almost no religious “education” as the term would be understood today. It did have, and still has in abundance, metaphors, stories, and rituals that both endured and changed. If one strives to understand its Catholicism by probing doctrinal convictions, one misunderstands it completely. Its central story is in fact a blend of two seemingly contradictory stories, one from folk Catholicism and the other from a remnant of Judaism. The secret of its survival is in the story.2

In some sense, these comments by Greeley provide an apt description of the driving principles behind the work of William Blase Schauer, OP. According to Greeley, the “survival” of the Sangre de Cristo Catholics was made possible not by some unique and sophisticated theology, but rather by their commitment to “metaphors, stories, and rituals” passed down in abundance through generations. In his work with college students, Schauer similarly claimed that the future of Catholicism would rely heavily on helping young Catholics see themselves as custodians of their own Catholic


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history and culture. New Mexico “worked” for Schauer not only because it was the place of his own upbringing but also because it afforded this abundance of cultural metaphors and stories that could be easily blended with the rituals of Catholicism. Before the Second Vatican Council even opened, Schauer had seized the call of Pius X for an “active participation” by the laity in the most holy mysteries.3 By the time the “experiment” was under way in New Mexico, he had a clear vision about his students: The birth of the atomic age took place in their community, and at the same time they are members of one of the oldest races in North America. There is so much in their history for them to take pride in and love. . . . What we are doing at Las Cruces can be done by any church anywhere. All you need to know is the history and culture of the people of any region, and then gear their religious faith to it.4

Using the theme of symbol, season, and heritage, Schauer capitalized on the catechetical nature of the liturgy in order to draw Catholics—initially college students in Las Cruces, and later clergy and laity in Santa Fe and across the nation—more deeply into their faith. By engaging local folk artists in both Spanish and Native American communities, he linked the storehouse of symbols from New Mexican Catholicism with the natural and liturgical seasons, producing rich and vibrant worshipping communities. This essay explores the impact of his ideas on the liturgical renewal in the United States between 1960 and 1980. The Second Vatican Council is considered by some to have obliterated authentic Catholic worship, but the changes outlined in the document on liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, were grounded in long and careful reflection on the fundamental relationship between worship and Catholic life and culture. As will become clear, Schauer understood the concepts expressed in these conversations, which had been circulating throughout Europe since Pius X first published his document on sacred music, Tra le sollecitudini (1903). Drawing on his own expertise in music and journalism, Schauer developed a unique “experiment” with Catholic college students and in so doing created his own aggiornamento on college campuses across the United States.5 Born in Gallup, New Mexico, in 1921, William Schauer grew up appreciating the nearly four-hundred-year history of Catholic culture in that

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state. His Austrian mining ancestors were part of the founding members of Gallup. His father, John Schauer Sr., whom he claimed as the biggest influence in his life, was elected seven times as Justice of the Peace and Police Magistrate for Gallup. He was fondly remembered as a friend and advocate of the Navajos as a result of his petitioning of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in the early 1930s to resolve the “deplorable conditions of the Navajo Indians,” especially access to clean water in spring and summer, and winter shelter.6 Following his older brother, John Jr., to the University of California in Berkeley in the early 1940s, William became lost and confused in the campus life of a war-torn nation—“After a year of indecision I began serious study in music—not with an eye toward composition or performance but as one who could spread its enjoyment and appreciation. I felt strongly then, as I do now, that music must become a heritage of the people in order to thrive in a democratic society.” 7 Schauer’s studies were temporarily interrupted by World War II, though he served less than a year in the US Army due to an injury. It was during a five-month stay in a military hospital between March and July of 1943 that Schauer underwent a fundamental and permanent transformation in his personal worldview. Conditions in this hospital were generally deplorable. . . . During these months in which reflection was an only haven, I saw clearly the job that was to be done—that music and the humanities have a place and a responsibility alongside the sciences in time of war. But upon returning to civilian life and the University it was hard to realize that the humanities were still in an ivory tower.8

In response, Schauer strove to bring music and the fine arts out of that ivory tower and into the minds and hearts of those who were experiencing that same isolation. Throughout the academic year 1944–45 as editor for the Daily Californian, he introduced an exchange between camp and campus wherein the fine arts were liberated from the confines of the classroom. Before engaging his own ideas, Schauer first sought professional advice from Raymond Kendall, music coordinator for USO and by this time a leading national figure in the use of music in military life and morale.9 Encouraged by Kendall, Schauer produced six programs of classical music in his role as director of the University Music Club for army and navy


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camps and hospitals. The largest and most significant, on June 12, 1945, involved more than 600 ambulatory military personnel patients from fifteen army and navy military hospitals from across the Bay Area. This “servicemen’s day” included tours and movies on campus life and free rides to the top of the Campanile. An afternoon concert by the university orchestra and chorus included the “Alleluia” by Randall Thompson, and “Serenade to Music,” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Dinner was provided at various sorority and fraternity houses, and the event concluded with a second concert by the Campus Glee Club and Treble Clef.10 The experience convinced Schauer that, as a self-proclaimed “propagandist,” he could use journalism as a powerful vehicle to educate people in a very practical way about the role of music and fine arts in a democracy.11 Thus inspired, he moved to New York for a graduate degree in musicology at Columbia University. It was during this time that his love for opera was nurtured through his role as critic and journalist for the Metropolitan Opera, which required attendance several times per week.12 However, the academic adventure failed after a conflict with one of the faculty members of the department.13 He recalled the experience not so much as a failure but rather as a pivotal moment in his call to the Catholic priesthood. Describing his conversion as a gradual process of realizing the role of fine arts in the ubiquitous need for a deep healing from within, “which can only come from a higher being,” he joined the Dominican Order in the Western Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in 1950.14 Alongside Schauer’s personal journey was the development in western Europe of the liturgical movement. In his work, Liturgical Piety, Louis Bouyer constructs a historical narrative spanning the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries that exposes what he decried as a pernicious degradation in Catholic liturgy. The predominant feature is its reduction from a sacramental action of the Mystical Body of Christ to a sentimental notion concerning the Eucharistic Presence in a kind of mimetic theatrical reproduction, with each liturgical action representing some action of the Passion itself.15 The tragic outcome was an uninterested and uninvolved laity whose liturgical role had been abolished by a clergy that lacked understanding of the true nature of the liturgy. For Bouyer, “the liturgical movement is the natural response arising in the Church to the perception that many people have lost that knowledge and understanding of the liturgy which should belong to Christians, both clergy and laity, and in con-

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sequence, have lost the right use of the liturgy also.”16 This natural response developed over a period of nearly two centuries, culminating in the formulation of that principle now associated almost exclusively with Sacrosanctum Concilium, namely, the “full, conscious and active participation” of the laity.17 For some, the liturgical movement has its official historical beginning with the publication of three documents by Pius X: Tra le sollecitudini (1903), Sacra Tridentina Synodus (1905), and Quam Singulari (1910). While its specific focus is the role of sacred music in the liturgy, Tra le sollecitudini articulates a fundamental principle that would guide the thinking of this new movement: Filled as We are with a most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful, We deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church.18

In outlining some general principles, Pius X raises concerns about the elaborate musical texts that had dominated Catholic liturgy in recent centuries. To this end, he noted, the proper aim of music “is to add greater efficacy to the text, in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries.” Thus, he declares, forms of modern music which distract the laity from “the reception of the fruits of grace,” such as “theatrical style,” are expressly prohibited. According to Bouyer, it was Dom Lambert Beauduin, OSB (1873–1960), who, with the monastic communities of France, Belgium, and Germany, laid the foundations for the liturgical movement decades earlier by systematizing efforts for greater practical involvement of the laity, particularly by publishing liturgical texts of a more catechetical nature. Fundamental to achieving the “active participation” called for by Pius X was the building up of what Beauduin termed a “liturgical piety.” Not concerned at all with rubrics, liturgical piety concerns the lay participation in the mystical priesthood of Christ as expressed in the sacramental life of the church.


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The piety of the Christian people, and hence their actions and life, are not grounded sufficiently in the fundamental truths that constitute the soul of the Liturgy; . . . All these truths, which find expression in every liturgical act, are asleep in men’s souls; the faithful have lost consciousness of them. Let us change the routine and monotonous assistance at acts of worship into an active and intelligent participation; let us teach the faithful to pray and confess these truths in a body: and the Liturgy thus practiced will insensibly arouse a slumbering faith and give new efficacy, both in prayer and action, to the latent energies of the baptized souls.19

It was this idea of arousing a slumbering faith “insensibly” that indirectly pointed to a role of the fine arts in Catholic worship and life. Beauduin, of course, was not the only person to make this connection. Catholic artists throughout the world were concerned with the impact of the technological revolution on the well-being of human persons. British artist David Jones, who was a member of the Distributist Movement of Belloc and Chesterton, as well as a founding member of a guild of lay Dominican artists, noted, Our age, the age of technical perfections, of function, of material efficiency directed towards a material end, is of its nature un-symbolic, or anti-symbolic, or rather its “technics” are its “symbols.” Now the artist, one way or another, deals in symbols, as far as his content is concerned . . . with things that are lifted up, carried about, adored. He is, at the bottom and always an inveterate believer in “transubstantiations” of some sort.20

As one of his contemporaries in the student seminary days of the 1950s, Finbar Hayes, OP, noted, Schauer had high standards for himself and for others. For Schauer, the virtue of art—the making of things rightly—was fundamental. This quality brought Schauer into close contact and friendship with another famous Dominican of the Western Province, Br. Antoninus (William Everson). Speaking of those seminary days and those strong artistic temperaments, Hayes noted: The combination of those men made for an environment that enriched everyone who chose to partake of it as, unknowing, we lived out (or at times endured) the very last decade of fifteen hundred continuous years of Latin monasticism. . . . We lived in Latin and in some dark-

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ness, but it was like sleeping outdoors in the summer, in the time between first light and sunrise. In the long night behind us, the stars and lights of the Hebrew and Greek and Christian centuries twinkled far, far away in the dome of tradition and of legend, while people like Blase pointed to rays of dawn in the east, in the Church and the Order in England and France and Belgium and Holland, in Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker, in the U.S.21

Although there is no indication that he was directly aware of Beauduin’s concept of liturgical piety or even of the lay Dominican artist guild, Schauer created bibliographies for his courses which clearly indicate his familiarity with the leading authors of the liturgical movement.22 In one of his few published articles, Schauer’s observations align strongly with the movement: One reason why liturgy does not have the profound effect upon the Catholic consciousness that it had in past centuries is the environment of worship. . . . If liturgy is to have the profound effect upon the human consciousness that the Church envisions, great care must be put into the environment where worship takes place. This is not a matter of becoming “arty,” it is only a matter of providing a fitting vehicle for the communication of the Word of God and a proper setting for the celebration of divine worship. Sacred time and sacred space must blend liturgy into a harmonious whole, where God’s voice and God’s mysteries can reach the worshipper with their full impact. Anything less is simply not worthy of the God who comes to us in Word and Rite.23

Much as he had used music as a “fitting vehicle” in military hospitals for ailing soldiers, Schauer saw the fine arts as a “fitting vehicle” in the liturgy for ailing Christian souls.24 The opportunity to actualize his ideas came when he asked and received permission to accept a ministry assignment as Newman chaplain at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, close to his ailing father. Observing that campus life in the early 1960s was not much different from the wartime campus of UC Berkeley, he expressed his concerns for students, “For them there is no unifying principle or center to their life capable of defining their personal identities, or making sense of the modern world. Religion has been such a unifying force. Now it is but one of


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many academic interests, more divisive than cohesive.”25 As had been the case for music, religion was “stuck in the academy,” according to Schauer, and he felt frustrated by a divisive polarity between the didactic and the pastoral. For him, liturgy and the fine arts offered the resolution: No one denies the liturgy’s teaching function yet few attempts seem to have been made in American higher education to use it as a unitive force in relating the student’s academic life to the all-suffusing power of the faith. Youth is the time of action and particular circumstance. The liturgy at its center, Holy Mass, is an action, the actio, transcending age and time and place. So, we believe, the most effective wedge into the activism of the student is to plunge him into the keen vitality of her daily and seasonal worship.26

Approaching students, who were mostly scientists and engineers, with “the Christ-relatedness of art, music, literature,” Schauer hoped to create a communal experience that extended beyond the Sunday liturgy throughout the entire week. The aim was . . . to understand the liturgical principles that govern the day or the season, . . . and to see how many facets of our own life, or of creative genius in all fields of human endeavor are related to, or have grown out of, the coming weeks’ religious orientation. . . . Instead of living life on one dimension, the purpose of this program is to see how all levels can have a relationship to Christianity.27

Taking his cue from the title used to name each liturgical year, he offered the “Academic Year of Grace”—a carefully constructed combination of catechesis, cultural events, and hands-on creativity that followed a regular pattern: Sunday: topics exploring science and faith; Monday: catechetical classes for newcomers and non-Catholics; Tuesday: liturgical instruction that previewed the upcoming week; Wednesday: music rehearsal for a schola cantorum (church choir); and Wednesdays and Thursdays were “cultural nights” that included presentations from the areas of drama, literature, and even a program on “cinema as sacred art.”28 He made connections with local artists who provided on loan to the Newman Center either their own artwork or pieces (santos and bultos) from local museums related to various feast days.29

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Each year, these offerings culminated in a significant week-long program for the feast of St. Albert the Great. Eventually known as “the Great Week,” Schauer designed it as a full festival of the arts, exploring the creativity of the faith as expressed in art, music, drama, and academic life. In November 1963, for example, events included a puppet show titled “Little World of Albertus Magnus,” a medieval mystery play, Noah’s Flood, presented by the Las Cruces Community Theater Group, the annual debut concert of the University Choir, and a series of presentations by Dr. John Mongale, chair of the chemistry department, titled “Scientific Method and Thomistic Philosophy.” The cultural celebrations were usually extended throughout the entire month of November, taking advantage of its liturgical designation for the commemoration of the dead. Evening sessions focused on related works such as Dante’s Purgatorio, Elgard’s musical setting of the famous poem by Cardinal Newman, The Dream of Gerontius, and T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. Key to the “Academic Year of Grace” were “liturgical field trips” for various feasts and seasons, such as the observance of Las Posadas in Mesilla. Schauer used these trips to make vivid connections between daily and liturgical life, as for example in the blessing of beehives which would produce wax for candles made by the students and subsequently blessed on the feast of Candlemas. Perhaps the most dramatic of these was the trip to the pueblo village of Tortugas for the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. For more than one hundred years the local Native American tribes of Piro, Manso, and Tiwa ancestry have combined their own cultural heritage with the Catholic Mexican culture in a three-day pilgrimage that reenacts the encounter between Juan Diego and the Blessed Virgin Mary.30 The event includes a procession with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the top of their sacred Tortugas Mountain, followed by an all-night vigil that includes both the praying of the rosary and matachine (Indian dancing) around campfires made in the form of a cross. Participants make quiotes (elaborate walking sticks decorated with yucca petals, Spanish daggers, creosote branches, mesquite, and bits of paper and foil)31 and coronas (headbands) for their return trip. As a symbol of the bond of unity shared in Christ between these Catholics of Tortugas and the Newman students, the pilgrims offered their quiotes for display in the Newman chapel for the feast day mass, which also included another traditional element, the “Guadalupe cookies,” shared by all in a social.32


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Schauer expressed a deep desire to know each individual who came to this ministry. In a handwritten letter dated “The Assumption 1962,” he offers a personal invitation to a New Mexico State University newcomer: As your spiritual father, I extend a joyous welcome on behalf of all of us here at the Newman Center. You will quickly discover that your fellow students who have built the exciting new chapel that you are soon to delight in are no ordinary lot. Their amazing dedication to truth and zeal for God’s glory have deeply improved the expanding list of visitors to the Center. I invite you to share in this creative thrust and to leave your imprint upon it. . . . Do not delay introducing yourself to me when you arrive on campus. I want to know you as a person and hope you will feel free to discuss your attitude and feelings with me.33

The “exciting new chapel” mentioned in this letter was the outgrowth of the “Newman program” established from the day of his arrival in Las Cruces. Because it was already evident even prior to Schauer’s arrival that the Newman Center space was insufficient for the growing student population, work had begun to raise funds for a new building. By spring 1961, a 40×60-foot expansion was under way. Conceived by Schauer and local artist Charlene (Meinrad) Craighead, who was at that time professor of art at the College of St. Joseph in Albuquerque, the chapel integrated sacred geometry, traditional Catholic symbolism, and innovation based on ideas from the liturgical movement. It is important to realize that this new design was executed more than one year before the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. By and large, their design concept was not new from a historical perspective—sacred geometry guided much of the architectural work of the Middle Ages, for example. Following the principles set forth in the work of such theologians as Beauduin and Bouyer, however, the focus was on creating a space that engaged the laity more fully in the sacramental mystery continually unfolding before them and that helped them experience connections between worship and daily life. The sanctuary faced east to capture the light from the rising sun. It was an octagonal shape to recall the “eighth day of creation,” Christ’s resurrection day. Craighead used flagstone rock, hauled by students from the base of the Organ Mountains just east of the university, to design a threecolored floor pattern representing the Greek formula for “Christ Victorious.” A freestanding brick and polished wood altar allowed the presider

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to face the congregation.34 In place of a continuous communion rail, two smaller “tables” of the same design provided for reception of communion. Confessionals were sunk three steps lower than the chapel floor to remind penitents of the “depressive nature” of their sins and the joyful transition from the darkness of sin into the light of communion with God.35 Craighead designed a unique double-corpus crucifix. Made of local ponderosa pine and weighing over one hundred and fifty pounds, the cross contained two corpus figures of dipped lead, one of the suffering Christ and the other of the Triumphant Christ. Sister Marie Gertrude (Mary Ann) Lohman, OP, designed two statues for the sanctuary, one of the Blessed Virgin and Child, and the other of St. Joseph the Worker.36 Following his principle of channeling youthful action into liturgical actio, Schauer encouraged students to participate in the construction so that they “will have the feeling that this building is theirs. . . . Each cinder block will represent a person as it is put in place, and the mortar that holds the blocks together will be symbolic of Christ.”37 For the next year they worked tirelessly to create their new space. At one point, in order to

Juarez, Mexico, 1967. Rev. William Blase Schauer, OP, engaged students in the liturgical life by connecting them with local artisans who created items used in worship. On this occasion, he traveled with students to a glass-blowing factory in Juarez to bless the workers and the bowls they were creating. Blackfriars Gallery and Library, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California.


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avoid paying $6,000 for steel beams, one engineering student devised an alternative method using local lumber as girders for a mere $240.38 The impact of their involvement was evident: What makes a group of students unite aims and means and pull together for the good of the whole, when before they preferred to gain personal recognition for everything they did? We around the Newman Center feel that it is a necessary outgrowth of the Catholic faith lived day by day and season by season. . . . This spirit that Fr. Schauer brought to us is partially the spirit of charity and true love for the Truth.39

The new chapel was dedicated in May 1962. Until the publication of Sacrosanctum Concilium in December 1963, mass followed the Dominican rite. As for many religious orders in the church, the Dominicans had created and adopted their own way of celebrating the mass. Believed to arise from elements of older Roman and Gallican rites, the Dominican rite was initiated in the mid-thirteenth century and used until 1968 when the order chose to use the revised Roman rite.40 Even before this decision in favor of the Roman rite, Schauer had gradually added new elements to the liturgy as they were approved and promulgated by Rome. Always careful to work within the context of official approval, he sought to build up a dynamic relationship between the traditional core and contemporary elements that might enhance it. Thus Latin elements were maintained amid vernacular texts. On Sunday evenings, for example, it usually happened that the so-called “Last Gospel” was read about 6 p.m., followed by the “Regina Caeli,” or another appropriate Angelus hymn. The student-led choir used Latin responses and the common antiphon, along with a mix of hymns in either Latin or the vernacular. For some, Schauer was “too slow” and “out of alignment” with mainstream liturgical changes characteristic of this early postconciliar period. But for him, any changes that were introduced must always be directed toward the final goal of mass as “a complete communication . . . [of] the inherent sacredness in the things of the world . . . toward a worship that relates to man’s present moment in history.” 41 Given that one of the primary goals was to help students make connections between Sunday worship and home life, a weekly course titled “Liturgy and the New Mexican Home,” was offered by a home economics professor at the university, Juanita Keaton Allen. A creative integration

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project she developed was “La Casa de Pan” (“house of bread”) which combined the traditional “Advent calendar” with Spanish-American and Indian traditions to produce a model of an Indian pueblo with twenty-three windows, a large chimney, and tiny red chilies hanging next to the door. The bread was baked in an outdoor oven made of wood-fired adobe and mud mortar. Built by the husbands, the oven was modeled on those used in an Indian pueblo and was also used to bake the unleavened whole-wheat bread for masses.42 Married couples were also invited to join the Christian Family Movement Group, based on the group begun at Michigan State University, and a Team of Our Lady (Les Equipes de Notre Dame), begun in Paris in 1938 as a means to help married couples encourage each other in living holier lives as married couples. These groups served as the context for couples to engage on a more personal level the ideas of Fr. Schauer. For example, Eugene Sandoval and his wife, Beulah, procured beeswax produced in the Mesilla valley from bees that had been blessed by Schauer. The wax was used to make candles not only for Candlemas but also for the Easter Vigil. With his background in journalism, Schauer was keen to document the “Las Cruces Experiment,” as it came to be called. With donations from family members, he set up a professional darkroom and media center for use by skilled students. Their efforts resulted in a visual narrative highlighting the major events of each “Academic Year of Grace,” presented in the format of photo albums and 35mm slides.43 In the summer of 1964, Schauer used these slides for a “journalistic report,” titled “Adventures in Liturgy,” to demonstrate what the students had accomplished. Color slides carefully illustrated both liturgical celebrations for the major feasts and the everyday life of the community, especially the role students played in the physical construction of the new buildings. The goal of such a report was to engender in the Las Cruces Newmanites a sense of pride and encouragement for their accomplishments, and to illustrate to other Newman Centers across the country what was possible. In describing the program Schauer noted, “We stress the Mass as a complete communication—we show how participation in this supreme act produces a new outlet for our relationship with the world.” 44 With Newman student Jerry Caveglia as media assistant, Schauer hit the road in the little Volkswagen beetle donated by his brother, dubbed Albertino. The lecture tour was a great success, with appearances before the Pax Romana International Assembly at


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Georgetown University; a session with the novices at Maryknoll, New York; and a radio interview with Today magazine in South Bend, Indiana.45 On their return in September 1964, students were delighted to learn that their very own St. Albert the Great Newman Center had been awarded “the club with the most improved educational program in the country.” 46 In the “Academic Year of Grace 1964–1965,” Schauer acknowledged the local New Mexican culture in its contemporary dimensions—through the science and space programs. To celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, Schauer presented a symposium on “Astro-theology,” an outgrowth of discussions in the previous year and of a recently published article by Rev. Clifford Stevens, “Theology in the Space Age.” 47 Fr. Stevens had encountered the “Las Cruces Experiment” in 1963, after an assignment as the Catholic military chaplain to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Featuring Brig. General Leo A. Kiley, commander at the Air Force Missile Development Center (at Holloman), Alfred G. Koestler, research scientist at Holloman, and Clifford Stevens, the “Astro-theology symposium” was to evaluate the significance of the aerospace program from both scientific and theological perspectives.48 Bolstered by national recognition, Schauer created five new slide presentations as a means to raise much-needed funds. In 1966, he produced the first, The Winds Thy Messengers, a two-hour multimedia presentation using “the new Marshal McLuhan technique”—three screens of constantly changing images accompanied by recorded text and song, along with live narration by Schauer. Taking its title from Psalm 104, the show began with the harsh winds of New Mexico, following the season of Lent as it moved into the Paschal liturgies and culminated in the drama of Pentecost. In describing the mass at the Newman Center, Schauer was insistent, “It is not another folk approach to liturgy; it is not an attempt to make the Mass an extension of the entertainment world.” Rather, the goal was to bring together elements of the natural world, local culture, and the rich heritage of Catholicism. The program included illustrations of New Mexican liturgy, followed by narratives and music written by the Newman students depicting various Bible stories, such as Moses and the Israelites in Egypt, Joseph and his brothers, and the passion of the Lord. Some images were of classic art from the treasury of Christian iconography; others were from the local landscape and the activities of the students. With this visual doc-

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umentary, a second longer national tour was launched in the summer of 1967. With Newman student Kent Burtner as the media technician and Albertino having been upgraded to a Volkswagen van, Schauer’s “liturgy caravan,” as it was called, traversed the country, covering 37,000 miles and visiting fifty-six colleges and universities.49 Moving across the nation provided Schauer with an opportunity to examine the liturgical innovations happening at other locations besides New Mexico. On the one hand, recognizing the need for growth and change in liturgy, he was deeply concerned by the radical experimentation he saw. He deemed much of this the result of a lack of proper education for seminarians and priests. “There is no relevance in worship without a keen sense and respect for history. A satisfactory liturgy can only be achieved by evolution, not by revolution. There is a lot of abuse going on in the name of relevance. . . . Relevance without concern for tradition is illusory.” 50 The “abuse” he had in mind concerned not only the mass but more fundamentally Catholic culture. His sentiments can be summed up in other ideas echoed decades later by Greeley: Catholics live in an enchanted world, a world of statues and holy water, stained glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures. But these Catholic paraphernalia are mere hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility which inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of grace.51

Concerned about this denigration of Catholic culture in the United States, Schauer decided to travel to Europe to witness firsthand the impact of the liturgical movement on Catholic liturgy and culture, as well as to meet and interview some of the top leaders of the movement. In the spring of 1970, he shared his ideas and concerns with Josef Pieper, scholastic and anthropological philosopher, whose books on festivals and culture had greatly inspired Schauer; Bernard Juijbers, SJ, a leading composer of liturgical music in Holland; Pierre-Marie Gy, OP, one of the principal architects of Sacrosanctum Concilium; and Balthasar Fischer (1912–2001), pupil of Joseph Jungmann and one of the principal architects in the study group on the restoration of the rites of initiation (RCIA).52 With no funds for the trip abroad, Schauer supported himself by offering to US military


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bases throughout Europe a new multimedia version of the student-run liturgies, titled The Celebration of Winter in the Healing Desert. Whenever possible, presentations were also made at universities, parishes, and religious communities. It was at the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) where Schauer came face to face with the challenge by the academy to his most deeply held convictions about worship. In a room filled with theologians, he recalled: I saw the impact of secularity. They told me that they thought they knew what the scientific age wanted . . . what technocracy . . . the technological era needed in the way of religion and that it was not a deep sense of the sacred. I informed them that virtually all of the students and faculty who had been involved in our programs were scientists. This, I think, somewhat undercut the irrelevancy these people see for such traditional values as the saints.53

Returning home in February 1970, he formulated a new educational program for clergy around this problem of secularization in the post–Vatican II church: The signs are clear: Catholic institutions of education are in decline. When our schools and societies go (fish and Christopher medals are already gone) where will the people of God look for their identity and direction. How will the priest know his? It already seems evident to many that the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, are soon to become the only hinge on which Catholicism will depend for its very existence. If so, the Church must give far more effective consideration to the quality of its worship than has heretofore been the case. The documents and directives are not sufficient, nor are the scattered summer workshops.54

This new program, “The Santa Fe Center for Pastoral Liturgy,” would integrate liturgical studies with a practical element that “understands worship from the inside out, from the doing of it.” Choosing the city of Santa Fe located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as the “natural ritual capital of the US” and the one place where mass has been celebrated nearly daily since 1609 at Mission San Miguel, Schauer asked and received permission from Archbishop James Davis to move his program from Las Cruces. With claims to having had similar ideas himself, Archbishop Davis invited him to use the nearly vacant build-

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ings of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, immediately adjacent to the Carmelite Monastery and the campus of the newly opened St. John’s College. In the transition from “experiment” to seminary program, Schauer’s first goal was redesigning the interior of the seminary chapel. His design concept followed the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp, the 1954 construction of noted twentieth-century architect Le Corbusier. In order to create a more intimate experience for the worshippers, the room was “turned sideways” with the sanctuary in the center of the nave and no more than five rows of pews. In designing the interior, the goal was “to reflect indigenous environmental features, where the principle of sacred space is resolutely observed, where narthex exhibits, florals and the use of multimedia is sensitively employed in the service of the Church.” 55 As in Las Cruces, he sought student involvement, enlisting Clem Streck, who gave up his job in New York to volunteer directing the construction work. To help him create the weekly liturgies, Schauer brought together a community of skilled local artists. Among them were Jackie Nelson, with a BA in art from Smith College, and her husband, John (Jack) Nelson, a photographer and journalist; Frank Stack, a mechanical engineer at Los Alamos, who had become a professional wood-carver; Bill Farrington, a dramatist; and Eleanor Brooks, a puppeteer. Each week this liturgy team met to read and pray with the Scriptures for the upcoming Sunday. After an open discussion, Schauer guided the conversation to draw out liturgical themes. These talented women and men were then given free rein to implement the themes. “He shared his vision quite openly so that you knew what he would like, but he entrusted you with the execution. People said that he was running the show with an iron fist and that we were all his lackeys, but I didn’t feel that at all,” recalled Jackie Nelson.56 The resulting presentations combined native artwork—bulos and santos obtained on loan from local museums or artists—with simple but artistic pieces for the narthex. For significant feast days and liturgical seasons more elaborate items, including cloth banners, were created. Schauer was insistent that whatever art was created and employed must be “tamed” to serve the liturgy so as to enhance prayer and adoration, and to create a visual experience that began in the parking lot of the seminary grounds and continued through the narthex and into the sanctuary and toward Divine mystery.57


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All of these additions have their place, surely, but their arrangement and placement is carefully predetermined to meet the needs of the daily liturgy. One sees these objects, but in a symbolic perspective of balance and proportionality. No flower or vessel or candle is just put somewhere for looks. The lay staff who care for the physical needs of the chapel as well as artistic endeavors point out why certain color flowers are used, . . . the reason why black pottery from Santa Clara Indian pueblo is used on the Feast of St. Clare, why a scale of balances is used on the feast of Thomas More, lawyer and chancellor of England. Appropriate images abound everywhere, especially in the narthex of the chapel which sets the theme of the day’s liturgy with its wall hangings, quotations from the gospel of the day. . . . One becomes more aware of what is meant by a “place set aside,” a place where “the walls speak to a man before a single word is heard.” 58

After completing the remodeling of the chapel and initiating worship ser vices, Schauer formalized his concept in the summer of 1970 in two month-long programs titled “The Arts of Adoration.” Drawing on relationships formed in Europe, he invited Pieper, Gy, and Huijbers to offer lectures. He also invited Robert Hoey, SJ, editor of the Experimental Liturgy Book, and G. B. Harrison, of the International Committee on English in Liturgy (ICEL), which had just concluded its work on a new translation of the Paul VI Missal. To balance the academic input, Schauer included artists such as Sister Giotto Moots, OP, former dean at the Pius XII Institute (Villa Schifanoia) in Florence,59 whose expertise in Christian iconography provided essential grounding not only for this first session but throughout the next twenty years; and Vera Zorina, the ballerina wife of George Balanchine, who provided instruction on presence and movement within the liturgy. Other experts included John McHugh, the architect who designed the Santa Fe Opera, and Pedro Ortega, historian and anthropologist of New Mexican culture. Schauer employed all of his best journalistic skills to advertise the new program. Newspapers and periodicals both locally and nationally were flooded with information about the innovative ideas and expert faculty resources. Despite these efforts, however, the turnout was lower than anticipated with fewer than two dozen priests, including Santa Fe Archbishop Davis. The issue exposed a much larger problem: Schauer’s lack of organizational and administrative skills. Already in a memo of August 23,

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1970, Father Gerard. T. Broccolo, one of the participants and the director of the Liturgical Commission for the Archdiocese of Chicago, commented to Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Grady, It is my own personal conviction that Father Blase Schauer’s Santa Fe Center for Pastoral Liturgy possesses a wealth of positive potential for the future. . . . By his own admission, Father Schauer lacks the needed organizational ability for such an endeavor. . . . [Thus], the initial impact of this Center has been quite weak, to say the least. . . . He definitely needs an intelligent and efficient “manager” . . . who could coordinate the activities . . . and especially integrate the academic and experiential ingredients of worthwhile programs in liturgy.60

In part owing to this deficiency and in part owing to his strong and uncompromising disposition, Schauer faced a standoff in January 1971 with Archbishop Davis, who abruptly announced the closing of the center. The primary reason offered in the public forum was a lack of financial resources. Behind the scenes, however, the issue was a significant personality conflict between Schauer and the rector of the seminary. Rather than simply move to a new location, Schauer fought with the archdiocese for the next three years, even threatening to sue the archbishop.61 The consequence was an immediate halt to the workshops and a brief displacement to the nearby campus of St. John’s College. It was not until summer 1972 that a second session of “The Arts in Adoration” was possible. Among the artists in Schauer’s circle was Andrea (Drew) Bacigalupa, a well-known figure since the 1950s when he opened one of the first studios on the famous Canyon Road.62 Following the concepts employed by Schauer in Las Cruces, Bacigalupa developed “Illuminated Walls,” a multimedia project of visually dynamic meditations on liturgical themes. Though initially adamantly opposed to the use of media in the sanctuary, Bacigalupa recanted after working through the process for a year and observing the prayerful and thoughtful care taken each week by the liturgy team. Following Vincent Dolan, who pioneered work on “visual sermons,” Bacigalupa described these projected images as “contemporary stained glass windows,” which could teach, inspire, and heighten worship. Like Schauer, he insisted that the liturgy remain intact. And so, while texts and music for the mass were projected during worship, these multimedia presentations were offered only after mass had concluded. To be effective, he


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noted, the presentations required “the continuing instruction of projectionists in Christian art and symbolism.”63 Under his leadership, the original image collection from Las Cruces grew to more than 20,000 slides, which comprised classical art, native art, and local nature scenes (often provided by Jack Nelson). Eventually, Bacigalupa created more elaborate multimedia presentations, such as Vespero dell Beata Vergine, which combined visuals with the music of Monteverdi for the feast of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores; The Dream of Gerontius, a poem by Cardinal Newman set to music by Edward Elgar for the feast of All Souls; and L’Enfant du Christ, for Christmas. These liturgies and para-liturgical events were so well received that people from other religious communities would often participate.64 Between 1972 and 1977, Bacigalupa received several grants from the New Mexican Arts Commission, the New Mexico Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts to present these multimedia concerts to a wider audience. He was also commissioned to produce new multimedia works, such as La Tierra Bendita, a “tone poem of image and sound documenting the quest of Indian, Spanish and Anglo, alone or together, for the one God manifest in all his blessed land.” 65 The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry awarded a grant for the production of a feature presentation on the works of local poets, La Poesia Nueva Mexicana. The American Association of University Women commissioned him to produce Let Her Works Praise Her, a meditation dramatizing the role of women in the spiritual development of peoples of the earth, which had its premiere in 1977 at the group’s national meeting. Also noteworthy during the period was the multimedia documentary Symbol, Season, and Heritage (also produced in film), which chronicled the work of the center between 1970 and 1973. By 1982, the efforts of the Liturgy in Santa Fe had garnered the interests of John Mills, OP, director of the newly established curial office for Dominicans in the Media, who noted, “I do not know of any other place in the Order where at present there is serious creative experimentation in the use of media in worship.” 66 With the appointment of Robert Fortune Sanchez, the first New Mexican native, as archbishop of Santa Fe in 1974, formal relations between Liturgy in Santa Fe and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe improved. However, personality conflicts that began with the rector of the seminary contin-

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ued, eventually spilling over into tensions between Schauer and priests and lay faithful throughout the diocese. Rumors grew as to the canonical and spiritual nature of this unique enterprise. Was it a parish? Was it even Catholic? As an effort to resolve these conflicts over space use at the seminary campus, a small number of those participating in the liturgies of the center agreed to form a nonprofit organization, the Liturgy in Santa Fe, so as to finance a mortgage loan for the purchase of a nearby nine-acre parcel of land.67 The eight-room residence on the lot, called “Liturgy House,” was both home for Schauer and storage for all of the media and art materials. With no chapel and no media facilities, the project fell dormant, offering only two liturgical art workshops during the next few years from Bacigalupa’s Canyon Road studio. Schauer and Bacigalupa used this local setback as an opportunity for broader public relations, including attendance at the World Congress for Audiovisual, Media and Evangelization (Munich, 1977). With sponsorship from Archbishop Sanchez, they had an opportunity to garner international support from such figures as Cardinal James Knox, Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship.68 During this period they also designed St. Lawrence Cathedral in Amarillo, Texas, which won a top award in 1977 from the American Institute of Architects.69 By 1977, after consultation with the priests of the archdiocese, Sanchez agreed to grant canonical status to Liturgy in Santa Fe for a semipublic chapel, the Oratory of the Transfiguration, to be built on the recently purchased land, and allowing up to 100 persons to participate in this oratory. Fund-raising efforts could now be formalized through membership in the oratory which was designed “as the basis toward revitalizing liturgical worship of parishes all over America . . . through a national liturgical institute.” 70 Schauer and Bacigalupa developed a $500,000 plan for two buildings, the main oratory chapel and a gathering center, “Heritage Hall.” As at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary chapel, the liturgical space would have two solid walls for the projection of liturgical images, and other walls with nichos. The outdoor area would be cultivated to invite meditation in the “processional” from the parking lot through the open landscape, past a courtyard, and finally into an elongated narthex, where local art and artistic visuals introduced the liturgical theme. Reflecting on the surroundings, Schauer noted, “This is a sacred land. The first name of the Jemez Mountains was ‘Nacimento,’ the Birth of Christ. We are


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between the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The whole life of Christ is represented here.” 71 In the summer of 1980, Schauer once again enlisted volunteer help from Tom Donnelly, Joe Moore, Doug Anderson, and nearly twenty other students from St. John’s College. Attracted by both Schauer’s vision for the oratory and the prayer life which he offered them (which included morning prayer at 6:00 a.m., mass with midday prayer, and conclusion with evening prayer and supper, with foods chosen to reflect the character of the feast), students dug the foundational trenches and prepared the area for hired workers who built the concrete walls. They were treated to evening instructional programs on symbols (by Sister Giotto) and the liturgical year (by Schauer).72 Heritage Hall was blessed by Archbishop Sanchez and dedicated by Dominican Provincial, Chrysostom Raftery, OP, on April 20, 1981. On the following Easter Monday, Schauer inaugurated what would be the culmination of two decades of study and contemplation—not just of books and ideas, but also of people and practices. Titled “The Heritage Hall Forum,” it was the summation of his life’s exploration into the “humanizing effect” of the fine arts that began with the military camps on the UC Berkeley campus. In the forum, the liturgy would be encountered not simply as a technical exercise . . . but as a vast complexus of nourishment. . . . In the probing of symbol, season, and heritage of each day, we have uncovered incredible coordinates. The resources of our liturgical tradition are staggeringly significant, linking faith to art. Heritage Hall will be that bridge crossing over into the awareness of how all arts have sprung from man’s faith and probing of the Divine.” 73

The three “incredible coordinates” were defined by Schauer as drama (the mystery plays beginning as early as 900 CE), Gregorian chant, and the earliest frescoes of saints on the walls of catacombs and churches. These would be employed for the overarching goal of an anthropological exploration of worship and the life of the church lived and expressed in them through such means “that are both theologically correct and demonstrably effective in forming the life of the Christian community.” The “experimental dimension” of the Las Cruces work would continue through the shared exploration by clergy and artists as to what did and did not

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work in the successful integration of mass and daily life in the Catholic culture.74 As in Las Cruces, the Heritage Hall program required daily presentations (usually designed and presented by students or local artists) with themes drawn from the feast and its related readings.75 Resources were drawn from a supportive library collection of over 1,000 volumes that included medieval mystery play cycles, religious poetry, and academic texts related to liturgy and the arts; over 3,000 recordings of sacred music, much of it directly related to feast days; the slide collection; and 650 hours of videotaped programming of drama, music, opera, and documentary materials. Both local and national artists, such as Pedro Ribera-Ortega (local historian), Charles Bell (novelist), Carol Deitering (dancer), and Helen Vanni, (opera), joined the regular staff as presenters. In one such example, on December 29, the feast of St. Thomas Becket, a short summary of his life set the stage (literally) for a presentation from Murder in the Cathedral, by T. S. Eliot, and a viewing of the death scene from the classic movie, Becket, starring Richard Burton. Recordings of Latin hymns composed in honor of Becket, some dating back to 1170, and a visual presentation of liturgical art from Canterbury Cathedral concluded the evening.76 Summer workshops were resumed, such as “Grace and Movement in Worship” (1982) and “On the Design and Use of Liturgical Banners” (1983). Schauer’s health began to decline during these early years of the 1980s. In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, a man who had spent his life as a choral singer, a teacher, and a preacher, was struck silent by aphasia and cognitive dysfunction. By 1985 his health had deteriorated sufficiently that his province called him home to Oakland, California. For the next two years, the board of directors of Liturgy in Santa Fe worked to develop a plan on his behalf to bring the project with him. Turning his attention to the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Schauer hoped to augment the practical offerings of Liturgy in Sana Fe with the more intense academic pulse of the GTU doctoral faculty and research resources. Having failed to develop a significant administrative team, however, his poor health left no continuity, and so, for all intents and purposes, the program came to a close by 1990. During a brief visit to his beloved Santa Fe, Schauer died just days before the fortieth anniversary of his ordination to priesthood on June 6, 1996.


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As a Dominican, Schauer preached not only in the liturgical context, but also as a “pragmatic theologian” 77—bringing together his study and his life experiences to the post–Vatican II church. Offering numerous liturgy workshops not only in New Mexico but all over the world, Schauer brought his best efforts to bear on the reforms of the Catholic community. In reflecting on these catechetical efforts after the council, he noted: Religious education also must ultimately become seasonal, must ultimately have as its backbone and content the truths and mysteries embodied in the liturgy. Perhaps that is why much religious education in parishes falls flat; the content is too helter-skelter, it does not reach beyond the classroom, it does not find an echo and completion in the total life of the Church. In liturgy, all the great truths of faith are embodied, are celebrated, and are enhanced by art, symbol, and imagery. The liturgy itself is pedagogy, perhaps the greatest teaching instrument the Church has. It embodies genuine catechesis, a program of Christian formation. . . . If we want to return to the great traditions of religious art of which we, as Catholics, are justly proud, we must return to living by the seasons and cycles of the Church’s liturgy.78

Although the title of this essay might suggest that the focus of Schauer’s work was limited to Catholic campus ministry, the study illustrates that an aggiornamento begun on the campus was merely a starting point. In the larger picture not only of his personal work in liturgy but also his Dominican vocation, the term “campus” might be better seen through the mission of the Order of Preachers, focused since its inception on the dynamic relationship between prayer, study, and preaching (contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere). Directed toward the salvation of souls, Dominican study must share the “mercy of truth” (misericordia veritatis). To that end, “Our study helps us to perceive human crises, needs, longings, and sufferings as our own.” 79 Seen in this light, Schauer’s “experiment” in liturgy produced a deeper understanding of the needs not only on the campus in Las Cruces but also in the postconciliar church. As Greeley observed about the hispanos of New Mexico, if a culture ignores or forgets its own story, no matter what else it may know—academically or doctrinally—it fates itself to annihilation. Celebrating this jubilee of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican Order, our task as Dominicans in the United States is to rediscover Schauer’s aggiornamento

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so as to engage the best of our tradition through symbol and season for the revitalization of our heritage. Notes 1. The hispanos and conversos of New Mexico have been the subject of some controversy mainly because of the research of Stanley M. Hordes, who explored this topic as state historian of New Mexico in the early 1980s (see To the Ends of the Earth—A History of the Crypto-Jews in New Mexico (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), and Judith Neulander, who challenged many of his assumptions about connections between the Jewish and Catholic cultures (see Barbara Ferry and Debbie Nathan, “Mistaken Identity? The Case of New Mexico’s ‘Hidden Jews,’” Atlanta Monthly, December 2000). Recent DNA results, however, have confirmed that some Catholic families from New Mexico possess the Cohanim DNA marker, linked to a priestly class of the Jewish community whose genetic ancestry is easily traced due to the strict marriage laws within this group. See David Kelley, “DNA Clears the Fog over Latino Links to Judaism in New Mexico,” Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2004, /2004/dec/05/nation/na-heritage5, accessed May 23, 2016. 2. Andrew Greeley, Religion as Poetry (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1996), xvii–xviii. 3. Pius X, Instruction on the Sacred Liturgy Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (November 22, 1903), introduction, /MotuProprio.html, accessed May 2, 2016. 4. Martha Robinson, “Priest Tells Youth: ‘Serve God with Hands, Heads’— Creative Worship in New Mexico Gives Students Sense of Pride,” Vancouver Sun, August 21, 1965. Comments made by Schauer in an interview while giving a lecture at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Vancouver, BC, titled “Las Cruces Experiment.” 5. Aggiornamento (“up to date”) was the term used by Pope Saint John XXIII in his message of June 20, 1961, to the central commission that defined the work of the council. It was linked to a second term, ressourcement, which is the idea of recovering “the sources” from the earliest days of the church to produce a balance that respects the tradition and updates it to the needs of the contemporary cultural needs of the church. The phrase “aggiornamento on campus,” the title of this project, is derived from descriptions by Rev. Clifford Stevens of Schauer’s work where he notes, “Out of such labors and studies is developing a genuine aggiornamento at Las Cruces, one that will surely have an impact on every college campus in the nation” (Clifford Stevens, “Aggiornamento on the Campus,” America 112, no. 4 [1965], and “The Las Cruces Experiment,” Liturgical Arts 33 [August 1966]).


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6. Correspondence between John Schauer and Senator Lynn J. Frazier, chair of the Indian Committee on Indian Affairs. John J. Schauer Sr., “The Rocky Trail of Life,” undated autobiography, c. 1951. See also David Sutor, “Newman in New Mexico,” Today Magazine 20, no. 8 (1965): 27–30. Schauer’s significant firsthand knowledge of the Native American culture of New Mexico is demonstrated in an undated paper he wrote titled, “The Greatest Shows of the American Indian,” describing in detail the events known as the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial held each August in Gallup. Schauer bases his description on having “seen it for the last ten years,” and this, along with the writing style, suggests it was a high school project. 7. William Schauer, undated autobiographical notes, ca. 1945. These notes appear to be part of an application package to a school of journalism, possibly UC Berkeley. Schauer papers are in the Blackfriars Library and Gallery at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, CA. 8. Ibid. 9. See Raymond Kendall, “Music in the USO,” Bulletin of the Music Teachers National Association 8, no. 1 (1943): 10–16. Recognizing that music can be used as a “weapon” in times of war, Kendall created a national program to make trained singers available to ser vicemen in USO clubs across the nation as a different way to engage the military in music. For a historical overview of this movement see Annegret Fauser, Sounds of War: Music in the United States during World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). Schauer garnered support from the likes of Marian Anderson and Jascha Heifetz, who had appeared on the UC Berkeley campus in Spring 1945. 10. Daily Californian—various articles from June 6 through June 12, 1945. 11. Schauer, autobiographical notes. 12. Leslie Bottorff, “Proposed Center Would Train Priests in Liturgical Celebration,” New Mexican, Sunday, October 8, 1969, A4. 13. Stanley Cavell, Little Did I Know—Excerpts from Memory (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), 171. 14. “The Winds Thy Messengers,” essay in undated program pamphlet. Similar ideas were expressed during these days by David Jones, in “Art in Relation to War,” in The Dying Gaul and Other Writings, ed. Harman Grisewood (New York: Faber and Faber, 1978), 150, concerning the impact of technology and war on the human person: “If the situation is such that men can no longer regard what they do as though it possessed this quality of ‘art’—then indeed he is of all creatures most miserable, for he is deprived of the one and only balm available to him, as a worker. ‘Good man’ can still be, and heroic may be, but a complete man he cannot be.” 15. Louis Bouyer, Liturgical Piety (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1954), 16. See also Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the

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Liturgy: The Principles of the Liturgical Reform and Their Relation to the Twentieth-Century Liturgical Movement Prior to the Second Vatican Council (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005). 16. Bouyer, Liturgical Piety, 39. 17. See Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), December 4, 1963, 14–20, /hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204 _sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html. 18. Pius X, “Instruction on the Sacred Liturgy Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini” (November 22, 1903), introduction, /MotuProprio.html. 19. Dom Lambert Beauduin, Liturgy: The Life of the Church, trans. Virgil Michel, OSB (Farnborough, Eng.: St. Michael’s Abbey Press, 2002), 21 (emphasis added). 20. Jones, “Art in Relation to War,” 136. In addition to his fame as a painter, David Jones was a Dominican tertiary and pupil of Eric Gill. Although best known as a sculptor, Gill had joined with Hilary Pepler, and Desmond Chute under the tutelage of Dominican father Vincent McNabb, OP, to found a crafts guild in Ditchling, England, of the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic. It would not be surprising, therefore, if Schauer were to have been aware of the works of both Jones and Gill on the role of art in culture and worship. 21. Finbarr Hayes, OP, obituary of Blase Schauer, OP. 22. Schauer cites Bouyer’s Liturgical Piety, which certainly speaks of Beauduin. In an interview with Kent Burtner, who worked with Schauer extensively both as a student and later as a Dominican priest, he noted definitely that Schauer was familiar with the work of Beauduin. 23. Blase Schauer, “Liturgical Seasons and Parish Liturgy,” Priest 31, no. 2 (1975). 24. Maurice Lavanoux, editorial in Liturgical Arts, August 1965. 25. Blase Schauer, “Liturgy: The Las Cruces Experiment—Introduction to a Television Presentation,” undated, c. 1967. Compare these words with those of David Jones, as quoted in n. 14. 26. Undated “rationale statement” on the St. Albert the Great Newman Center ministry. 27. “NMSU Newman Center Boasts Unique Program, El Paso Times, February 26, 1961. 28. From various newspaper articles and program brochures, 1960–65. 29. Brochure titled “Academic Year of Grace, 1963–1964.” 30. For a contemporary description see -feast-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe-in-tortugas-is-more-than-a-tradition-its-an -experience-of-a-lifetime/, accessed May 16, 2016.


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31. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, “Heritage of Culture,” New Mexico Magazine, November–December 1965, 5. Also known as the velas de Dios (“candles of God”), the yucca plant was an integral part of the liturgical environment for Schauer. 32. Newman News, December 1964. Though usually a private ceremony reserved for members of the local tribes, a Newman student, Mike Edgar, was invited to join the procession and photograph the ceremonies at the summit. 33. Schauer, form letter to new students, The Assumption (August 15) 1962. 34. Such placement, of course, was not new. Eric Gill, whose work was perhaps known to Schauer, had designed the church of St. Peter the Apostle in Gorleston-by-the-Sea in 1939 with the altar in the center of the nave. As part of that work he wrote forcefully and clearly about his own interpretations of the ideas of the liturgical movement. See, for example, letter to the editor of the Catholic Herald, September 3, 1939. 35. Various newspaper articles from 1962, and Angela Kinkead, Way (1966): 34–38. Kinkead (1906–1988) was a long-time benefactress of the project who lived in San Francisco. She donated a cross made by the Patcuarzo Indians in Mexico (presumably the straw cross mentioned in her article), all of the vestments for the chapel, including the dalmatics worn by the subdeacon and deacon at the Mass of Dedication in May 1962. She also donated much of the sacred music in the original collection. See Voz Tortuga, April 7 1963, and November 3, 1963. 36. Sister Marie Gertrude Lohman, OP, was a member of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation from 1946 to 1966. She obtained her MFA from Rosary College and was on the faculty there from 1957 to 1965. After her withdrawal from the congregation she continued to create beautiful artistic work before her death on February 7, 2010. Many of her works of art are on display throughout the Midwest, Colorado, and Europe, including St. Albert the Great Parish in Minneapolis. 37. “Predicts Newman Structure to Be Cruces Religious Cultural Center,” El Paso Times, March 19, 1961. 38. “Newmanites Get Top Program,” Round Up, September 21, 1965. 39. Morris Drexler, ed., “A Dream Come True,” Newman News 11, no. 11 (1962). 40. The oldest Dominican rite missal is located in Lausanne and is dated to about 1242. Records from General Chapters of the order indicate that it was the General Chapter of Paris in 1246 that approved the first compilation of a common book to be used by all the provinces of the Order. 41. Sutor, “Newman in New Mexico,” 28. See also the weekly bulletin for the Newman Center, Newman News, August 15, 1964; Ralph Thomas, SA,

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“Mass in Las Cruces,” Lamp 62, no. 4 (1964), 12–13, 30; and Clifford Stevens, “Santa Fe’s Liturgical Oasis,” US Catholic, March 1974. 42. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, “Report from New Mexico,” Marriage: The Magazine of Catholic Family Living 47, no. 10 (1965): 50–53. 43. See Newman News, October 21, 1962, and January 13, 1963. 44. Sutor, “Newman in New Mexico,” 28. 45. Letter of B. Schauer, Feast of Sacred Heart, 1964; and Newman News, May 24, 1964, and September 27, 1964. 46. Newman News, September 20, 1964. 47. Clifford Stevens, “Theology in the Space Age,” Liturgical Arts 33, no. 4 (1966): 46–48. 48. Symposium brochure. 49. These presentations were (1) Academic Year of Grace; (2) Liturgy in Burlap; (3) One Day in Your Courts; (4) The Winds Thy Messengers, and (5) The Care and Feeding of Christians. The transparencies were selected from thousands taken by skilled student photographers, including engineering student, Michael Edgar. See advertisements from 1967. 50. Robert Fenton, “Plans Made for Liturgical Center,” Voice and Vision—An Ecumenical Newspaper Published Monthly by the New Mexico Council of Churches 2, no. 7 (1969). The loss of tradition would be a continual concern for Schauer. On several occasions he would lament the loss of Latin from the Mass. While not completely enamored with Latin itself, its value in the liturgy comes from the Catholic heritage itself: “Latin contains essential elements of our heritage . . . and should be represented every time the people of God gather together, . . . especially in those parts which are uplifting—some of the greetings, the Gloria, preface, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei” (Eugene Horn, “Liturgist Laments Mass without Latin,” Catholic Herald Citizen, (news clipping in Schauer papers, no date), 3. See also Liturgy in Santa Fe Reports, February–March 1984. 51. Andrew Greeley. The Catholic Imagination (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 1. 52. Schauer recorded his recollections of the trip on tape. The tape was transcribed by K. Burtner. During his visit Schauer also discussed his ideas with Dom Placid Murray, abbot of Glenstahl Abbey in Dublin and chair of the international Socieatas Liturgica. Conrad Pepler, OP, was a priest of the English Dominicans and son of Hilary Pepler, who founded St. Dominic Press in Sussex in 1916, and, with Eric Gill, the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic in 1920. While in England, he was reunited with Charlene Craighead, now Sr. Meinrad of the Abbey of Stanbrook in Worcester, which she had joined in 1968. The narrative demonstrates not only his keen powers of recollection but also the clear theological foundation for all of his ideas. Although Schauer did


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not consider himself a scholar, he was widely read and able to weave together an arc of concepts into an accessible narrative. 53. Transcription of recording of Schauer’s European trip, 26. Further on Schauer notes, “At our Dominican church in Amsterdam the body no longer does anything. The sign of the cross is no longer made, hardly even by the celebrant, and certainly not by the people. . . . Later on, as I talked with other Dutch priests, I discovered that this secularity thing, and this wanting to be completely out from under the hand of Rome are very strong factors at this moment,” 29–30. 54. “The Santa Fe Center for Pastoral Liturgy,” c. 1970, description of the program “Exploring the Arts of Adoration—Redeeming the Arts of Celebration.” 55. Interview with Mrs. Jackie Nelson on June 2, 2016, New Mexican, Sunday, June 7, 1970; and the program brochure, “Symbol, Season and Heritage: The Arts in Adoration,” August 7–18, 1972. 56. Interview with Mrs. Jackie Nelson on June 2, 2016. 57. Blase Schauer, “The Liturgy as a Tool of Pastoral Renewal,” Pastoral Life 23, no. 11 (1974): 2–5, 3. His ideas on the use of liturgical banners in sacred space is articulated in a workshop document titled “Liturgy in Santa Fe Workshop on the Design and Use of Liturgical Banners for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe,” September 24, 1983. Specifically, “Use very little lettering. A banner should proclaim its message through symbols. Any words should be simple and well known so that they are used more as symbols rather than words; for example, ‘Alleluia,’ ‘Ave Maria,’ ‘IHS,’ ‘Glory to God,’ ‘He is Risen.’ A banner should not repeat Scripture that is meant to be proclaimed by a lector. Rather, it should support and enhance that proclamation with symbols,” 16. 58. Steven Michael Giovangelo, OFM, untitled article from 1972, 2–3. 59. The Villa Schifanoia was a gift of the Honorable and Mrs. Myron C. Taylor to Pius XII in 1941 “to be used under the direction of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, for the education of American women irrespective of race, creed, or color.” It was opened on October 10, 1948, and in 1954 began to offer the MA, MFA, and Master of Music degrees through Holy Rosary College (River Forest, Illinois). From the catalog of 1963–65. Schauer met Moots through their mutual acquaintance, Charlene Craighead, who had designed the Las Cruces chapel for Schauer and later studied and taught at Villa Schifanoia with Moots. 60. See memo of August 25, 1970, from Gerard. T. Broccolo to Bishop Grady. He also wrote The Praying People of God, an assessment of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Chicago as a summary of the liturgical scene in 1970; and Spiritual Renewal of the American Priesthood (Washington, DC: USCC, 1973).

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61. Opinions about Schauer can be strong. Angela Kinkaid, noted, “He is a most holy priest of God. He is a stubborn, stout-hearted, determined and educated man” (Way, 38). The most concise summary appears in Drew Bacigalupa, “Liturgy in Santa Fe: ‘Anything Less Won’t Do,’ ” National Catholic Reporter, March 14, 1975, 11: “For if Schauer is a genius in liturgy, he has been almost as brilliant at alienating his professional peers. Secure in the belief that his work is right and necessary for the church, he sometimes appears insensitive to the work of others. Convinced that the liturgical reform is urgently needed, he is often impatient and makes excessive demands on all involved in his program. . . . He is widely misunderstood. Frequently charged by priests of sacrificing pastoral care to liturgy, he in fact shares a rare intimacy with his parishioners. Called a reactionary by liberals and a radical by conservatives, he is in fact free from such labels, utilizing the best of every thing from all times and all places to enrich the Christian experience.” 62. Bacigalupa (1923–2015), a native of Baltimore, obtained a BFA from the Maryland Institute of Art, with subsequent graduate work at the Florence Academy of Art, and the Art Students League of New York. He established his art studio on Canyon Road, “The Studio of Gian Andrea,” in 1954, and received numerous awards throughout his long career. His bronze sculpture, “St. Francis and the Prairie Dog,” sits outside City Hall in Santa Fe. He published his autobiography in 1977, Journal of an Itinerant Artist (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1978). 63. Conversation with Jackie Nelson. Andrea Bacigalupa, “Santa Fe’s Illuminated Walls,” Liturgical Arts 39, no. 4 (1971): 102. See also W. L. Krieger, “They Understand and Respond to What They See,” Chaplain (Winter Quarter 1973): 53–59; and Andrea Bacigalupa and Fr. Clifford Stevens, “Liturgy Comes Alive in Old New Mexico,” Our Sunday Visitor, March 3, 1974, 1, 8. For further development of his ideas on “illuminated walls” see “Windows—The Light of the Spirit,” Stained Glass 68, nos. 3–4 (1973–74): 31–34. 64. Ruth Almy, “Faith and Art Join Hands in Santa Fe,” Faith and Art, 1972. The attendance at the Sunday Masses at Liturgy in Santa Fe by non-Catholics became a source of tension between Schauer and the archdiocese, with many priests and laypeople concerned that the community was no longer actually Catholic. A 1980 article in the New Mexican describes Liturgy in Santa Fe as an “ecumenical community.” 65. Concert program notes. 66. Letter of Fr. John O. Mills, OP, to Rev. Kieran J. Healy, OP, Promoter for Media Development, October 20, 1982. See also Eileen D. Crowley, Liturgical Art for a Media Culture, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), 23–25. 67. This plot was Tract No. 2 of the original Zens land located in Zone 1 of the City of Santa Fe. After Liturgy in Santa Fe sold the land, it was further


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subdivided in 1987 into seven separate parcels. The original Heritage Hall building was sold to local artist, Ron Robles. 68. See “Report by the Liturgy in Santa Fe on the World Congress for Audiovisual Media and Evangelization, November 6–11, 1977, Munich.” Schauer and Bacigalupa had received the invitation as a result of a letter of support from Archbishop Sanchez to Cardinal Knox. According to the report, Schauer met not only with Knox but also chatted with then Archbishop Ratzinger about the work of Liturgy in Santa Fe. See also Blase Schauer, “Painting with Words, Written in Images,” unpublished essay. 69. New Mexican, January 25, 1974, C1; and Albuquerque Journal, August 4, 1979; and various media articles. 70. Albuquerque Journal, May 28, 1977; and various correspondence from Archbishop Sanchez; Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. 71. New Mexican, April 19, 1981, D1. See also New Mexican, May 26, 1977, A14; and various correspondence and architectural drawings. The architectural firm of Johnson and Nestor of Santa Fe was chosen, with Oratory member, Stan Davis, of Davis and Associates donating his ser vices as contractor. 72. New Mexican, May 25, 1980; September 3, 1980; and September 11, 1980. 73. Blase Schauer, “The Heritage Hall Forum—A Daily Program of Cultural Connections between the Sacred, the Human, and the Cycle of Nature,” various versions between 1980 and 1981. For his ideas about symbol and heritage (culture), Schauer relied heavily on the works of Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung. 74. Ibid. 75. Conversation with Joseph and Anne-Martine Moore in April 2016. Moore and Donnelly ran these daily programs for nearly two years. Jim O’Donnell also worked closely with Fr. Schauer in the execution of these programs. 76. Edward Brett and Donna Brett, “Heritage Hall Forum at the Liturgy in Santa Fe Celebrates 500th Program,” draft monograph and also published as “Forum Celebrates 500th Liturgy Program,” Modern Liturgy 10, no. 6 (1983). 77. A term used by Clifford Stevens in describing the theological approach of Schauer. See “A Liturgical Pioneer,” Priest 29, no. 11 (1973): 24–27; and “Santa Fe’s Liturgical Oasis.” 78. Schauer, “Liturgical Seasons and Parish Liturgy,” Priest 31, no. 2 (1975). 79. Acts of the General Chapter of Providence Rhode Island (2001), nos. 107–8. See also “Primitive Constitutions,” Prologue.

Call and Response American Dominican Artists and Vatican II eliz a beth mich a el boyle, op

In 1962, when John XXIII convened the historic Second Vatican Council, he reminded the People of God that every baptized person has a religious vocation, a universal call to holiness. Throughout the council’s documents, synonyms for the noun call with the sense of vocation, occurred over two hundred times, and verbs like entreat and exhort intensified a sense of urgency to respond. For the rest of the twentieth century, inspiration from Vatican II documents dominated Christian theological discourse and opened challenging implications for ministry. Among those who responded to the council’s multifaceted call from the Spirit were Dominican artists for whom “the arts can be genuine sources of theology.”1 For an artist living the Dominican life, contemplation transforms the artistic process, translating inspirations from the Holy Spirit, not into words, but into the universal languages of light and color, space and silence, music and drama; all of these contribute their unique power to the preaching mission of the order. God has blessed the Dominican order with so many artists that they cannot all be included in this short essay. From among them I have chosen only a few to represent collectively, a movement, not of artistic style, but of the Creative Spirit, a movement calling the church to reform a damaged image of God and to reclaim the Gospel’s priority for the poor. Some aspects of this movement had been growing for decades, especially among artists whose works not only responded to, but often anticipated, the concerns voiced by the council fathers. These artists will be presented, not in the context of art history, but in the context of a specific call from Vatican II. Four council mandates hold special significance for members of religious communities: to reanimate the original scriptural and historical roots of the congregation,2


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to provide leadership in liturgical renewal,3 to feed the spiritual hungers of the poor,4 and to spread the gospel of justice through contemporary means of social communication.5 Gerardine Mueller, OP, a Dominican sister of Caldwell, New Jersey, exemplifies how the inspirations of the Spirit in her own creative process anticipated the first of these council mandates. From her father, a florist, and her mother, an accomplished fashion designer, she inherited a deep faith and a love of beauty together with a talent for expressing both these values visually. At the age of fourteen, she embraced Dominican life and began a lifetime of intense artistic activity in numerous media. In 1959, for an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, her masterwork incorporated exquisite miniature images of Dominican saints into an illuminated Ceremonial of Latin Rites for Religious Reception and Profession. Sixty years later, no one understands the Latin text, but the vivid colors and masterful calligraphy of the manuscript continue to excite startled admiration for an artifact that combines techniques of a medieval manuscript with miniature figures rendered in a combination of styles she calls “stylized realism.” In a 2015 interview, intellectually vigorous in her late nineties,6 Gerardine narrated how, five years before Vatican II convened, she had unconsciously fulfilled the first mandate, the council’s formula for internal renewal of religious life: immersion in scripture and a reactivation of the original charism of the founder.7 Commissioned to design stained-glass windows for a chapel in the sisters’ retirement facility, Gerardine experienced the commission, not as an ordinary assignment, but as a call to provide something deeper than decoration to feed the contemplation of retired sisters living in relative confinement. Her inspiration began with the question: How could the figures in these windows, so familiar to all Dominicans, speak afresh to the spiritual needs of her sisters? Imagination pictured them silently listening to Dominic’s window, preaching to them. She knew his favorite Gospel was Matthew. Eight windows suggested eight beatitudes (Mt 5:1–10). As a master calligrapher, Gerardine reached for more texts. This prompted a juxtaposition of each beatitude with a Dominican quotation. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” for example, chimed with Dominic’s legacy: “Make your treasure out of voluntary poverty.” From this combination of Matthew’s

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Gospel and Dominican preaching, an inexhaustible series of visual homilies emerged. Each window became an invitation to daily renewal in the two fundamentals of spiritual renewal—Gospel and original charism— soon to be named in Perfectae Caritatis, the document on religious life that came out of the Second Vatican Council. At about the same time, miles away in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, Teresita Kelly, OP, was also drawing on these two sources of renewal when she was called to envision a chapel for her congregation’s headquarters. Born in Iowa and professed in Sinsinawa at the age of twenty-seven, Teresita earned an MFA from the Catholic University of America and taught high school and college art for thirty-two years without attracting much public attention until, still wearing her floor-length Dominican habit, she was photographed atop a scaffold working on a giant mosaic. This masterpiece convinced her superiors that Teresita possessed the vision—and more importantly the stamina—to produce a Dominican chapel as the centerpiece for a building to house archives, heritage center, library, art galleries, and lecture hall. Architecturally, the structure itself would preach the essential elements of Dominican life: study and prayer supporting mission and culminating in a communal act of praise. In a series of oral history conversations recorded for the archives many years later, Mother Benedicta Larkin recalled how the artist explained her plan.8 Mother Benedicta’s remembrance captures the natural poetry of Teresita’s creative process wherein every element—site, materials, architectural design—became metaphor or symbol. Teresita’s artistic vision attests that she required no Vatican mandate to “return” to scripture. Her design envisions that, as her sisters chanted the Psalms and listened to the Gospel, her windows would engage them in a dialogue with nature as it silently invoked the Word. Made of faceted slab glass, the thirty-seven windows resting under the chapel’s fluted dome would capture the rays of the sun as it moved from east to west and joined the sisters in an act of praise “from the rising of the sun to its going down.” At the same time, the flaming glass would wordlessly quote Jesus: “I have come to cast fire on the earth.” In language that evokes Teilhard de Chardin, Teresita continued: “The light of this fire sparks back to the burning bush . . . and forward to Christ’s power over matter. . . . The whole human race is symbolically embraced in this story, from the longing for the Savior to being caught up in his redeeming love.”9 What is also embraced in Teresita’s style is the spiritual


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eloquence of nonrepresentational art fostered by a generation of abstract disciples of Kandinsky. Just as some Dominican artists anticipated what Perfectae Caritatis would eventually name the twin sources of renewal, so Sacrosanctum Concilium’s mandate for full lay participation in the Eucharist was actually the culmination of a call issued by liturgical artists decades earlier.10 After the council, these patient pioneers rejoiced when liturgical changes initially granted as concessions swiftly became mandatory. From 1963 throughout the rest of the twentieth century, liturgical artists and musicians were in great demand as parishes and religious congregations assiduously set about renovating churches, chapels, and hymnals to conform to new liturgical guidelines.11 Celebration of the Eucharist and the Divine Office in the vernacular replaced trained choirs with congregational singing and created an instant demand for “singable” hymns and mass settings. Among musicians who responded to that need, three prolific Dominicans with distinct styles demonstrate how liturgical renewal presented composers with both opportunity and challenge: Magdalena Ezoe, OP, Amy Chan-McFrederick, OP, and James Marchionda, OP.12 Born in Tokyo, Magdalena Ezoe entered the United States a few years after Hiroshima on a scholarship from the Adrian Dominicans to attend Barry University in Florida. After profession in the Adrian congregation, Magdalena earned an MFA from the University of Michigan and spent most of her professional life in music education at Adrian’s other college, Siena Heights University. As a pianist, composer, educator, and performer with chamber and symphony orchestras, Magdalena represents a Western classical tradition. Her liturgical compositions include Mass in Honor of All Saints, Mass in Honor of St. Catherine, and thirteen settings for Responsorial Psalms with arrangements for choir, organ, keyboard, clarinet, and hand bells, plus twenty original hymns, medleys, and choral and instrumental arrangements. In a personal interview,13 Magdalena commented on her dual vocation as a composer and a Dominican in mission. At first, surprisingly, she acknowledged: I don’t perceive my music in relation to the preaching mission of the Order, because I never begin composing with a message in words. Liturgical music is always a dilemma for an instrumental composer, because liturgical composition begins with the text—a text which can-

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not be changed. That’s not where a pianist begins. It would be true to say, however, that musical structure creates a spiritual space that opens the congregation to the beauty of the Word. Music speaks to the heart more than words do. Through the music more than any other element, the liturgy becomes “incarnational,” because music involves the whole body.

Despite this initial difficulty, Magdalena composed liturgical works using the composition technique called text or word painting, also known as tone painting. In this method, phrases and patterns imitate the emotions expressed or elicited by the text. When the text expresses joy, the musical line ascends; when the text speaks of death or grief, the line goes down. Gregorian word painting symbolically suggested such theological concepts as the paschal mystery of death and resurrection. Examples of word painting can be found in styles ranging from Gregorian chant to Garth Brooks. Commenting on the state of church music fifty years after Vatican II, Magdalena was candid: “The problem is that so few congregants—and celebrants!—can read music. This is a deficit in seminary curricula. Since music is integral to liturgy, why then, is it not integral to training those who preside!”

Dominican friar James V. Marchionda, OP, is a musician, composer, and conductor. Archives, Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP Center for Dominican Historical Studies, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois.


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Magdalena’s Dominican brother, James Marchionda, OP, who made his profession and was ordained in the decade following Vatican II, suffered no such deficit. Born in Ohio and educated in both theology at Aquinas Institute and music at the University of Wisconsin, Marchionda combined his priestly ministry with that of music director. The post–Vatican II demand for vernacular liturgies focused his creative energies, and almost immediately after ordination, he began to compose for his local parish choir. To his surprise, he received official encouragement in a more ambitious direction. While I was serving as Associate Pastor in a Dominican parish, the Provincial, during a routine visitation of the community, encouraged me to resign from the parish and dedicate myself full-time to the music/ composing ministry, promising provincial financial support for as long as it took to get my publishing career established. Without his wisdom and foresight, I might never have achieved the musical preaching ministry I have enjoyed and cherished for the past forty years. Throughout my career, the brothers in every house to which I have been assigned have supported me and my work whole-heartedly.14

A composer of over one hundred compositions for voice, clarinet, and saxophone and a recording artist and stage performer of songs both sacred and secular, Marchionda often enhances his lectures and parish missions with music and dance. Singing and listening to songs like those on Harvest of Justice, and Freedom in Forgiveness, congregations internalize the ecclesiology and social priorities of the council documents Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium. Even being elected to internal administration did not deter Marchionda’s vocation to preach through music. In 2015, while serving as prior of the Central Province, he produced the CD Celebrating the Year of Mercy. Although Marchionda composes in a contemporary style totally different from Magdalena’s style, he shares her sentiments regarding the role of music in liturgical worship. In his email reflection he further clarified the role of music in his Dominican life and mission: My work as a composer has been based almost exclusively on Sacred Scripture and the liturgical texts of the Eucharist. I believe most strongly that the music I compose is not merely an ornamentation to the work

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of the liturgy, but rather an extension of the preaching itself. Sacred music is preaching, the charism at the heart of the Order. People often find it easier to recall (and hum) a tune, than to remember the spoken words of a homily. Music that faithfully reflects the Word of God can linger in a hearer’s heart and soul long after the final note is sung. It is in the lingering that the preaching lives on and transforms lives.

Amy Chan-McFrederick, born in Kansas and raised by a Scots-Irish father and a Filipino mother, made first profession in the Great Bend congregation shortly before the opening of Vatican II. As a child, Amy had been introduced to the physical joy and discipline of music through dancing lessons. When she became a Catholic at the age of eight, the rhythms of liturgical prayer summoned her. Later, at the Catholic University of America, when her graduate studies in liturgical music composition coincided with the council’s mandate for vernacular liturgical compositions, she cheerfully embraced the mission of filling this demand. Although, like most sister musicians, she had to combine music with other ministries— liturgist, spiritual director, vocation and formation minister, preacher, congregational leader, missionary, and eventually, director of associates for the Dominican Sisters of Peace—each of these assignments inspired new compositions. In an email interview,15 Amy described the impact of the council on her congregation and her music: Our Sisters in Great Bend, Kansas, studied and discussed the Vatican II documents with great excitement, and . . . faithfulness to the call . . . to recognize the Holy Spirit in every person, and to respond to the needs of the world. At Catholic University during the summers from 1965 to 1970, there was much enthusiasm when composers like Joe Wise, Ray Repp, Miriam Therese Winter, and Carey Landry began writing music for worship. We flocked to their guitar masses on and off campus. Though there was much controversy and opposition from traditional choirs and organists, many welcomed the fresh new folk-style music . . . because both the music and the words seemed to speak our language and flow from the heart. . . . When my high school students gifted me with a guitar and taught me to play it—it unleashed my music in a whole new way. Up to that time, I had written sacred songs, motets, and music for solo voice and choir, for organ and/or piano. As


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I grew more skilled with the guitar, I began to pour out my heart in prayer songs and put scriptural verses to music. . . . I had always loved the Palestrina polyphonic motets, so I tried my hand at writing a few of them. However, motets required a choir. Most of my prayer songs were written for congregational singing in simple folk style on a lead sheet with melody, words, and guitar chords—to be improvised by musicians on keyboard, guitars, and bass. As I shared my music with sisters and friends, they told me that my “sing-able” songs expressed their prayers as well.

In the 1990s, Amy began receiving invitations to be the liturgist for congregational chapters throughout the United States. For these she wrote songs for each chapter theme and, when asked to serve as liturgist for national conferences and congresses of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Religious Formation Conference (RFC), and Dominican Leadership Conference (DLC), she wrote theme songs for them as well. These she recorded as Come, Risk the Sacred Journey and I Will Take the Fire. Eventually, some of Amy’s songs in translation traveled to Mexico, Rome, Spain, South Africa, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Caribbean, and Papua New Guinea. Like changes in church music, changes in worship space were either minimal or radical, magnificent or atrocious, depending on the resources, the theology, and the taste of the decision-makers. Fortunately, these decision-makers included Adrian Dominican leaders, who, beginning with their 1968 Renewal Chapter, repeatedly affirmed a profound belief that the work of the Holy Spirit would best be accomplished through development of sisters’ personal gifts. Among those who benefited from this visionary policy were two artists, Barbara Chenicek, OP, and Rita Schiltz, OP. Both were born in Chicago and graduated from Aquinas Academy eight years apart. They were heading the same art department when the decision to close the college offered them an opportunity to choose a new ministry.16 When, after study and prayer in Japan, Mexico, and Mali, they requested permission to adopt a “house of prayer lifestyle with art production as outreach,”17 they were given an abandoned laundry building that they set about transforming into INAI Studio. (Although neither artist was trained in architecture or construction, Rita had, as a novice, supervised the native workers who erected the buildings at her first mission

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in the Dominican Republic.) As the two women erected walls, installed lighting, and constructed furniture and cabinetry, they gradually felt called to preach through the medium of space. In their exhibition area, they created a series of twenty-six seasonal installations under the title: “INAI Environments: A Ministry of Artists.” For six years, these experiments provided their principal source of both contemplative energy and ministerial outreach. Each installation emerged from a minimalist aesthetic, often exposing an unadorned object—a dusty window, a frayed rope, a kitchen chair—surrounded by visual silence. Once a month, these provocative explorations of sacred space attracted retreatants from the adjacent Weber Retreat Center. When retreatants spread word of their INAI experience, the artists began to receive requests to design or renovate contemplative spaces. In 1983, when their stunning renovation “Dominican Chapel of the Plains,” Great Bend, Kansas, captured the Gold Medal and Best in Show awards in Interior Design Magazine’s prestigious competition, INAI’s national reputation was assured. Cover photo and a four-page spread celebrated: “The first time ever that two women, both full-time members of a religious order and practicing design professionals too, have been officially honored by the industry for an installation reflective of such eloquent simplicity and beauty.”18 Subsequently, two chapels for the Dominican Sisters at Grand Rapids, Michigan, also captured Interior Design Magazine top honors, and liturgical tapestries garnered separate awards from Interfaith Forum on Religious Art and Architecture. During INAI’s forty-year history (1973–2013), the studio created or renovated almost twenty sacred spaces in the United States, Canada, Italy, France, and Uganda. Each minimalist masterwork preached a new theology of space. The American Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy laid down the creedal tenets of this theology in “Environment and Art in Catholic Worship.” In INAI’s educational presentations and publications, Barbara Chenicek reiterated these principles: Ideal sacred space does not direct the eyes to a God “up there”; it locates the holy in multiple dimensions to communicate: “God is here in the midst of who we are.” Space design preaches that the people, not the building, are the church.


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Design does not allow “embellishment and intrusion of sentimental imagery to corrupt the original simplicity and intimacy of an incarnational encounter” (John XXIII). “Places of power, of stunning rightness, are devoid of trivialization, ego, misplaced priorities.”19 Upon these general norms Barbara and Rita imprinted their own signature style, a style admitting no compromise. Rita mastered many professional crafts necessary to assure that—from landscape orientation, to fabric choices, to mechanical installations—INAI’s unified vision controlled every detail. One quintessentially Dominican element was always light. From the French Dominicans of “L’Art Sacre,” INAI adopted a new kind of visual literacy—one where “light and space themselves signified— as powerfully as (perhaps more powerfully than) painted or sculpted representations.”20 By 2000, Rita’s extensive computer-generated calculations enabled natural light to approximate dawn and twilight. Pouring in from skylights and clerestories, natural light assured that the prayer space was never static. INAI archives preserve Rita’s meticulous blueprints, exquisite miniature models, tabernacle designs, and “hardware,” as well as Barbara’s poetic motivations for their award-winning ministry. But acclaim was never INAI’s primary goal. Of all artistic responses to Sacrosanctum Concilium, none was more theological, more passionate, and more ambitious than INAI’s commitment to make renovation of worship space a call to conversion of the worshiping community,21 a “transformation of consciousness which would go beyond the sanctuary to the fulfillment of worship in frontiers of social justice.”22 Understandably, implementation of a program involving so much individual and collective emotional history was not without controversy. Undeterred, the designers’ persistence implied: “Is not demolishing one’s comfort zone precisely the point of transformation?” That transformation of consciousness began during INAI’s unique community-building process, which produced a series of striking seasonal tapestries. Each ten-foot hanging consisted of as many as 4,500 individual fabric appliqués, diverse in color and texture, assembled like a mosaic by Barbara and Rita and then stitched together by teams of the resident community. In the completed artifact, a feeling of human presence assured a sense of ownership. When Barbara died (October 13, 2015), Do-

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minican Institute of the Arts President Barbara Schwarz summarized INAI’s mission: “All the chapels and churches Barbara built with Rita were not just buildings, but projects whose life force built and sustained communities brought together in the process.”23 Vatican II’s ideal of liturgical art as a vehicle for spiritual transformation in cultural contexts beyond church and chapel to the frontiers of social justice can also be seen throughout the Dominican community of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. According to Priscilla Wood, Promoter of Arts and Cultural Heritage, “To the extent that Vatican II reduced the distinction between sacred and secular, encouraged respect for indigenous cultures, and directed attention to the needs of the poor, we can infer an influence. However, all that has always been part of our lifestyle and value system from the example of our founder Samuel Mazzuchelli and from our leaders.”24 Art itself has kept alive the charism of Sinsinawa’s missionary founder, an architect and a musician. From liturgical music by Cecil Steffen rising daily from the praying community, from silent music like Elizabeth Devine’s stunning Benedicite series, from exhibits of visual treasures from the art archives in the Heritage Center—all continue to sing God’s praises long after the artists are silent. Joeann Daley, both beneficiary and embodiment of this spiritual legacy, has imprinted her own vigorous pioneer personality on each step of her long career as artist, arts administrator, and founder of the Cooper Village Museum & Arts Center in Anaconda, Montana. Raised on the rigors of farm life in Columbia, Wisconsin, Joeann habitually chooses labor-intensive media like etching, engraving, and printmaking. One series of etchings demonstrates how effective Dominican preaching begins with listening: “The landscape, the history, and the dignity of labor in this poor little copper smelting town . . . the inspiration of ordinary people directly connected with my interior landscape.”25 Throughout the Mound buildings, numerous artifacts offer compelling witness to the continuing integration of art into this congregation’s mission. During my visit in July 2015, the exhibit in the Mound Gallery reflected Sinsinawa’s priorities: paintings by Colette Mary White and Isabel Rafferty surrounded a recently recovered watercolor of Father Samuel’s “New Diggings Church.” On the opposite wall, two artists from Trinidad illustrated how effectively art preaches in a Pentecostal language. Trevor St. George’s colorful abstract of four sisters equipped with the steel drums


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of his Caribbean culture, while Jackie Hinsen’s Gospel scenes clothed biblical characters in native dress and twenty-first-century relevance. But artifacts and exhibits are not artists’ only contribution to the mission of the order. One of the anecdotes Priscilla Wood shared with me could easily have been the inspiration for Timothy Radcliffe’s statement: “It has been the arts that have kept alive the struggle of the poor and the oppressed. It has been music, dance, poetry, and posters that have continued to engage the heart of peoples to join the struggle for freedom and for life.”26 Priscilla recounted the story of how one Sinsinawa artistic team understood that the human hunger for beauty is as basic as the hunger for food, and ministered to that need. When Prioress Cecilia Carey declared 1985 the “Sinsinawa Year of the Arts,” Priscilla recalled serving on the implementation committee with Carol Artery (1928–2009), a musician and veteran teacher/administrator in Chicago’s South Side schools. When—overnight—her student population went from an all-white senior class to an all-black freshman class, Carol said to herself: “I can’t be teaching these kids The Sound of Music—I have to learn their music!”27 So Carol spent a sabbatical year embedded in poor neighborhoods, learning Gospel music in African American churches. At a meeting of the Year of the Arts Committee, Carol confided: The schools that need me and would love to hire me can’t afford a music teacher. I have this dream of an itinerant arts team that would travel to different schools and spend long enough with each for the kids to have an experience of the arts: music and drama and dance. They couldn’t have everything, but they’d have something rather than nothing.

Hearing this, Priscilla felt inner fireworks explode. Having just completed five years as communications director for the congregation, she felt free to volunteer for the team. To the team’s surprise, provincials immediately approved Carol’s dream and blessed it as a ministry to the poor—with “no visible means of financial support.” Our first two years were completely itinerant. We gave each school six weeks and worked with the children thirty minutes a day or every other day. And sometimes we rehearsed with high school students at night and elementary children during the day. At the end of each six weeks, we’d pack up and move on to the next school. At first we

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worked with schools staffed by Sinsinawa sisters in the poorer areas of Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Eventually, we expanded to other needy schools. We taught music, then added dance, finally a full production. Sometimes it was a play; sometimes a concert; other times poetry, puppetry, or mime. Their creativity was extraordinary. We did this for two years and absolutely adored every minute of it.

Carol’s election as Provincial rudely interrupted the dream for four years, but as soon as her term was completed, she and Priscilla reunited and resumed the project-–for the next seventeen years. “Those who are committed to the poor, must share the fate of the poor,” Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero once warned. During all those years, feeding beauty to the poor demanded financial sacrifice, not only from these two sisters who shared the limitations and anxieties of the families they served, but also from their congregation. Sometimes they only received $600 for a six-week project. So they developed another talent: how to compete for grants to work in deprived neighborhoods in New Orleans, Florida, Oklahoma, and Tuskegee, Alabama. By the time they were able to support themselves and also to contribute to “the common fund,” a hurricane had demolished most of their schools and terminated the mission. Thoma Swanson, a Dominican Sister of Peace from Ohio, is another artist whose gift called her to share the life of the poor. In the beginning of Dominican life, for Thoma, as for most artists in religious communities, art was a prayer experience. Her early paintings in praise of creation celebrated the “magic quality of light which charged a landscape with unexpected drama.”28 “That’s how it was until the year they launched the Corpus Christi submarine (April 25, 1981). I made a poster of Jesus crucified against a submarine. Officially, it was named after the city of Corpus Christ, but after a group of Catholic politicians protested naming a warship ‘Body of Christ,’ they renamed it.”29 In December of that same year, Thoma reacted to the deaths of three Maryknoll sisters and one Ursuline sister martyred in El Salvador with a startling red-and-white poster depicting four naked female bodies lying in grotesque agony. From each body a shaft of wheat arises, illustrating the accompanying text: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”


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The episode helped me to see, but it was not until I went to Peru that I knew what I wanted. I didn’t want to do art to get into galleries or make money. What I wanted was to be a voice of the people. It was a combination of art and liberation theology. Every summer, I was attending classes with Gustavo Gutiérrez in Lima. And big crowds of working people would come from 5 o’clock to 8:30. That’s when I became convinced that art had to speak to people and for people.

Thoma first went to Lima on a sabbatical year from Albertus Magnus College. She stayed for eleven years (1986–97). During this time Sendero Luminoso (the Shining Path) saturated her village with violence and bloodshed. “That got me into doing a book of woodcuts of the martyrs and making large banners which hung in the bishop’s chancery office.” One of Thoma’s saddest creations was a memorial labyrinth of 70,000 stones honoring the 70,000 people who died during the Shining Path’s reign of terror. The Sendero Luminoso persecuted anyone who, in their judgment, was dangerous because preaching peace among the poor discouraged them from joining the revolution. One sign left on slain bodies read: “This is how those who speak of peace die.” Thoma’s woodcuts commemorating these martyrs were inscribed with familiar biblical texts hailing them as preachers. In 2005, Joao Xerri, Promoter of Peace and Justice for the Dominican Order in Latin America, commissioned Thoma to create a poster commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the El Salvador martyrdoms. “In the painting she depicts not only their deaths, but also their passion, love, joy, and solidarity which united them to their people.”30 During Thoma’s years in Peru, she could also hear local artists preaching to her about art: Primitive folk artists unspoiled by sophisticated theory . . . make art out of their own cultural belief system. They do not work to win grants or join the “stable” of a popular gallery, or make the cover of ArtNews. They don’t wait until they can afford expensive art materials; they use whatever is available—from mud (not even clay) to used cans or straw or cardboard boxes and other trash.31

Thoma also worked with local folk artists to create a business that manufactured Tapecitos de vivencia, little tapestries representing Jesus, Guadalupe, and the saints looking like Peruvian peasants going about their daily lives. In 2015, Thoma’s retrospective exhibit “Swansong,” featuring

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both elegiac Peruvian landscapes and violent martyrdoms, captured both the beauty and the brutality of her experience. Other paintings celebrate the play of light on the works of natural creation. She describes these as “more like songs or poems,” whose “voices might indeed be a kind of preaching.” Whereas Dominican women like Thoma Swanson and Carol Artery were enriching their art by sharing it in different cultural contexts, Dominican men, responding to the call of the church in Inter Mirifica (On the Means of Social Communication) were pondering the means to preach in a global cultural context. In 1977, the Dominican International General Chapter observed: “We are witnessing the appearance of a new type of human person, marked in his or her outlook, behavior, and mode of expression by a characteristic best described as audio-visual . . . a new generation primarily TV-based, rather than book-based.”32 Compelled by this anthropological phenomenon, the friars adopted as one of four mission priorities: “Integration of the means of social communication in our preaching of the Word of God.”33 For the next twenty-seven years, eight General Chapters reiterated a summons to “use the media in accordance with the charism of the Order: to call to account injustices, to assist the poor and the marginalized, to give a voice to those who are being silenced, and to promote plans for laying a groundwork of a new society under the Gospel.”34 By 2010, Master General Bruno Cadore required that a brother be appointed in every province to promote the media ministry, to encourage vocations among media professionals, and to include media studies in formation curriculum . . . because “media affects not only those in media work, but every member of the Order ministering among people who have been profoundly affected by the media.”35 Local provincials, however, turned a deaf ear to this corporate clamor until individual artists heard a deep, personal call to embrace filmmaking as their primary ministry. Among these were Kenneth Gumbert, painter/sculptor, from the Eastern Province; Armando Ibanez, poet/journalist, from the Southern Province; and Dominic DeLay, performing artist, from the Western Province. All three men earned graduate degrees in theology and the arts at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California. Gumbert began as a painter and wood sculptor. “As far as I know,” he recalls, “I was the first male American Dominican to earn a degree in


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filmmaking.”36 He chose to research his thesis project by immersing himself in the spirituality of the Native Americans living near the University of Utah where he was studying. Introduced to the tribal leaders by Margaret Stechschulte, OP, he embedded himself for a year with the Ute community. He prayed with them, shared their life, and filmed their rituals in juxtaposition with Catholic liturgy. The concept was not new to a Dominican steeped in the legacy of Bartolomé de Las Casas, who had instructed missionaries to listen to the Indians’ experience of God before sharing their own. The film fulfills this ideal by featuring a Catholic priest listening respectfully to the religious experience of a First Nation “holy man.” Gumbert’s documentaries, Ritual Ways and Between Two Worlds, were both eventually aired by PBS. For a Dominican filmmaker, Gumbert explains, discovery is a contemplative process. “You begin by meditating on the narrative, asking, ‘Who is it in this story who has not been heard?’ ” The act of listening to untold stories of human rights atrocities perpetrated by atheistic communists took Gumbert on exhausting journeys through Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and other Baltic nations, and culminated in Saving Grace and Red Terror on the Amber Coast. The latter captured the Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals as “the best documentary broadcast on national television in 2005.” Eventually, Gumbert heard voices of victims closer to home. In 1992, as the Spotlight team of Boston Globe journalists was exposing child abuse scandals in the Archdiocese of Boston, public outcry demolished the presumption of innocence for falsely accused priests. One such case in Philadelphia attracted Gumbert’s attention, and he began filming the documentary Abuse in Philadelphia. Despite the fact that the prosecution’s only evidence was testimony from a convicted criminal which changed nine times, the jury inexplicably returned a guilty verdict, shocking even the judge. One devastated priest died in prison before his testimony could be heard. Although PBS had aired two of Gumbert’s previous films, this one did not interest them. Armando Ibanez, another award-winning Dominican filmmaker, was born of Mexican parents in the little South Texas town of San Diego, and grew up in the smaller adjacent town of Alice surrounded by economic oppression and racial/ethnic discrimination. Childhood experiences provided content and perspective for his adult pursuit of the Dominican mission through the arts. First of all, Ibanez recalls: “I fell in love with

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storytelling when I heard stories from my uncle and at the feet of my father, Geronimo. They were both great storytellers.”37 In a telephone interview, Ibanez explained how his media ministry also seemed to flow naturally from his gift for poetry: “Poetry led me to God, to the Order, to the ordained ministry—and eventually to film. I became involved in film by accident. I happened to be where someone else was shooting a film and he handed me a camera and said, ‘Here, hold this.’ Images frame by frame looked to me like poetry. I was hooked.”38 In 1994, having completed a master’s degree in theology and the arts at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Ibanez obtained permission to study at the American Film Institute. Before entering the order, he had enjoyed a short career as a journalist with the Corpus Christi Times. Except for short poetry pieces, all his films have been documentaries focused on victims of injustice: Native Americans, Mexican migrants, AIDS patients, survivors of rape, and inadequate government response to natural disaster. Ibanez’s artistic pleas for justice have consistently earned high professional recognition. South Texas Gentle Men of Steel–Los Padres, for example, reaped a harvest of gold and silver medals in prestigious international independent film competitions including the International Film Festival of Mexico and IndieFEST. Ibanez used the historical conclusion of an eighty-two-year Texas mission of Spanish Dominicans to open a documentary structured like a Russian nesting doll. Surrounding the personal story of Epifanio Rodriguez and Bonito Retortillo, is the larger story of the South Texas Dominican mission, which fits into the larger context of the Mexican American struggle for justice. This then nests within the tradition of the Dominican crusade for indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere in the age of Columbus. Both Spanish and American history are celebrated in the context of the 800th Dominican Jubilee. By juxtaposing archival newsreels recording twentieth-century abuse of Mexican American laborers with artifacts depicting the conquistadores’ slaughter and enslavement of Mexican natives, Ibanez compels attention to parallels. Spoken and printed texts in bold prose and bolder poetry preach a challenging gospel: A fine line indeed Between two worlds apart But a line, indeed, there is


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Between good and evil Life and death Mysticism and insanity.

Filmmaker Dominic DeLay also came to the order through the arts. As he explained in a National Catholic Reporter interview,39 he was studying one summer for his degree in music, when he joined a student group exploring Gregorian chant in a monastery in France. This reawakened the Catholic faith he had been neglecting and attracted him to Dominican life. After profession and ordination, DeLay formed a singing duo with African American John Paul Forte, with whom he performs and records. In 2010, DeLay founded Mud Puddle Productions, Inc. He has chosen to make short films in a poetic genre less accessible than the documentary. In concert performances, DeLay’s professional singing voice and commanding stage presence communicate powerfully. Yet his films (Soda Jerks, The Sisters O’Malley, Inside Darkness, Zola Jumped In) can be described as thought-provoking artifacts whose themes often elude the audience. When a typically baffled viewer asked DeLay what one of his films meant, he answered by quoting the choreographer Martha Graham’s response to a similar inquiry: “If I could say what it meant, I would not have danced it.”40 Perhaps the Creative Spirit might say the same about the gift of art in relation to preaching: The Pentecostal tongues of art embody an experience of the Gospel that is ultimately untranslatable. Before the middle of the twentieth century, relatively few American Dominican artists preached beyond their own congregations and provinces, and in the case of women, their artwork was often confined to enhancing motherhouse premises, while teaching art was their assigned ministry. This limitation broke down shortly before and swiftly after the spirit of openness to the world expressed in Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium effected two changes especially welcome to artists: the liberation of both theology and religious art from a false sacred/secular dichotomy and the widespread embrace among vowed religious of personal preference in diversified ministries. These phenomena, and their contribution to the preaching mission of the order, became especially evident after 1997 through the association known as the Dominican Institute for the Arts. Armando Ibanez, poet/filmmaker, is credited with convening the first organizational meeting of American Dominican artists held at St. Albert’s

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Priory, Oakland, California, on May 17, 1997. Christopher Renz, Western Province; Lisa Lopez Williams, Sinsinawa; and Rosemarie Hennessey, Mission San Jose, designed a weekend “Gathering” for June 20–22, 1997, which attracted the participation of twenty-two artists. This event, since recognized as the birthdate of the Dominican Institute for the Arts, was formally announced to the order in the Preachers’ Exchange.41 Editor Ibanez described the event and the goals of the new organization in several impassioned essays, while poet/musician Chris Renz and sculptor Phyllis Mrozinski contributed additional articles describing the Gathering and their profound reaction to it.42 From its inception, the association claimed the arts as a form of preaching. In fact, media artist Reid Perkins-Buzo’s commentary on the Gathering was itself a homily.43 In his article “Holy Ground,” Chris Renz enunciated a Dominican theme that has persisted throughout the DIA’s twenty-year history: “There is only one theological heresy: the tendency of human beings to split the body and the soul. . . . Part of the nature of being a Dominican artist is to be ‘incarnational.’ . . . We are the vehicles of the Word only to the extent that our minds remain attached to our bodies.” 44 So much content in this issue of Preachers’ Exchange focused on the arts that it read like a DIA newsletter: a glowing review of Ibanez’s first published collection of poetry, an article on how pianist/composer Michael Burke was incorporating music into his ministries in preaching, psychology, and spiritual direction, plus contributions by five poets. By January 1998, the DIA published its own Newsletter with the page one headline: “Dominican Institute for the Arts Is Born.” 45 Content for this issue reflected a sense of history-in-the-making. Every one of the twentytwo artists who attended the Oakland Gathering was listed with his or her artistic medium, thus communicating the rich dimensions of art in the Dominican family: poetry, dance, painting, photography, music, sacred space design, film, video, and web design. Attendance more than doubled for the 1998 Gathering at Mission San Jose, California, where sixty-three participants elected DIA’s first board of representatives: chair, Armando Ibanez, Southern Province; vice chair, Kathleen Harkins, Adrian; treasurer, Anita Smisek, Sinsinawa; Rosemarie Hennessy, Mission San Jose; Carolyn Roeber, Edmonds; Chris Renz and Dominic DeLay, Western Province. A year later, eighty artists assembled at Sinsinawa, and membership, which came to embrace professional artists,


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“recreational artists,” art therapists, and art appreciators, eventually peaked at 170. Historically, Dominican men were prominent in the DIA’s foundation, and Master General Timothy Radcliffe applauded the continuity of the arts in the order’s mission. “Since the foundation of the Order, Dominicans have been involved in the arts, as a way of sharing the good news of the gospel. This remains a high priority for the Order today.” 46 But after the first five years, with the exception of Dominic DeLay’s contributions, male participation waned. At the same time, the original character of the association as a support group was rapidly superseded by an emphasis on preaching. In the founding session in Oakland, artists had expressed “fears: of rejection—of not being good enough, of guilt—of wasting time.”47 Hence, on the eve of the 1998 Gathering, Chairman Ibanez read a letter that he had solicited from Timothy Radcliffe, to put to rest any residual guilt or criticism of art as merely “doing one’s own thing.” Radcliffe wrote: “This is really a way of preaching, just as much as talking from a pulpit. . . . When someone writes a poem or paints a painting, then that is part of our mission.” 48 We can only speculate that the influence of feminist theology and the increased importance of women in pastoral ministry were factors contributing to the women artists’ enthusiastic embrace of a concept that gave them access to the preaching ministry still officially reserved for men. Space limitations of this essay prohibit giving many outstanding DIA members the attention they deserve. Fortunately, the DIA’s own website now provides a virtual gallery of their works and highlights all recipients of the association’s annual Fra Angelico Award. Honorees include photographers, painters, filmmakers, composers, actors, dramatists, sculptors, and poets. Fra Angelico honoree Elaine DeRosiers serves as an excellent example of the imagination and ingenuity Dominican artists bring to the mission of the order. In addition to a career in educational media at the University of Notre Dame, Elaine managed to develop many other talents—as painter, actress, and playwright—even though she did not begin to cultivate her skills in oils and watercolor until after age fifty-five. Honored by the city of Springfield, Kentucky, for her architectural watercolors of local buildings, she still found time to contribute paintings to the permanent collection of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission. Since 2002, when the DIA launched its website, like American religious congregations in general, the DIA has experienced a mathematical para-

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dox: As its numbers have diminished, its activities, its audience, and its influence have multiplied. More important, thanks to social communications media-–and the indefatigable resourcefulness of Amityville artist Barbara Schwarz in promoting the arts at high school and college preaching conferences—DIA’s “preaching mission” has greatly expanded. In 2016, for example, when Barbara issued a call to the Dominican family for an online exhibition of artworks that preach justice and peace, the response was impressive in scope, quality, and diversity of art media. From children’s art therapy groups and Dominican young adults to middle-aged associates and older retirees came paintings, poems, posters, photos, videos, tapestries, and quilts, preaching on a full range of issues: farm workers’ rights, human trafficking, genocide, nonviolence, poverty, migration, endangered animals, clean water, superstorm reconstruction, eco-justice, and environmental protection. Joeann Daley’s eco-theology found unique expression when she addressed the issue of soil contamination by inventing a whole new method of etching on Styrofoam: “achieving with one of the humblest and most intractable of disposable materials a jubilant effect . . . part stained-glass, part illuminated manuscript.” 49 Each year, DIA Gathering participants are asked to revisit two questions: “How do we encounter God in our art?” “How do we preach through it?” Answers differ widely according to each artist’s life-context. At Oakland in 1997, for example, one sister artist was serving in a shelter for prostitutes; sitting beside her in the same discussion group a lay Dominican associate was wearing a sheriff’s badge. By the time of a 2015 survey, more and more members had transitioned in ministry from art teacher to art therapist, and some who had never before mounted a personal exhibit had disseminated numerous projects through social communications media. Margaret Sherliza, for example, reported that she had created 245 “preaching videos” for YouTube. Only one respondent said that she did not consider her artwork preaching at all. While 90 percent of those responding to the DIA survey consider their artwork an act of preaching the Gospel, their subject matter now tends to focus less on biblical illustration and traditional sacred imagery and more on celebrating the universe as the first scripture. In her survey response, Fra Angelico recipient Elizabeth Slenker, a Sparkill Dominican, takes ecotheology an interesting step further: “My most recent endeavor is to preserve in watercolor the endangered species of the world. Jesus says to us


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‘Go and preach the Gospel to all creatures.’ I take that literally. . . . I firmly believe that all created matter, whether inanimate or living, has a place in Creation. A beautiful wild animal has as much a right to this earth as I, and it is up to me and others to preserve it for them.” This essay began appropriately by depicting an artist responding to a call with an act of imagination. Her creative process evolved into a series of visual homilies on the beatitudes. This essay has drawn inspiration from artists who have blessed and been blessed by a unique experience of those beatitudes. Some artists create sacred space and music among the pure of heart and the gentle peacemakers; the art of others has led them to celebrate the sacred among the powerless, the poor in spirit, the mournful and the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for justice, and to suffer with the persecuted. Although few of the artists featured here have directly cited the influence of Vatican II, it is difficult to imagine them practicing their multimedia preaching in the pre–Vatican II Catholic world. These Dominican artists have issued no new dogmatic pronouncements, nor have they spearheaded any revolutionary artistic movements. Rather, they have quietly responded to the voice of the Creative Spirit who first spoke to humanity in the pre-linguistic revelations of nature and who struggles to be heard in the technological vernacular today. Ideally, their incarnational art preaches neither aesthetic theory, systematic theology, nor moral judgment. Like silence, Dominican art calls us to an experience of God. Notes 1. Marie-Dominique Chenu, La teologia nel secolo (Milan: Jaca Books, 1992), 9. 2. Perfectae Caritatis (Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life), 1965. 3. Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), 1963. 4. Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), 1965. 5. Inter Mirifica (Decree on the Means of Social Communication), 1963. 6. Gerardine Mueller, personal interview (Mount Saint Dominic, Caldwell, NJ), May 25, 2015. 7. Perfectae Caritatis, art. 2 a, b. 8. Teresita died in 2010. She is quoted in conversation with Mother Benedicta in 1985. Transcript: “Conversations on Tape,” Sister Mary Benedicta Larkin, OP, and Sister Marie Laurence Kortendick, OP (March 15–27, 1985), 16.

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9. Ibid. 10. For example, in Orate Fratres Magazine, St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN,1926; Pius XII, Mysterium Fidei, Mediator Dei, 1942; “International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1950.” 11. American Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Music in Catholic Worship”(1972); “Environment and Art in Catholic Worship” (1978). 12. Cecil Steffen, a Sinsinawa Dominican, composed numerous melodic hymns which are sung regularly within her congregation, but they are not widely performed beyond it. 13. Magdalena Ezoe, personal interview, Adrian, MI, August 29, 2015. 14. James Marchionda, email interview, May 17, 2016. All direct quotations from Marchionda are from this source. 15. Amy McFrederick, email interview, March 6, 2016. 16. Rita Schlitz earned a PhD in art theory from Universidad de Santo Domingo, taught in Collegio Santo Domingo, and supervised Hispanic construction workers who erected mission buildings there. Barbara Chenicek studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, earned her MFA from Siena Heights, and did postgraduate study at schools with Rita in California, Japan, Mexico, and Mali. Neither artist had studied interior design, but both had experience in creating theater sets. 17. Barbara Chenicek, personal interviews recorded at INAI Studio, Adrian, MI, August 26–28, 2015. Unless other wise stipulated, all direct quotations are from these interviews. 18. Interior Design Magazine, November 1983, 156. 19. Barbara Chenicek, “Thoughts within Time,” Faith & Form: The Interfaith Journal on Religious Art and Architecture 40, no. 3 (2007): 28. 20. Paul Philibert, “A Structure for Living Prayer,” cited in DIA Newsletter, Summer 1999, 4. 21. Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 9. 22. Barbara Chenicek in Vatican II: The Faithful Revolution, a five-part PBS documentary. 23. Barbara Schwarz, president, Dominican Institute for the Arts, letter of condolence to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, October 14, 2015. 24. Priscilla Wood, personal interview recorded at the Mound, Sinsinawa, WI, July 8, 2015. All statements, direct and indirect, by Priscilla Wood are from this interview. 25. Joeann Daley, “Artist’s Personal Statement,” DIA Survey, 2015. 26. Timothy Radcliffe, cited in DIA Newsletter, Fall 1998, 2. 27. Priscilla Wood quotes from her memory of the deceased Carol Artery’s story.


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28. Thoma Swanson, Address: “Art, the Holy Preaching,” Hartford, CT, Albertus Magnus College, September 28, 2014. 29. Personal interview recorded at Heartland Spirituality Retreat Center, Great Bend, Kansas, July 23, 2015. Unless other wise stipulated, all direct quotations are from this interview. 30. DIA Newsletter, May–June 2005, 1. 31. “Holy Preaching,” 2. 32. Chapter Acts, Quezon City, 1977, cited by Armando Ibanez in “Proposal: Corps of Dominican Media Professionals,” November 11, 2015. 33. All citations from Chapter Acts of the Dominican Order are from Ibanez’s proposal. 34. Chapter Acts of Rome, Ibanez Proposal, 1. 35. Bruno Cadore, OP, Visitation Letter to the Southern Dominican Province, May 9, 2010. 36. Gumbert was awarded an MFA from the University of Utah in 1990. All direct quotations are from Kenneth Gumbert, personal interview, recorded at Kenneth Gumbert Studio, Westport, MA, March 18, 2016. 37. Armando Ibanez, email January 12, 2017. 38. Armando Ibanez, telephone interview, recorded at Caldwell University Radio Studio, February 4, 2016. Unless other wise stipulated, all Ibanez quotations, direct and indirect, are from this interview. 39. Margaret Patterson, “Dominican Fr. Dominic DeLay, Film Maker,” National Catholic Reporter, October 17, 1998, 1. 40. Ibid. 41. DIA Newsletter, Summer 1997. 42. Ibid., 6, 15. 43. Reid Perkins-Busco, “Dominican Artists and Their World,” DIA Newsletter, January, 1998, 4–8. 44. DIA Newsletter, January, 1998. 6. 45. Ibid., 4. 46. DIA Newsletter, Fall 1998, 3. 47. DIA Newsletter, January 1998, 2. 48. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, letter to Armando Ibanez (July 18, 2000) 2. 49. 60WRD/MIN ART CRITIC, May 31, 2013.

Afire with the Itinerant Spirit Paradigm Shifts in the Foreign Missions donna m a ria moses, op

The concept of Christian mission has changed over the course of the centuries, but at the heart of Christian mission is proclaiming the Gospel, making disciples, and inviting others to join a community in preparation for a new reality that is to come.1 For the Order of Preachers the mission has always been about preaching, but as Saint Paul noted, “How can people preach unless they are sent?”2 Thus, for Dominicans the mission is to go where you are sent, to reflect on the needs of the people, and to preach, in words or in deeds, according to the promptings of the Spirit. At the start of the twentieth century the Vatican approved new constitutions for the women of the Dominican Order that allowed them to become apostolic, opening up many new mission possibilities for women’s preaching, including participation in missionary efforts overseas. Motivated by the belief that acceptance of the Catholic faith was the prerequisite for the salvation of souls, sisters went forth with zeal to nurse, teach, convert, and thus win souls for Jesus Christ. Whether they served as teachers, nurses, administrators, housekeepers, or cooks, the evangelizing mission gave meaning to a sister’s life. From the late nineteenth century to World War II the main emphasis in the Dominican missions abroad echoed that of the missions at home in the United States, namely, serving God by ministering in the fields of education, social work, and health care. Founding schools, orphanages, and hospitals remains a profoundly meaningful way of proclaiming the Gospel and promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church, but this activity was largely disrupted by World War II, after which a paradigm shift occurred in mission thinking. Sisters turned their attention away from founding new institutions toward a direct focus on helping people whose lives had been disrupted by war. During the Cold War the propagation of atheistic Communist ideologies prompted Americans to actively promote democracy as an alternative.


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America presented itself on the world stage as the promoter of freedom and human rights. Sisters joined in this national endeavor, but those ministering in foreign lands began to identify closely with the poor, and this association led them to question America’s involvement in foreign affairs. In places where the United States government was propping up ruthless dictators simply because they claimed to be anti-Communist and democratic, sisters found themselves at odds with American political rhetoric. They continued to operate out of the original mission paradigm of education, social work, and health care, but the new paradigm of working directly with the poor in foreign lands made them aware of a critical need for social and political change on a global scale. In the late 1940s and early ’50s democratic values were fused with Catholic Christian identity in America, and congregational mission statements had been rewritten accentuating the dignity of the individual. Rather than seeking to convert pagans and evangelize people of other faiths, Catholic sisters were building communities governed by Gospel values and the American principles of equality and freedom. The most significant shift in mission thinking came in the 1960s when the Second Vatican Council introduced the concept of church as the “People of God.” This idea was reinforced by Pope Paul VI in Populorum Progressio (1967) and the meeting of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) held in Medellín (1968) where the “option for the poor” and liberation theology took center stage. Dominican Sisters missioned overseas began to set aside the privileges of their titles and the trappings of middle-class American life in order to experience Christ more closely in the poor. They saw Christian discipleship as a means of achieving the goal of liberation— of the working class, of women, of historically oppressed races, and of the indigenous poor. At the same time that the spirit of liberation was taking root, Catholic sisters in the United States began to experiment with changes in response to the updating called for by the Second Vatican Council. In the 1990s the vocations crisis led to a personnel shortage and necessitated another shift in mission thinking. The original paradigm of mission centered on education, social work, and health care continued alongside the later paradigms of working directly with the poor and struggling to free the oppressed, while the new paradigm of lay collaboration emerged. Sisters began building relationships with other congregations,

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with the laity, with interfaith organizations, and with secular institutions. Many sisters moved away from serving in their own congregational institutions to embrace a broader range of ministerial opportunities. Intense differences of opinion arose about the advisability of the liberating modifications that were made as a result of Vatican II, and an ideological chasm opened up between progressives and conservatives that persisted into the twenty-first century.

First Foreign Missions from the United States For most Catholic women religious in the United States, building a Catholic educational system was the founding mission to which they were first called. The United States did not officially become a “mission-sending nation” until after World War I (it was designated a “mission country” until 1908). Four congregations of Dominican Sisters from the United States established missions in other lands prior to the founding of the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic.3 The first of these was begun by the Mission San Jose Dominicans, whose foundress Mother Maria Pia Backes, sent her vicaress, Mother Seraphina Maerz, to Europe in 1900 to recruit German-speaking women to teach the growing number of immigrant children in California. Religious vocations were plentiful in Europe at the time, but there were few houses of formation to receive candidates because of the secularization in Germany. Despite the anti-Catholic legislation of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Mother Seraphina opened a vocation house in a little village called Altenberg in a neutral territory between the German and Belgian border to recruit and train sisters for the California mission. “The sisters moved to Altenberg in time for Easter 1901, establishing themselves in a small rented house, which they immediately christened Little Nazareth.”4 In addition to recruiting German vocations, Mother Pia brought innovative German methods of pedagogy back to California to improve the quality of education offered in her schools. By the beginning of World War I, over a hundred women entered the novitiate in Altenberg and were sent to serve in Dominican schools and orphanages in California. When Altenberg was annexed to Belgium after World War I, Mother Pia transferred the novitiate to a twelfth-century Dominican monastery in Altenhohenau, Bavaria. The monastery continued to serve as a mission house into the twenty-first


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Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, California, established novitiates in Altenberg and Altenhohenau, Bavaria. Over two hundred Bavarian women were sent to Dominican schools and orphanages in California to serve German immigrants. Novices studying home economics in Altenhohenau. Archives, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, California.

century, and now operates under the supervision of the local parish as “Father’s House for All Nations,” a house of prayer and refuge. In 1901, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci from Albany, New York, were invited to set up an orphanage for abandoned black and mestizo children in Havana, Cuba. To fund their mission of educating the poor, the sisters taught children from wealthy families, whom they petitioned for financial support for the orphanage. The schools prospered, and new properties were purchased to expand their mission.5 This mission continued successfully until the Communist take-over in 1959 led to the expulsion of all Catholic missionaries. In 1909, Mother Pia again sent Mother Seraphina on a mission to another country, this time to Mexico City to consider a petition for teachers to provide quality education for girls in Mexico. Finding a supportive Dominican Provincial, sisters were sent to open a school for the children of the poor in Atzcapotzalco, a small village near Mexico City. Simultaneously they opened a house of formation to recruit and train local women to

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teach in Mexico and California.6 Just two years after the mission began, the president of Mexico resigned, and the country was plunged into a violent revolution. Anti-Catholic laws were enacted that led to the imprisonment of Catholic priests. The Dominican Sisters were dispersed, and their convents and schools were confiscated in 1926. Some sisters went to San Antonio, Texas, to staff a school for Mexican refugees fleeing the Catholic persecution while others remained in Mexico with local families. Some served in Tlalpan in the school and novitiate that was able to remain open under a letter of protection from the American consulate.7 The Mission San Jose Dominicans returned to Mexico after the Catholic persecution ended in the 1930s, and the mission continues under the leadership of native-born sisters to the present day. In 1910 the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, New York, sent sisters to teach in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, at the invitation of the local bishop there, and the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, New York, sent sisters to teach in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1911. The purpose of both missions was to staff schools as well as to provide care for orphans. Puerto Rico was a land where the Catholic Church had once been strong but was under assault by political ideologies that favored secularization. Jamaica had been colonized by English Protestants rather than the Spanish and was new territory for the Catholic church. Both countries faced dire poverty and civil unrest after colonial rule was withdrawn. The missions continued and eventually were turned over to native-born sisters with financial support from the founding congregations in New York. The Maryknoll Sisters were originally founded in New York in 1912. In 1920 they were officially established as the Foreign Mission Sisters of Saint Dominic, affiliated with the Dominican Order. The first sisters were sent to join the mission in Yeungkong and Luoding, China, in 1921. They ran a nursery, an orphanage, a facility for the blind and disabled, and a home for the aged. They understood their evangelizing mission as providing a sense of hope and humanitarian help while imparting a basic understanding of Christianity.8 In 1924 the Maryknoll Sisters expanded their missionary activity in China to Wonsan, now part of North Korea. Their third mission, the second largest after China, was founded in the Philippines in 1926, and the following year they were sent to build a Catholic school system in Hawaii.


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When Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and occupied large sections of North China, the Japanese army took over many of the coastal areas where the Maryknoll Sisters were living and working. They built a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kyoto, Japan, in 1937, but were forced to withdraw following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Sisters educated in the Japanese language were transferred to support Japanese Americans relocated to internment camps in the United States. Throughout this era, the mission paradigm centered on education, social work, and health care even as a shift in mission thinking to focus on aiding those most affected by the devastation of war began with World War II.

World War II: Disruptions and Changes World War II disrupted both the rebuilding of the Catholic Church in Europe and the evangelization of Asia. In Germany during the war, members of the Dominican Congregation in Altenhohenau took in refugees and some were conscripted into “war ser vice” to work in military hospitals: As the war dragged on, the situation in Altenhohenau became critical. A section of the American army was encamped across the Inn River from Altenhohenau, and the German troops began an attack perilously near the convent, which was in the direct line of fire. After five harrowing days, the German army withdrew—to the sisters’ relief. But, scarcity of food, particularly after the refugees’ arrival, was a constant threat.9

When the Japanese invaded Luzon and occupied Manila in 1942, most of the Maryknoll Sisters in the Philippines were forced to withdraw to safer territories. Sister nurses remained behind to care for the wounded and were imprisoned and tortured by Japanese soldiers. Several priests and sisters died before the liberation of the Philippines in 1945. Sister Hyacinth Kunkel, MM, went missing during the evacuation and is also presumed dead. After the war the Maryknoll Sisters returned to work in parishes, schools, and hospitals, and to conduct social work in the Philippines. Changing conditions brought the first inklings of a paradigm shift. In 1943 Maryknoll Sisters were sent to Riberalta, Bolivia, to collaborate with agencies sponsored by the United States and the Latin American Institute of Pastoral Social Action (ISPLA). They taught in schools and clinics in the jungle areas and ran a mobile health clinic by riverboat in isolated

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settlements, providing vaccinations, health examinations, and family life education. In the urban areas they ministered in parishes and schools. They broadcast radio programs to remote areas in the mountains. Catholic priests and religious worked together to bring about democratic reform through the introduction of social justice programs and ser vices not provided by the Bolivian government. In 1943 the Maryknoll Sisters were sent to Balboa, Panama, to teach and provide medical ser vices to patients suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy). In the rural areas they visited families and trained leaders to organize democratically run community programs to curb the migration of impoverished youth to dangerous slums in the cities. In the jungles, sisters worked with the indigenous poor to maintain the fragile ecological balance of the land that was their source of livelihood. Later in the 1960s some of these sisters would move to Managua, Nicaragua, where they aligned themselves with political activists working for social change. The Adrian Dominican Sisters were sent on an educational mission to Trujillo, then the capital of the Dominican Republic, in 1945. They gradually branched out into the hazardous border area between the Dominican Republic and Haiti in order to counteract the influence of the insidious spread of Communism. Fourteen years after their arrival the Dominican Liberation movement attempted to stage a coup against Rafael Trujillo, the ruthless dictator for whom the capital had been renamed. Trujillo retaliated by arresting and imprisoning thousands of people, including the American Bishop Thomas Reilly, CSsR. The sisters barricaded themselves in their school to avoid being arrested along with him. When Trujillo was assassinated, various factions attempted to seize control of the government, and the Dominican Sisters were instructed by the United States embassy to leave the country. Their schools and buildings were confiscated by the government in 1959 and have never been returned.10 Meanwhile in Asia, Japan had withdrawn from China in 1945, but the Chinese civil war raged on. The Catholic Church and the United States government took sides in this war condemning the Communist incursions under Mao Zedong, and vocally supporting Chiang Kai-shek, who promised democratic reform. When Mao defeated Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, all Americans and Catholics in China came under attack. Eight sisters were arrested and deported, and thirty-one were held in confinement while awaiting exit visas. Some fled along with the Chinese people to Hong Kong where they


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faced overcrowding, dire poverty, and famine. Conditions in Hong Kong were much worse than anything they had previously experienced in China, but they persevered in the original mission activity providing health care, education, and social support services for Chinese refugees.11 During this same period the Maryknoll Sisters were expelled by the Communists from Korea. Korean-born Maryknoll Sister Agneta Chang was forced to remain behind and was taken in by the Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, whom she served as formator of novices. The sisters tried valiantly to hide her from the Communist patrols by sheltering her in various villages near Pyong Yang, but on October 4, 1950, Sister Agneta was captured by Communist forces who loaded her onto a cart and took her away. A group of women were said to have been executed and buried in a mass grave nearby shortly after. Sister Agneta’s body has never been recovered despite numerous attempts through diplomatic channels.

Post–World War II: Anti-Communism The effects of World War II were particularly devastating in the areas where the fighting was the heaviest. In Hawaii the Maryknoll Sisters provided material support for the elderly and set up adoption services for children orphaned by the war. In Japan national morale and the economy were in complete shambles. Maryknoll Sisters were transferred to Japan from China to serve in Kyoto-fu, Shiga, Mie, Nara, and the Sapporo Diocese on the northern island of Hokkaido. They worked in parishes in Tsu and purchased a Japanese-style house in the Matsugasaki where they supported local women and widows trying to find a way to earn a livelihood. After World War II the mission paradigm took on a decidedly American flavor. At the outset of the Cold War, the Vatican supported democracy as a preferable alternative to Communism, and American religious were eager to share the benefits of democracy and freedom with people who had been made destitute by the war. “Mission promoters began thinking in terms of American responses to mission by reflecting on the positive and negative values they found in their culture.”12 Spurred by renewed zeal, women of the Dominican Order in the United States joined in national efforts to prevent the spread of Communism at home and abroad. While engaging in community building and direct outreach to the poor, they promoted Christian values and democratic principles. As a result of

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this endeavor, by the 1960s and ’70s they found themselves working more and more with the oppressed peasant classes and the indigenous poor, who suffered the worst under corrupt Communist regimes. They discovered that American commercial interests were sponsoring dictatorships for their own commercial gain, and the sisters’ efforts to advocate for justice met with violent opposition by antireligious and antidemocratic forces. Increasingly, the mission experience of Dominican Sisters drew them toward a proto-liberation theology. The Maryknoll Sisters in Tanganyika (Tanzania) began with informal conversations with indigenous women in rural areas. Through these encounters the sisters learned about a longstanding African tradition of chiefs trading females of child-bearing age in exchange for an equal number of fertile cows. Several young African women wanted to resist this fate, and the sisters established a native novitiate to help girls avoid arranged marriages by entering the religious life. The mission expanded to other villages where they offered basic medical care for mothers and children suffering domestic abuse. They set up shelters and accepted vocations of young African women called to religious life.13 The call to spread the Catholic faith and democracy through education along with providing access to Western medicine led the Maryknoll Sisters to serve in even more isolated parts of the globe in the late 1940s. For example, in the Pacific Islands they began an educational mission on Palau and gradually branched out to the tiny islands of Yap and Likiep in the Marshall Islands. Five hundred miles off the east coast of Africa, they taught children of the expatriate Chinese Catholics who took refuge during the war on the far-flung island of Mauritius. In Ceylon (Sri Lanka) they served as nurses in overcrowded municipal hospitals. Unlike their missions on other islands, in Ceylon, they were vehemently opposed by the majority Buddhist population that viewed Christians with suspicion. Sister nurses working in the hospital were under constant surveillance although they were careful not to proselytize. Nevertheless, the municipal council of the city of Kandy published an inflammatory letter in the local newspaper urging the government to expel them and confiscate their residence. The situation came to a head on September 25, 1959, when the Christian prime minister of the country was assassinated by a Buddhist monk. Riots broke out all over the island; the government seized buildings belonging to the church; and the sisters were forced to leave.


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Sisters took the spirit of opting for the poor to the foundation they began in Taiwan in 1953. Following the same pattern they had employed in Latin America, they branched out from their original established base to immerse themselves with the poor and learn their customs. In an earlier time, sisters would have considered the people they encountered in these villages as pagan, but they no longer thought in those terms. Instead of a mission focused on the conversion of pagans or the spreading of democratic principles, they conscientiously refrained from imposing any of their own ideas on the people and tried to understand their way of life. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the mission became about living with the poor as Jesus did and learning from them how to improve the human condition. Sisters avoided setting up a program that would make the people dependent on them or other foreign help for survival. This new pattern of mission employed the ideas of Medellín (see below) in a series of rapidly organized grassroots start-ups. The goal was to get to know the local inhabitants, discern what was needed, and train the locals to build selfsustaining communities that would thrive after the sisters left. Using the start-up model, sisters were sent all over the globe on short-term assignments. As one project was turned over to local leaders, sisters were moved to a new location to start another. However, the sisters discovered while establishing these start-ups that long-term advocacy for justice could not be turned over to locals who were unfamiliar with global diplomacy or the deeply entrenched political structures that kept them enmeshed in perpetual poverty. Sisters continued to advocate for justice through political channels and promoted systemic and structural change even after turning over day-to-day operation to welltrained locals. For example, while building base communities in Taiwan, the sisters discovered that homeless and indigenous girls were routinely being sold into prostitution by desperate impoverished parents. The sisters turned over the basic education and health care part of their mission, but advocacy for women and children caught up in human trafficking became a long-term part of many congregational missions in the 1990s. Several Dominican congregations sent sisters to accompany female refugees who were victims of human trafficking overseas, to rescue women caught up in corrupt mail-order bride schemes, and to provide shelter for women suffering from domestic abuse at home and overseas.14

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Similarly in Central America the Maryknoll Sisters opened a school for young women in Guatemala City in 1953. They discovered a huge economic disparity between the powerful upper class and the utterly impoverished majority, and there was heightened fear of a Communist revolution in Guatemala similar to what was occurring in Cuba. Inspired by the liberation paradigm of mission, sisters went out into remote areas of Guatemala to provide basic medical care and education for women and children who were susceptible to abuse. They found women who were profoundly skilled at producing beautiful Maguey weavings, but because of the oppressive social system that denied them the right to work, they were denied the profit of their labor. With the sisters’ help in overseas marketing the women gradually developed a domestic industry that brought in sufficient funds to support them and their families. This mission continues to this day. Other congregations took up the idea of founding start-up missions during this period. For example, the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend went to Nigeria where they provided basic health care and education with the intention of turning this work over to locals as soon as they could be trained. Unfortunately, a violent civil war (July 1967–January 1970) broke out, and the sisters were forced to withdraw before the locals were able to carry on the work. The Dominican Sisters of Adrian went to the Bahamas where they staffed an elementary school and founded a teachers’ college in 1957. After the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the school was turned over to local leaders. Since the Arab-Israeli War of June 1967 there have been many peace plans and many negotiations to try to restore peace to the region. Prayers for peace especially in the Middle East became a major component of Dominican justice work in the second half of the twentieth century. This movement coincided with increased interest in interfaith spirituality and prayers with and for people of other faiths. The Dominican Friars began a mission in Pakistan after it gained its independence and invited the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill to join them in the educational mission there in 1958.15 The friars built Catholic schools and the sisters taught the children of the poor and lower class in Urdu, as well as the children of expatriate British and wealthy Pakistani families in English. As violence and unrest continued to erupt in the years that followed, most British citizens withdrew from Pakistan and the student


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population became primarily Muslim. In the late 1960s the sisters expanded their mission, opting for the poor in the outlying areas of Fatimapur, Rahim Yar Khan, and Khanewal, where they taught impoverished children and provided basic humanitarian help. Smallpox, tuberculosis, hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid were rampant in the mid-twentieth century, and they set up dispensaries to combat these diseases. In Bahawalpur they trained locals to help minister to the sick and dying and turned over the work to move on to more remote areas. They recruited lay Dominicans from the United States, whom they trained as nurses and medical workers. Following the same liberation mission paradigm the Maryknoll Sisters had used in Latin America and Asia, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill began working with indigenous tribal groups.16 They changed their way of thinking about mission, describing it as witnessing Christ among the people rather than working for conversion or spreading Western ideology. Anti-Western prejudice increased after the First Gulf War and fundamentalist Islamic terror began to spread. Nevertheless, the Dominican mission in Pakistan continues despite dangerous circumstances and the ongoing possibility of martyrdom.

Second Vatican Council: Renewal and Work with the Poor The Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965 signaled the beginning of a new era in the Catholic Church. The council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium, 1964) had a profound effect on the women of the Dominican Order in the United States. Its radical redefinition of church as the People of God initiated a movement away from the identification of the church with the clerical hierarchy and affirmed the inherent dignity of all people. Inspired and motivated by this new way of thinking about church that was confirmed by their own experiences in mission, sisters set out to dismantle hierarchical systems thinking in their own congregations and began to cultivate grassroots leadership styles. In 1971 this movement led to the reorganization of the Conference of Major Superiors of Women (CMSW), a conference that could be attended only by major superiors. The new conference, calling itself Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), with the goal of being less hierarchical, allowed congregations to send their entire leadership teams.

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A small group of the more conservative congregations objected to this change, believing that the LCWR was deviating from authentic teaching about the essentials of religious life and founded another organization called the Consortium Perfectae Caritatis (CPC). In 1992 this organization eventually renamed itself the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) and began to assert itself as the only authentic conference, undermining the efforts of the LCWR, which remained the larger assembly. The Vatican has tried repeatedly to unify these two conferences, without success because of deep-seated differences of opinion among the members about leadership, mission, and the religious way of life. As a result of the lay movement that followed the Second Vatican Council, sisters recognized not only their own inherent dignity as leaders within the church, but that other members of the laity shared the church’s mission. They set out to integrate the laity more fully into their mission, and lay professional participation expanded as the People of God responded to the call to be more actively involved in discipleship. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life continued to diminish in the 1980s, and the retirement of elder members who entered during the “baby boom” years created vacancies in many religious institutions. Lay ministers took up positions previously held by priests, brothers, and sisters in parishes, schools, and hospitals in the United States, as well as in the missions overseas. At the beginning of the twenty-first century finance and health care departments benefited greatly from newly developed partnerships with well-educated Catholic laypeople whose expertise helped consecrated religious leaders navigate the increasingly turbulent seas of congregational administration. The seeds of the current situation in which religious seek to empower the laity while their own power grows more and more tenuous can be found in the documents of Vatican II. The “Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life” (Perfectae Caritatis) was published in 1965, and the norms for implementing that decree (Ecclesia Sanctae, II) came out the following year. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes, 1965) promoted the concepts of empowerment and mutuality. Guided by these two documents and their own experience, the Maryknoll Sisters and other women of the Dominican Order committed themselves to closing the gap between rich and poor at home and overseas. The political and social realities where the sisters were stationed


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played an important part in reshaping their understanding of mission. With local organizations they provided education, health care, and humanitarian aid, and were frequently drawn into complicated and dangerous political quagmires. In the encyclical “On the Development of Peoples” (Populorum Progressio, 1967), Pope Paul VI described in eloquent terms what sisters were encountering in the missions. In some places the church was in collusion with powerful secular authorities oppressing the poor and obstructing the development of peoples. The pope linked economic development with peace and called the faithful to take immediate action to close the widening gap between the rich and the poor. This injunction set in motion the liberation movement that changed the focus of Catholic missions in Latin America from the goal of promoting charity and democracy to one of liberating the poor from oppressive elitist regimes that benefited from their subjugation. Sisters in Latin America engaged with the laity in efforts they called collaborative pastoral activity to free the poor from the endemic cycle that kept them impoverished. This movement spread like wildfire throughout the world, but it was in Latin America that it first really took off.

Medellín and Liberation Theology At the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) in 1968 Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, launched the idea of “a preferential option for the poor.” This phrase was picked up and promoted by bishops, priests, and religious who set out to immerse themselves with the laity in order to move away from places of privilege to work in solidarity with the poor to resist exploitation more effectively. The spiritual renewal that accompanied this movement continues to inspire numerous religious men and women to learn the way of Jesus by walking with the poor. Many missions begun in this era continue to thrive despite mixed results in achieving lasting systemic social and political change. Through immersion with the poor, religious men and women learned more deeply and authentically what it means to live and share the Gospel with the poor. They were themselves converted by the mission as a result of the Vatican II mission paradigm shift. After the Medellín Conference of Latin America in 1968 sisters began to incorporate the ideas of Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino, OP, and his libera-

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tion theology. In Latin America Dominican friars and sisters gave up the luxuries of the Western middle-class lifestyle to which they were accustomed in exchange for learning the way of Jesus from the poor.17 In Chile the Maryknoll Sisters were among the first to adopt this new pattern, forsaking the security of the institutions they founded in Galvarino in the 1950s for rural areas where they could encounter firsthand the root causes of the social inequity that perpetuates poverty. The Maryknoll Sisters began to believe they could learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the indigenous than they could from academic materials about evangelization. Sisters’ personal accounts of mission experiences during this period repeatedly express the idea that they were the ones being evangelized rather than the other way around. In Peru the Maryknoll Sisters’ mission began in the city of Lima with education, social work, and health care. After Medellín they moved out into the slums where the poor were forced to live. This led to the self-liberation of over 4,000 people who pulled up stakes and struck out into an unoccupied area southwest of the city to build a better future life, calling their new village Ciudad de Dios (City of God).18 In practical terms the change of thinking after Medellín resulted in new missions focused on helping the poor organize themselves more effectively to demand their basic human rights to health care, land reform, higher wages, and affordable housing. For example, when the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci sent sisters to Colombia in the 1960s, instead of going to the more affluent areas of Bogotá that might have drawn them in a previous era, they went directly to the barrios of Santiago Apostol and San Carlos-La Fortaleza. They provided basic education and vocational training and set up a cooperative to help the people manage their own money and become less dependent on others for their welfare.19 In older missions that had been founded decades before the liberation movement began changes took place. For example, as mentioned earlier in the Amityville mission, in Puerto Rico native-born sisters began to exceed the number of American-born sisters in the 1960s, and the congregation turned responsibility for the mission over to qualified Puerto Rican leadership. Likewise, by the late 1960s native-born Mexican sisters had taken over leadership of the Mission San José in Mexico, extending outreach to the indigenous people in Chiapas. In the Blauvelt mission in Jamaica native-born sisters asked to separate and form a new congregation


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in the 1960s, but they were unable to sustain themselves financially and merged back a few years later. After Jamaica gained independence in 1962, the sisters turned the mission over to local lay leadership. In Bolivia, the Maryknoll Sisters branched out and worked to empower local women to become financially independent. They organized cooperatives and developed credit unions to support domestic industries that would help local women become self-supporting. Dominican congregations from Columbus, Sinsinawa, and Sparkill sent sisters to learn from the Maryknoll project in Bolivia and went on to build collaboratives elsewhere. The Columbus Dominicans went to Chimbote, Peru, in 1966 and organized self-empowerment programs for women and developed radio programs like those used by the Maryknoll Sisters in Bolivia to reach the people in remote parishes. The Adrian Dominicans sent sisters into the outlying areas while the Maryknoll Sisters continued their outreach to the poor in Ciudad de Dios. Despite the stalwart efforts of thousands of religious men and women working to improve the human lot and financial stability of the people of Latin America, racial tensions and economic inequalities persisted and violent uprisings followed. Thousands fled poverty and oppression by emigrating to the United States as soon as they could earn enough money to do so. The mass exodus deprived these countries of their best and brightest citizens and further destabilized the development of functional national governments. According to the American Community Survey in the US Bureau of the Census 2000, between 1970 and 1980, the number of Latin Americans living in the United States tripled and then nearly tripled again during the 1980s. This exodus grew exponentially decade by decade, becoming a national immigration crisis in the United States and a source of bitter political contention by the end of the twentieth century. The Maryknoll Sisters expanded their missions in Latin America throughout the 1980s, sharing their missiology with other congregations. In Panama they built base ecclesial communities and used them as a training ground for religious men and women from other congregations. Teams trained with indigenous Kuna, Waunan, and Embera in the remote jungle area of Darien. As elsewhere, the plight of the indigenous stemmed from rampant poaching of their resources and the exploitation of the land that was their source of livelihood. The efforts of religious men and women to advocate for social justice in these areas were violently opposed by cor-

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rupt forces behind the scenes. Sisters’ political activism was sometimes quite successful, but their lives were frequently at risk. When circumstances spun out of control in Latin America in the 1980s, the Maryknoll Sisters were urged by the Vatican to withdraw rather than let themselves be martyred for the cause of justice. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, despite their precarious position as a Christian minority in a predominantly Islamic land, the Sparkill Dominicans began accepting local vocations in the 1980s. This decision met with violent opposition, and one of their sisters was killed by an unidentified gunman while walking in the park with two of their Pakistani novices. During the Gulf War (August 1990–February 1991) anti-American hostilities increased, and violence erupted in Pakistan sporadically. Despite the embassy’s recommendation that all Americans leave Pakistan during this time, the Sparkill Dominican Sisters bravely continued their mission to provide education and outreach to the poor regardless of faith. The Maryknoll Sisters’ mission in Udon Thani, Thailand, was a collaboration with the local congregation of the Lovers of the Cross. They developed a formation program for the Lovers congregation and trained their novices to provide health care ser vices in rural areas. As in Taiwan, the sisters discovered that women and children were regularly sold to human traffickers by destitute families. The Children’s Foundation estimated that there were almost three million prostitutes in Thailand in 1967, and a third of them were minors. The Maryknoll Sisters set up refugee centers for trafficked women and children, and the Lovers took over the work of protecting them from abuse. The Maryknoll Sisters and other Dominican congregations raised consciousness of the spread of this travesty against the dignity of women and established international political networks to abolish human trafficking of vulnerable populations. The Maryknoll Sisters had gone to Saigon to help Catholic Relief Services at the height of American involvement in the Vietnam War and came under fire in Saigon and Hue. They rescued hundreds of malnourished and injured women and children from starvation and exploitation and continued this work well into the 1990s despite Communist opposition to missionary activity. Dominican sisters from several congregations were temporarily missioned in the 1990s to collaborate with local Vietnamese congregations to help vulnerable women and children escape corruption and human trafficking.


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In Nairobi, Kenya, the Maryknoll Sisters opened a hospital in 1969 and provided social ser vices for the poor along the border with Uganda. They trained laypeople for pastoral work in the Sudan before running into government obstruction of visas. A virulent outbreak of the highly contagious green monkey disease caused the mission to shut down temporarily, but work resumed after the epidemic subsided. In 1977 the Adrian Dominicans sent sisters to help set up a formation program for the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi. In the ensuing decades the Maryknoll Sisters have made the best of declining resources in Africa by rotating sisters between Kenya, Tanzania, and the Sudan and training lay leaders to run parishes without priests. When tribal warfare breaks out, as frequently happens, they provide emergency relief and outreach among refugees in makeshift camps. In Somalia and the Sudan they have lived under siege, ministering to starving refugees and sometimes being forced to withdraw in the face of armed conflict.

Peace and Justice In Nicaragua under the brutal Somoza regime, the Maryknoll Sisters provided medical assistance for refugees during the Sandinista insurrection (1972–79). They stood in solidarity with the poor, empowering them to demand their rights and to protest armed actions taken against them. In Managua they came under assault when the Nicaraguan National Guard came through in 1977, and when the Sandinista Front for National Liberation and Freedom Fighters came through in 1979. Sister Janice McLaughlin gave testimony before the United States Foreign Affairs Committee informing them of atrocities committed by the American-backed Contra (counterrevolutionary) forces and persuaded the United States Congress to withdraw economic support for the policy that had contributed to the political upheaval. After the Sandinistas overthrew Somoza and decades of fighting came to an end, the Maryknoll Sisters provided medical assistance and emergency relief for refugees. Other congregations sent sisters and lay associates to help rebuild when a new government was put in place and to prevent vulnerable women and children from being exploited.20 Pope Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation “On Evangelization in the Modern World” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975) had inspired many sisters to see the

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mission as “a total way of life.” With this mind-set sisters went to Ecuador in 1975 and to Venezuela in 1976. In El Salvador where sisters had been training local leaders since 1968, there were growing concerns about drug cartels drawing the youth into gang violence. Sisters helped lay leaders develop strategies for resistance and were opposed by those who benefited from the status quo. Sisters in El Salvador soon found themselves labeled as subversives and targeted by the Salvadoran military. The situation escalated and drew international attention after Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated in 1980. Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clark and Ita Ford, American Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and Maryknoll lay missioner Jean Donovan soon after followed him in martyrdom. In response to the humanitarian crisis in El Salvador the four churchwomen had been sent to work with refugees, but they were regarded by the local government as leftist revolutionaries. On December 2, 1980, the four women were abducted as they traveled from the airport and were raped and murdered by members of the National Guard. Despite ongoing corruption, drug-related violence, and human trafficking, the Maryknoll missions in El Salvador and Nicaragua continue to this day. Since the 1980s millions of refugees have fled from Latin America seeking asylum in the United States and elsewhere. Alarmed by the ongoing political violence and martyrdom of many priests and religious, the Vatican eventually retracted its support of liberation theology and called for a move away from fighting for justice to focusing on providing expressions of love and compassion for the people.21 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, warned priests and religious that liberation theology had become entangled with Marxist thought in Latin America and silenced several liberationists.22 In the mission in Bandung, Indonesia, the Maryknoll Sisters found themselves in another highly charged political situation in the early 1970s. In this predominantly Islamic area, the sisters defined their mission simply as offering Christian witness to peace, much as the Sparkill Dominicans had done in Pakistan. Through interreligious dialogue they sought ways to work together with people of other faiths to improve the situation of the poor. They aspired to understand endemic justice issues from the local perspective and learned that population growth, unemployment, and urbanization were the people’s main social concerns. Together with


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local agencies they provided education and basic health care. However, jihadist terrorism in the 1980s was on the rise, and they regularly encountered inflammatory anti-Western sentiments. When civil war broke out in Zimbabwe, the Maryknoll Sisters were sent in 1977 into areas where the people were most at risk because of ongoing tribal warfare. They found the root cause of the violence in cultural marginalization and dehumanizing poverty. Maryknoll Sister Janice McLaughlin was caught in the crossfire when she and three other members of the Justice and Peace Commission were arrested and jailed. “There has been no radical change in the inherited structures and in our priorities, too few openings in business, civil service and professional hierarchies, and the competition for these few openings becomes very fierce.”23 The Vatican and United States successfully negotiated their release from jail, but the Maryknoll Sisters continue their work in Zimbabwe advocating for change amid ongoing tribal warfare. The threat of natural disaster due to climate change adds to the destabilization of the area.

Diversification and Collaboration As liberation missiology fell into disfavor in the 1980s, the idea that would become a central part of the mission paradigm at the turn of the millennium was sprouting up everywhere. That idea was diversification. In the United States women were graduating in record numbers with college degrees, and many occupations previously available only to men began to open up for women. Well-educated and determined to break out of the traditional mold, American women were looking beyond the typical female vocations of child-rearing, nursing, and teaching to a wide-open range of possibilities. Religious vocations were associated with typical female occupations, and inquiries about religious life dropped off precipitously as new career paths opened up for women. Diversification became a central aspect of mission thinking, and the word “diversity” appeared frequently in the congregational reports of this period. When other faiths and other Christian denominations opened up ordination to women in the 1980s, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shut down discussion of women’s ordination. That decision was seen as shortsighted and out of step with the signs of the times by many Catholics who saw it as an unacceptable denial of women’s rights. Thousands

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of people left the church to become people with “no religious preference,” and hundreds of professed sisters requested dispensation from their vows. With fewer vocations to religious life and fewer women available to fill vacancies the church began to experience a severe personnel crisis. A few new missions began in this tumultuous period. A small group of Maryknoll Sisters started a new mission in Bangladesh under the sponsorship of Caritas International, and three sisters were sent to teach at Bethlehem University on the West Bank, Israel. Their assignment was interrupted when universities in the West Bank and Gaza were closed during a Palestinian uprising, and they were forced to withdraw amid rising terrorist activity.24 Sisters served on the faculty of a seminary in South Africa amid similar violence. One sister wrote home, “Our Time and Newsweek magazines are full of news about South Africa. Of course, we do not need the magazines to tell us that the situation is very bad and tense. It is all around us.”25 A state of emergency was formally declared, and the sisters were forced to withdraw. Negotiations between the white minority government and leaders of the South African liberation movement eventually led to the repeal of the apartheid system, and sisters have returned to help build a stable post-apartheid South African government. Maryknoll Sisters also went to Kathmandu, where they served in refugee camps in eastern Nepal just as Communist violence was on the rise. Amid brutally suppressed protests and strikes they tried to pave the way for peace by being reconcilers in a place where Christians were viewed with animosity. Visa constraints tied them up in legal battles and continually hampered their effectiveness, but they remain committed to promoting peaceful development in Nepal in a “non-violent, non-institutional, tolerant and adaptive manner.”26 In 2001 Dominican Sisters International invited all Dominican congregations in the United States to join in a collaborative project in South Africa. Dominican Sisters from Blauvelt, New York, arranged scholarships and mentorship for South African sisters at colleges in the United States and set up ongoing spiritual formation programs for women. Fifteen Dominican Sisters from four different congregations in the United States have taken part in the Dominican South African Project so far, and this collaborative effort continues. The church’s personnel shortage in the United States turned into a fullblown crisis after the news broke of sexual abuse of minors by priests and the subsequent cover-up by superiors. The number of priest vocations


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dropped off precipitously just as vocations to religious life were reaching an all-time low. While the Vatican and bishops and clerics in dioceses throughout the United States developed guidelines to resolve the pedophilia scandal and prevent further abuse, congregations of women belonging to the LCWR responded to the vocations crisis by rallying support for their missions among the laity. The members of CMSWR called for greater allegiance to the Magisterium and a return to traditional women’s ministries in Catholic education. Sisters missioned in other nations began to prioritize the needs and pool their resources in order to continue to be effective in areas where they were most needed. As natural disasters proliferated around the globe, emergency relief needs escalated. In Brazil the Maryknoll sisters were part of a multivocational team of priests, brothers, and lay missioners providing health care and collaborating with local movements. In Cambodia, sisters set up a community health program providing medical care for HIV+ men and women with treatable infections, and palliative care and hospice for those dying of AIDS. Their main ministry of protecting refugees from civil unrest and building base communities to shelter displaced women from human trafficking and prostitution continues. At the same time long-standing global epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, as well as such epidemics as Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H1N1 influenza, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) present widespread health care risks today. The Dominican Order has an active international network that promotes gradual systemic change through education, health care, social work, and direct outreach to the poor as well as justice advocacy. Sisters continue to attend to basic immediate needs in places most affected by these issues even while they work to resolve the systemic justice issues of ignorance, corruption, and greed. In Papua New Guinea and American Samoa they train lay leaders as teachers for basic education; in Namibia they train workers to treat HIV+/AIDS; in Albania they run programs to empower local women and provide them sanctuary from abuse and violence; in Northern Island they run family resource centers for troubled youth; in Honduras they provide housing for the homeless and minister to families dealing with gang violence; in Iraq they address the needs of refugees of the war against terror.

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At the same time, more and more women, including women religious, are getting doctoral degrees in law, medicine, education, sociology, and the arts and sciences. Women theologians are forging new understandings of cosmology motivated by the climate concerns that have become an urgent priority for those who work directly with those most affected by natural disasters. “They take a holistic approach, understanding that we are all connected in one web of life and the well-being of one affects that of all. They see a link between human domination of nature and male subjugation of women, both of which are upheld by patriarchal systems.”27

Sustainable Development Many congregations are focusing on sustainable development and consolidating their resources. One such consolidation resulted in the founding of the Dominican Sisters of Hope (DSOH) from three former foundations (Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, Newburgh, New York; the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Fall River, Massachusetts; and the Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor of the Immaculate Conception, Ossining, New York) in 1995. Seven years later the Catherine de’ Ricci Dominicans merged with Dominicans of St. Catharine in Kentucky, the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs in Ohio, the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend in Kansas, the Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic in Louisiana, the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Akron, Ohio, and the Dominican Sisters of St. Rose of Lima in Oxford, Michigan, to form the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The Tacoma Dominicans entered into a covenant relationship with the Sisters of Providence in 2018. Dominican congregations and the Maryknoll Sisters agreed to commit their resources to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) adopted by the United Nations in 2015.28 Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture. Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.


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Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Goal 10: Reduce income inequality within and among countries. Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Goal 13: Combat climate by regulating emissions and developing renewable energy. Goal 14: Conserve the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Goal 15: Restore and promote sustainable use of ecosystems and promote biodiversity. Goal 16: Promote peaceful inclusive societies for sustainable development at all levels. Goal 17: Strengthen and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. These broad overarching goals call for sustained strategic collaboration across many agencies and will require the support of all the members of the United Nations if they are to succeed. President Donald Trump refused to endorse them, but the Vatican approved them before the vote and reiterated this support at the conference titled Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2019.

Conclusion Five years of research actively listening to sisters assigned in transcultural missions overseas and studying archived reports about the Maryknoll and Dominican Sisters’ missions revealed that there were four paradigm shifts in their way of thinking about their mission in the twentieth century. The first shift was a movement away from the original mission of founding and running Catholic institutions to care for the young, the sick, and the vulnerable in the United States and in foreign countries, to direct outreach

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to people who were most affected by the global humanitarian crisis caused by World War II. The second shift, motivated by the Communist scare and the threat it posed to the American way of life, led to a preaching mission that combined the promotion of democratic principles along with Christian teaching in the mission of the church. The third and most significant shift was the recognition of the poor as the people of God and the liberation theology that came out of the Medellín Conference in 1968. The fourth shift, toward the end of the twentieth century, was diversification of ministries and collaboration with the laity in response to diminishing vocations and the church’s personnel crisis. All five ways of mission thinking continue to be operational today even as a new paradigm arising from feminist theology and the new cosmology is beginning to take hold. Dominican Sisters in the United States continue to minister in education, health care, and social work, to reach out directly to people affected by war and natural disaster, to immerse themselves with the poor in order to live the Gospel more authentically and help people achieve liberation from oppression, and to serve in diverse ministries in collaboration with others. Today’s congregational leaders are employing contemplative dialogue to listen to a multiplicity of voices and ideas about the future direction of religious life. Some Dominican congregations are completing their mission and turning over ministries to lay associates who are capable of carrying on their legacy, while others continue to praise, to bless, and to preach in thirty-three congregations at home and twenty-four missions overseas.29 Notes 1. David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), viii–ix. 2. New American Bible (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2002), Romans 10:15. 3. Donna Maria Moses, American Catholic Women Religious: Radicalized by Mission (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 18. 4. Mary Thomas Lillis, Seed and Growth: The Story of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose (Mission San Jose, CA: Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, 2012), 269. 5. Martha Marie Kelly, “History of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci in Cuba” (Elkins Park, PA: Unpublished manuscript, 1979), 15.


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6. Maria Pia Backes, Her Days Unfolded: Woman of the Word, 2nd ed., ed. Julie Distel (Mission San Jose, CA: Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, 1991), 315. 7. Maria Victoria Hernandez, Ministry under Fire: The First Foundations in Mexico (Mission San Jose, CA: Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, 2002), F-2. 8. Penny Lernoux, Hearts on Fire: The Story of the Maryknoll Sisters (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), xxiii. 9. Lillis, Seed and Growth, 449. 10. Mary Philip Ryan, A Review of the Overseas Mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters: No Barren Bush (Adrian, MI: Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1977), 2–3. 11. Betty Ann Maheu, Maryknoll Sisters: Hong Kong, Macau, China, 1968– 2007 (Maryknoll, NY: Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic, 2013), 4. 12. Angelyn Dries, The Missionary Movement in American Catholic History (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998), 79. 13. Catherine Erisman, Maryknoll Sisters Tanzania (Maryknoll, NY: Unpublished manuscript, 2010), Appendix ii, 2. 14. Rose Ann Schlitt, Wisdom-Gathering: Learnings from Our Overseas Experiences of Mission (Adrian, MI: Adrian Dominican Sisters, 2015), 24. 15. Ernest B. Boland, American Dominicans in Pakistan (New York: Dominican Province of St. Joseph, 1997), 5. 16. Ibid., 31. 17. Elizabeth V. Roach, Maryknoll Sisters in Peru and Ecuador: 1951–2001 (Maryknoll, NY: Unpublished manuscript, 2010), 60–61. 18. Ibid., 37–38. 19. Eillene Patricia Primrose, “Letter to Mother Emmanuel Horan,” Bogotá, Colombia, October 2, 1963. 20. Schlitt, Wisdom-Gathering, 24. 21. Rich in Mercy: Encyclical Dives in Misericordia, November 30, 1980 (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1981). 22. Tissa Balasuriya, Mary and Human Liberation: The Story and the Text, ed. Helen Stanton (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1997), 77–78. 23. Janice McLaughlin, “Letter to the Sisters” (Nairobi, Kenya: Unpublished manuscript, 1972), 1–2. 24. Maria Homberg, “Teaching in Bethlehem,” Maryknoll Magazine (Maryknoll, NY: Maryknoll Society), January 1987, 18. 25. Bridget Chapman, “Letter to Sister Joan and the Sisters,” Port Elizabeth, South Africa, October 14, 1984. 26. Rosemary Huber, Maryknoll Sisters Nepal Region History: 1988–2003 (Maryknoll, NY: Unpublished manuscript, 2003), 17.

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27. Barbara E. Reid, Wisdom’s Feast: An Invitation to Feminist Interpretation of the Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2016), 6. 28. Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (New York: United Nations, 2015). 29. Nona McGreal, Dominicans: A Short Introduction to Our History in the US (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1997), 9–10.

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Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers commonly referred to as Dominicans, faced a problem one late afternoon in 1206. He had converted nine women to Catholicism, and as a result, they were no longer accepted by their families. As he pondered the situation from atop the hill village of Fanjeaux, rays of the setting sun fell on the vacant church of Ste. Marie de Prouille below. There lay the answer; he decided to turn the building into a monastery. By the end of the year, the small group of women had become the first Dominican nuns.1 A decade later, Dominic reproduced the life at Prouille in a community designed to unite several groups of Dominican cloistered contemplative nuns living in Rome. The house was called Saint Sixtus, and its way of life was codified in a rule that would shape the lives of Dominican nuns for centuries. By the start of the Napoleonic wars in 1803, there were fiftythree Dominican monasteries in France. Napoleon, however, suppressed or abolished them all except for a small group from the monastery of Nay, who received permission to refound their community in 1807.2 It is to this refounding that the American nuns trace their roots. This essay follows the separate journeys of a young American woman and a French Dominican priest, each leading to a foundation in the diocese—now archdiocese—of Newark, New Jersey. From the cities of Newark and West Hoboken (later Union City) came two networks of contemplative women: one dedicated to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the other to perpetual recitation of the rosary. By the mid 1890s, there were two established Dominican cloister traditions in the United States. Within a half century, each of those first foundations stood at the head of a network of daughterhouses known by a core devotion, either to the Blessed Sacrament exposed day and night in the monastery chapel, or the twenty-four-hour recitation of the rosary before the altar.

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The final section of this brief survey looks at how each tradition fared in the years following the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

Dominican Cloistered Contemplative Life An important aspect of cloistered life, that of enclosure, was highly visible and often puzzling to outsiders. Monastery buildings and property were often surrounded, or “enclosed,” by an impenetrable high wall. Within the enclosure, the nuns’ chapel was separated from the public by a screen or “grille,” as were the visitors’ parlors. Neither wall nor grille was intended to keep the nuns in, but rather to keep the distractions of the world out, as well as ensure privacy. The combination of stone buildings, walls, and grilles could be misleading. Typical was the reaction of a young visitor when a community held open days for its new monastery. She was heard exclaiming, “But where is the dungeon? That’s what we came to see!”3 The young woman visiting the monastery did not find a dungeon, but she did find a wall, grilles, and an open-air garden in the middle of the house, all features of a cloistered community. The word “cloister” itself accounted for the outer wall and that inner garden. As a verb, “to cloister” is to enclose or seclude. When used as a noun, a cloister is a pathway, open on one side, surrounding an inner quadrangle, usually a garden. In addition, the visitor would have been told that once visiting days were over, no one was allowed in any part of the house or grounds, excepting the public chapel or the visiting parlors. Strict enclosure became the norm when Pope Boniface VIII decreed in 1298 that all women who desired to call themselves nuns must live together in enclosed communities. The whole idea of women being secluded by walls and grilles, however, dates back to a centuries-old aphorism that said to live in safety, a woman needed either a man or a wall. Women religious offered another interpretation of this sort of seclusion. From the Rules of Augustine and Benedict that were developed for women in the early centuries of the church, through those of Dominic and Francis, to Teresa of Avila and later reformers, the emphasis was on enclosure as a source of energy for deeper union with God. The outside world represented not danger, but distraction.


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Perhaps the most frequently asked question about contemplative communities was—and still is—“What do the nuns do all day?” The daily schedule (or horarium, in monastic language) of a Dominican contemplative house revolved around liturgical prayer: mass and the divine office. Six times a day, members of the community gathered in chapel to chant a portion of the book of psalms, and each nun spent an hour of prayer before the altar. In addition, they prayed the rosary in common, as well as the office of matins at midnight, and each nun devoted a portion of her day to spiritual reading, formal meditation, and private prayer. They prayed for the world, the church, the community, sinners, and especially the petitions presented to them from those outside of the monastery. Through the middle of the twentieth century, most Dominican nuns spent four to five hours daily preparing and chanting the divine office in Latin. Besides prayer, the day contained two blocks of time for work, which was focused on administering and financially supporting the monastery. In the morning, this often included making liturgical vestments, embroidered pieces, cards, and altar breads. Extern sisters begged weekly among local merchants for supplies and money. Reliance on the generosity of donors constituted a mainstay for contemplative monasteries, but the ways in which nuns supported themselves expanded and differed from house to house.

Dominican Monasteries Dedicated to Perpetual Adoration Julia Crooks (1838–1924), the youngest child of Ramsay and Emilie Pratte Crooks, met Monsignor Michael Corrigan at a family wedding. They became friends, and she confided to him her desire to live a life of prayer in a contemplative monastery. Unable to find the sort of contemplative religious community she was seeking in the United States, Crooks traveled to France to continue her search. Her spiritual director, Dominican Provincial Ambrose Labore, took her to visit Mère Marie Dominique at the Monastery of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Oullins, and the American seeker realized she had found a home. The monastery in Oullins had been endowed by the wealthy Countess of Villeneuve with the stipulation that the Blessed Sacrament be exposed in its chapel day and night. Mère Marie Dominique agreed, because she realized that although perpetual exposition was not part of traditional Do-

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minican spirituality, it would not be incompatible with their daily schedule. As a result of her decision, the first Dominican monastery dedicated to perpetual adoration was founded.4 Julia Crooks entered the monastery at Oullins on June 1, 1873, receiving the name of Sister Marie de Jésus (Mary of Jesus). She spent seven years following the routine of the house, later saying that it had been a joy to live in such a fervent community. To add to that joy, her niece, Virginia Noel, followed her to Oullins in 1875, and was given the name Sister Mary Emmanuel. Sister Mary of Jesus’s dream, which she shared with Labore, was to establish a contemplative foundation in the United States, and Mère Marie Dominique agreed with Labore that Sister Mary of Jesus might one day be allowed to lead such a mission. One month before Julia became Sister Mary of Jesus, Michael Corrigan was named bishop of Newark (1873–80). Writing to tell her the news, he explained that his new burden came with “the hope that before long Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament would, through your vocation, be brought to Newark.” 5 In 1876, Corrigan came to an agreement with Mère Marie Dominique that a new foundation in Newark would be established as soon as possible. One problem remained: the question of financial support. American bishops were reluctant to support contemplative congregations that were not dedicated to teaching or health care, and they worried that the nuns would become a financial burden on their dioceses. Sister Mary of Jesus had hoped to use her own funds to establish the new monastery, but the money she and her niece inherited depreciated in the financial panic of 1873, and she worried that it could be many years before they obtained the necessary backing. Corrigan and Ramsay Crooks, the brother of Sister Mary of Jesus, worked together to raise the money necessary to establish a Dominican monastery in Newark. The two men were able to raise sufficient funds to allow four nuns to occupy a rented house until a proper monastery could be built, and an opening date was set for June 1880. Sister Mary of Jesus sent a letter of instructions for setting up a house for formal enclosure, including a plan for a square two-story monastery built around a central cloister garden. Her original plan closely resembled the future Newark monastery and several of its descendants, or daughterhouses. Crossing the Atlantic with Sister Mary of Jesus were two Frenchwomen, Sister Maria Dominica Wernert and novice Mary of Mercy Donat, along


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with her niece, Sister Mary Emmanuel. (The latter would succeed her aunt as prioress in Newark.) All four pioneers were choir nuns, which meant they would rarely—if ever—leave the monastery; their primary focus would be a ministry of prayer. As a result, they would need extern sisters to care for the business of the house. A priest friend, Father Louis Dold, promised to recruit two American women who would serve the monastery in this capacity. The four nuns arrived in July 1880, moved into 122 Sussex Avenue in Newark, and almost immediately received a young woman who hoped to enter the congregation in September. Their early days in Newark coincided with Corrigan’s preparations to leave Newark and be installed as archbishop of New York. Sister Mary of Jesus expressed her feeling of loss in the close of a farewell note to the new archbishop, writing that she felt “so thoroughly penetrated with the feeling of my own weakness and incapacity.” 6 Corrigan said mass for the community the morning of his departure, smilingly promising, “God willing, you will follow me.” 7 Sussex Avenue was the nuns’ home for four years, and they developed relationships within the community. Local merchants, for instance, were generous to the extern sisters on their weekly visits to beg for food. In addition to begging, the extern nuns grew fruits and vegetables and raised chickens, and choir nuns made liturgical vestments, but their income amounted to no more than sixteen hundred dollars a year. Corrigan’s successor, Bishop Winand Wigger (1881–1901), hesitated to sanction construction of a proposed new monastery on Thirteenth Avenue because he was worried the nuns would be unable to support themselves. Friends of the community, however, convinced him both of the necessity for larger quarters (the nuns had received eleven postulants since their arrival) and the likelihood that God would help the nuns continue their ministry. The community moved into their new quarters two years later, burdened with a $42,000 mortgage. In time, they added making altar breads to their other works, which along with financial assistance from benefactors, allowed them to pay off the mortgage on the building. Despite the urban development that grew up around the monastery, the community persevered, and thirty-six members celebrated the foundation’s silver anniversary in 1905.

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Corpus Christi Monastery: The Bronx When Michael Corrigan was named archbishop of New York in 1885, he almost immediately began scouting for a suitable property on which to build a monastery. Finding several possible locations, he sent for “Notre Mère,” as her community now called Sister Mary of Jesus, and together they toured potential sites for a new foundation, which would be a daughterhouse of the monastery in Newark. Corrigan and Sister Mary of Jesus chose a plot of land in the section of the South Bronx known as Hunt’s Point, and decided to call the new monastery Corpus Christi. On May 26, 1889, Sister Mary of Jesus left Newark, along with five other nuns, to establish the new daughterhouse. On the way, they stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the archbishop presented them with a chalice, ciborium, and relics of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine of Siena. Ground breaking for the permanent monastery took place the next day. Many women believed they were called to enter contemplative religious life at Corpus Christi, and by Christmas of 1890, twenty-one Dominicans had moved into the new monastery. Since Sister Mary of Jesus was often ill, the archbishop appointed subprioress Mother Mary of Mercy as novice mistress. The two women, already close friends, became partners in the administration and leadership of the community.

Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament: Detroit During the first decade of the twentieth century, the monastery in Newark was thriving under the leadership of Mother Mary Emmanuel, who had replaced Mother Mary of Jesus as prioress. As a result, Mother Mary Emmanuel decided it was time to think about founding a second daughterhouse. She wrote to five bishops, and received five refusals.8 Mother Mary Emmanuel had all but given up on the idea, when she received an invitation from Bishop John Foley of Detroit (1888–1919). He had been with his friend, Father Francis Van Antwerp, when Mother Emmanuel’s appeal arrived, and wondered aloud if such a community could survive in Detroit. “Let them come,” replied Van Antwerp, “and I shall look after them.”9 It was a promise he kept from the day in 1906 when he met Mother Emmanuel and her six companions at the city’s train station, until his death twenty-five years later.


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Van Antwerp located a spacious rental house on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, but it was in poor repair and infested with rodents. Mother Emmanuel described the problem in a letter to the Newark monastery, and received a novel answer. Railway Express delivered a large wooden crate with perforated slats labeled, “Feed Me.” When opened, out stalked a large mother cat followed by seven kittens. Just when the nuns had finally settled in to the new monastery and established perpetual adoration, the house in which they were living was sold, and the whole process of finding a place to live began again. By this time, the community was accepting women desiring to join the monastery, and its numbers had more than doubled. Mother Mary Emmanuel convinced the community in Newark to take on a $15,000 mortgage in order to finance a new monastery in Detroit. Since the new foundation had been established as a result of a decision made at the Newark monastery, she suggested, the sisters deserved the support of the motherhouse. A plot of land was purchased, and with the aid of a second loan, construction began. The nuns were able to move into a partially completed Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in 1909. All went well until the beginning of the 1960s, when the community found itself in the middle of a changing city landscape, frequent outbreaks of violence, and several attempted break-ins. Cardinal Edward Mooney (1937–58) donated property in the suburb of Farmington Hills, which allowed the nuns to move out of the city. They moved into a new monastery in July 1966, just one year before a major riot laid waste to a large swath of downtown Detroit.

Immaculate Conception Monastery: Albany Only a few years after the Detroit monastery was firmly established, Mother Mary Emmanuel’s determination to establish Dominican cloistered contemplative life throughout the country led to an attempt to begin a foundation in Albany, New York. She sought and received an invitation from Bishop Thomas Cusack (1915–18) in 1915 to bring nuns to the diocese. Told by a priest that “vocations would not be plentiful there,” she replied, “If God gave the inspiration, he would also give the grace.”10 From the beginning, the nuns struggled to establish a monastery in Albany. The seven nuns that arrived in 1915 found a “double house” downtown; one-half was to be used for enclosure—the area reserved for the

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living and working areas of the cloistered nuns—and the other part was designated for extern sisters and the chapel. The nuns began perpetual adoration, but finances remained a continual problem. Begging tours were disappointing; people donated provisions, but seldom money. Their mentor, Bishop Cusack, died only three years after they began, and the following year they received a letter from the governor of New York asking them to vacate the property as the land was needed for an expansion of government offices. The nuns moved into a similar house on Washington Avenue, where they remained until Bishop Edmund Gibbons (1919–54) reluctantly permitted them to build a permanent monastery in 1926. Albany’s Immaculate Conception Monastery was built with the help of a gift of $35,000 from the house in Detroit (raised by selling a parcel of their land) and furnished with the help of many friends. The sisters moved to the permanent monastery in 1929, a year after Mother Emmanuel’s death. They were encouraged by the many office workers and friends who visited the chapel during their lunch hours, and by the local Eucharistic League’s request to make the new monastery their center for perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.11 Although women continued to enter the community in Albany, the nuns struggled financially throughout the Great Depression and World War II. Finally, in 1956, a new prioress developed a way for the nuns to earn additional income. Some of the sisters were highly skilled in art, and this led to the establishment of pottery, silk screening, and sculpture studios. Gradually they added other crafts, began an annual Christmas sale, and opened a gift shop to augment their income.12

Monastery of the Holy Name: Cincinnati In 1915, the same year that the monastery in Albany was founded, the nuns in Newark approached Archbishop Henry Moeller (1904–25) for permission to establish a foundation in Cincinnati. Moeller agreed, and five nuns, led by First Prioress Mother Mary Saint Peter, moved into a house on Melrose Avenue in April 1915, and called it Monastery of the Holy Name. By 1923, larger quarters were required to house all of the young women entering the community. The nuns moved to Woodburn Avenue, but a noisy business district developed nearby, and they were forced to relocate again to a bigger building with more land, where they expected to build a proper


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monastery. Benefactors were generous, and the nuns worked at making liturgical vestments to supplement their income. They also developed a thriving Venite Adoremus Association, in which members became “sharers in the prayers and penitential exercises of the nuns,” who designed enrollment cards and benefited from the annual dues.13

Corpus Christi Monastery: Menlo Park, California Mother Mary of Jesus’s cousin in California urged her to write to Archbishop Patrick Riordan (1884–1914) about establishing a foundation in San Francisco in 1906. The San Francisco earthquake prevented the monastery from being established at that time, however, and the next communications were from Mother Mary of Mercy to Archbishop Edward Hanna (1915–35). Mrs. Bertha Welch donated an estate to the order for the purpose of establishing a house of perpetual adoration in the Bay Area, and in 1921, eight Dominicans, led by Mother Mary of the Rosary, left the Bronx to begin a West Coast Corpus Christi monastery.

Monastery of the Angels: Los Angeles Perhaps the most unlikely spot for a monastery in California was exactly where a group of nuns from Newark wound up: in the shadow of Los Angeles’s famous Hollywood sign. In 1924, Mother Mary of the Eucharist and four companions founded Monastery of the Angels in a rented house while they began the process of building a permanent monastery. It took ten years, but the nuns finally located a beautifully landscaped parcel of land with a large house at the right price. The announcement of a garden party benefit for the building fund spoke of the sisters’ “exquisite needlework” as the chief source of their income. The same paper also posted notices of novenas to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and to prepare for Christmas. When the early California-style monastery was finished, just in time for Christmas Eve mass 1948, the community staged its own spectacle. The nuns carried lighted candles through the dark night behind their chaplain as he brought the Blessed Sacrament from its old home to the new.14 The remainder of the week was spent moving a different depart-

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ment each day, with the annalist commenting, “We never realized one small house could hold so much!”

Monastery of the Infant Jesus: Galveston During the mid-1940s, monastery populations were increasing. This was certainly true of Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, causing the prioress, Mother Mary Imelda, to ask several bishops if they were willing to receive a cloistered community. Most encouraging was Bishop Christopher Byrne (1918– 50) of Galveston, Texas. Mother Imelda and a companion visited Texas early in the summer of 1945 and settled on farm property in Lufkin, 120 miles north of Houston. Shortly after, the first of a group of fifteen nuns arrived in the Lone Star state. The farmhouse was renovated by mid-September and the bishop came to bless it as Monastery of the Infant Jesus. Although they were living in the Texas Bible Belt, noted for anti-Catholic prejudice, a warm friendship developed between the nuns and their Protestant neighbors. Within ten years, the size of the community had doubled, despite two changes in leadership. Mother Mary Imelda resigned as prioress in 1948. Her successor, Mother Mary Dominic, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on New Year’s Eve 1952. Subprioress Mother Mary Henry took over at that time, beginning the first of four terms. It was—and is—highly unusual for contemplative nuns to engage in active ministries, but when the nuns’ chaplain was unable to find a catechism teacher for the local children, he turned to one of the cloistered nuns to fill the position. Since Sister Mary Michael had been a school superintendent prior to joining the monastery, she was allowed to teach the children through the parlor grille on Sunday mornings.15

Dominican Monasteries Dedicated to the Perpetual Rosary During the seven years Julia Crooks spent in France, a newly received member of the Dominican Order in the Province of Lyon was taking the first steps toward establishing the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary, a new contemplative community. On entering the Dominicans in


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1868, Damien Marie Saintourens discovered the Rosary Confraternity, which had been founded by Friar Alan de Rupe some four hundred years earlier. Members pledged to recite the fifteen decades of the rosary each week. During the seventeenth century, some members of the confraternity banded together to organize continuous recitation of the rosary day and night, with each associate assigned a specific hour of prayer. The practice became known as the “Perpetual Rosary,” and promoting this devotion became Damien Saintourens’s lifework; at the time of his ordination, he took as his goal, “To love and make loved the Most Holy Virgin.”16 After a few years of successfully promoting the recitation of the rosary, it became clear that the work involved required more than one person. The solution, he believed, lay in the establishment of a group of Dominican sisters whose work would be to pray the rosary day and night, and care for the details that the organization and maintenance of the Perpetual Rosary Confraternity required. Acting Master General Joseph Sanvito was in favor of the idea, but advised that the new community be third order, which means that the nuns were not required to chant the office at night, or follow the rules related to the great fast and perpetual abstinence from meat. The practice of perpetual recitation of the rosary had been tried at the monastery of Mauléon in France (second order) and failed, and the master general remembered that, when combined with the austerities of second order lifestyle, the additional obligation of reciting the rosary had taken such a toll on the nuns’ health that the local bishop forbade them to continue. A third order contemplative community could still be dedicated to prayer, wear the same habit as other Dominicans, and follow almost the same constitutions as the nuns.17 Saintourens approached the prioress of Mauléon to ask if she would lend him someone able to form the postulants of a new congregation in a contemplative lifestyle similar to that of the nuns. Sister Rose of Saint Mary Wehrle, a young nun recently returned from helping to reform a convent in Poland, was charged with this task. The project, however, was delayed for four years because Saintourens’s provincial opposed the project. In 1880, a new provincial approved of the idea, but by that time, the French government had passed the first in a series of anticlerical decrees, and the friar was expelled from his monastery. Worried about the fate of

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his postulants who were to begin religious life at a monastery in Calais, he rented a house at Bonsecours de Peruwelz, Belgium, and sent for Sister Rose of Saint Mary. Sister Rose of Saint Mary’s devotion to the second order doomed any chance of a working partnership between the two. Saintourens adhered to his original vision; the sisters would handle administrative details for the lay Perpetual Rosary groups, such as schedules, notices, and correspondence. Mother Rose, however, thought she was to duplicate the strict monastic life of Mauléon. Appeals to higher authority resulted in Saintourens’s removal as director of the community he had founded, and he was left to find a new outlet to promote devotion to the rosary. In 1886, Saintourens was asked to preach a Lenten series in New Orleans, Louisiana. He returned to France totally captivated by America, and asked Master General Joseph Larroca to allow him “to devote [himself] especially with the organization of the Perpetual Rosary in the New World.”18 After three years of preaching on the importance of the rosary, Saintourens found himself swamped with administrative details. His solution had a familiar ring: He would entrust details such as lists, bulletins, and certificates to the Dominican Sisters he had founded eleven years before. Most US and Canadian bishops would accept new congregations of women religious into their dioceses only if they were willing to teach, but Saintourens was welcomed by Archbishop Michael Corrigan of New York (1885–1900), invited to preach the rosary, and referred to Newark bishop Winand Wigger. Wigger allowed Saintourens to establish a Perpetual Rosary community in West Hoboken (now Union City), New Jersey. Saintourens secured two adjacent houses, and wrote to Mother Rose, asking for a small group of sisters to make a new foundation in the United States. At first, she resisted, but eventually agreed to send nuns to America. Mother Mary Rose Garnier was appointed prioress of the new foundation; with her came Sisters Mary Dominic Semelet, Mary of Jesus Collin, and Mary Gabriel Rogers. Perpetual Adoration nuns from Newark sent furnishings and an extern, Sister Juliana. A second extern, Sister Catherine, was waiting at the house when they arrived just before Christmas 1891. Neighbors brought gifts, and contrary to Mother Rose’s fears, there were no conflicts with Saintourens.


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Two American postulants arrived in February, and several others followed; by Easter of that year the sisters were doubled up in their sleeping quarters. Friends helped them find a larger property and arrange financial terms that would allow them to move immediately. After the dedication of the monastery, the community held “visiting days” so that neighbors and benefactors could tour areas that would be closed to the public once the sisters were formally enclosed. These larger quarters would be home until a formal monastery was built in 1912.

Monastery of the Presentation: Milwaukee As the numbers of nuns began to increase steadily, Father Saintourens wrote to bishops around the country explaining the situation. “The house is filled to capacity,” he explained. “There is an abundance of vocations and we no longer have room to accept them.”19 In the summer of 1897, Archbishop Frederick Katzer (1881–1903) expressed an interest in opening a Perpetual Rosary house in Milwaukee. Saintourens rented a small, dilapidated cottage near the Jesuits’ Gesu parish in that city, and sent for several sisters. The Gesu parishioners helped Mother Mary of the Rosary, who had been named prioress, and her companions clean and repair the house. The Jesuits looked after their spiritual needs, while new friends in the parish publicized the presence of a contemplative community in the city. Soon people were coming from all over Milwaukee to seek prayers and leave offerings. Thanks to their generosity, the community was able to purchase sewing machines and began supporting themselves by making children’s clothing, bridal trousseaux, and ecclesiastical vestments.20 An increase in women seeking to join the community forced the nuns to move to a larger convent in the country village of Saint Martins in order to expand. A new benefactor, Frederick Pabst of Pabst Brewery, helped them survive countryliving by donating a horse and carriage. Despite the friendly support of their neighbors, the community agreed with their ecclesiastical superior, Monsignor Francis Rempe, when he suggested in 1921 that they move back to Milwaukee. It took five years for the new Monastery of the Presentation to be ready for occupancy.

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Monastery of the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary: Baltimore/Catonsville Having succeeded in taking the Dominicans of the Perpetual Rosary to the Midwest, Saintourens turned his attention to the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Cardinal James Gibbons (1877–1921) agreed to allow a monastery to be established in the city on the condition that there would be no collections; he would not have to supply a chaplain; and Saintourens would guarantee the support of the house. Mother Rose of Saint Mary Mannion was named prioress for the group of six nuns who arrived in the city in 1899. Although postulants came, few persevered. In 1903, however, the fortunes of the house took a strange turn that filled it to overflowing. In that year, the French government issued another series of anticlerical decrees that supported religious persecution. Mother Rose Wehrle, fearing for the safety of her community at Rouen, sought refuge in America, stopping first in Union City. Although joyfully welcomed by the nuns in that monastery, overcrowding made for impossible living conditions. After a week, the exiles left for Baltimore and another overcrowded house. In order to solve the problem, ten of the eleven Americans returned to New Jersey, leaving Mother Rose Mannion to act as liaison between the French community and its new surroundings. Once the exiles had adapted to their new environment and a larger house was secured, she too returned to New Jersey. Mother Rose Wehrle died six years after arriving in Baltimore. Honoring her request to be buried in her native land, where conditions for women religious had improved, fourteen sisters returned to France with her body, while five opted to remain in the United States. Five American nuns from Union City arrived to help them refound the monastery in Baltimore. Several French-speaking postulants entered and persevered, while benefactors multiplied. Within a year, they were able to begin construction of a permanent monastery in the suburb of Catonsville, Maryland. The blended community eventually became totally English-speaking and a fixture among Baltimore Catholics. In time, Catonsville founded three Perpetual Rosary daughterhouses in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.


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Our Lady of the Rosary: Camden Saintourens’s next venture, to Camden, New Jersey, became his permanent home. Considering the location, he wrote: “I foresee that I will make my residence here permanent. . . . Philadelphia is at our very door, and I believe that we will obtain much financial help there.”21 On a cold, rainy morning in December 1900, Saintourens welcomed Mother Catherine Siena and five companions to Camden. He celebrated the first mass in their new home on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Thanks to a generous benefactor, they were able to purchase land on Haddon Avenue for a permanent monastery. Trenton bishop James McFaul (1884–1917) urged them to begin construction the following year, sanctioning a bank loan. The monastery was built in stages over the next twenty years, and neither Saintourens nor the bishop would live to see it completed. The Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, including those in Camden, celebrated their Silver Jubilee in 1905. Saintourens planted a vegetable garden that summer, and the sisters found a novel way to meet loan payments; they contracted with a textile company to make women’s clothing. In addition, some traveled regularly to Philadelphia to beg, usually with good results. One community activity fulfilled the friar’s original vision for the sisters: maintaining contact with the people by sending out the Perpetual Rosary notices. This secretarial work, along with welcoming crowds to Sunday rosary devotions, made the community feel very much part of Saintourens’s original motto, “to make known the Most Holy Virgin.” Father Saintourens spent his final years in a little house on monastery grounds in Camden. To the end, he kept an hour of guard each day with his rosary in front of his statue of the Blessed Virgin, dying peacefully September 26, 1920. As he had wished, the sisters buried him on the monastery grounds.

Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary: Buffalo Several hundred miles to the north during that jubilee year of 1905, the new bishop of Buffalo, Charles Colton (1903–15), began negotiating with Mother Mary of Jesus Collin in Union City. As Father Colton, his name

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appeared often in the annals of the New York and New Jersey monasteries, and when appointed to the See of Buffalo, he expressed a desire to have a contemplative community established in his diocese. Mother Mary of Jesus came herself, bringing a group of five nuns, and remained long enough to see them settled. Before returning to New Jersey, she named Mother Rose of Saint Mary Mannion prioress. The bishop celebrated the first mass in Our Lady of the Rosary chapel on July 4 of that year. Vocations were slow in coming to the new community, perhaps because rumors had painted the sisters’ life as unbearably difficult. Gradually the tide turned, helped by the fact that large numbers of local people were attending various liturgical ceremonies in the little chapel. By 1909, Bishop Colton urged the nuns to build a permanent structure. When the cornerstone was laid for a large gothic chapel, he preached a sermon about the life and work of the sisters, and within the next six months, three more postulants came and stayed. The rumors had been laid to rest.22

St. Dominic’s Monastery: La Crosse / Washington, DC / Linden The next foundation had the distinction of being the most widely traveled community of the Perpetual Rosary network. It began in Baker City, Oregon, at the invitation of Bishop Charles O’Reilly (1903–18). Mother Mary of the Angels, two choir nuns, two novices, and a postulant moved to the area during the spring and summer of 1907. Several others joined them, but it became apparent almost immediately that there were no resources for the nuns to obtain financial support. The bishop suggested that the nuns consider teaching or nursing, but they rejected the idea as incompatible with their cloistered vocation. Mother Mary of the Angels contacted Bishop James Schweback (1892–1921) of La Crosse, Wisconsin, who was known to be especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Saintourens recounted that “he [Schweback] realized immediately that a monastery where perpetual prayer would be offered for himself and his diocese would be an abundant source of grace . . . and hastened to approve the foundation.”23 La Crosse was the last foundation established under the leadership of Saintourens. In July 1909, nine women made the four-day train trip from Oregon to Wisconsin, sustained only by a box of six dozen biscuits. Fortunately, the citizens of La Crosse welcomed them and provided a large parish house.


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To support themselves, the nuns made vestments and altar breads, in addition to relying on benefactors. At one point when there had been several deaths and few women seeking to join the community, six nuns came from West Springfield, Massachusetts, to augment their number. Over the next two years, floods devastated their aging house, and a new monastery had to be built on higher ground. When they moved to the new Saint Dominic’s Monastery in April 1954, it was with joy and relief because they were now in a safe, secure, and permanent home. As the numbers of women entering religious life diminished throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the community in La Crosse decided to move to Washington, DC, in order to attract candidates and to be closer to the Dominican Fathers. They found a house on 16th Street NW in 1984, and began planning for an ideal monastery somewhere outside the city. It would be twenty years before those plans matured; but in 2008 the community moved into St. Dominic’s Monastery in Linden, Virginia.

Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary: Summit, New Jersey In the years following the end of World War I, Our Lady of the Rosary Monastery in Union City was filled to capacity, and Prioress Mother Mary Imelda decided the best solution was a new foundation. A traveling salesman visiting the monastery mentioned that he knew of an estate for sale in the city of Summit, New Jersey, about twenty-five miles from Union City. Terms were affordable, and Newark bishop John O’Connor (1901– 27) approved the plan. Fourteen sisters in three cars reached their new home on October 2, 1919. Father Cyril Coudeyre, OP, celebrated the first mass on Rosary Sunday, and the sisters kept hours of guard before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night. Twenty-four-hour recitation of the rosary began New Year’s Eve. Bishop O’Connor gave permission for perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in 1924. The following spring, visitors from Paterson, New Jersey, asked if they could participate in a procession on the grounds, reciting the rosary and singing Marian hymns. It was the first of many events during May and October devoted to Mary, giving the monastery its title, Rosary Shrine. Because vocations were plentiful, sisters first built an annex, and later purchased an adjoining estate for a permanent home. Construction began in 1925, but was halted within two years until the community could pay off

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a sizable building debt. It would be 1939 before they moved into their permanent monastery.

Mother of God Monastery: West Springfield, Massachusetts Shortly before the Summit foundation was established, Sister Mary Hyacinth of Jesus left Union City to serve as novice mistress at Catonsville. Because many nuns spoke French, prayers and exercises were held in that language, but someone was needed for the English-speaking postulants. It soon became apparent that a new foundation was necessary to solve the problem caused by sisters unable to communicate with one another. Mother Mary of the Crown, prioress of Catonsville, made an appointment with the bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, for September 8, 1922, and took Sister Mary Hyacinth with her. Together, they petitioned Bishop Thomas O’Leary (1921–49) to accept them. He answered, “Come, come to Springfield in the name of God and Mary. This will be our gift to Our Lady on the feast of her birth.”24 With that gracious welcome, the monastery received its title: Mother of God. Five sisters and a postulant came to begin the community. That first New England winter was brutal, but friends helped materially, and the sisters developed means to support themselves, including artwork, needlework, and making altar breads. Postulants came and stayed so that within two years they were petitioning the bishop to buy a much larger estate on a hilltop in West Springfield. That location not only housed the community, but temporarily sheltered over two hundred “exiles” in 1936, when the Connecticut River flooded to catastrophic levels. Crowds climbed their hill in procession every year to celebrate Rosary Sunday, reaching ten thousand in the Marian year 1954.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery: Lancaster Just three years after the West Springfield monastery was established, Catonsville was ready to establish another foundation, this time in Pennsylvania. Father Peter Huegel of the Harrisburg Diocese was interested in contemplative communities, and found the sisters a farmhouse in rural South Enola. Bishop Richard McDevitt (1916–35) also supported the plan, and six sisters from Catonsville were joined by two others from Camden in June 1925, with Mother Mary of the Crown as prioress. South Enola


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was an isolated spot and the foundation grew very slowly, both in vocations and financial resources. In the early days, some of the area’s residents reacted to the monastery’s presence with hostility. One night, for example, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on the hill opposite their house. The Knights of Columbus heard what was going on, rushed over, and stood guard on the porch throughout the night.25 Despite expressions of anti-Catholicism, the sisters became known for the beauty of their artwork, embroidery, and monogramming. Financial resources improved somewhat, but vocations still came slowly. The monastery in Union City sent six sisters in the late 1940s, but the state of the old farmhouse and its isolated location caused the community to look for a site closer to the city of Lancaster on which to build a new monastery. They secured an estate on Lititz Pike, and lived in the existing house until the monastery was completed in May 1955. Large crowds came for the open house days, including many members of the local Amish and Mennonite communities.

Monastery of the Holy Rosary: Syracuse The same year in which Catonsville began a new foundation in Pennsylvania, Mother Mary Louis Bertrand, prioress at Camden, contacted Bishop Daniel Curley (1921–32) of Syracuse, New York, to ask if he would be willing to receive a Perpetual Rosary foundation. After meeting with her and examining the constitutions that governed the group, he agreed. Not only did he welcome twelve sisters in February 1925, he also helped them find a property on Court Street, and presented them with a $5,000 check toward construction expenses. Formal opening of the Monastery of the Holy Rosary took place March 25, followed by an open house. Large crowds came and received an explanation of the sisters’ work, as well as the practice of perpetual rosary. Hundreds signed the register to become members of the association and join Mary’s Guard of Honor. Vocations came, but tight quarters meant sending the young women to Camden for their postulancy and novitiate. It was not until 1954 that the community could build a new wing to accommodate a novitiate of its own. Syracuse Catholics were financially and spiritually supportive. Many local people came to the public chapel for ser vices and took on the obli-

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gations of perpetual rosary. Although the nuns began making altar breads as a means of support, and also operated a small gift shop, one of the sisters would later say, “We have been, and still are, blessed by the Lord with wonderful people who are more than generous.”26

Mary the Queen Monastery: Elmira, New York Some new contemplative foundations were started at the request of a local bishop. John O’Hern, bishop of Rochester (1921–33), asked if the sisters at the Buffalo monastery would consider making a foundation in his diocese. Although pleased with the invitation, they replied that there would have to be a delay because of an insufficient number of nuns in the Buffalo monastery. Thirteen years later the prioress wrote to another bishop, reminding him of that earlier exchange, and asking him to receive a Perpetual Rosary group into the Rochester diocese. Bishop James Kearney (1937–66) and Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus arranged for a group of eight to start a community at Elmira. Mary the Queen Monastery was opened in August 1944. Contact with the people of Elmira came about through daily mass, hospitality to retreatants, Rosary Sunday celebrations, and the ever-present requests for prayers. Benefactors were generous, and the nuns opened a gift shop, which, besides religious articles and cards, took advantage of their varied talents and sold homemade bread, jams, pickles, artwork, and knitted and crocheted items. The monastery remained in Elmira until September 2014, when a long absence of vocations caused the nuns to relocate to Illinois and a temporary home with the Springfield Dominicans. As of this writing, they plan to build a smaller monastery and retreat center on the outskirts of Girard, some twenty-seven miles from Springfield.

St. Jude Monastery: Marbury, Alabama As far back as 1936, the prioress of Catonsville, Mother Mary of Jesus, dreamed of “providing a place where those who aspired to the contemplative life could enter, regardless of race.”27 After her death, Mother Mary Dominic took up that goal, and began writing to bishops about the possibility of integrated monasteries. A positive reply came in 1944 from Bishop Thomas Toolen (1927–69), Diocese of Mobile, Alabama. Because


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Dominican nuns in the workroom of St. Jude Monastery. Newspaper clipping, ca. 1947. Archives of the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude, Marbury, Alabama.

of a shortage of construction material during World War II, it was impossible to build a new monastery, but the bishop had found a frame house in Marbury, thirty miles north of Montgomery, that could be adapted for a temporary monastery. To this quiet spot came Mother Mary Dominic, Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus, and a postulant in August 1944. Five Dominican sisters from Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Jamaica, British West Indies, joined them over the next eight months (none of this group stayed), followed by several postulants who did persevere, including two young women of color. The nuns in Marbury began a fund for the new permanent monastery of Saint Jude, to be built on a hilltop adjoining their original building. As a later prioress described it, “We sent out many begging letters.”28 Given their small number and isolated location, they did not develop products for sale or open a gift shop. Donations for prayer enrollment cards were a regular source of income, as were vestments for Infant of Prague statues, which were very popular in the 1950s. Steady donations plus an extremely frugal lifestyle made it possible to begin construction on January 1, 1953, and the sisters moved in on the Feast of Saint Jude in October of that same year. Finishing touches were added as money became available.

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Small numbers did not keep the community from adding night hours of praying (or guarding) before the Eucharist to their prayer schedule and beginning perpetual adoration. Although the community remained small, peaking at sixteen in 1980, that growth took place in an era when Jim Crow ruled the South. Their choice of St. Jude—patron of hopeless causes—demonstrated their hope for the future of race relations in America. The women of color persevered, and an interracial group of supporters remained loyal and untouched by the violence that surrounded the civil rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s. In recent years they have received new vocations to carry forward a dream that seemed all but impossible when first voiced in the 1950s.

Monastery of Our Lady of Grace: North Guilford, Connecticut While St. Jude’s Monastery in Marbury was being founded in the mid1940s to carry out a vision of an integrated community, the monastery in Summit, New Jersey, was dealing with a very practical postwar problem: The number of women entering the community was overwhelming for the size of the house. It was time to make a new foundation, and the nuns turned to the rural area of North Guilford, Connecticut, not far from the Dominican college of Albertus Magnus. Bishop Henry O’Brien (1945–68) welcomed them to the Diocese of Hartford, and fifteen sisters traveled by charter bus to the new foundation on January 21, 1947. Two barns and a cottage were connected to the house to form the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace. A small printing press brought from Summit became the anchor of a print shop, and the nuns did hand-lettering, painting, and religious art, and made vestments, rosaries, and altar equipment to help support themselves.29 On the night of December 23, 1955, just after compline, or night prayer, came the cry, “Fire!” It began with a short circuit in a wall plug and raced through the entire structure. When a head count was taken in the front yard, Sister Regina was missing. Sisters Dolores and Constance went back to find her; all three perished. Thirty-nine survivors were taken to Albertus Magnus College, where they were given Communion, hot food, and such comfort as was possible in the face of tragedy. A funeral mass was held the next morning. The nuns returned to their monastery to find that two truckloads of nuns’ clothing and essential supplies had arrived;


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one from Summit, the other from Union City. The mayor of New Haven arranged for the community to live in an unused county home until a new monastery could be built.

Contemplative Cloistered Life after Vatican II October 1962 marked the beginning of the Second Vatican Council. By the time the council ended in 1965, the ground had been laid for a number of changes in monastic life. Sister Mary of God, a nun of the North Guilford, Connecticut, Dominican monastery, wrote an essay titled: “Dominican Common Prayer: Some Reflections on the Experience of the Past Twenty Years,” asking members from three Dominican monasteries to reflect on the effect of Vatican II on their monastic life. The liturgical changes mandated by the council clearly presented the most immediate changes for the sisters. Sister Mary of God noted that the change from Latin to the use of the vernacular in their common prayer illuminated the fullness of the meaning of the psalms, intercessions, and hymns. The reduction of the number of psalms and shortening of some prayers also led to a more “meditative pace” for their common prayer, less formality and fewer rubrics. The use of a variety of scriptural passages deepened the communities’ understanding of the meaning of God’s Word in their own lives. These changes created a sense of wholeness or cohesion in their life of prayer as well as in their community life.30 One sister added that some participated in informal shared prayer. Another observed that “the emphasis on fulfilling an obligation gave way to prayerful attitudes in listening to the Word of God and responding together in silence or song.” The sisters even used guitars and autoharps during their common prayer and sometimes at mass.31 The issuance of Perfectae Caritatis, a document calling for the renewal of religious life, asked communities to study and discuss their roots and the spirit of their founder. As a result, many congregations chose to update their lifestyles and rewrite constitutions. Sister Mary of God wrote: “Community life in general and the governmental process underwent significant change. There is greater freedom, with an emphasis on personal responsibility. There are community discussions, and there are opportunities for interpersonal relationships with one another, which we did not enjoy before. The community chapter has come to the fore again as an

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important factor in government.”32 Sister Mary of God also commented that one of the hallmarks of the Dominican charism, study, became more important in their monastic life, especially the study of scripture, the Church Fathers, and liturgy. Return to the spirit of one’s founders led the sisters to the study of their Dominican origins and early monasticism.33 In 1975 a Conference of Dominican Nuns, USA, was organized. One result of this conference has been annual theology sessions for those in formation and novice mistresses, as well as general assemblies that are held every four years. In 2004, the conference dissolved and reformed as the more juridically structured Association of Monasteries of Nuns of the Order of Preachers. The Dominican Monastery in Union City, New Jersey, wholeheartedly embraced Pope Paul VI’s 1964 “Decree on Ecumenism” (Unitatis Redintegratio). The year 1965 marked the initiation of ecumenical dialogue for the Union City nuns and their Protestant colleagues, when Richard Kugelman, CP, who provided scripture classes for the sisters, suggested they invite Episcopalian sisters and priests to their monastery for an “exchange of dialogue.”34 During the course of the following year, the sisters also engaged in conversations with a Lutheran minister, his wife, and two daughters. The monastery’s annalist noted that “there is real warm friendly communication between us and our Protestant friends. The sisters write individually to many Protestant priests and sisters in various parts of the world.” On January 24,1967, the sisters invited various Protestant clergy and the general public to an ecumenical prayer ser vice held in the Blue Chapel of the monastery. About 250 people participated in the ser vice. Clergy from the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox faith traditions led the Apostles’ Creed. The pastor of the Armenian Apostolic Church and clergy of the Greek Orthodox Church led other prayers. After the ser vice the sisters visited with their guests, and coffee and cake were served to the ministers and their wives.35 Not all monasteries agreed with the changes initiated by congregations of women religious, and three monasteries closed due to deep divisions over how to respond to the documents and decrees of Vatican II. The leadership at Cincinnati’s Monastery of the Holy Name, for instance, wished to keep everything as their foundress had left it; but many of the nuns disagreed. The monastery was suppressed—or formally closed—in 1980, as was Catonsville in the same year. The Albany community, which faced a


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similar problem exacerbated by financial difficulty and irregularities in lifestyle, had already closed ten years earlier. An unintended consequence of the council’s emphasis on the call to holiness of the laity was the fact that it caused many women religious to question the validity of their own vocation. When combined with the opening up of new opportunities for women in the larger society, that questioning led to an exodus from religious life, along with a steep decline in new vocations. During 1967 and 1968, fourteen professed sisters left the Union City monastery.36 A number of monasteries built for forty or fifty nuns were left half empty, and were forced to deal with with serious issues about viability. As a result, some monasteries were forced to make painful decisions. Members of the Monastery of St. Dominic, the first foundation in Newark, faced the problem directly, writing to Master General Carlos Aspiroz Costa in 2003, “As a community, we resolve . . . to request permission that . . . the Apostolic See suppress the Monastery of Saint Dominic.”37 The fourteen nuns involved in this process had had five years of discernment to make individual choices; a majority chose to move to their daughterhouse in Farmington Hills, outside of Detroit. Other houses held out until numbers fell to five or six and the decision to close was made for them; this happened in Union City in 2008, and Camden in 2013. Not all the decisions of the post–Vatican II era concerned closing monasteries; there were new foundations established, but of a different kind. Two independent houses were established in the Philippines: Cainta from Summit, and Bocaue from Los Angeles. Even further afield, Our Lady of the Angels made a foundation in Karachi, Pakistan, while North Guilford did the same in Nairobi, Kenya. In the United States, there are small experimental contemplative groups at Lockport, Louisiana; Ortonville, Michigan; and New Castle, Delaware, where, as of this writing the sisters have decided to join the community that will be established in Girard, Illinois. Dominican contemplative life remains a presence in the US Catholic landscape. The third millennium has brought with it a wealth of new electronic marvels: smart phones, iPads, and tablets, and with them pressure to be “connected 24/7” to both work and social networks. Some members of the millennial generation have not embraced this lifestyle and have longed for intervals of peace. Julia Crooks would have recognized them as kindred souls yearning for a life of prayer and contemplation. Since 2010, some have knocked on the doors of Dominican monasteries and

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have persevered. Their presence would seem to assure that a life of beauty “ever ancient, ever new” will continue. Notes 1. Most Americans use the terms sister and nun interchangeably. In the Catholic Church, however, nuns are technically cloistered women religious; all others are classified as sisters. 2. Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery, Menlo Park, The Dominican Nuns in Their Cloister (Philadelphia: Dolphin Press, 1936), 167, 171. 3. Annals, Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament, Farmington Hills, MI. 4. “The Historical Background and Foundation of the Monastery of Saint Dominic” (hereafter referred to as “Monastery of St. Dominic”), n.d., Newark Monastery Archives, 27. 5. Michael Corrigan to Mary of Jesus, 1873. Cited in “Monastery of Saint Dominic,” 4. 6. Mary of Jesus to Michael Corrigan, September 18, 1880. “AND [Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark] 12.0 Women Religious Collection. Dominican Nuns of the Second Order of Perpetual Adoration (1877–1880). Box 1, Folder 18, Monsignor William Noe’ Field Archives and Special Collections Center, Seton Hall University. 7. “Monastery of Saint Dominic,” 23. 8. Chronicle, cited in “Monastery of Saint Dominic,” 25. 9. Mary of the Heart of Jesus Board, OP, “Life of Mother Emmanuel,” chap. 1, 5 (typescript), archives, Farmington Hills Monastery, Farmington Hills, MI. 10. Mary of the Holy Cross, OP, “The Albany Foundation,” 1 (typescript), archives, Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Buffalo, NY. 11. Members of Eucharistic Leagues have a special devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They are expected to spend a certain amount of time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. 12. Mary of the Holy Cross, OP, “Albany Foundation,” 4. 13. Sister Mary St. Peter, OP, to Abp. [Archbishop] Henry Moeller, September 18, 1915, General Files, Box 47, RG 1.4, Abp. Henry K. Moeller Records, Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archives. 14. Annals, December 24, 1948, 12, archives, Monastery of the Angels, Los Angeles, CA. 15. Sister Mary Catherine, “History of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus,” 5 (typescript), archives, Monastery of the Infant Jesus, Galveston, TX. 16. See The Notebooks of the Reverend Damien Marie Saintourens, OP, First Notebook (Lancaster, PA: Cloistered Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, 2013).


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17. Ibid., Third Notebook, 4. Dominicans no longer refer to their communities as first, second, or third order. Today, the distinctions are nuns, friars, sisters, laity, and associates. 18. Ibid., Second Notebook, 36. 19. Damien Saintourens, OP, to Bishop Matthew Harkins, April 4, 1897, Saintourens Correspondence, St. Joseph Provincial Archives. (Translated by Janice Dionne, OP.) 20. See Joanna Hastings, OP, “History of the Fourth Foundation” (typescript), archives, Presentation Monastery, Milwaukee, WI. 21. Saintourens, Third Notebook, 35. 22. Annals, Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, 1–4, archives, Our Lady of the Rosary Monastery, Buffalo, NY. 23. Saintourens, Third Notebook, 42. 24. Dominican Nuns’ Monastery of the Mother of God, 1922–1997, 7. 25. Mary of the Immaculate Heart, OP, “History of the Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” 7 (typescript), archives, Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Lancaster, PA. 26. Helen Anne Rollins, OP, to Cecilia Murray, OP, August 2, 2015. 27. “History of the Foundation: Dominican Monastery of Saint Jude, Marbury, Alabama,” 1 (typescript), archives, Monastery of St. Jude, Marbury, AL. 28. Mother Mary Joseph, OP, to Cecilia Murray, OP, February 10, 2016. 29. “The Story of Our Lady of Grace Monastery,” 9 (typescript), archives, Our Lady of Grace Monastery, North Guilford, CT. 30. Sister Mary of God, OP, “Dominican Common Prayer—Nuns: Some Reflections on the Experiences of the Past Twenty Years,” Dominican Monastic Search 2 (November 1983): 87–88. 31. Ibid., 89. 32. Ibid. 33. Ibid. 34. Annals of the Dominican Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary, Union City, New Jersey, 1955–1970, 192. Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Center for Dominican Historical Studies, Dominican University, River Forest, IL. 35. Ibid., 216. 36. Ibid., 217–20, 235, 241, 242. 37. Sister Mary Christine, OP, et al., to Carlos Aspiroz Costa, OP, March 19, 2003.

More Than a Mustard Seed The Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission dia ne kennedy, op

The most significant event of the twentieth century for religious orders was the Second Vatican Council’s call to aggiornamento and renewal. Dominicans in the United States, like all religious communities, responded thoughtfully and vigorously to this call to return to the original charism of the founder and to adjust to the changed conditions of the times. For Dominicans the return to the charism of the founder occasioned a renewed self-understanding of the Order of Preachers as the Dominican family composed of friars, nuns, sisters, members of secular institutes, and lay and priestly fraternities. From this deepened understanding of the order as the Dominican family came a prophetic inspiration that occasioned new kinds of collaboration among the women and men of the order for the renewal of Dominican mission. In previous centuries, Dominicans spoke of the various branches of membership as first, second, and third orders. The male friars were the First Order; the contemplative nuns were the Second Order; and the active sisters were the Third Order along with the Third Order Laity. In this structure levels of membership and forms of ministry were clearly distinguished and traditionally gender-based. Following the council, a renewed self-understanding of the order as family emerged, made manifest in the official documents of the friars’ General Chapters. In 1968 this hierarchical structure was reframed as the “various branches of the Order of Preachers”; the reframing gradually gave birth to new relationships of complementarity and equality among the members of the order and most significantly inspired the foundation of the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission. Parable would put the new understanding of the order as family to the test over the course of the next four decades.


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Collaboration Meeting, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, 1975. Sr. Louis Russley, OP, Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Fr. Benedict Ashley, OP, Sr. Diane Kennedy, OP, and Brother A. Kalinozoski, OP. Archives, Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Center for Dominican Historical Studies, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois.

The Dominican Family In 1968 the General Chapter of Renewal of the friars in River Forest gave a simple definition of a historical reality: IX. The Dominican Family is composed of clerical and co-operator brothers, nuns, sisters, members of secular institutes, and lay and priestly fraternities.1

The vision articulated at the chapter in River Forest was reaffirmed in the Chapter of Tallaght in 1971 in a legislative act that stated clearly: The name Order of Preachers in its universal character is the same as Dominican Family.2

In 1977 the capitulars of the chapter of Quezon City articulated the meaning of Dominican family in a compelling summons to collaboration and unity in light of the signs of the times. It merits quoting at length: The Dominican Order must at all times, both in its life and in its work, be alert to the great authentic movements of the age in which it finds

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itself. This contemporaneous quality was the special mark of the original vision of Dominic in founding the Order, and imparted to it its original force and freshness . . . At this time the Order is confronted with two great movements in the Church and in the World: the emergence of the laity as an indispensable element in the establishing of the Kingdom of God, and the more recent and constantly growing movement towards the liberation of women and the recognition of their equality with men . . . St. Dominic created his family, not for itself, but to be at the ser vice of the Church and its mission to the world. In terms of human potential there are vast resources within the family. We must admit that through lack of cooperation this tremendous potential is not fully realized. The development of an authentic Dominican spirit and of Dominican formation have suffered because of the lack of closer bonds within the Dominican Family . . . This is indeed a great moment for the Dominican Order to fulfill the initial vision of St. Dominic, its founder. The two worldwide movements towards an emerging laity and full equality for women coincide in a singular manner within the very idea of the Order. That seed and the season for its harvest have at this moment in history come together. Now is the acceptable time for the Dominican Family to achieve true equality and complementarity among its different branches. If we believe that the Holy Spirit truly speaks to us in the signs of the times, we cannot ignore this call to develop among all the branches of the Order a greater collaboration in all our ministries, and we cannot neglect to undertake efforts to study and promote a great organic unity between these branches. What lies before us at this time is a challenge to become what St. Dominic had begun: a family joined in unity of life and complementarity of ser vice to the Church and the world.3

By 1992 the General Chapter of Mexico City synthesized the emergent understanding of Dominican family in chapter 5 of the acts, titled “On the Dominican Family”: Since all the branches participate in the charism of Dominic, they share the same vocation to be preachers in the Church, discovering their mutual responsibility based on equality-in-complementarity and mutual cooperation—and accepting the joy of giving but also of receiving and learning from one another.4


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Prophetic Inspiration with Historical Roots This eloquent vision of the Dominican family inspired a group of American Dominican sisters of Sinsinawa and friars of the Central Province with a long history of collaboration in traditional models of ministry to imagine new and expanded models of collaboration for the renewal of Dominican mission. For many decades Dominican friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great served as pastors and the Sinsinawa Dominican sisters staffed the schools in parishes in River Forest, Madison, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Denver. Priests served as chaplains and faculty in high schools and colleges sponsored by the sisters’ congregation in River Forest and Madison. The faculty of the friars’ studium in Dubuque taught theology in the Dominican sisters’ novitiate across the Mississippi River at Sinsinawa, and friars were resident chaplains at the motherhouse. In these traditional models of Dominican collaboration the women trained in the arts and sciences were the beneficiaries of the theological and spiritual training of the friars. In 1968 Aquinas Institute of Theology, the Dominican men’s theological studium in Dubuque, like other seminaries and schools of theology throughout the United States, opened its programs to sisters and lay students. From this new meeting of sisters and friars studying theology together, working together to design new initial formation programs, sharing retreat ministry, and engaging in scholarly projects and think tanks, came new relationships marked by equality and mutuality between the women and men of the order—and new dreams and visions for Dominican mission. From this context of new familial relationships emerged a prophetic vision of the possibilities of greater collaboration for the renewal of life and mission of the order. In March 1975 the Sinsinawa General Council extended an invitation to the Central Province leadership and the Aquinas Institute faculty to come together to explore possibilities of future collaboration between the friars and the sisters in response to the call of Vatican II to return to the charism of the founder.5 Among the ideas explored at that initial meeting were the study and practice of Dominican spirituality beyond the then-current models of retreats and courses, a library of books on Dominican life and history, and a renewed understanding of the mission of the order through teamwork in study, ministry, and religious development among Dominican men and

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women.6 Following the initial meeting, in June 1975 a preliminary threeday conference of twelve women and men was held at Sinsinawa. The participants identified possible areas for collaborative effort: a Dominican research center at Sinsinawa, collaboration for the study of Dominican spirituality, and ser vice to Dominican parishes to promote better teamwork among sisters and friars.7 The conversations begun in March and June led to the year-long planning for a two-week Prologue Seminar in July 1976. Fifty-two Dominicans from fourteen states and three foreign countries met at Sinsinawa to discuss plans for a continuing institute that would be a symbolic center of renewal through collaboration. Participants represented three provinces of men, twelve sisters’ congregations, two cloistered monasteries, and Dominican lay affiliates. The seminar experience validated the hopes expressed in the initial stages of planning: a common hope for the renewal of Dominican mission, the shared concern that we speak a prophetic word to a world of injustice and oppression, a desire for a renewed understanding of Dominican spirituality, and the awareness of the importance of the Dominican laity. An idea had been tested in study, prayer, and dialogue by fifty-two Dominican women and men and had become a shared conviction. By the end of the Prologue Seminar a new entity had been conceived, born, and named. Central to the conversations of the seminar was an essay on Dominican spirituality in which Edward Schillebeeckx, the Dutch Dominican theologian, speaks of the Dominican family story as a “parable” that might end with the invitation of Jesus: “Go and do likewise.” 8 Seminar participants expressed a strong desire to summon other Dominicans to enter into the possibility of renewal through collaboration. But a parable is also a word addressed to the human situation in which the verbal symbol redefines reality through the juxtaposition of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Just as in the parables “the unexpected happens, the audience is questioned and brought to think the unthinkable,”9 a group of ordinary Dominican men and women meeting together on level ground as conversation partners discovered the extraordinary richness in one another and were brought to think that genuine renewal of Dominican mission required collaboration of the whole Dominican family. Mindful of these layers of meaning in the word “parable,” the planning committee named the new entity the Parable Conference for Dominican


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Life and Mission. By September 1976 the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation and the Central Province had appointed a full-time director, Diane Kennedy, OP, and a part-time assistant director, Mark Scannell, OP, and had committed funding and office space for the project. The goals of the Parable Conference were clearly articulated: 1. To promote research and study for the renewal of Dominican life and mission 2. To respond together, as Dominican men and women, to the call of the church for the renewal of the Order of Preachers 3. To strengthen the bonds of our solidarity 4. To promote a renewed understanding of Dominican spirituality.

Sowing the Seed: 1976–1982 In its initial stages the Parable Conference was a modest seed of possibility for the American Dominican family. The directors promoted the vision and hope of Parable among the American Dominican congregations and provinces, pursued research on the gender issues and other obstacles to collaboration of sisters and friars, and engaged in an exploratory study of five parishes to understand present challenges and future possibilities from the experiences of Dominican women and men actually serving together.10 The first major conference sponsored by the Parable Conference was intended to serve the primary goals: To respond together, as Dominican men and women, to the call of the church for the renewal of the Order of Preachers; to strengthen the bonds of our solidarity; and to promote a renewed understanding of Dominican spirituality. In the summer of 1977 the first Parable Conference on Dominican Spirituality and Ministry was held at Rosary College in River Forest, Illinois. One hundred seventy-four Dominicans came from Pakistan and Trinidad, California and Long Island, New York and Minneapolis, Kansas and Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin for two weeks during a hot July summer in Chicago. The planning process for the conference was based on three assumptions: 1. Dominican spirituality is found in the lived experience of Dominicans responding to the call of the Spirit within the frame of the Dominican apostolic community.

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2. A planning group must be collaborative, including persons from the different branches of the order. 3. The design of the event must include the basic elements of the charism: contemplation, theological reflection, common prayer, celebration of the Eucharist, and community. The theoretical framework of the conference was suggested by Schillebeeckx’s understanding of Dominican spirituality as the “story” of the Dominican family, a story still being told in ever-new modalities and repeated in ever-new language and speech. It must be actualized in the present, in Dominicans living now. Schillebeeckx warned that spirituality must not be treated as history, but as a reality that is alive now, carried (or spoiled) by Dominicans living now.11 Viewing spirituality as history suggests that the Dominican family story has become a closed story. Urban T. Holmes defines a closed story as one that has been codified into structures. “The story has been made into certitude, which absolutely requires that not one word, one image, one concept can be changed. For the Christian with a closed story, there is a lack of tension between his story and the Gospel story—which means no interplay between different versions of the Gospel story.” By way of contrast an “open story” is never finished but remains capable of new developments and is creative of new imaginings. “There is always more to be said in an open narrative because it lives in ambiguity. . . . [It] has a unique capacity to live with paradox.”12 Speakers were asked to conceive of their presentations in the mode of story: the story of Jesus; the story of Dominic as bearer of good tidings; the story of the order in the church today; the stories of ministry; stories of contemplative experience. The choice of story theology as the theoretical framework shaping the conference was critical to achieving the goal of the conference: to promote a renewed understanding of the Dominican spirituality. The choice of story theology became a meeting point where women and men of a common tradition could share and interpret their various experiences of that tradition. The men’s training in theology and philosophy tended to make them approach the question of spirituality speculatively and to theologize about religious experience. For some men theology and human experience had become separated, and the Dominican tradition


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was experienced as a closed story that no longer interacted creatively with the open story of the contemporary world. Most women came to the dialogue able to share experiences of ministry and prayer, but they were not skilled in theological reflection. Although few women forty years ago were speculative theologians, they could speak of personal relationships with God and share stories of death and resurrection. They could “do theology” in terms of their personal experience of ministry and yet were seldom involved in the public theological discussions after the speakers’ presentations. The value of the story model is that it demanded a yoking of experience and theological interpretation, of imagination and analysis, of logic and metaphor. The design demanded multiple approaches to truth and was intended to call into play both hemispheres of the brain. But the design also revealed the challenges of women and men, lay and religious, meeting in their diversity and their variant expectations of the balance between the experiential and the critical. One friar remarked, “At times I was wishing for a good argument.” What did the planners learn from the conference? A model had been created that would shape all future Parable events: 1. Teams formed equally of women and men sharing the preaching and the presentations—standing on level ground in relationships of equality and mutuality 2. The importance of well-planned liturgies with beautiful music and good preaching 3. The sustained engagement of participants through small groups and communal conversations 4. An openness among participating Dominicans to a new way of being together. One sixty-year old sister summed up the event: “The vision of Parable has begun a new age for American Dominicans.” 5. The inclusion of Dominican laity and associates was essential to the fullness of the family experience. 6. Theological input is essential for the appropriation of the Dominican tradition. The success of the conference led to a design of a new retreat model grounded on the principles and learnings from the 1977 conference. The model took the elements of the Dominican tradition, placed them

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in a new context, and revealed the extraordinary in the ordinary. The elements of the tradition were ordinary: preaching, contemplation of Scripture, liturgical prayer, community, and observance of silence. Women as well as men preaching and directing; preaching and spiritual direction centered on the liturgical readings of the day; a retreat community including women and men, religious and lay; liturgical roles intentionally modeling equality of ordained and nonordained—these elements were extraordinary. At the heart of the interplay of these elements was the Word event from the daily liturgical readings proclaimed, preached, contemplated, celebrated, and shared in the constellation of the retreat experience. No single dimension of the experience can be singled out, except for the daily Scriptural Word addressed to the retreat community. Contemplation and opening to the presence of the indwelling God are at the heart of a retreat experience, and thus the solitude of the silent retreat day offered the inner and outer space necessary for persons to center themselves and to listen with greater levels of awareness to the Word. And yet the retreatants became a community. While contemplation, spiritual direction, and preaching nurtured each retreatant’s encounter with the Word, four communal events formed the retreatants into a community: morning prayer, celebration of Eucharist, conversation at the evening meal, and “sharing the fruits of contemplation” within the praying of compline in the evening. The retreat model was intended to renew the spiritual life of Dominicans as well as revitalize Dominican spirituality as a constellation of elements that sustain contemplative apostles. Preaching was considered not only the mission of the order but a necessary means of nurturing the faith of the community. Community was the human relational context of a Dominican vocation. Common prayer and liturgy grounded Dominicans in the life of the worshipping church. Contemplation of the Word was the source from which the ministry of the Word drew vitality and insight. The order’s commitment to truth demanded a holistic faith vision of the world that saw all creation as God’s self-communication and therefore revelatory. But the chief innovation of the experience was the presence of men and women, religious and lay, of the Dominican family together on retreat. The significance of this “innovation” was reflected in the retreatants’ responses to two questions at the end of the retreat:


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1. What has this retreat experience meant for you as a Dominican? 2. Has the presence of Dominican brothers and sisters had any significance for you? Nine men experienced a strengthening of and new hope in their Dominican vocation. The women expressed a renewed vision of the Order of Preachers and a new awareness that they are a part of that. The comments of the men revealed a more immediate personal value in the Dominican identity of the gathering: “This retreat has reaffirmed my faith in God and in my Dominican vocation. Just knowing there is a group dedicated to the renewal of the Order rather than assisting its slow death gives me hope.” “I rediscovered Scripture and experienced here the things that made me enter the Order— common prayer, contemplation, study, and community.”

Women’s comments focused on relationships: “I felt bonded by the Word to this community and to the whole Church celebrating a Word that was mine and more than mine.” “I have experienced a new feeling of bonding with other Dominican men and women, and I want to search out more deeply my Dominican heritage and spirituality.”

The significance of collaboration of men and women was noted: “The equality and democracy of the Order came through in a fashion never so experienced before, due to the presence of brothers and sisters.” “Men benefit more from experiences like these because their needs are greater in this matter. By experiences like these we can be a sign to other Dominicans and help Catholics get over their sexual hang-ups. The most pressing issue of course is a matter of justice. These retreats signify that some of us have begun to make progress here.”

Five Parable retreats were offered in the spring and summer of 1978— on the East Coast, the West Coast and in the Midwest—and the model “worked” five times with five different teams. In the decades that followed from 1978 to 2008, Encounter with the Word retreats were offered regu-

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larly, sometimes with variations of the model, but always with the same basic elements: focus on the daily readings, preaching, direction, common prayer and Eucharist, communal evening meal, and sharing at compline. Paul Ricoeur describes the effect of a parable: “The course of ordinary life is broken open, the surprise bursts out. The unexpected happens, the audience is questioned and brought to think the unthinkable.”13 The retreatants’ evaluations spoke of many surprises: that Dominican men could relate to their sisters as peers, as equals, like brothers; that women could be good preachers; that concelebration which reinforces the priests set apart from their sisters and the laity appears to some as offensive and insensitive in the retreat community; that the daily Scripture readings could become a personal Word sufficient for the day’s contemplation. And even “the unthinkable” seemed possible: “The women’s preaching as well as their direction convinced me of God’s call of women to ordination.”14 In addition to the Encounter with the Word retreats and conferences on the arts and on the spirituality of justice that took place during this first phase of development, research and publication began. The papers of the 1977 Conference on Dominican Spirituality and Mission were published. Benedict Ashley and Donald Goergen published papers on gender issues and possible models of relationships necessitated in collaboration. The series of new translations of Dominican Sources was published through a collaboration of Parable and the English Dominican Simon Tugwell. All these events were seeds of the burgeoning of events, programs, and publications in the next two decades through which thousands of Dominicans would discover themselves as sisters and brothers in the Dominican family. In 1978 a Grand Rapids Dominican, Carmelita Murphy, OP, assumed the full-time position of associate director of Parable (replacing Mark Scannell, OP, the Dominican friar from the Central Province who had served as the part-time associate director) and shared the leadership of Parable with Diane Kennedy who continued as executive director. In 1982 Diane Kennedy was elected to congregational leadership, and Ann Willits, one of the visionary founders of Parable in 1975 when serving as the Sinsinawa vicaress general, became executive director for the next two decades. During the next two decades Ann shared her charismatic leadership role with a sequence of talented Dominicans—Carmelita Murphy, Don Goergen, Margaret Ormond, Honora Werner, Mary Ellen


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Green, and Connie Schoen—and what had been sown as a prophetic seed—a mustard seed—became a flourishing tree planted in the living water of the Dominican tradition that gave life to all the branches.

Bearing Fruit: 1982–2002 In the next two decades, 1982–2002, the mustard seed of Parable became a significant movement among the American Dominicans. Sustained outreach by the directors and board members and expanded programming built a far-flung network of strong relationships among American Dominicans. Motherhouses and monasteries were visited, new sites to host events were identified, and Parable conferences promoted study and stimulated creative thought on the renewal of Dominican mission. Dominican women and men, lay, religious, and ordained, were becoming a family. By 1984 the joint sponsorship of the Sinsinawa Congregation and the Central Province had expanded to include other Dominican groups. Funding was provided by four provinces of friars, twenty-three congregations of sisters, five monasteries, and the Dominican laity.15 By 1984, 4,872 Dominicans had participated in Parable events staffed by a total of 470 persons. Twenty-five conferences—five week-long and twenty one-day conferences—were scheduled in twenty-one places throughout the United States. In all these events Dominicans were getting to know one another, and those who met like cousins were becoming brothers and sisters through study, conversation, and celebration. As diverse and multiple as the events and gatherings were during those mature years, Parable sustained the focus on the renewal of Dominican mission and on collaboration as a means to actualize the Dominican family. The four original goals articulated in 1976 served as an overarching guide for programming and outreach throughout the eighties and nineties. 1. To promote research and study of Dominican life and mission: a. The Common Life Project gathered a group of Dominicans to think together on three questions: What has been the tradition of common life for Dominicans? What does common life mean for Dominicans today? Can Dominicans live what they preach and

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preach what they live? By 1988 a collection of essays was published, and conferences were held throughout the United Sates. b. The Dominican Composers Project invited two Dominican musicians, James Marchionda and Virginia Smith, to collect sacred music compositions by Dominican composers for a proposed Dominican hymnal as a possible worship tool to be used at Parable events. c. The Dominican Studies sessions at the Kalamazoo International Congress on Medieval Studies begun in 1980 continued to offer the scholarship of Dominican women and men annually through the eighties under the direction of Suzanne Noffke, OP. d. The Dominican Sources project provided new English translations of early Dominican writings under the leadership of the English Dominican scholar, Simon Tugwell, in collaboration with the Parable staff. The Parable office also served as the American outlet for Dominican Publications of Ireland.16 2. To promote a renewed understanding of Dominican spirituality: a. The Parable retreat model, focused on key elements of Dominican spirituality—the Word, preaching, liturgy, and community—was an enduring contribution that fostered adaptations: the original weeklong Encounter with the Word retreat in addition to weekend retreats as well as preached retreats that integrated the key elements. Central to the retreat experience was the modeling of relationships of equality and mutuality between the women and men and the image of sisters and brothers sharing the preaching mission of the Dominican Family. From 1978 to 1984 seventy-one retreats staffed by 142 Dominicans had attracted 1,688 participants. Participation continued strong throughout the eighties, and from 1995 to 1999 ninety-one retreats staffed by 282 Dominicans attracted 2,445 participants. b. Conferences that integrated an experience of study with prayer, preaching, teaching, and community engaged the Dominican intellectual tradition with contemporary realities. A sampling of the themes of the conferences reflect the engagement of scholarship with contemporary needs and challenges: “Justice and Truth Shall Meet” (1984); “What Makes a School Dominican?” (1985–88); “Spirit and Story: Dominicans on Call” (1986–87); “Dominicans Doing Justice”


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(1988); “A Vulnerable Moment: The Quincentenary, 1492–1992”; “Signs of the Times” (1993); “Exploring Globalization” (1998); “Beyond Patriarchy” (1998); and “In Our Keeping,” a biennial conference for Dominican historians and archivists initiated in 1984. These conferences are but a few of the mission-oriented events that engaged Dominican women and men with the intellectual and spiritual traditions of the order. c. Parable study tours, termed Mendicantours, to the lands of Dominic and to Central America began in 1984 and for the next twentythree years became one of Parable’s most successful and popular programs for deepening knowledge of Dominican history, for an integrated experience of Dominican spirituality, and for experience of Dominicans on mission among the poor and oppressed. One participant’s remembrance of the Lands of Dominic pilgrimage describes the meaning of the experience: We brought together Dominicans from a wide geographical scope and placed them together in close proximity for three weeks. We told stories and laughed and cried and ate and drank and walked and prayed together. We visited places where Dominic and Catherine and Thomas Aquinas and Fra Angelico and so many others had lived before us. We met brothers and sisters from Spain, France, and Italy. We learned so much, and we grew in our appreciation of what had brought us to Dominican life. Most importantly, the fifty strangers who boarded the bus in Madrid had become a community by the time we left Rome three weeks later. We learned all over again what it meant to be Dominican.17 The tours continued annually through 2007. Eventually an armchair Lands of Dominic tour called “At Home with Dominic” was offered for motherhouse communities whose aging members were not able to travel, but who desired to deepen their knowledge of the charism of Dominic and the history of the Order.

d. In addition to the retreats, conferences, and publications that manifested Parable’s responsiveness to the needs and issues key to the flourishing of the Dominican family and the renewal of Dominican mission during the eighties and nineties, in 1992 parish missions teamed by friars and sisters were introduced, a clear wit-

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ness to the full membership of women with men in the preaching mission of the order. Itinerant friars and sisters were sent out two by two to preach the Word for the ongoing renewal of communities of the local church. In 1992 five parish missions were preached; in 2001 sixteen parish missions were offered. Dominicans were being sent on mission to collaborate in the preaching of the Gospel. 3. To recognize the charism shared by Dominican men and women as a means of strengthening the bonds within the Dominican Family: a. Throughout all the events offered by Parable, participants experienced an expanded understanding of the Dominican charism. The summons of Vatican II to “return to the charism of the founder” became an invitation not only to revisit the spirit of Dominic but to see oneself as a member of a global family of men and women, called to be brothers and sisters, lay, religious, and ordained, entrusted with the mission of preaching the Word of God. b. Some Dominicans who had staffed and attended multiple Parable events during these years often referred to themselves as “Parable Dominicans,” affirming that they had served in relationships of mutuality and equality and discovered what it meant to belong to the Dominican family. 4. To encourage and help collaborative efforts among Dominicans as a means of renewing the mission of the Order in the Church: a. From its founding, Parable’s hope and self-understanding were to serve the American Dominican family and to engage all branches of the Dominican family in the renewal of mission. It maintained close ties with the various Dominican organizations: the Dominican Leadership Conference, the Justice Promoters, the Dominican Ongoing Formation Conference, the Conference of Nuns, and the Dominican Laity. Wherever Dominicans were seeking to mount new collaborative efforts—planning conferences on justice, promoting preaching, or responding to global realities—Parable was called upon to assist, coordinate, and promote these efforts. In 1985


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Parable developed a network of regional promoters to strengthen relationships and make it more widely known. b. In these decades the mustard seed had become “the largest of green plants,” thanks to the directors’ creative imagination, capacity for relationships, and love of the Dominican family. Borders between congregations and provinces had been crossed, and Dominicans had gradually discovered their common identity as well as the incredible diversity of gifts entrusted to the family. A firm foundation had been laid for renewed mission. But, as the twenty-first century dawned, new challenges confronted the vision and mission of Parable.

Bringing in the Harvest: 2002–2008 As Parable continued into the twenty-first century, the brothers and sisters whose Dominican vocations had been deepened and renewed through Parable events and the experience of collaboration retained the hope and vision born of that experience of the Dominican family. But Dominicans who were in their thirties and forties in the 1980s and 1990s had become elders with cherished memories of equality and mutuality born of collaboration for mission. They knew well that a family is rooted in relationships, a common bond, a common history, and a common heritage; and they had learned that distant cousins can be welcomed as family through discovering similarities, sharing memories, and recognizing common values. But the process of “becoming family” requires family gatherings shaped by the core values of a contemplative spirit, serious study, wellplanned, participative liturgies, warm community, and rich conversation— for the sake of the preaching mission. Parable for almost three decades had hosted those gatherings and engaged Dominicans in serious reflection on the call to mission in the face of global challenges. But significant ecclesial and cultural changes marked the beginning of the twenty-first century and the fourth decade since Vatican II. The ongoing process of the renewal of religious life was revealing some emergent differences in friars’ and sisters’ appropriation of the call to renewal. Women’s congregations were aging and receiving fewer new members, who were generally older. Feminist consciousness was forming perspectives of both old and young members, and the justice agenda became cen-

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tral to their vision and ministerial commitments. The friars’ provinces were attracting younger men of more conservative ecclesiologies, and the Dominican habit had become daily garb and an important visible symbol for the men. Most Dominican sisters’ communities no longer wore the religious habit and did not weigh its symbolic value in the same way the men did. Thus the new friars and sisters were not natural peers as they began their Dominican formation, and collaborative formation events no longer had the same shared value. For women, inclusive language was a common expectation, and for some, the celebration of Eucharist became a visible reminder of the church’s refusal to value the full personhood of women. Thus family gatherings risked becoming a minefield of variant expectations. The congregations whose sisters had been core participants of Parable events were aging, and travel to events and on pilgrimages had become more difficult.

Strategic Planning Process Facing the impact of these significant ecclesial and cultural changes, in 2004 the Parable board acknowledged that, since its founding in 1976, Parable had been “a place of national crossroads for nurturing a sense of Dominican Family” among members of the Order of Preachers, but changed circumstances presented a new challenge. The executive director and the Parable board initiated a strategic planning process to review internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. From this process critical issues were identified as primary foci of the 2004–8 strategic plan: governance, fund/resource development, organizational capacity, community relations/marketing, programs/services, and collaborations/partnerships. Strategic goal statements were developed for each of the critical issue areas. The process produced a new mission statement—Parable unites the energies of the US Dominican family to renew and deepen its life and mission for the sake of preaching the Gospel in today’s world—and developed a vision statement: Parable exists to support and strengthen the whole of the Dominican Family, the Order of Preachers in the United States, in its mission of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Parable strives to serve the Dominican Family, in and through all its branches, affiliates and friends, by cultivating


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a culture of collaboration. Linking and working with others, Parable offers diverse opportunities to: Deepen communal and contemplative prayer; Engage in study motivated by the common desire to seek truth in order to speak truth; Encounter the Spirit and one another in dialogue rooted in contemplative listening and intentional speaking; Build relationships of mutuality and respect that witness to love, healing, and reconciliation as foundations of common life for the sake of the common good. Parable intends, by its words and actions, to encourage and affirm the Dominican Family as it endeavors to proclaim by lived example the Gospel of God’s reconciling and all-embracing love, reaching out and welcoming in the human family of our 21st century world.18

The impact of the ecclesial and cultural changes is reflected in the significant shift in focus and language from the original four overarching goals of the Parable Conference for the renewal of Dominican mission. The new mission “to unite the energies of the US Dominican Family” describes the legacy—the harvest—what had happened—in the three previous decades of events, programs, publications, and sustaining vision; but the offering of “diverse opportunities” for prayer, study, and dialogue rooted in contemplative listening to “build relationships of mutuality and respect” has a more personal and interior focus, suggesting that familial relationships had weakened and a sense of common mission no longer energized collaboration. The core values identified in the planning conversation—inclusion, culture of collaboration, dialogue, appreciation of differences, reconciliation, sustainability, and accountability—are proper to any healthy organization but seem to express hopes sincerely desired but not yet realized. The planning process produced a strategic plan with clearly defined and measurable goals. But two factors, combined with the ecclesial and cultural changes at work among Dominican congregations and provinces, set in motion a slow process of apparently declining interest in Parable: the inability to fill the position of the director and the move from its base

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within the Priory campus of Dominican University. The inability to fill the position of executive director was critical to the future of Parable. In light of these factors, the board sent a survey to dozens of interested constituents, and after reviewing the responses, the executive committee offered this rationale to the board as it continued next steps: In the judgment of the Board, based on both the feedback received from the US Dominican Family and our own discernment, Parable has served its mission to foster collaboration across the Family as completely as it could, in light of the following constraints: Our financial resources are limited and there is evidence that donors and programs will not be able to increase or sustain the funds needed for operations; A significant cross-section of the Dominican Family in the United States cannot, at this time, validate Parable’s mission or its efforts to achieve its mission “to unite the energies of the Family”; There is diminished interest/ability of the Dominican Family to participate in collaborative Parable projects; While many constituents of the Dominican Family articulate a dream for collaboration among the Family in the US, there appears to be no center of gravity for this dream . . . it is recognized that the Parable Conference could not become or implement such a center.19

The board’s conclusion that Parable had served its mission led to its dissolution on July 31, 2008. The archive materials were moved to the Mary Nona McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. The McGreal Center, named for a sister who was one of the founders of Parable, was established to serve the entire Dominican family and thus continues as a significant collaboration within the American Dominican family.

Enduring Grace For more than three decades the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission dramatically influenced the shape of the Dominican family


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in the United States. Its legacy continues to live on in the many forms of collaboration evolving to meet the changing needs of the order and the world that it serves. In the eighties and nineties Parable had become a symbolic center of the American Dominican family, a center of influence rather than a center of authority and power. The collaborative programs and projects sponsored and promoted by Parable fostered relationships that enabled participants to imagine new forms of institutional collaboration. From 1975 to 1990 the Dominican Internovitiate Program for men and women novices was held annually. In 1984 eight sisters’ congregations opened a House of Studies in St. Louis for second-year women novices to pursue studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology. (In 1981 Aquinas Institute of Theology moved from Dubuque, Iowa, to the campus of St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.) In 1989 the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate for Dominican women novices was founded in St. Louis to take advantage of theological study at Aquinas Institute and continues to the present time. One former director of Parable described the impact of Parable on sisters’ congregations: An enduring impact of Parable for the sisters of the Order was to break down some deeply entrenched ways of thinking about and perceiving one another, individually and congregationally, as apostolic Dominican women. . . . Parable caused us apostolic women to find one another, to step across our individual congregational boundaries, and to discover that we were sisters to one another first, and only then members of a particular Dominican congregation. An enduring grace flowed from Parable which softened and realigned such perceptions. Parable’s efforts to build relationships through collaboration tilled the ground upon which mergers and unions and all sorts of adventures have been and are made possible.20

From that enduring grace came the mergers of three Dominican congregations into the Dominican Sisters of Hope in 1995 and seven sisters’ congregations into the Dominican Sisters of Peace in 2009. Other lasting entities are the Dominican Sisters’ Conference, the Dominican Volunteers USA, Dominican Associates affiliated with sisters’ congregations, the Dominican Association of Secondary Schools, the High School and College Preaching Conferences, the Dominican Higher Education Colloquium, the

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annual Dominican Colleges’ Fanjeaux trips, and the publication of Dominican Praise, a psalter of inclusive language. All of these entities emerged from the familial relationships created through the collaboration modeled and fostered by Parable. Perhaps the most significant witness to the enduring grace resulting from three decades of building relationships through collaboration was the creation of the Dominican Sisters’ Conference in 2010. The Dominican Leadership Conference founded the Dominican Sisters’ Conference to include both elected leaders and all members of the sisters’ congregations in one organization. The DLC was dissolved and was replaced by an entity inclusive of all the Dominican sisters in the United States, both elected leaders and members, “standing as a clear voice for justice, truth and peace.” For three decades the seed of Parable had been scattered widely and prodigally across boundaries of congregations and provinces by charismatic leaders of great vision, creative imaginations, and love of the Dominican family who inspired others to “go and do likewise.” The comments of those who had been intimately involved with Parable by staffing events, participating in programs, and serving on boards offer a mosaic of meaning for the history of Parable: I have come to understand more than ever the profound wisdom of Dominic in deciding to welcome women and men into his school of holy preaching. We cannot preach or do justice or speak truthfully outside of being a family. We cannot be human without each other. This complementarity is one of our Order’s greatest gifts, and one of the most important gifts we have to share with the Church. It is also one of Parable’s greatest legacies.21 When I entered the Order in 1986, the Parable Conference was leading the branches of the Order, in word and action, to a renewed understanding of what it meant to be “Family.” It challenged Dominicans of every persuasion to touch the roots of their Dominican identity. The Parable Conference cultivated the soil of Dominican life-digging deep by study, watering thoroughly with prayer, harvesting joyfully in common life . . . In its 33 years, the Parable Conference dramatically influenced the shape of Dominican family life in the United Sates. Its legacy will continue to live on in the many and diverse forms of collaboration that continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the Order and the church and world which it serves.22


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Parable profoundly impacted my vocation, my Dominican life, and my understanding of the Dominican Order. . . . Parable gifted me with the foundational understanding that the Dominican Family is about relationship, about being brother and sister to one another. Even as it gave me a greater sense of the common vocation of the Order, Parable also unfolded for me the differences in our ways of thinking, believing, valuing and perceiving as friars, sisters, nuns and laity of the Order. And yet, these significant differences are held together in the common purpose of the ideals of the Order’s motto: Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare (“To praise, to bless, to preach”).23 Dominic established the Order as a Family; it’s not an option to not be in relationship with one another and seeking each other out for collaboration. When we live this collaboration faithfully as a Family, it is a powerful witness and gift to the church and to the world.24 To speak of Parable’s impact is to be aware of how it wrote the history of the future. It planted seeds and some of them sprouted and grew, others never had a chance, a few of the seeds were thrown out, some washed away, and still others became something altogether new. More than anything Parable was an invitation for Dominicans to practice Resurrection. Somehow for a short time Parable planted seeds and the Family sat down and ate together. It is still happening but in different ways.25

Conclusion The Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission was conceived by a group of Dominican women and men who imagined a future of collaboration from a past of cooperation in traditional ministries. The transformative grace of Vatican II and the renewed understanding of the order as the Dominican family were catalysts stimulating a new sense of possibilities for the renewal of Dominican life and mission—the possible revelation of “the extraordinary within the ordinary.” For more than thirty years Parable generated a vast network of Dominicans coming together to renew Dominican energies for mission and to strengthen the bonds of family. Within those years the prophetic mustard seed grew into an abundant living reality of retreats and conferences, think tanks and publications, lectures and workshops that welcomed all branches of the Dominican family.

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Throughout those three decades the leadership of Parable was challenged by the need for sustained funding, expanded ownership by the whole family, and an appropriation of the self-understanding of the order as the Dominican family. Perhaps the underlying questions were “To whom does Parable belong?” and “What is its nature?—not a congregation, not a province, not a commission, not an association; it does not fit into the known structures.” The view through the rearview mirror sees Parable as a phenomenon that transcended the known entities and boundaries and yet served and embraced all of them—provinces and congregations, monasteries and chapters, and even those on the margins. Parable was a movement—a movement of the Spirit—that awakened possibilities, deepened understanding of the Dominican tradition, and stimulated hope for the mission of the order in the world. The collaboration of the branches of the order, friars and sisters, nuns and laity, fostered by Parable was not the goal but rather the means to renew and expand the mission of the order to preach the Gospel and to build a more just world. For thousands of Dominicans it was “a center of gravity” through which they glimpsed “a dream of collaboration” rooted in the charism of Dominic. The potential of the historical moment of women and laity finding their full personhood within church and society found good ground in the soil of the Dominican family begun by Dominic eight centuries before. The Spirit blows where it will—and we know not whence it comes nor where it goes. Parable was a movement of the Spirit that opened hearts and minds to more abundant life as a Dominican family. That selfunderstanding is at the heart of the charism; it is in the DNA of the order. In the renewal called for by Vatican II, Parable revealed the gift of family at the heart of the charism as well as the extraordinary power of the collaboration of men and women to renew the Dominican preaching mission. The possibility of other phenomena emerging to sustain and deepen that renewal lies in the future, but the past of Parable remains a witness to the possibility. Edward Schillebeeckx wrote of the Dominican family story being told in ever-new modalities and repeated in ever-new languages and speech, actualized in the present, in Dominicans living now. Urban T. Holmes contrasted “a closed story”—one codified into structures, made into certitude—and “an open story”: “ There is always more to be said in a


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narrative that is open because it lives in ambiguity. This is what gives the story the unique capacity to deal with paradox.”26 The Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission revealed the Dominican family as “an open story . . . creative of new imaginings . . . and a capacity to live with paradox.” The relationships and friendships, the deepening of familial bonds, the experience of equality and mutuality, and the new entities inspired by Parable remain, an enduring witness to the open story that continues to call Dominicans to “go and do likewise.” Notes 1. Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Dominican Ashram 3, no. 1 (1984): 4. 2. Libre Constitutionum et Ordinationum, Acts of the Tallaght Chapter, 1971, 122. Archives of the Dominican Province of Saint Albert the Great, Chicago, Illinois. 3. Libre Constitutionum et Ordinationum, Acts of the Quezon City, 1977, Chapter VI, De Familia Dominicana. Archives of the Dominican Province of Saint Albert the Great, Chicago, Illinois. 4. Acts, Elective General Chapter Order of Preachers, Mexico, July 1–31, 1992. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Professor of Sacred Theology, Master of the Order (Rome: Curia Generalitia at Santa Sabina, 1992), 88. 5. Initial Meeting on Dominican Collaboration. March 19, 1975, Box 1, FF 4, Parable Conference Collection, McGreal Center, Dominican University. 6. Ibid. 7. Conference on Dominican Collaboration. June 5–7, 1975, Box 1, FF 4, Parable Conference Collection, McGreal Center, Dominican University. 8. Edward Schillebeeckx, “Dominican Spirituality, or The ‘Counter Thread’ in the Old Religious Story as the Golden Thread in the Dominican Family-Story,” in Spirituality and Ministry: Dominican Perspectives (Sinsinawa, 1978), 97–99. 9. See Diane Kennedy, “Collaborative Models for the Renewal of Dominican Spirituality” (DMin diss., Pacific School of Religion, 1978). 10. See Benedict Ashley, OP, “Models of Dominican Relationship,” exChange 8 (Fall 1976): 5–8; Donald Goergen, OP, “Men and Women Together in Christ,” exChange (Fall 1976): 18–20; and Diane Kennedy, OP, “Strengthening the Family Bond,” exChange (Fall 1976): 1–4. 11. Schillebeeckx, “Dominican Spirituality,” 97–99. 12. Urban T. Holmes, Ministry and Imagination (New York: Seabury Press, 1976), 167–68. 13. Paul Ricoeur, “Symbolic Systems and the Interpretation of Scripture,” Semeia 4 (1975): 83.

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14. See Kennedy, “Collaborative Models for the Renewal of Dominican Spirituality.” 15. Parable Directors’ Report, 1984, Parable Collection, McGreal Center, Dominican University. 16. Ibid. 17. Mary Ellen Green, OP, email message to Diane Kennedy, OP, regarding Reflections on Parable, November 29, 2015. In author’s possession. 18. Strategic Planning Minutes, 2004, Box 3, FF 8, Parable Collection, McGreal Center, Dominican University. 19. Letter from Board, Parable Collection, McGreal Center, Dominican University. 20. Carm Murphy, OP, email message to Diane Kennedy, OP, regarding Reflections on Parable, August 2008. In author’s possession. 21. Brian Pierce, OP, email message to Diane Kennedy, OP regarding Reflections on Parable, August 2008. In author’s possession. 22. Connie Schoen, OP, email message to Diane Kennedy, OP, regarding Reflections on Parable, August 29, 2008. In author’s possession. 23. Murphy, email message to Kennedy, regarding Reflections on Parable. 24. Co-directors of the Common Novitiate, email message to Diane Kennedy, OP, regarding Reflections on Parable, August 2008. In author’s possession. 25. Ann Willits, OP, director, 1982–2002, email message to Diane Kennedy, OP, regarding Reflections on Parable. In author’s possession. 26. Schillebeeckx, “Dominican Spirituality,” 98; Holmes, Ministry and Imagination, 167.

From Teacher to Tutor Adapting a Historic Ministry of Education to Contemporary Realities a rlene i. bach a nov

By the late 1980s, facing the aging of its members and a lower need in general for sisters in parochial-school classrooms, the Adrian Dominican Sisters wanted to find ways to address changing societal needs and give their trained educators the opportunity to stay in ministry even as they aged. Sister Marie Damian Schoenlein, OP, recognized the need for adult literacy programs in Detroit, thanks to her many years in the city as part of the congregational leadership team. Detroit’s illiteracy level was possibly as high as one in five residents,1 and Sister Marie Damian knew that teaching people to read and write could help lift them out of poverty by removing illiteracy as a barrier to employment. She hoped to bring the congregation’s highly skilled teachers, many of whom had spent decades in the classroom teaching children and young adults, together with this new community of learners. Starting a literacy center at the congregationowned Dominican High School on the city’s east side would allow the Adrian Dominican Sisters to tackle the illiteracy issue head-on—and use their considerable expertise as educators to do so. Exactly how the Adrian Dominicans undertook this ministry—and how the congregation has taken steps to ensure a future for its literacy centers, now numbering seven in three states—is a story that continues to unfold.

A Tradition of Teaching Like other Dominican congregations, the Adrian Dominican Sisters have a long history in education. Their “parent” community, the cloistered nuns of Holy Cross convent in Regensburg, Germany, started a school in 1803, and when four of those nuns set foot in New York City on August 26, 1853, it was to teach.2 Soon Dominican nuns were spreading out from the convents they established in the New York City area. Many went to Michigan, among them four nuns who arrived in the small southeastern Michigan

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town of Adrian in 1879 to teach at St. Mary’s parish school. Four other nuns came the next year, this time to Adrian’s other Catholic parish, St. Joseph’s. In 1884, six more Dominican women arrived in Adrian to begin a different type of ministry: operating a hospital for injured railroad workers. Adrian was a major rail hub at the time, and the priest at St. Joseph’s, Father Casimir Rohowski, thought there was a need for such a facility and asked for sisters to operate it on farmland he bought at the city’s northern edge. It wasn’t long, however, before reality set in for Mother Camilla Madden, the provincial, and when Adrian became its own congregation in 1923, its first prioress. The hospital was never going to be financially viable, but Mother Camilla looked at those same rail lines running into Adrian, and realized that if the sisters went back to what they knew how to do—teach—the trains could bring in students for a boarding school. St. Joseph Academy, which opened in 1896, was the result of Mother Camilla’s idea. Over the next half-century, Adrian Dominicans spread out to schools across the United States and in a number of other countries. Not only did they teach in hundreds of parish schools, but in addition to operating St. Joseph Academy, they founded several more institutions including Mount St. Mary Academy in St. Charles, Illinois; Bishop Quarter Military Academy in Oak Park, Illinois; Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida; Siena Heights College (now University) in Adrian; Barry College (now University) in Miami Shores, Florida; the short-lived St. Dominic College in St. Charles, Illinois; the Colegio Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic; and six high schools in Detroit, Chicago and its environs, and Cleveland. By the late 1980s, however, the congregation overall was aging. In 1988, the year that Sister Marie Damian’s literacy effort begins, more than 400 Adrian Dominicans were over the age of 71—considered by the congregation to be “retirement” age—and almost 170 were between 65 and 70. But many of these women still wanted to stay active because they could never see themselves not being involved in ministry of some kind. The issue of aging but staying in active ministry was certainly not unique to the Adrian Dominicans. Indeed, a task force looking at precisely that situation was the subject of a March 29, 1988, meeting between Detroit Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Edmund Szoka and the archdiocese’s


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major religious superiors, among them Sister Marie Damian. Her proposal for a literacy center flowed out of that meeting. The Adrian Dominicans’ governmental structure in the years since Vatican II had transitioned from a “top-down” system to one in which individual sisters could identify the needs in their area and start new ministries accordingly. As a result, in order for Sister Marie Damian to begin what would become the Dominican Literacy Center, she simply had to propose the program and ask the congregational leadership to support the effort. Strong backing came from the prioress, Sister Nadine Foley, OP, and the general council, allowing her to begin the work. She also had the support of Archbishop Szoka and Sister Barbara Celeskey, SJ, the archdiocese’s director of education. Sister Marie Damian envisioned a collaborative program that would offer semi-active and retired women and men religious the opportunity to serve as volunteer tutors. A letter dated March 9, 1989, from Sister Marcine Klemm, OP, who succeeded Sister Marie Damian as chapter prioress, to the congregation’s sponsorship board in support of a funding request, outlines the vision: It is with a great deal of excitement and anticipation that this literacy project is being encouraged. As it gets underway, it is hoped that intercongregational retired sisters will form a volunteer corps to assist with the tutoring. The above mentioned religious communities [the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe; the Servants of Jesus; the Sisters of St. Joseph; and the Sisters of Mercy, who had all been approached for support and had promised some funding] have expressed a willingness to cooperate in providing volunteer personnel. . . . Such an endeavor is certainly supported through our [General Chapter] Enactments in empowering the poor and providing them with the skills, which will enable them to obtain employment.

With such support behind them, Sister Marie Damian and co-founder Sister Marlene Lieder, OP, quickly began to implement their vision. Seeking and training tutors was the first task. An initial group that included Adrian Dominicans and Sisters of St. Joseph was trained in May 1989 through the Wayne County (Michigan) Literacy Program, and on June 19 the facility opened for a summer session with nine students

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and two tutors: Sister Fabian Jacyna, OP, and a laywoman, Barbara Howell. Tutoring began in earnest in August, and by January 1990 there were sixty-five students enrolled, ranging from seventeen to sixty-five years of age. Demand quickly increased to the point that prospective students had to be placed on a waiting list, and in short order the space on Dominican High’s ground floor was insufficient for the number of students and tutors. In the summer of 1990, the center moved from the high school to the adjacent convent and became known as the Dominican Literacy Center. When continuing demand meant the need for still more space, the center moved into another home, also on the east side of Detroit, in 2008 and into a still larger one not far away in October 2014. Within roughly a year’s time, this new facility saw its enrollment increase by 37 percent.3 This success story led to more sisters opening literacy centers in other areas. When it became clear that to better serve the need in Detroit the congregation should begin a second literacy center on the other side of the city, Sister Mary Hemmen, OP, established the Siena Literacy Center in 1995. Both Siena and the Dominican Literacy Center were able to leverage the Adrian Dominicans’ longtime presence in Detroit. Ever since the sisters first staffed Our Lady of Sorrows school in Detroit in 1911, the congregation had taught in numerous parish schools and opened two high schools in the city, Dominican on the east side and Rosary on the west. The two literacy centers utilized the congregation’s name recognition, as well as the sisters living in the city to help out, and, in the case of the Dominican Literacy Center, the facilities. As the years passed and the picture changed for Catholic education in Detroit, many parish schools and both of the congregation-run high schools closed their doors. But although fewer Adrian Dominicans were “on the ground” in the city, the need for literacy programs was still great, and so a third literacy center, All Saints, opened on the city’s southwest side in 2015.

Expanding beyond Detroit Detroit was not the only city where Adrian Dominicans were present in significant numbers. In Chicago and the surrounding area, the sisters taught in many of the parishes in addition to opening Aquinas High School in 1915 and Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette in 1958. Their presence in Chicago led to expanding the literacy effort to that city when


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Sister Joan Mary, OP, had a chance meeting at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish with a Hispanic resident of the city’s south side who had come to the church basement looking for donated clothing. “A Hispanic woman said to me, ‘Madre, if we could only learn English,’ ” said Sister Joan.4 She reported that conversation to Sister Claudia Hinds, OP, who was also ministering in the parish. Knowing that a number of Adrian Dominicans were teaching English overseas, Sister Joan said to Sister Claudia, “We’re going to Europe to teach English, and all around our door there are people who want to learn.” Soon after this conversation, the sisters decided to establish a center. They cleared the clothing out of the basement, set up two tables and five chairs, and opened the Aquinas Literacy Center under Sister Claudia’s direction. Sister Joan, who was a campus minister at nearby Triton College and a Spanish speaker, came to the center in the evenings to help with translation. “I don’t know that we knew we were opening a literacy center,” Sister Joan said. “We just saw that we shouldn’t just be giving out coats and shoes. We saw a need and responded to it.” 5 The congregation’s next literacy center, DePorres Place, opened its doors in 1997 in another area of the country where Adrian Dominicans had long been present: West Palm Beach, Florida. Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach had been owned and operated by the congregation since 1923, and Barry College (University) in nearby Miami Shores was also a congregational institution at the time.6 Several Adrian Dominicans, including Sister Mary Margaret McGill, OP, and Sister Carleen Maly, OP, the Florida chapter prioress at the time, established DePorres Place, choosing the Port of Palm Beach as the first location because it was within one of the area’s neediest local communities. Sister Mary Margaret became the center’s first director. Another literacy center, this one in Flint, Michigan, came about thanks to a street ministry program sponsored by St. Luke Catholic Church that took meals and clothing to some of the city’s most impoverished residents. As Sisters Carol Weber, OP, an Adrian Dominican, and Judy Blake, SSJ, worked in this program alongside St. Luke parishioners in the late 1990s, they heard story after story of the challenges faced every day by these residents, especially single mothers and their children. Knowing they had to do more for them, the two women religious established the St. Luke NEW Life Center, housed in St. Luke’s former school building.

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The center is located in the poorest and most underserved section of Flint—a city which Sister Carol called “a Third-World city in a First-World country.” 7 It runs a food pantry and provides weekly hot meals. Additionally, because it serves “people who are afraid of getting turned into Child Protective Ser vices because they have nothing,” the center provides furniture and clothing to those in need. Other ministries in the parish include a Program of Life Change, a three-year program to help at-risk women—most of whom have been affected by poverty, abuse, drug addiction, and poor education—turn their lives around. There is also a sixteen-week Employment Prep program, designed to help the structurally unemployable, that gives participants training in a wide range of job skills, GED preparation, computer literacy, financial literacy, and more.8 The center’s literacy program began in 2008 as yet one more component of this wide-ranging effort to help poor Flint residents better their lives. When Flint began to lose large numbers of jobs, the center stepped in, and employed city residents, who for a variety of reasons, would otherwise find it difficult or even impossible to find work. “As jobs disappeared out of Flint, we wanted to carry on the mission,” Sister Carol said.9 First, in 2008, came a commercial sewing business to make medical apparel such as scrubs and hospital gowns, as well as other products. This program was followed in 2014 by a lawn-care ser vice designed to give men the same type of opportunity.10 The center met yet another critical local need when problems surfaced in 2015 concerning high levels of lead in the Flint water supply. For example, the center supplied bottled water to residents and started a program to give people vital information about helping children exposed to high lead levels, along with diapers, formula, and baby wipes—much of which were donated by Adrian Dominican Sisters and the wider Adrian community. It also taught area residents how to go to Flint City Council meetings and speak out. “We can’t be their only voice,” Sister Carol said. “They have to advocate for themselves.”11 The congregation filled a need in its own hometown in 2008 by starting the Adrian Rea Literacy Center. It was a direct response to the congregation’s 2004 General Chapter,12 whose delegates crafted the statement: “We affirm and support the continuation of literacy ministries and the strengthening of collaborative efforts to develop other funding


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Adrian Dominican Sister Joanne McCauley, OP, with a student at the Adrian Literacy Center. Archives, Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan.

sources, resources and expertise.” They also wrote a vision statement that included this sentence: “We walk in solidarity with people who are poor and challenge structures that impoverish them.”13 In keeping with these statements, the congregation’s general council asked Sister Marie Damian Schoenlein, who had pioneered the Adrian Dominican literacy effort in the late 1980s and directed the Dominican Literacy Center for eighteen years, to start another literacy center on the motherhouse campus in response to the critical need right at home in Adrian. Sister Marie Damian and Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, OP, founded the center, and Sister Carleen Maly, who had worked with Sister Marie Damian in Detroit several years earlier and who, as Florida chapter prioress, had been part of the group that established the literacy center in West Palm Beach, became its director.14 “When Marie and Sarah started [Adrian’s] center, I was in the congregation’s vocations office, and I could see all the incredible things our sisters and associates were doing in the community,” Sister Carleen said. “I realized that literacy would be a great way to bring the community to us at the motherhouse.”15

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In 2007, all seven of the Adrian Dominicans’ literacy centers collectively became the Dominican Rea Literacy Corporation16 and adopted the following mission statement: Responding to the crucial societal need, we, members of the Dominican Rea Literacy Corporation, exist to empower adults by providing basic literacy and life skills through individualized tutoring, in environments that respect and reverence individuals. We enable learners to transform their lives by acquiring skills to become successful parents, productive workers and responsible citizens. This mutual collaboration in adult literacy is a contemporary expression of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ commitment to education.17

This mission statement puts into words the focus on empowerment through a new manifestation of the Congregation’s traditional teaching ministry.

Once Classroom Teachers, Now Tutors Over the course of their collective two-decade history, the Adrian Dominicans’ literacy centers have been served by many sisters, Dominican and other wise, who are retired from the classroom but still have much to contribute—just as Sister Marie Damian intended. Sister Peter Anthony Schulte, OP, who spent most of her teaching years at various schools in the Chicago area, is one such sister. As the reading resource teacher at Visitation School in the Joliet diocese, and someone who understands reading struggles from personal experience, she has a unique perspective on literacy issues. “I have the greatest sympathy and patience for someone who has difficulty reading,” she said. “I couldn’t read until I was in fifth grade.”18 Her trouble stemmed from not being able to differentiate long and short vowel sounds. But because she memorized stories read to her and could pretend to be reading, her teachers did not catch on until she got to fifth grade. Retiring from active ministry and moving to Adrian did not mean leaving teaching behind, for Sister Peter Anthony quickly began tutoring at the Adrian Rea Literacy Center. Her learners have included a young person who got through the eleventh grade and still could not read, an adult


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from Mexico, and a college student from Venezuela. To her, there are similarities between teaching children and teaching adults. “Adults are just bigger kids,” she said. And, she said, she has greatly enjoyed the experience. “You’re helping them get better at what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s been very fulfilling to still be able to use my skills.”19 Sister Elizabeth Flaherty, OP, also tutored at the center in Adrian. Like so many other Adrian Dominicans, she had a wide range of teaching experiences with elementary, high school, and college students. But it was as director of faith formation for the Archdiocese of Detroit and later as a faculty member at Sacred Heart Seminary that she found her true passion. “I fell in love with working with groups of adults,” she said.20 After retiring from active ministry and becoming a volunteer at the Adrian Rea Literacy Center, she worked with several learners, both basic-literacy students and English as a Second Language students. One of these worked as a housekeeper and knew she could get a better job if she could read. Another wanted to learn English because her husband spoke only Spanish, and she wanted to be able to talk to her baby in English. To Sister Elizabeth, teaching adults was especially rewarding because “they’re [at the literacy center] because they choose to be there,” she said. “They’re determined to learn.”21

Reaching Immigrant Communities By going to where the needs are, the Adrian Dominicans’ literacy centers serve two different types of learners: literacy learners, meaning people who are native English speakers but are functionally illiterate, and those whose first language is not English. According to Sister Janice Brown, OP, who succeeded Sister Marie Damian as director of the Dominican Literacy Center and served in that capacity until 2017, the average literacy learner (someone who is a native English speaker but is functionally illiterate) comes to that center reading at a third-grade level. Negative experiences in school, learning disabilities, drugs, gang involvement, and teen pregnancy have been factors in many of these learners’ lack of reading ability. Poverty, often generational, is a reality for 95 percent of these learners.22 Sister Leonore Boivin, OP, who ministers at the Siena Literacy Center, described how a lack of literacy skills affects her clients’ everyday lives.

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They come to us wanting to learn basic skills needed to live their lives in our society. They need and want a job or a job that pays a living wage. They want to be able to read signs, buy their wife an anniversary card on their own, understand directions on over the counter medications or follow a recipe. They need and want to help their children to know how to read and write, and how to interact with the school system to make that happen. They want to read their Bible, to vote responsibly, and understand mail that threatens to cut off utilities. They want to manage their money, write checks, and pay bills. Most of all they want to do what everyone else seems to be able to do—read! They are tired of pretending, and covering up the things they cannot do. They want to feel good about themselves in all of this.23

Learners such as these have spent their lives with the negative impact of illiteracy. But the centers also serve another group of students: immigrants who may be fully literate in their own language but need to learn English in order to succeed in America. These learners’ numbers have grown steadily over the years; in fact, at some centers they constitute all or almost all of the learner population. The ethnicity of these learners varies depending on the location. For example, when the Siena Literacy Center first opened, a significant number of the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners were from various Arabic countries. Others came from several Eastern European countries, as well as Mexico and Asia. Today, almost all of the ESOL learners are from West African countries such as Senegal. At the Dominican Literacy Center, the nonnative learners generally are from countries in Africa, Asia, or Eastern Europe. “They came for a better life in the United States, and some of them have been here for a long time but now they want to learn English,” Sister Janice said. “They can’t get a better job, or they can’t go to college, or they have kids now and they want to be good role models.”24 In West Palm Beach, where many immigrants work in the hospitality industry (hotels and cruise ships), almost all of the learners come from Spanish-speaking countries or from Haiti. The latter group has especially grown in recent times, as have the number of basic-literacy learners. “While we are delighted to have our Spanish-speaking students, we do feel like we’re becoming more reflective of our community, and reaching more students who have significantly more financial challenges,” reported DePorres Place director Judy Ireland.25


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Adelaide, a native Haitian, came to the center in September 2015. At that point she tested at a low English-literacy score, but in about a year and a half she had moved from the beginning of the first workbook into the third book.26 She was a home health aide, but according to Ireland: Her ambition at that time was to be a certified nursing assistant; she had already passed the skills test for that, but she wasn’t able to pass the written portion of the test. Her interests have broadened a little since then, and she’s even done some studying for an insurance license. . . . I think she’s doing some experimenting, now that she feels her English skills are improving. Adelaide told me (recently) that she never knew how to read a map before; she had to just remember in her head how to get places. But now, thanks to the exercises we’ve done in Side by Side, she can read a map. A few weeks ago, she said, “Remember when I came in here and I could barely talk to you? Now I’m talking all the time!”27

The Aquinas Literacy Center in Chicago continues, as it has since its inception, to serve a primarily Hispanic population, although the number of learners from Asian countries has increased in recent years. Two other centers serve Hispanic immigrants almost exclusively: Adrian Rea on the motherhouse campus and All Saints in southwestern Detroit. Rafael Jimenez, a learner at Adrian Rea, is just one example of how that center’s ministry to Hispanics leads to success. He came to California from Mexico at the age of sixteen, alone and unable to speak or read English. In fact, because it was more important for the children to work than to attend school, his education overall was lacking. He moved to Michigan in 1994, when friends suggested he could get a job that offered better hours. Rafael spent years picking crops until he was able to get a factory job by having someone else fill out his application. Whenever he needed to communicate with a supervisor, someone had to translate, and when the factory closed, his lack of English skills stood in the way of a new job because a relative had to complete the forms for him. “I was very embarrassed,” Jimenez said, even to the point of tears, on any number of occasions.28 When he applied for one job and had to fill out the application himself on the spot, without having anyone there to help he could not do so. Feeling he had failed, he began crying. But it also made him determined to learn English. After trying a couple of other pro-

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grams, he found a perfect fit at the Adrian Rea Literacy Center. Today, he has a job he enjoys and is grateful for what the literacy center has done to help him. “This place gave me a lot of hope,” he said. “Every day I thank God for this place.”29 One of All Saints’ success stories comes from José, who chose the center not only because he lives nearby but also because the program fits well around his demanding job schedule, and he likes the center’s atmosphere. “They were so kind and helpful and showed me in detail the program and explained to me the different tools that I can use in order to learn and improve my English,” he said.30 Today, the appliance repairman has much more confidence when he has to speak to his clients in English. And the program has helped him assimilate in ways beyond just language: “I enjoy my lessons because I have the opportunity to learn the culture, history and some customs of the English-speaking countries,” he said.31 Another of All Saints’ learners, Mirna, came to the United States in February 2015 and enrolled at the center that October. The center “is a great help for me to learn another language,” she said. “For me, it is very important so I can have communication [in my] neighborhood, and can have a better job, and can speak with the teachers of my kids. My experience in the literacy center is really great, because it is helping me to speak and write and read, which are things elementary to my life. I can read in the stores and I can understand conversation in English.”32 The Adrian Dominicans are far from the only community of Dominican women religious who have reached out to immigrants to help them with their English skills. But the centers sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, may well be the only ones whose inspiration came from a TV news show. Sister Kathleen Ryan, OP, was teaching in Aurora, Illinois, in 1992 when she saw a segment on the CBS News Sunday Morning show about two Sisters of Mercy who were operating a program tutoring women in reading. “I loved the idea, and immediately called the two sisters for more information about their program,” she said.33 She then went to her congregation to see if it would support such a program and began talking with local social ser vice agencies, at which point she found that the city’s most underserved population was immigrant women. The center opened that September at St. Nicholas Church, which offered her a corner of its basement, with “a folding table and two chairs,” and announced the program. “I immediately had four students, and four


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on the waiting list!” she said.34 To date, more than 3,000 women have been involved in the tutoring program, and hundreds of men and women have taken the center’s citizenship classes. The sisters also now operate a literacy center in Melrose Park, Illinois, to serve a similar population of learners. Over the years, numerous other congregations of Dominican sisters responded to the need for literacy programs for immigrant communities across the United States. Since 1997, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York, have helped thousands of immigrants from several Central and South American countries and Haiti learn English at the Congregation’s literacy center, One to One Learning. The center was started by Sister Cecilia LaPietra, OP, who while she was on the congregation’s executive team became aware of the large number of Spanish-speaking people from El Salvador who were living near the convent. The sisters forged a connection with these immigrants, and when Sister Cecilia’s term in leadership was up, she asked for a ministry subsidy to develop a program to teach English. When she began looking at the convent for tutors, “some of our Haitian employees came asking for English classes too,” she said.35 Originally, the classes were held in the basement of St. John’s Church in Piermont, New York. But when the need outstripped the available space, the center moved to the Marydell Faith and Life Center, a former summer camp in Upper Nyack, where different groups of students can now have their own buildings. One to One Learning has to date served more than 6,000 learners.36 Sinsinawa (Wisconsin) Dominican Sisters returning from service in Bolivia in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s formed the backbone of English as a Second Language ministries in numerous areas of the country. At the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Washington, DC, the sisters and parishioners founded an adult education program in 1969 that over the years served students from many different countries. In the years following the establishment of the program, sisters became involved with ESL programs in locations that include Epiphany Parish, Chicago; Holy Rosary Parish, Minneapolis; Hope School, Indiantown, Florida; Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Church, Billings, Montana; and All Saints and St. Thomas Moore parishes, Alhambra, California. Sisters are still part of some of these efforts, many of whose learners came from Mexico and countries in Central and South America, including Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and Venezu-

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ela. Hope School, at which Sinsinawa Dominicans ministered until 2006, counts among its population not just students whose native language is Spanish, but also speakers of Creole and Kanjobal, a Mayan Indian language. Sinsinawa Dominicans also ministered for some time at a literacy program founded in 1985 at the City of St. Jude in Montgomery, Alabama, by Sister Electa Armstrong, OP.37 In Oakland, California, the burgeoning immigrant community is served by Las Casas, an ESL program begun in 2002 by the late Sister Ann Ronin, OP, a Mission San Jose Dominican. The program, named for Bartolomé de Las Casas, the Dominican friar and advocate for the rights of the indigenous peoples in the Americas, started out with three students. It soon grew to the point where it has now taught English to more than 2,000 learners from Mexico, various Central American and African countries, and elsewhere.38

Learners’ Success Stories Among the centers’ many success stories is that of West Mack, who came to the Adrian Rea Literacy Center at the age of seventy-nine. Mack, by his own admission, was uninterested in school and quit when he was about to be held back for the second time in third grade. In a story that appeared in Lenawee magazine,39 he recalled that his one-room schoolhouse had one teacher for several grades, and when the teacher asked students to spell a word, “if you couldn’t spell it, she’d just keep going from one person to the next. She’d just skip you.” Seven decades later, he was finally learning to read. “I can go to the store and I can go shopping, and I can read what I want to get,” the story quoted Mack as saying. “And sometimes I just walk through the store and read the labels on the shelf. It makes you feel good to read something.” Liz Stutts is one of the Dominican Literacy Center’s success stories. Her experiences include being a junior high school dropout, teenage mother, drug user, and repeatedly the victim of abusive men. But six years after coming to the center, she was a tutor and mentor to others, had a job with a cleaning ser vice, and hoped to become a substance abuse counselor and motivational speaker. She also hoped to someday start her own cleaning business. “When I walked through the door [of the center], I could see my future,” she said.40


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Marcella Davis, another Dominican Literacy Center learner, grew up in an abusive situation, was abused by the father of her children, and experienced the deaths of the adults she had grown up around, including the grandparents who had rescued her from her abusive mother and stepfather. She tried to commit suicide, turned to selling drugs to support her children, and subsequently was jailed and lost custody of the children. Thanks to the center, however, she earned her GED and certification as a computer tech assistant. She also became a volunteer at the center, helping with secretarial tasks. When the center asked her to speak before the Detroit City Council in support of a request for financial assistance, she said this to the council members: “Because of Dominican I am here today. I am better; my whole life has changed. I am now somebody.” 41 One major literacy effort for the Adrian Dominicans took place outside the literacy-center setting. When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959, the resulting exodus of many of the country’s professionals—such as physicians, lawyers, and teachers—brought a wave of immigrants to Florida who spoke little or no English but needed to learn the language in order to be able to take the relevant licensing exams and resume their careers. The Adrian Dominican Sisters responded to that need and served several hundred such refugees. Sister Mary Kenneth (Mary Kay) Duwelius, OP, who chaired the Spanish department at Barry College (University), led the effort to provide English-language instruction to Cuban exiles as well as professionals from several other Latin American countries. Classes began at Barry in December 1960. Shortly thereafter, Sister Mary Kenneth was asked to become a faculty member of the University of Miami School of Medicine in order to teach English to medical professionals from Latin America, most of them Cuban refugees, who were taking classes there.42 Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, and other sisters assisted Sister Mary Kenneth with the weekly classes taught at the University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital.43 “She took the more advanced students and had me work with those who spoke little or no English,” Sister Rose Celeste said. “It was quite a humbling experience to see the dedication of these very intelligent people grappling with our language and the complexities of pronunciation with all the exceptions found in English. I will never forget the delight on their faces when they were able to carry on simple conversations and read.” 44

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Meeting Needs beyond Literacy Whereas the center in Flint was established to meet a whole range of needs, literacy being just one of them, the other congregational literacy centers started out solely to teach reading and writing but eventually evolved to help learners in other ways. When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy was instituted in 2012, for example, the Adrian Rea Literacy Center offered a workshop to teach eligible residents of the local community how to complete the necessary paperwork. “If someone had told me in 2008 [when the center opened] that we’d be doing immigration work, it would have been a surprise to me,” said Sister Carleen Maly.45 Other centers undertake similar efforts to connect learners with various community resources. According to Roger Frank, director of the All Saints Literacy Center: We network quite a bit with other community organizations, and we distribute information to our students on a regular basis about social programs or events that might be of use to them. For example, we have passed out information to women about where they can obtain free health screenings, Head Start programs, home buying workshops and where to receive free legal assistance regarding immigration issues. The community we serve is impacted by the immigration issues in our country, and this can often be a cause of stress for people. We also frequently distribute information about job fairs, training programs and specific job openings to our learners. Whenever a learner shares a need with us, we work diligently to help!46

Judy Ireland, director of the DePorres Place Literacy Center, discussed her center’s efforts: Students often ask us for help with needs that go beyond learning to read, write or speak English. We help students who have readingrelated issues (for example, studying for their driver’s license tests), and we help with non-reading-related issues, as well. In the past year, for example, two students have reported needs involving domestic abuse, and we’ve been able to connect them with an agency that can help them with that. We also assist students with resumes and job applications—a crucial need—and our tutors and staff bring in lots of food which we share with students, some of whom are in need of extra


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food. We provide reading glasses for students who need them, and refer students to an agency that provides free vision exams. It’s difficult to document, but we also do a lot of research for students, who need to find out about resources and ser vices but who cannot read well enough to “Google” things on their own.47

Such efforts at these and other centers recognize that those who come in for literacy help also have a wide range of other obstacles to personal success. The Aquinas Literacy Center’s additional ser vices include partnering with a local hospital for one-day workshops on such topics as stress management and nutrition, with a bank for a financial literacy workshop, and with an energy conservation organization that in addition to giving an informational program provided learners with energy-efficient light bulbs and surge protectors. The center also maintains a binder listing information on nearby community-based organizations that offer ser vices such as counseling and legal assistance. “Because we work with an immigrant population, we have to teach about resources beyond literacy that can improve our learners’ lives,” said director Alison Altmeyer.48 Sister Leonore Boivin, OP, of the Siena Literacy Center, described how one particular learner began a career thanks to the center’s efforts on his behalf. We make referrals for Michigan Rehabilitation Ser vices. For example, recently we had a learner I will call WB who wanted to go to culinary school. Our staff and his tutor were instrumental in getting him connected with MRS where he was assessed and then accepted in a local culinary arts class. MRS paid for his two-year tuition. In the meantime, WB continued coming to the center for the academic support he needed to read, understand, and actually practice measuring out ingredients for recipes, and to talk over the concepts he needed to remember. . . . Staff communicated with his professor at the Culinary Arts School so that [the professor] would be able to provide WB with the accommodations necessary to be successful in his learning. We were so proud of WB as he graduated from his culinary arts class and went on to obtain a job as a chef.49

The assistance WB received is only one example of what the center does beyond its core literacy program. It has helped with drivers’ exams, various professional certification exams, the test to become a US citizen, and

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everyday skills such as understanding food labels, reading maps, and deciphering drug labels. “We have seen tutors teaching an appliance delivery man how to measure a doorway to see if his delivery will fit through the door,” said Sister Lenore. Teaching computer literacy is also a major part of centers’ work. Sometimes, that involves specific classes in computer skills. At other times, proficiency on the computer is a side benefit to the literacy instruction itself. The All Saints Literacy Center, for example, has been helping their adult learners succeed by incorporating a digital learning component to the literacy ser vices they provide to the community. . . . The center provides laptop computers that the learners use to access a variety of websites and software programs to help them learn and improve their English skills. In addition, the center takes a blendedlearning approach, in which learners meet one-on-one with a volunteer tutor during the week and later, on another day, use the computer to further their learning. Many of the learners are excited to use the computers to improve their computer literacy skills, as well as their English skills. The center participates in Detroit Public Television’s Digital Adventure Program. A digital badge is a credential that documents a person’s learning and achievements. For example, to earn an English Badge, the learner needs to complete 10 hours of individual, self-guided learning using websites or software. Another badge is awarded to learners when they complete the first level of an online, 20-unit ESL class. . . . The instruction on technology use is designed to meet the learner at his or her level of experience. Those who have never used a computer before begin by practicing how to use the mouse to navigate the websites and software. Next, the learners are guided in the creation of an e-mail address, if they do not have one. This empowers the learners, allowing them to connect with family and friends or to conduct a job search. Once the learners are comfortable using the computer, they begin using the technology to learn English.50

Such computer literacy programs are only one part of the total career-skills equation. The Dominican Literacy Center, because it receives federal funding through the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, integrates work readiness and career pathways into its curriculum. Software programs


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provide learners with information on a wide variety of careers, with an online instructor who guides the learners along. In May 2016, the center and community partners offered a Work Readiness Symposium, which featured sessions on career skills, a speaker on the importance of a positive attitude, and a “fashion show” modeling proper and improper workplace attire.51

Looking to the Future The seven literacy centers begun under the auspices of the Adrian Dominican Sisters are today among the “sponsored institutions” of the congregation. Although they have oversight from the congregation, each has its own board and is responsible for its own operations. And like the Adrian Dominicans’ other sponsored institutions, the literacy centers are moving into a new relationship with the congregation. Not unlike other congregations of religious, the Adrian Dominicans are facing the twin issues of declining numbers and an aging community. That reality is leading the sisters to plan for a future where laypeople will need to carry on the congregation’s mission. At the literacy centers, as at the congregation’s other sponsored institutions, the torch of leadership is gradually passing from sisters to laypeople. Five of the centers have lay directors; at four of the centers, laypeople took over for sisters; while the newest center, All Saints, opened with a layperson at the helm. Each was either extensively mentored by members of the congregation when they first came to the center, or had a history with the Adrian Dominicans that made them already quite familiar with the congregation’s mission and vision. Recognizing the need to imbue others with the Adrian Dominican mission and legacy, delegates to the 2016 General Chapter crafted a recommendation that when implemented would prepare lay leaders at the sponsored institutions and educate people at these institutions into the Adrian Dominican charism. Long before the chapter, however, the congregation began a concerted effort to immerse the laypeople at its sponsored institutions in the Adrian Dominicans’ history and mission. One facet of this effort involves bringing groups of employees from all these institutions to Adrian every other year for a conference, so that they can interact with their peers from other institutions and with representatives

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of the congregation. Through providing such opportunities, “we’re keeping our mission alive,” said Sister Rosemary Abramovich, OP, who during her term on the General Council, which ended in 2016, served as the council’s liaison to the congregation’s sponsored institutions. “We’re empowering the laypeople to carry on our ministry.” 52 To Sister Carleen Maly, director of the Adrian Rea Literacy Center, the call Sister Marie Damian Schoenlein heard more than a quarter-century ago is a proven “win-win” for both the Adrian Dominicans and the people the centers are designed to serve. Not only have the centers allowed sisters to continue to serve others even if they are retired from active ministries and provided lay tutors an opportunity to serve in this ministry, they have also allowed the congregation to have a new mission focused on one of the most critical needs there is when it comes to economic and social empowerment: the need to be literate. “Our common mission [as a congregation] is to serve those who are economically poor, those who are struggling,” Sister Carleen said, and the Dominican charism consistently “calls us to read the signs of the times and be open to the new.” 53 Notes 1. Report by Sister Marie Damian Schoenlein, OP, dated February 9, 1989. Adrian Dominican Archives. 2. For a detailed history of the Congregation’s earliest years, see Sister Mary Philip Ryan, Amid the Alien Corn (Adrian, MI: Sisters of St. Dominic of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, 1967). 3. Dominican Literacy Center newsletter, Winter 2015, 1. 4. Sister Joan Mary, OP, interview by author, May 31, 2016. 5. Ibid. 6. Both Barry University and Rosarian Academy today are sponsored institutions of the Adrian Dominicans, not operated by them. 7. Sister Carol Weber, OP, interview by author, May 16, 2016. 8. From the center’s website, 9. Sister Carol Weber, OP, interview by author, May 16, 2016. 10. From the center’s website, 11. Sister Carol Weber, OP, interview by author, May 16, 2016. 12. General Chapters are held every six years to elect the congregation’s new leadership and to set policy for the next six years and beyond. 13. Created and approved by the delegates to the 2004 General Chapter and promulgated in the chapter documents.


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14. Sister Marie Damian served as the administrative assistant until 2011, when she transitioned into development work for the center. She died unexpectedly of a heart attack in September 2012. 15. Sister Carleen Maly, OP, interview by author, November 2014. 16. The corporate name and that of the center in Adrian honor Sister Mary Richard Rea, OP, an Adrian Dominican who died in 1988. A foundation established after her death by her nephew provides partial funding to all seven of the centers. 17. Created by the corporation board in 2007. 18. Sister Peter Anthony Schulte, OP, interview by author, May 23, 2016. 19. Ibid. 20. Sister Elizabeth Flaherty, OP, interview by author, June 2, 2016. 21. Ibid. 22. Sister Janice Brown, OP, interview by author, October 2, 2015. 23. Sister Lenore Boivin, OP, email to author, May 19, 2016. 24. Sister Janice Brown, OP, interview by author, October 2, 2015. 25. Judy Ireland, email to author, May 12, 2016. 26. Judy Ireland, interview by author, February 14, 2017. 27. Ibid. Side by Side was a textbook series by Stephen J. Molinsky and Bill Bliss (New York: Pearson, multiple editions and publication dates). It is no longer published. 28. Rafael Jimenez, interview by author, February 6, 2017. 29. Ibid. 30. As told to his tutor, February 2017. 31. Ibid. 32. Ibid. 33. Sister Kathleen Ryan, OP, emails to author, January 13 and June 13, 2016. 34. Ibid. 35. Sister Cecilia LaPietra, OP, interview by author, February 13, 2017. 36. From the center’s website, 37. Information provided by Sister Lois Hoh, OP, on various dates in 2015 and 2016. 38. Information provided June 15, 2016, by Sister Mary Christopher Miller, OP, and taken from the Mission San Jose Dominican Sisters’ website, www 39. Erik Gable, “Opening Doors to Literacy,” Lenawee, Winter 2009, 28–30. 40. Dominican Literacy Center, A Life Storytelling Project (Adrian, MI: Adrian Dominican Sisters, 2015), 8–9. 41. Ibid., 22–23.

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42. “Elkhart Nun Scores First at University.” Sunday Visitor (Fort Wayne/ South Bend, Indiana), March 1, 1964. This story and other information serving as source material on this topic is held in the Adrian Dominican archives. 43. Sister Mary Kenneth also spearheaded a program in Homestead, Florida, to teach English to Puerto Rican and Mexican migrant workers. 44. Sister Rose Celeste O’Connell, OP, interview by author, July 1, 2016. 45. Sister Carleen Maly, OP, interview by author, September 22, 2015. 46. Roger Frank, email to author, April 29, 2016. 47. Judy Ireland, email to author, May 12, 2016. 48. Alison Altmeyer, interview by author, May 5, 2016. 49. Sister Lenore Boivin, OP, e-mail to author, May 19, 2016. 50. Sponsored Institutions E-Newsletter. Adrian Dominican Sisters, June 2016. 51. Ibid. 52. Sister Rosemary Abramovich, OP, interview by author, March 30, 2016. 53. Sister Carleen Maly, OP, interview by author, September 22, 2015.

Samuel Mazzuchelli, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, and the Making of American Saints k athleen sprows cummings

The lives and ministries of Samuel Mazzuchelli and Rose Hawthorne Lathrop testify to the capaciousness of the Dominican spirit and the extraordinary ways it has manifested itself in the United States. Mazzuchelli was an Italian-born Dominican friar who served as a missionary to the Midwest in the mid-nineteenth century. Lathrop, daughter of author Nathaniel Hawthorne, converted to Catholicism in 1891; eight years later she established a Dominican congregation of sisters, the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer in New York City. Apart from their shared Dominican charism, these diverse historical figures are linked by another intriguing commonality: Both Mazzuchelli and Lathrop are candidates for canonization, the Catholic Church’s highest honor. An exploration of their as-yet-incomplete journeys to the honor of the altars, along with other US saints with whom their stories are intertwined, situates the Dominican story in the broader historical landscape of US Catholicism. It also illustrates how US saints reflect the ways American Catholics navigate their identities within the church, especially after the epochal shifts initiated by the Second Vatican Council and in light of the demographic trends characterizing contemporary American Catholicism. Both Mazzuchelli and Lathrop make regular appearances in my undergraduate history seminar, “Sanctity and Society,” in which we explore the lives of canonized saints and prospective ones, along with the cultures from which they emerge. One of our standard field trips is to the University of Notre Dame Archives, which contain a vast amount of material related to canonization, including positios, the multivolume compilations of the candidate’s own writing and witness testimonies about his or her virtues. During one recent visit I reprimanded a student for using his cell phone, only to learn that he was not sending a text message but rather was searching for more information on Samuel Mazzuchelli! Having idly begun to page through Mazzuchelli’s massive positio—written by Sister

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Mary Nona McGreal, OP, a historic first for Catholic women—the student was immediately caught up in the Italian Dominican’s life story. The student’s engrossment is understandable. Born in Milan in 1806, Samuel Mazzuchelli gave up a promising future following in his banker father’s footsteps and entered the Dominican order in 1823.1 In Rome the young novice heard fellow Dominican Edward Fenwick, bishop of Cincinnati, speak about the need for missionaries in the expanding United States; Mazzuchelli set out across the Atlantic to heed Fenwick’s call later that year.2 Fenwick himself ordained Mazzuchelli a priest in Cincinnati in 1830 and sent him immediately to one of the most remote places then in the diocese: Mackinac, in the Michigan Territory.3 From that first missionary posting Mazzuchelli began a career of building churches, converting Native Americans, and shepherding flocks of European Americans on the frontier. In 1847, Mazzuchelli founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary of the Order of Preachers—the Sinsinawa Dominicans— and this congregation serves as his petitioners, the group of people that sponsor a cause for canonization.4 With the churches he built (and often designed himself), he laid the literal groundwork for the flourishing of

Map marking the accomplishments of Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, in the Upper Mississippi region, Wisconsin, 1836–48. Archives of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.


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the church; with the founding of the Sinsinawa Dominicans, he guaranteed the future of Catholic ser vice in the Upper Midwest. Before meeting Mazzuchelli, my student had shown only minimal interest in the course. After he selected the Dominican missionary as a topic for his research paper, he could not have been more captivated. At one point he marveled at the way Mazzuchelli’s story called to mind The Revenant, the 2015 blockbuster starring Leonardo di Caprio. He was a bit sheepish about comparing a pious and devoted Dominican friar to a murderous and vengeful frontiersman, and I agreed that the parallels extend only so far. Nevertheless, such juxtapositions have abounded, even outside the classroom, in the years I have been teaching the course and studying canonization. A particularly memorable example relates to one of Mazzuchelli’s contemporaries, Rose Philippine Duchesne, a French-born Religious of the Sacred Heart who served as a missionary to Missouri between 1818 and 1852. Soon after Duchesne was beatified in 1940, one Jesuit urged fans of the best-selling Gone with the Wind to pick up a newly published history of the Society of the Sacred Heart in America. Duchesne’s adventures, he insisted, were comparable to Scarlet O’Hara’s in their “elements of romance and heroism.” 5 The cultural resonance that transformed my uninterested student into a Mazzuchelli enthusiast is an integral part of the saint-making process, and it is one reason why canonization is such an illuminating topic. While saint-making is fundamentally about holiness, it is never only about holiness: It is often also about what captures the Catholic imagination in particular times and places. Because saints always become popular in particular contexts, a study of a prospective saint reveals as much about the priorities and interests of the people who are promoting the cause as it does about the life of the candidate. Mazzuchelli is no exception. He emerged as a viable candidate for canonization not simply because he was a holy man, but because the circle of American Catholics whose lives he had touched and, later, many beyond it, wanted him to be remembered as a holy man. While their primary and professed motive for this desire was spiritual—they wanted to inspire imitation and veneration—their decision was also culturally driven. Like Lathrop’s and those of the other American saints with whom his story overlaps, Mazzuchelli’s journey to the altars of sainthood reveals a great deal about US Catholics’ understanding of themselves, both as members of the faithful and as citizens of the na-

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tion. In choosing to tell his story, US Catholics were also telling their own, to an audience that included their fellow Americans as well as officials at the Holy See. Canonization changes nothing about the person so honored, merely confirming that he or she has been in heaven since the moment of death and thereby permitting public veneration by the faithful. As Reformation scholar Peter Burke has pointed out, there are two places to look for answers to the question of why certain people and not others become canonized saints: first, on the periphery or local level, where a particular cult developed; and second, at the center, where sainthood was made official.6 In the early church, the distinction between center and periphery largely was meaningless, with men and women becoming saints by tradition or popular affirmation. Between the tenth and early seventeenth centuries, center and periphery grew further apart in a myriad of ways, with canonization being among the more clearly discernible indicators of separation. The process gradually became more centralized in Rome and more subject to defined rules. By 1634, Pope Urban VIII had set in place a strict and elaborate process that was overseen by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation of Rites (now known as the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints) and under the final authority of the pope.7 Viewed from the perspective of the Roman center, Mazzuchelli’s cause did not begin until 1964, when Bishop William O’Connor of Madison, Wisconsin, inaugurated his “ordinary” or “informative” process. As both names imply, this first stage entails gathering documentation and testimony under the jurisdiction of the local bishop (the “ordinary” of a diocese) and preparing it to be sent to the Holy See for evaluation. From the wider and more illuminating lens of the periphery, Mazzuchelli’s journey to the altars of sainthood began a full century earlier, in the immediate aftermath of his death, when a group of people committed themselves to keeping the memory of his holiness alive. In his case, this core group was the religious community he founded: the Sinsinawa Dominicans. It is no coincidence that the canon of the saints is filled with vowed men and women. Religious congregations can supply the personnel and the funding to shepherd a cause through the decades or even centuries it often takes to succeed. Perhaps most important, congregations serve as repositories for institutional memory, crucial in sustaining a reputation for sanctity long after the person’s death—a critical need, given that until


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very recently canon law stipulated that discussions of a candidate’s virtues in Rome could not officially begin until he or she had been dead for fifty years.8 Mazzuchelli left his personal papers, including sermons and correspondence, to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, and he also had urged them to preserve the records of their community “in an almost scrupulous manner.” Their founder’s wish, combined with the sisters’ desire to promote his cause for canonization, prompted them to contact his surviving relatives and to gather witness testimony about his virtues soon after his death. The sisters also wrote to Dominican leaders in Rome as well as to archives in Wisconsin and in Italy, searching for material related to Mazzuchelli’s early life and education. The sisters’ scrupulousness in compiling these crucial sources would lead subsequent advocates for Mazzuchelli’s cause to praise them for their “sense of history”—a compliment, which, as I explore elsewhere, has not often been bestowed on US-based petitioners.9 But even substantial congregational backing and attention does not ensure that a cause moves forward. Causes rarely make significant progress unless they generate attention beyond their petitioners. In Mazzuchelli’s case the crucial leap from local to national awareness took place in 1915, with the publication of an English translation of his Memorie istoriche ed edificanti d’un missionario apostolico. Mazzuchelli had written this memoir in 1843 and 1844, when he traveled home to Italy to recruit missionaries and to raise funds; it was published in Milan in 1844. In a translator’s note to the English edition, Sinsinawa Sister Mary Benedicta Kennedy allowed that while the book was “not American in the usual acceptance of the term,” it nevertheless concerned itself in “every line . . . with the people, the customs, and institutions of these United States.”10 Mazzuchelli was not only a devoted and zealous missionary, she wrote, but also “an ardent admirer of this great Republic,” who had “a prophetic vision of the place it was to occupy among the nations.” From the perspective of the Holy See, Mazzuchelli’s patriotism was irrelevant. His love of and vision for the United States, however, were very important to US Catholics. The extent to which his love for America was interwoven with his hagiography was one sign that, by the time Mazzuchelli’s Memorie (Memoirs) appeared in print, the long-cherished desire of the Sinsinawa Dominicans had intersected with what many church leaders had come to define as the national interest: promoting a saint of their own.

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US Catholics’ quest for a native saint was tied up in the concept of patronage, a canonical process separate from canonization but intrinsically related to it. Often individuals or groups embrace saints with whom they have a particular resonance, by virtue of a shared profession, state of life, or geographical territory, and at times the church officially designates such people as “patrons.” By the late nineteenth century, US Catholics, like their counterparts in the rest of the Americas, had a special geographical ally in the canon of the saints: Rose of Lima, a Dominican nun who died in Peru in 1617. Canonized in 1671 as the first saint from the “New” World, Rose was designated the patron saint of all the Americas, from “Cape Horn to Alaska.”11 Many US Catholics expressed fervent devotion to Rose in the late nineteenth century. In one of the most notable examples, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop claimed a spiritual kinship with the Peruvian saint in 1899, when she named her newly founded community the Dominican Sisters of St. Rose of Lima. The devotion of Lathrop and other US Catholics notwithstanding, by the late nineteenth century some church leaders began to suggest that Rose of Lima fell somewhat short when it came to representing the collective spiritual interest of Catholics in the United States. John Gilmary Shea, a church historian and the era’s leading Catholic intellectual, intimated that Rose’s story was at too great a remove from the US experience for her to function as an efficacious patron of the United States. US Catholics, he argued, longed instead for a saint who had “lived and labored and sanctified themselves in our land, among circumstances familiar.”12 Writing in the Catholic World, editor Susan Emery suggested that the Holy See provide Catholics with a Rose of their own. She urged that the Holy See validate the holiness of Rose Philippine Duchesne, the missionary who would later be compared to Scarlett O’Hara. Emery wrote that “St. Rose of Missouri” had met “the European standards of sanctity” in the same way Rose of Lima had done, and so it became increasingly difficult to justify the fact that the former was languishing as an “uncanonized saint.”13 Shea, Emery, and other US Catholics were frustrated by the contrast between what they perceived as their own saint-deprived culture and the saint-saturated one that lay south of the Rio Grande. In the two centuries that followed Rose of Lima’s canonization, sixteen other men and women from Central and South America (which, in the view of most US and


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Canadian Catholic saint-seekers, included Mexico) had been successfully elevated to the ranks of sainthood.14 Yet not a single cause for canonization had even been introduced from the United States or Canada. US Catholics attributed the disparity to a collective lack of resources rather than an absence of holiness. Shea, for example, noted that although “personages noted for eminent sanctity have flourished in Canada and the United States from the time of the earliest settlement. . . . the condition of the [North American] Church of the last century had taxed the resources of Catholics in both countries to the utmost,” leaving church leaders with little energy or capital to devote to pursuing a cause.15 In arguing that the time had come to promote a US saint, Shea was claiming that the American church had matured from mission territory into a full-fledged nation (an argument validated by the Holy See in 1908, when it ceased considering the United States a mission land). Writing in the Catholic World, lawyer R. H. Clarke linked the search for a native saint to a burgeoning sense of national identity. “What is a nation,” he asked, “without patron or shrines?” Insisting that the time had come to initiate a US cause, Clarke declared that US Catholics deserved the equivalent of Ireland’s Patrick or Brigid, an analogue to France’s Louis or Genevieve. “Yes, America has her saints,” he declared, “and now we ask that they, too, may receive the homage paid to the servants of God.”16 US bishops agreed. Meeting at the Third Plenary Council in 1884, they submitted a petition to the Holy See asking that Pope Leo XIII initiate the cause for canonization of Tekakwitha, a native convert to Catholicism who had died in New France in 1680. The bishops linked her cause with that of Isaac Jogues and René Goupil, two French-born Jesuits who had been killed by natives in a village close to where Tekakwitha was born a decade later. The letter celebrated the spiritual benefits that would accrue from the introduction of their cause by the Holy See, emphasizing that having models of holiness “drawn from their very midst” would “inspire the devotion of the faithful in this country” and “afford it native patrons.”17 US saint-seekers knew what challenges awaited them in sponsoring a saint of their own. Foremost among them was the rigorous process of canonization, which left Catholics who were on the church’s periphery—far from its center of wealth and power—at a distinct disadvantage. “Without monarchs or wealthy communities to undertake the long and often expensive investigations demanded at Rome,” one American Catholic

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grumbled, it was no wonder that “no servant of God who lived or labored . . . in any part of our continent lying north of the Rio Grande” had ever even been proposed for canonization.18 In 1890, Edward McSweeny, a priest and seminary professor, devised a creative (if unlikely) strategy for diversifying national representation in the canon of the saints. He suggested that the Vatican appoint a special group of cardinals to glorify the “hidden saints” of countries “whose people are too poor to stand all the necessary expense.”19 There was no such simple remedy for the second obstacle US Catholics believed was thwarting them in their contemporary search for a native saint: anti-Catholicism in American culture. John Gilmary Shea lamented that, in seeking to elevate one of their own to the altars of sainthood, North American Catholics would not only have to contend with a daunting process but also with “a Protestant supremacy” that held them in contempt.20 Although anti-Catholicism had been present in the United States from the nation’s earliest days, a number of factors accentuated it in the 1880s, including fear of US Catholics’ growing political power and the rising numbers of Catholic immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, whom nativists often blamed for the problems of urbanization and industrialization. Could the search for a national patron also serve as a vehicle to combat anti-Catholic prejudice? On the surface, this was a counterintuitive proposition. Many outspoken anti-Catholics reserved special scorn for sainthood and had long viewed the prospect of an “American saint” as a travesty, if not an outright contradiction in terms. In 1882, alarmed by the momentum building toward the introduction of a US cause, the editors of the Methodist Review urged all “thoughtful Protestants” to beware that the movement to canonize so-called Americans reached “beyond the pale of the Romish Church” and threatened national identity. What would it mean, they asked, to have men and women “closely allied in race to the present superstitious masses of our country—genuine Catholics, of Irish or Italian extraction, perhaps” serving as American symbols?21 Such sentiments caused a few Catholics to despair of ever securing a patron to call their own. The fact that canonization “smacks too much of Rome,” one woman observed, made it impossible for US Catholics even to venerate the “old saints” properly, let alone advocate the canonization of new ones.22 And yet by the late nineteenth century an increasing


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number of US Catholics began to argue to the contrary. According to Shea, the extensive documentation required for a cause, and the publicity it generated, represented an unparalleled opportunity to advertise to their Protestant compatriots just how much Catholics had contributed to the United States. Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul, leader of a group of “Americanist” bishops who favored Catholics’ greater assimilation into American society, agreed. Perpetually attuned to opportunities to weave Catholicism more seamlessly into the American fabric, Ireland supported efforts to “enthrone on our altars . . . a Saint . . . whose name at once commands respect and admiration” from American Protestants.23 John Ireland’s favorite prospect was Mathias Loras, a native of Lyon and the first bishop of Dubuque, Iowa. In Loras’s day, the diocese of Dubuque had encompassed Minnesota: Ireland was, in fact, supporting the canonization of a person he viewed as his predecessor, a pattern hardly unusual in saint-making. But Ireland also emphasized the national import of Loras’s contribution. According to Ireland, promoting Loras’s cause would inspire all Americans, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to revere the Frenchman for civilizing the “prairies and forests of the American west.”24 This “civilizing” effect was one of Loras’s greatest accomplishments in Ireland’s mind. So it would be for Mazzuchelli, who had preceded Loras to the region and later served as his vicar general in Dubuque. Archbishop Ireland also had high praise for the Italian Dominican, who had been the “first [missionary] on the ground, first to turn the ploughshare. . . . Others came to take up the work he had begun, to direct and foster the growth of what he had planted . . . in Michigan and in Wisconsin, in Illinois.” Writing in the introduction to Mazzuchelli’s Memoirs, Ireland spoke of Mazzuchelli as a “saint, immaculate of life, scrupulous of duty, exquisite in tenderness of piety,” whose passionate zeal for the church and for the salvation of souls had been limitless. As Sister Mary Benedicta Kennedy had done, Ireland emphasized that Mazzuchelli had been not only a good missionary but also a good American. According to Ireland, he may have been a foreigner by birth and education, but “he was the American to the core of his heart, to the tip of his finger. He understood America; he loved America.” The “Builder of the West” had not only served God but also the nation. It was his loyalty to and understanding of “the principles of American law and life that earned him the admiration of all of his ‘fellow-citizens.’ ” Ireland

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made clear that Mazzuchelli’s memoirs were important not only for the ways in which they testified to his holiness: “No fervent student of American history,” the archbishop declared, “will be without a copy of the ‘Memoirs’ on the shelves of his library-room.”25 Most of the early candidates for canonization were, like Mazzuchelli, “pioneer priests” of the Midwest. Two Italian-born members of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), Felix de Andreis and Joseph Rosati, had worked in the vicinity of St. Louis. Slovenian missionary Frederic Baraga had undertaken “a thirty-seven year apostolate among the redskinned inhabitants of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin.”26 There were also a few “pioneer” sisters, such as Philippine Duchesne and her Indiana counterpart Mother Theodore Guerin, who had arrived from France in 1840 and founded the Sisters of Providence.27 The western frontier was not the only part of the United States that enjoyed the attentions of potential saints. There also were a few prospective saints who emerged from the eastern regions, including Isaac Jogues, René Goupil, and Tekakwitha, the subjects of the US bishops’ 1884 petition. By 1900, the Jesuits separated the two missionaries from the indigenous woman and linked them instead to six confrères who had perished in what later became Canada, packaging the eight as the “North American Martyrs.”28 The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) nominated their first US vocation, John Neumann, who had arrived in the United States in 1836 and died while serving as bishop of Philadelphia in 1860. In 1895, Neumann became the first US candidate for whom an ordinary process was completed. Among the early nominees for American sainthood, only one had no connection to the European missionary enterprises that brought the faith to the American interior. Born into an elite family in New York City in 1774, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was a widowed mother of five when she converted to Catholicism in 1805. She soon moved to Baltimore, where she founded the Sisters of Charity—the first US Catholic women’s religious community established without ties to a European congregation. While her devotees could not do much to link her to the civilization of the continent, they did view her candidacy as an accelerant to Catholics’ Americanization. Seton’s supporters also routinely touted her connections to the “the great American families of Bayley, Seton, and Roosevelt,” looking toward her future elevation to sainthood as the ultimate triumph over the


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scorn of American Protestant elites. Once Seton was canonized, those who had been so derisive of Catholics would inevitably rejoice in having “a saint of their blood.”29 The fusion of holiness and patriotism, in Seton’s story and in those of Mazzuchelli and other missionaries, indicates that the early candidates from the United States effectively served as double symbols. To the Holy See and the universal church, their lives testified to homegrown holiness in the United States. To a skeptical Protestant public, they presented a different story about Catholicism than the one that prevailed in the American imagination. As Allan Greer has argued in his studies of Tekakwitha, prospective patrons often challenged nativist perceptions of the church as foreign, industrial, and urban. Holy exemplars, in other words, could “symbolically root the Church in American soil.”30 US saint-seekers may have had their fellow citizens in mind when proposing candidates, but it was to church leaders at the Holy See that they needed to direct their arguments. Once the ordinary process is completed, a cause is then “introduced” at the Holy See. There the Sacred Congregation of Rites oversees it, reviews the material gathered in the ordinary process, and pronounces a verdict on whether the candidate practiced the virtues to a heroic degree. If the answer is in the affirmative, the candidate is pronounced “Venerable.” At that point, the faithful await divine confirmation through miracles attributed to the intercession of the candidate. Until recent reforms, two confirmed miracles were required for the penultimate stage of beatification, unless the candidate had died a martyr, in which case only one was necessary, and two additional verified miracles were needed for canonization. All judgments of the Sacred Congregation related to miracles must be ratified by the pope. Among the causes introduced from the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the first successful one was that of Isaac Jogues and René Goupil, who, along with their confrères, were beatified in 1925 and canonized five years later. These events generated little fanfare in the United States, as by that time the “North American Martyrs” were more associated with the Canadian national story. In any case, their relatively rapid path to canonization was owing in part to the miracle exemption. The alacrity was also attributed to the Jesuits’ long-standing expertise in shepherding their own through the process, a talent that inspired both envy and resentment in other saint-seekers. In addition to his

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lament about national imbalance in the canon of the saints, the aforementioned Father McSweeny also complained about a congregational monopoly, urging that attention be paid to “all the saints of America—saints not only of the Jesuit order, but of the Dominican and Franciscan, who also fulfilled a glorious apostolate in North America.”31 In fact, it was congregational competition that inspired American Franciscans to refocus their search for a saint on candidates who had ministered within “the present confines of the United States.” In contrast to the Jesuits, whose main foothold had been in New France, Franciscans had established missions throughout the American South and Southwest. Acknowledging that “other religious orders have likewise labored valiantly” in North America, Franciscan historian Marion Habig maintained that “if we consider the pioneers in the field, the extent and duration of the missions, and the number of their personnel, the Franciscans undoubtedly hold the foremost position in the missionary annals of North America.”32 In the 1930s, Franciscans in California proposed Junípero Serra, a Franciscan who founded nine missions in California between 1769 and 1782.33 Some saint-seekers narrowed the search even further and insisted that US citizenship was a necessary credential of a truly American saint. They thus focused on candidates who had pledged allegiance to the “stars and stripes.”34 This was good news for advocates of Mazzuchelli, considering that the Dominican had become a citizen in 1828.35 The 1933 appointment of Amleto Cicognani as Apostolic Delegate to the United States gave Mazzuchelli and other US candidates for canonization an important boost. Unlike his predecessors, Cicognani viewed securing an American saint as a priority, despite European skepticism that it was “rather presumptuous that a young nation should seek to have its own processes [i.e., causes] of beatification and canonization.”36 Recounting Mazzuchelli’s accomplishments as founder, educator, and evangelizer, Cicognani explained that the young Dominican began his ministry in the Upper Midwest “when only the most urgent and crying needs could be allowed to command attention.”37 From Michigan Mazzuchelli traveled to Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois, building churches; baptizing and ministering to native converts; designing churches and secular buildings alike; and even helping plan the town of Shullsburg, Wisconsin, which still includes streets named Truth, Charity, Peace, Goodness, and Pious.38


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As most American Catholics know, the first US citizen to reach the altars of sainthood was not Mazzuchelli but another native of northern Italy who had been sent, via Rome, as a missionary to the United States. Frances Cabrini was a late entry into the quest for the first American saint; she did not even arrive in the United States until 1889, by which point the causes of Mazzuchelli and many others were already underway. Cabrini’s American story began in New York City, where she and other members of the congregation she founded established schools and hospitals for immigrants. From her foothold in New York she established missions throughout the United States and, eventually, in South America and Europe. She became an American citizen in 1909 and died in Chicago in 1917. Cabrini was granted a dispensation to the aforementioned fifty-year rule and was beatified in 1938, the first American citizen so honored. She was canonized in 1946. Cabrini’s speedy path through the process was facilitated in part by her allies at the Roman center—she had personally known Pope Pius XII who, after Cabrini’s death, granted her a dispensation from the five-decade rule and presided over her beatification. Her immense popularity in the United States also derived from the fact that she helped US Catholics in the 1930s tell a new American story—a narrative quite different from the one employed when they had begun proposing native saints a half century before. Because of restrictive immigration legislation enacted in the 1920s, the American church in the 1930s was absorbing far fewer new immigrants than it had in the preceding decades. Most American Catholic ethnic groups, moreover, were well into their second, third, or even fourth generation, diminishing the power of anti-Catholicism by virtue of ever-easier assimilation. The passage of time, in other words, had provided the distance from the “superstitious masses” of immigrants that advocates had once relied on Mazzuchelli and frontier saints to provide. Indeed, Cabrini helped Catholics celebrate, rather than downplay, their urban, industrial presence. One New York journalist marveled that America’s first beata had lived “right in the middle of the twentieth century with its street cars and automobiles. Slap in the middle of modern progress. She saw these trolley tracks and these buildings . . . and now she’s in heaven.”39 There was still plenty of room in the American saintly imagination, though, for “pioneer priests” such as Mazzuchelli, and Archbishop Cicognani predicted that the Dominican friar and “a whole array” of other pro-

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spective saints would soon join Cabrini on the altars of sainthood. Anniversaries often stimulate saints’ causes, and in 1935 the Sinsinawa Dominicans used the centenary of Mazzuchelli’s arrival in Galena to advertise his sanctity and historic contribution. First they sought the exhumation of Mazzuchelli’s body from Benton, Wisconsin, against the protest of local residents; the sisters hoped they might find that the priest’s body had been miraculously preserved. Even if it was not, his role as a founder was expansive, including the first permanent parish west of the Mississippi River, the Sinsinawa Dominicans themselves, and St. Clara’s Academy for young ladies. He crossed church-state boundaries as well, serving as the first chaplain of the Wisconsin Territory legislature. His holiness as a cleric was evidenced by his refusal to take a bishop’s miter when offered. His courage as an American was made manifest by his life “of adventurous hardship among the Indians.” 40 Just as American Protestants subscribed to the notion of “Manifest Destiny,” which they interpreted as divine sanction for spreading European American culture ever farther west, Mazzuchelli’s heroic afterlife included overtones of a “Catholic Manifest Destiny.” Casting the young Italian as the direct successor to the French missionaries and traders who had traveled the same region in centuries past, Robert Eckert described the Upper Midwest as “a virtual wilderness in the hands of the Indian, awaiting the arrival of the men who were to fashion a civilization out of the fertile haunts of the red man.” 41 And although the Dominican would not live to see the future success of the Sinsinawa Dominicans, he did not die before seeing “order and civilization emerge out of the wilderness.” 42 By the 1930s it was clear that a new possibility for a Dominican saint had appeared on the US horizon. The 1926 death of Mother Alphonsa (née Rose Hawthorne) Lathrop, the founder of a Dominican congregation dedicated to Rose of Lima, inspired a number of obituaries and remembrances (one of which described Alphonsa as “happier than her father whose soul could never escape from the shackles of Puritanism”).43 Many compared her to Elizabeth Ann Seton, and indeed there were a number of parallels in their biographies.44 Like Seton, Lathrop had converted to Catholicism from one of America’s elite Protestant families; she had been born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1851 to the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia Peabody Hawthorne. Like Seton, Rose had observed Italian Catholicism firsthand: She lived in Europe for much of


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her childhood, including a stint in Liverpool, where her father served as American consul between 1854 and 1857, and in Rome. According to some interpreters, young “Rosebud’s” chance encounter with Pope Pius IX in the Vatican gardens during the family’s sojourn in Rome foreshadowed her subsequent conversion to Catholicism.45 Like Seton, Lathrop had been a widow when she founded her religious community; her long-troubled marriage to George Parsons Lathrop ended with his death in 1898, due largely to his alcoholism. Like Seton also, Rose had been a bereaved mother: Her only son died at the age of four. According to one sermon, delivered in 1938, the examples of Seton and Lathrop should inspire Catholic women at a time when cynics criticized American womanhood: “I am convinced that the Catholic Church has in her fold today women like Mother Seton and Mother Alphonsa—women who realize that it is not enough to believe in Christianity, women who feel it is not enough even to practice Christianity, but women who are thoroughly convinced that to be a good Christian one must sacrifice for Christianity.” 46 Lathrop’s path to becoming a religious founder had been very different from Seton’s. The deaths by cancer of her friend, the poet Emma Lazarus, and an impoverished, anonymous seamstress led her to realize the desperation of cancer patients, especially those unable to afford private care. In an age when cancer was considered as contagious as leprosy, poor patients were consigned to die in quarantine on Blackwell’s Island in New York. On hearing of the lonely and agonizing death of the aforementioned seamstress there, Rose recalled that “a fire was lighted in my heart” and resolved to study cancer nursing and open a hospice for indigent cancer patients on the Lower East Side. Following George’s death, and at the prompting of a Dominican priest, Rose and her closest friend and coworker, Alice Huber, became Dominican tertiaries in 1899 and founded a community of Dominicans dedicated to “the relief of incurable cancer.” After Rose—by then known as Mother Alphonsa—died in 1926, the order opened homes far beyond its New York origins: Sacred Heart Free Home in Philadelphia in 1930; the Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Free Home in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1932; Atlanta’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help in 1939; Our Lady of Good Counsel in Minneapolis in 1941; and Holy Family Home in Parma, Ohio, in 1956. Lathrop was certainly remembered as an extraordinarily holy woman, and there were some signs that she would become a candidate for canon-

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ization. Theodore Maynard, who had written a biography of Frances Cabrini, published a biography of Lathrop in 1948; so, too, did Katharine Burton, an author who turned hagiography into a cottage industry.47 Early in his tenure as Apostolic Delegate, Amleto Cicognani corresponded with the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne seeking to connect them to an author and perhaps, given his active approach to American saint-making, encouraging them to think of her as a prospective saint. The sisters did not show any interest in promoting her cause, either in the immediate aftermath of her death or in subsequent decades, when they told inquirers that “no steps had been taken” in opening a cause for canonization.48 Mazzuchelli’s champions, meanwhile, were increasingly motivated to set the Italian’s cause on the path to canonization. The sisters’ obligation to rely on Dominican priests to act as their proxies in Rome, as women could not represent themselves as petitioners in causes until after 1983, often slowed the proceedings, as did World War II. By the late 1940s and 1950s, the Sinsinawa Dominicans and their clerical representatives were gathering documentation and cataloguing it meticulously, preparing it to meet rigorous Roman standards.49 As they did so, a momentous event at the Roman center would help advance Mazzuchelli’s cause on the periphery, even as that event transformed many other aspects of the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council, announced by Pope John XXIII in 1959 and convoked in four sessions between 1962 and 1965, represented a monumental turning point in the history of the Catholic Church. Its documents shifted Catholics’ understanding of themselves, both as men and women within the church and in relation to the larger society. Theologian Sandra Schneiders, IHM, suggests that, more than any other group or institution within the church, women religious “embraced more integrally and creatively [the council’s] three-pronged agenda”: ressourcement (return to the “sources,” especially materials from the church’s earliest years), development (real change in substantive community), and aggiornamento (adaptation to the changed conditions of the contemporary world). Perfectae Caritatis, the council’s Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, was the only council document to mention explicitly these three categories.50 It urged congregations to seek renewal by examining the original charism of their founders and by subjecting their lives and ministries to prayerful scrutiny.


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For the Sinsinawa Dominicans, part of the response to this urging toward renewal was cultivating a renewed appreciation for their founder and discerning how his vision translated to the contemporary church and society. The Sinsinawa Dominicans read in the council directives a mandate to press forward on the cause for canonization of the man they revered as their founder. The council also inspired them to assume more visible roles as they did so. A key figure in this process was Sister Mary Nona McGreal. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, in 1914, McGreal entered the Sinsinawa Dominicans in 1931. After earning a doctorate from the Catholic University of America, she served as president of Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, from 1950 until 1968. As vicaress of the Sinsinawa Dominicans from 1968 until 1977, McGreal emerged as an important leader during a tumultuous time in both church and society. Harnessing the mobility and flexibility of the council years and relying on her own academic training in the field of education and her historical expertise, McGreal advanced Mazzuchelli’s cause substantially. She was a founding member of the Mazzuchelli Guild, an organization founded to promote devotion to him.51 Through the guild and its publication, the Mazzuchelli Bulletin, McGreal and other Sinsinawa Dominicans adopted the language of Vatican II as they strategized about how to explain their founder’s relevance to a new generation of Catholics. McGreal suggested that Mazzuchelli could be touted as a visionary when it came to lay involvement in the church. Lumen Gentium, one of the key documents of Vatican II, defined the church as the “people of God,” thereby emphasizing a horizontal, quasi-egalitarian structure, rather than a vertical, hierarchical structure. Catholics’ embrace of this new ordering also affected canonization processes, which depended on interaction with church authorities first at the diocesan level and finally at the Vatican. One Sinsinawa Dominican later bristled, for example, at a priest’s suggestion that the congregation appoint a “promoter” of Mazzuchelli’s cause within each of their provinces. “The word Cause to many of our Sisters means formal legalistic procedures in Rome,” she explained. Such formal language was “completely disassociated with the man, Father Samuel.” It would be better, she advised, for Mazzuchelli’s champions to emerge at “the grassroots level,” rather than be imposed from the top down.52

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Lumen Gentium also promoted the call to holiness of all the baptized and advocated for full lay participation in the life of the church. McGreal pointed out that well over a century before the council was convened, Mazzuchelli had had a deep “appreciation of lay catechists” and relied on them “all his priestly life.” At guild meetings, members emphasized other prominent themes of Vatican II, such as ecumenism. Guild members also sought to present Mazzuchelli as a visionary when it came to race relations.53 On July 10, 1964, Bishop William O’Connor of Madison, Wisconsin, officially began the ordinary process by appointing a commission to review documentation pertaining to the cause. There were 1,130 documents in total, including 417 by Mazzuchelli and 713 about him.54 The sisters’ renewed appreciation of their founder in the light of Vatican II gave the cause added impetus. “Something beautiful is happening in the Congregation now,” one sister observed in 1972, “in that there are Sisters asking for and feeling the need for more information about Father Samuel.” 55 As the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints was scrutinizing these documents, the entire process was under review at the Holy See. The reassessment was motivated by concerns that the process was too laborious and complicated. Although some initial reforms were made in 1969, it was completely overhauled during the papacy of John Paul II. In January 1983, John Paul II promulgated the apostolic constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister, the first comprehensive revision of the canonization process in centuries. The new legislation streamlined the review process and reduced the number of required miracles by half—one for beatification and one for canonization, except in the case of martyrs, in which case only one is required for canonization. Determined that the canon of the saints should include more members from outside western Europe, John Paul also designed the reforms to make it easier for countries without the advantages of wealth and influence to pursue a cause; in effect, he followed the advice Rev. Edward McSweeny had proffered in 1890. The revisions to the process helped John Paul II, now a canonized saint himself, become an aggressive saint-maker: He canonized 482 people, more than all of predecessors combined.56 Divinus Perfectionis Magister also created a new consultant within the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, a “relator” who, in collaboration


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with a person from the candidate’s local diocese, produced a detailed historical document (called a positio) that situated the prospective saint in his or her historical context.57 The new norms also removed the stipulation that women could act only through male proxies. In Mazzuchelli’s case, Nona McGreal became the local collaborator, and with the publication of the Italian’s Positio in 1989, she became the first woman acknowledged as the author of such a document.58 In 1993, Pope John Paul II declared Mazzuchelli “Venerable” in recognition of the priest’s “heroic virtues.” McGreal still continued to work tirelessly on the cause, and the Mazzuchelli Bulletin continued to publish reports of favors and miracles attributed to the intercession of the Dominican friar. In the summer of 2006, the postulator of Mazzuchelli’s cause reported that one seemed promising enough to be sent on to Rome for authentication. Robert Uselmann of Morona, Wisconsin, believed he had been miraculously cured of lung cancer after touching Mazzuchelli’s relics at the Sinsinawa Mound and invoking his intercession. The bishop of Madison convened a tribunal to gather witness testimony and in August 2008 the material was forwarded to Rome. Supporters’ hopes for the miracle were dashed by the medical review committee at the Sacred Congregation, however, with a 2014 vote against the validity of Uselmann’s healing as attributable to Mazzuchelli.59 Yet despite the determination that Mazzuchelli had not cured Robert Uselmann’s lung cancer, recent developments in US saint-making serve as a reminder that Mazzuchelli could be canonized at any time, with or without confirmed miracles. In September 2015, Pope Francis canonized Junípero Serra, a Franciscan missionary who built many of the California missions (partially fulfilling another of Edward McSweeny’s requests: namely, that the Holy See validate through canonization the Franciscan and Dominican presence in the United States). The pontiff’s decision came as a surprise to many, especially considering the controversy Serra’s cause has generated in recent years: Advocates for indigenous groups have come to view the Franciscan as a representative of the evils that attended European colonization.60 One wonders as to the extent of Pope Francis’s knowledge of Mazzuchelli; certainly the Italian friar’s story could be marshaled in support of the same papal priorities while avoiding the colonial weight carried by Serra’s legacy. In any case, Serra’s sudden elevation to the altars is a reminder that canonization is ultimately a papal prerogative. It is

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possible that Pope Francis may simply decide to accelerate Mazzuchelli’s cause on his own authority. Meanwhile, supporters of Mazzuchelli should continue to discern what aspects of his life would appeal to Catholics in the twenty-first century. As imprecise as the comparison to Leonardo di Caprio in The Revenant may be, there is something about the way Mazzuchelli imbued his response to a divine calling with a spirit of adventure that may well appeal to millennials. Mazzuchelli also ministered to both Native Americans and European American Catholics in the conditions in which he found them: The Italian is remembered as a builder of institutions, both physical and other wise, precisely because there was little in the American West to sustain the faith at the time. Although the examination of his cause has not revealed him to have been anything other than a loyal follower of church teaching, as a mission priest in the nineteenth-century American Midwest, he operated with very little support from or interaction with the institutional church—a model that might be an attractive one for contemporary Catholics seeking to forge a path for practicing their faith in the midst of a church crisis. Capturing the attention of a new generation, in any case, is critical to ensuring that devotion to Mazzuchelli endures, especially as his core supporters, like most women’s religious communities, decrease in number. My students, I believe, would identify with Mazzuchelli’s passion for justice, evident in his letter protesting the removal of Native Americans westward and his courageous 1863 sermon denouncing slavery as the root cause for the tragedy of the Civil War.61 So, too, would they applaud his unwavering support for education for Native Americans and for women.62 In addition, his openness to learning from other religious traditions, as shown by his attendance at a revival/camp meeting in Burlington, Iowa, and his journey to Nauvoo, Illinois, to meet with Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion,63 resonate in our age of religious pluralism. The membership and ministries of the Hawthorne Dominicans are shrinking but the visibility of their founder is increasing. Mother Alphonsa’s stature has grown in large part because, after decades of demurring, the Hawthorne Dominicans introduced her cause for canonization early in the twenty-first century. Here again, an anniversary provided an impetus; in this case, it was the centenary of the congregation’s founding. As Lathrop’s spiritual daughters celebrated her founding vision, they were


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convinced it was time to share her story more widely. As had been true with Mazzuchelli, larger forces in American culture are shaping Rose Hawthorne Lathrop’s hagiography, and she inhabits a very different space in American Catholic memory than he did. Whereas “the Apostle of the Midwest” emerged as a holy hero during a period in which US Catholics were seeking to affirm their place in the nation’s history, Lathrop’s cause is being proposed at a time when Catholics are secure in their sense of national belonging but often critique American culture from a faith perspective. Lathrop, like her near-contemporary Dorothy Day, is one of a number of potential “pro-life” saints.64 In 2003, members of Mother Alphonsa’s Dominican congregation reversed decades of uninterest in their founder’s canonization, arguing instead that Lathrop’s cause would help advance “the dignity and sanctity of human life,” confirming the value of keeping the incurable comfortable in their final days rather than advocating euthanasia or assisted suicide.65 Edward Short notes that the home where the Hawthorne family stayed in Leamington Spa, England, before their return to the United States has been marked with a plaque denoting its famous erstwhile residents. Lathrop’s canonization, Short argues, might be an unwitting protest against an English, and by extension Western, society in which “assisted suicide is debated from the standpoint of whether it should be regulated, not banned. . . . Many in America also need to be disabused of the notion that killing the inconveniently elderly and infirm is somehow merciful.” 66 Lathrop has been politicized in other ways, too, with Short also arguing that the charity-only funding model of the Hawthorne Dominicans recognizes the “personal, loving, sacramental character of true health care” over against state control and bureaucratization.67 The vigorous debate we have witnessed in our own time suggests that Rose’s cause will become only more urgent, with the future of the Affordable Care Act uncertain with late 2016 changes in both the White House and the Congress. A 2015 column in the New York Times observed that although Medicare would reimburse physicians for end-of-life discussions— insurance coverage that critics had previously scorned as letting doctors decide who would live and who would not—most care providers still are inexperienced in discussing impending death.68 That awkwardness pales next to the stalwart ser vice provided by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop’s “spir-

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itual daughters,” who confront death and dying on a daily basis and who simply accompany their treasured guests in their final days. This contemporary politicization marks an interesting divergence between Lathrop and Elizabeth Ann Seton, the woman to whom she had been so often compared in life. As converts from elite American families, Seton and Lathrop both had stories tailor-made to underscore Catholic compatibility with US citizenship. While Seton’s supporters made the most of such claims, Lathrop’s devotees do not emphasize this angle. The difference stems from the period in which they emerged as candidates. Seton became a holy hero during a period in which US Catholics were seeking to affirm their place in the nation’s history; Lathrop’s cause was opened at a time when Catholics felt no need to prove their status as Americans and, instead, deployed a new candidate in combating what they perceived to be a culture insufficiently respectful of the dignity of human life. The type of ser vice provided by the Hawthorne Dominicans likely will only increase in importance as life-spans increase and the population of elderly Americans grows. As recently as May 2016, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne were featured in the New York Times Magazine for their service to the terminally ill. Photographer Gillian Laub, who contributed to the story and whose mother-in-law had spent her last days at the Dominicans’ Rosary Hill, remarked on the seemingly mundane details of care provided by the sisters. They paint women’s fingernails, put fresh flowers in guest rooms, and generally tend to everyday elements of dignity. “This is how dying should be,” according to Laub.69 Lathrop’s is no exception to the long waiting periods that characterize most causes. Though the diocesan phase (formerly called the “ordinary process”) for her cause was completed in April 2013, there has been no news as of this writing about when it will move forward. While visiting the Hawthorne Dominican Archives in summer 2016, I spent some quiet time in prayer at Lathrop’s grave on the property, where Mother Alphonsa rests next to her dear friend and collaborator Mother Rose (née Alice) Huber. It is an extraordinarily peaceful place—and certainly not evocative of The Revenant! Wishing that some of my frantically busy, often-distracted students could experience the calm of that moment, I resolved that the next time I taught “Sanctity and Society” I would nudge one of them to write about Lathrop’s life and its implications for the contemporary church and nation. Sure enough, the following spring, one of my best students,


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after learning about Lathrop’s life, produced an excellent paper in which she argued that her cause is exceptionally meaningful for Americans of her generation. She focused not only on Lathrop’s significance for end-oflife care, but also the ways her story can both inspire millennials to spread Gospel values in American culture, and convince more women to study medicine.70 As I contemplate Lathrop’s story in tandem with Mazzuchelli’s, I marvel at the way that they, from different starting points, combined a dedication to meaningful ser vice, an openness to the broad diversity of American society, and an unflinching embrace of their faith. These have been the markers of so many sons and daughters of St. Dominic, whose collective holiness may soon be recognized in the canonization of Mazzuchelli or Lathrop, giving the United States, at long last, its own Dominican saint. Notes 1. Jack Nelson, “Apostle of the Midwest,” Visitor, November 20, 1977, 23; Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Samuel Mazzuchelli American Dominican Journeyman Preacher Pastor Teacher (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 23. 2. Robert P. Eckert, “A Missionary in the Wilderness,” Catholic World 144, no. 2 (1937): 590; “TJC,” review of Memoirs of Father Mazzuchelli, OP, America XIII, no. 15 (1915): 378. 3. Eckert, “A Missionary in the Wilderness,” 590. 4. Nelson, “Apostle of the Midwest,” 23. 5. Francis Shaw, SJ, “Some Heroines: Fact and Fiction,” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 27, no. 108 (1938): 627. 6. Peter Burke, “How to Make a Counter-Reformation Saint,” in The Reformation: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, vol. 4, ed. Andrew Pettegree (New York: Routledge, 2004), 158. 7. For a recent and interesting history of the process, see Michael Higgins, Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making (Toronto: House of Anansi, 2006). 8. Canon 2101, The 1917 or Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, in English Translation, curated by Dr. Edward N. Peters (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001), 672. 9. Anna Stadick, “Saint Patrons: The Role of Archives in the Roman Catholic Process of Canonization,” Archival Issues 24, no. 2 (1999): 127. See my Citizen Saints: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019), esp. chaps. 1 and 2,

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which explore the cause of Mazzuchelli as well as several other US-based candidates for canonization. 10. Samuel Mazzuchelli, Memoirs: Historical and Edifying of a Missionary Apostolic of the Order of St. Dominic among Various Indian tribes and among Catholics and Protestants in the United States, trans. Mary Benedicta Kennedy (Chicago: W. F. Hall, 1915). 11. FGH, “S. Rosa de Lima, Virgo,” American Ecclesiastical Review 16 (January 1897): 91–92. 12. John Gilmary Shea, “Holy Personages of Canada and the United States Whose Canonization Is Begun,” Ave Maria 30 (1890): 179. Emphasis added. 13. S. L. Emery, “Mother Duchesne, RSH, An Uncanonized American Saint,” Catholic World 65, no. 389 (1897): 687–94. 14. F. G. Holweck, “An American Martyrology,” Catholic Historical Review 6 no. 4 (1921): 495; “American Saints,” Ave Maria 13 (November 1873): 716–17. 15. Shea, “Holy Personages,” 100. 16. R. H. Clarke, “Beatification Asked for American Servants of God,” Catholic World 40, no. 240 (1885): 809. 17. “Letter Petitioning for the Introduction of the Cause of the Servants of God, Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil, of the Society of Jesus, also of the Virgin Katharine Tekakwitha,” addressed to the Sovereign Pontiff, Leo XIII, by the Bishops of the United States of America, assembled in the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, December 6, 1884,” Archives of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Positiones; “Catherine Tekakwitha [sic]” Catholic World 43, no. 253 (1886): 87. 18. “The Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation,” Catholic World 27, no. 161 (1878): 608. 19. Edward McSweeny, “Hidden Saints,” Catholic World 51, no. 304 (1890): 535. 20. Shea, “Holy Personages,” 179. 21. “Domestic Religious Intelligence,” Methodist Review, 5th ser., no. 1 (1885): 449–50. 22. Ellen Barrett, “A Word about the Old Saints,” Catholic World 59, no. 350 1894): 269–70. 23. John Ireland to Rev. R. A. [Ferdinand] Litz, August 4, 1892, “Letters: Cause of Beatification,” Box 5, St. John Neumann Collection, Redemptorist Archives of the Baltimore Province, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (RABP). 24. John Ireland, “Rt. Rev. Mathias Loras, First Bishop of Dubuque,” Catholic World 68, no. 403 (1898): 721–31. 25. John Ireland, Introduction to Memoirs Historical and Edifying of a Missionary Apostolic of the Order of Saint Dominic among Various Indian Tribes


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and among the Catholics and Protestants in the United States of America (Sinsinawa, WI: Saint Clara College, 1915), xv, xviii. 26. Most Reverend Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, Sanctity in America (Paterson, NJ: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1939), 82, 95; Rev. Walter Elliott, CSP, “Bishop Baraga, The Apostle of the Chippewas,” Catholic World 73, no. 433 (1901): 78–87. 27. Theodora Guerin, Proc. Ord. Indianopolitan, s. fama (1915, 37), 9165, Congregatio Riti Processus, Arcivio Segreto Vaticano. 28. The eight saints are treated extensively in Emma Anderson, The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). 29. Katherine E. Conway, “Individual Catholic Women,” in Catholic Builders of the Nation, vol. 5 (Boston: Continental Press, 1923), 386. 30. Allan Greer, Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 193–94; Allan Greer, “Natives and Nationalism: The Americanization of Kateri Tekakwitha,” Catholic Historical Review 90, no. 2 (2004): 260–72. 31. McSweeny, “Hidden Saints,” 538. 32. Marion Alphonse Habig, Heroes of the Cross: An American Martyrology, rev. ed. (Paterson, NJ: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1945), 16. Documents related to this cause were later published in The Martyrs of the United States of America, Manuscript of Preliminary Studies Prepared by the Commission for the Cause of Canonization of the Martyrs of the United States, (Easton, PA: Mack Printing, 1956). 33. Cicognani, Sanctity in America, 63; “Saint Junípero Serra,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, accessed Nov. 1, 2017, /about/leadership/holy-see/francis/papal-visit-2015/junipero-serra-biography .cfm. 34. Michael Lyon, SJ “Saints of the United States,” St. Anthony Messenger 35 (1927): 188. 35. Virginia Gardner, “Pioneer Chicago Priest Is Urged for Sainthood,” Chicago Daily Tribune, October 27, 1935, 20. 36. Cicognani, Sanctity in America, 2. 37. Ibid., 86. 38. Caitlin Sisk, “Cause for a Saint of the Local Church,” student paper for the course “Sanctity in American Society,” May 2014, in possession of author; The Memoirs of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP (Chicago: Priory Press, 1967), 63–64, 173, 190, 206, 224. This is the second English translation of the original Italian Memorie. See also Cicognani, Sanctity in America, 87. 39. Bryan M. O’Reilly, “Saint over the Hudson,” Commonweal, May 12, 1939, 66–67.

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40. Gardner, “Pioneer Chicago Priest Is Urged for Sainthood,” 20. 41. Robert P. Eckert, “A Missionary in the Wilderness,” Catholic World 144 (1937): 590. 42. Ibid., 594. 43. “Rose Hawthorne Lathrop,” America 35 (July 1926): 342. Also “Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (Mother Alphonsa),” Catholic World 123 (1926): 699–700; James J. Walsh, “Mother Alphonsa Lathrop,” Commonweal, July 28, 1926, 302–4. 44. Sister Marie, OP, “Three Nun Converts of the Last Century,” Ave Maria (October 9, 1946): 451–60. 45. Boniface Hanley, OFM, “The Rose Hawthorne Story,” Catholic Digest 44 (July 1980), 73–74. 46. James A. Griffin, DD, “The Lives of Elizabeth Ann Bayley and Rose Hawthorne Lathrop,” Sermon Preached by His Excellency the Most Reverend James A. Griffin, DA.D. at the National Meeting of the National Council of Catholic Women at Biloxi, Mississippi, October 23, 1938. Box 12-A, Folder 13, Writings about Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Archives of the Hawthorne Dominicans, Hawthorne, New York. 47. “Theodore Maynard,” Series 2, Box Four, Folder 13, Mothers General Correspondence, Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne Community Papers. 48. See, for example, letter to Mr. Gordon Gaskill, Nov. 8, 1958, in “Letters Regarding Mother M. Alphonsa Lathrop,” Series 2, Box 5, Folder 9, Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne Community Papers. 49. Canon 2004, no. 1, in Peters, The 1917 or Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, 648. 50. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, Buying the Field: Catholic Religious Life in Mission to the World (New York: Paulist Press, 2013), 599–600. 51. “Minutes of the Mazzuchelli Guild,” April 1964, Dominican Archives at Sinsinawa Mound; Pat Marrin, “Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, historian and educator, dies,” National Catholic Reporter March 27, 2013. McGreal spent over 6 decades devoted to the study of Samuel Mazzuchelli. She earned both of her degrees at the Catholic University of America. Her 1946 MA thesis was entitled: Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli and the Beginning of Indian Education on the Frontier; in 1951 she completed her doctoral dissertation: The Role of a Teaching Sisterhood in American Education. The Dominicans of Sinsinawa served as the model for that study. 52. Sister Marie Amanda, “Minutes of the Mazzuchelli Commission meeting,” May 1972, Mazzuchelli Collection, Cabinet 9, Drawer 1, Folder Mazzuchelli Guild Meetings, Sinsinawa Dominican Archives, Sinsinawa Wisconsin (SDA). 53. Minutes of the Mazzuchelli Guild, May 1972. Sister Nona [McGreal], “Possible Topics for Mazzuchelli ‘Briefs,’ ” Mazzuchelli Collection, Cabinet 9, Drawer 1, Folder Mazzuchelli Guild Meetings SDA.


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54. Stadick, “Saint Patrons,” 130. 55. Sister Marie Amanda, “Minutes of the Mazzuchelli Commission Meeting, May 1972,” Mazzuchelli Collection, Cabinet 9, Drawer 1, Folder Mazzuchelli Guild Meetings, SDA. 56. For more information on the reforms, see Robert Sarno, “Diocesan inquiries required by the Legislator in the new legislation for the Causes of the Saints,” JCD diss., Pontifical Gregorian University, 1988; Fabijan Veraja, “Commentary on the New Legislation for the Causes of Saints,” Rome, 1983, translated from the Italian by EH and DW, CKLW 7/01, UNDA; transcript of Woodward interview with Molinari and Gumpel, May 1987, 19, CKLW 5/19, UNDA. 57. Veraja, “Commentary.” 58. Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, under the direction of Rev. Msgr. Fabijan Veraja, Madisonen, Canonizationis Servi Dei Caroli Samuelis Mazzuchelli, OP, Fundatoris Congregationis Sororum Domincanarum A S. Rosario De Sinsinawa, (1806–1864): positio super vita, virtutibus et fama sanctitatis (Rome: Congregatio pro Causis Sanctorum, 1989). McGreal later published a biography of Mazzuchelli. See Samuel Mazzuchelli: American Dominican (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2005). 59. Mary C. Uhler, “Cause for Sainthood Moves Forward,” Catholic Herald (Madison, WI), August 28, 2008. For updates, see Diane Kennedy, OP, personal communication with the author, July 7, 2017. 60. For prominent examples of the debate over Serra’s place in history, see Emma Green, “Is the Pope Trying to Redeem Colonialism?” Atlantic, September 23, 2015, -serra-pope-francis-colonialism/406306/; Steven W. Hackel, Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father (New York: Hill and Wang, 2014); James A. Sandos, Converting California: Indians and Franciscans in the Missions (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). 61. Positio, 104–5, 328–50. 62. Ibid.,119–20; McGreal, Samuel Mazzuchelli: American Dominican, 97–97, 258–61. 63. Mazzuchelli, Memoirs, 1967 ed., 267–73. 64. Tracy Fessenden, “Worldly Madonna,” in Catholics in the Movies, ed. Colleen McDannell (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 256–57. 65. See, for example, letter to Mr. Gordon Gaskill, November 8, 1958, in “Letters Regarding Mother M. Alphonsa Lathrop,” Folder 9, Box 5, Series 2, Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne Community Papers; “Canonization Cause Opened for Rose Hawthorne in New York Archdiocese,” National Catholic Register, February 16–22, 2003, 3.

sa muel m a zzuchelli a nd rose h aw thor ne l athrop 343

66. Edward Short, “Rose Hawthorne and the Communion of Saints,” Human Life Review 36 (Winter 2010): 20–21. 67. Ibid., 26. 68. Paula Span, “A Quiet End to the ‘Death Panels’ Debate,” New York Times, November 20, 2015, -death-panels-myth-brings-new-end-of-life-challenges.html. 69. Gillian Laub and Brooke Jarvis, “The Sisters Who Treat the Untreatable,” New York Times Magazine, May 12, 2016, /05/15/magazine/the-sisters-who-treat-the-untreatable.html?_r=0#. 70. Julia Forte, “The Life for Those Still Living,” student paper for the “Sanctity and Society” class, spring 2017, copy in possession of author.


arlene i. bachanov is a researcher and writer in the history office of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and an Adrian Dominican Associate. She is the author of “Sister Cannonball: The Nun Who Shook Up Adrian,” Michigan History (May/June 2017): 41–47, and the coauthor with Sister Nadine Foley, OP, of To Fields Near and Far: Adrian Dominican Sisters History, 1933–1961 (Adrian Dominican Sisters, 2015). elizabeth michael boyle, op, is a retired professor of English at Caldwell College. She is the author of Preaching the Poetry of the Gospels (Liturgical Press, 2003) and Science as Sacred Metaphor (Liturgical Press, 2006). jeffrey m. burns is the director of the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego and the director of the Academy of American Franciscan History. He is the author of Disturbing the Peace: A History of the Christian Family Movement, 1949–1974 (University of Notre Dame Press, 1999), and Keeping Faith: European and Asian Catholic Immigrants, with Ellen Skerrett and Joseph White (Orbis Books, 2000). james t. carroll is a professor of history at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. He is the author of Seeds of Faith: Catholic Indian Boarding Schools (Garland, 2000). heath w. carter is an associate professor of American Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago (Oxford University Press, 2015) and editor of The Pew and the Picket Line: Christianity and the American Working Class (University of Illinois Press, 2016). k athleen sprows cummings is a professor of history and American studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American (University of North Carolina Press, 2019) and New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).


con tr ibu tor s

diane kennedy, op, a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa, served as the founding director of the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission. After retiring from a long career in Dominican higher education, she is now the vice postulator for the cause of the Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli. margaret m. mcguinness is a professor of American Catholicism at La Salle University. Her publications include Neighbors and Missionaries: A History of the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine (Fordham University Press, 2012), Called to Serve: A History of Nuns in America (New York University Press, 2013), and Roman Catholicism in the United States: A Thematic History (Fordham University Press, 2019), which she coedited with James T. Fisher. donna marie moses, op, is a chaplain at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. She is the author of American Catholic Women Religious: Radicalized by Mission (Macmillan, 2017). cecilia murray, op, teaches in the Philosophy and Religious Studies department at Mount St. Mary College, Newburgh, New York. Her publications include Other Waters: A History of the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh, New York (Brookville Books, 1993) and Evergreen Land: A History of the Dominican Sisters of Edmonds, Washington (Active Press, 1997), which she cowrote with David Buerge. christopher j. renz, op, is a professor of liturgical studies and science and theology and director of institutional research at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Berkeley). He is the author of “The Hymn of Creation and the Divine Office,” in Sacred Sounds—Exhibition Booklet (Berkeley, CA: Doug Adams Gallery, 2019) and “Liturgical Piety, Awe, and Beauty in a New Liturgical Movement,” Antiphon 9, no. 3 (2015): 284–309. ellen skerret t is a historian of Chicago with a particular interest in Irish America. Her books include Born in Chicago: A History of Chicago’s Jesuit University (Loyola Press, 2008) and Chicago: City of Neighborhoods (Loyola University Press, 1986). cynthia taylor is an assistant professor of history at Dominican University of California, and the author of A. Philip Randolph: The Religious Journey of an African American Labor Leader (New York University Press, 2005). janet welsh, op, a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa, was the founding director of the Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Center for Dominican Historical Studies at Dominican University until her retirement in 2019. She was the coordinator of Project OPUS: The History of the Order of Preachers in the United States, and served as managing editor of this volume.


Note: Figures are indicated by f following page numbers. Abramovich, Rosemary, 313 ACTWU. See Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) Addams, Jane, 65, 90 Adrian, Michigan, 114, 119, 121, 194, 198, 221, 225, 230, 232, 270f, 294, 305, 307, 309, 312–313 Adrian Rea Literacy Center (Flint, Michigan), 299–300 AIDS, 236 Albany, New York, 27, 32, 248–249 Alcott, Louisa May, 70 Alemany, Joseph Sadoc, 131–132 Allen, Juanita Keaton, 168–169 All Saints Literacy Center (Detroit, Michigan), 309, 311–312 Altenhohenau, Germany, 220 Altmeyer, Alison, 310 Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU), 119–120 American Citizenship Committee, 87 American Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor of the Immaculate Conception, 32 American Samoa, 236 Anderson, Doug, 178 Aquinas Institute of Theology, 272, 288 Aquinas Literacy Center (Chicago, Illinois), 298, 304, 310 architecture, 78–79, 199–200 Arrupe, Pedro, 228 art, 89, 162–164, 166, 173–175, 177–179, 191–212 Artery, Carol, 202–203 Ashley, Benedict, 279, 300f Aspiroz Costa, Carlos, 266

atheism, 215–216 Atzcapotzalco, Mexico, 218–219 Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. Sheil’s School of Social Studies (Chicago), 112 Avella, Steven, 22 Bachanov, Arlene I., 294–313 Bacigalupa, Andrea, 175–177, 187n62 Backes, Maria Pia, 217–218 Bahamas, 225 Baker City, Oregon, 257 Balboa, Panama, 221 Baltimore, Maryland, 72, 87, 255 Bandung, Indonesia, 233 Bangladesh, 235 Baraga, Frederic, 325 Barnes, Michael, 147 Baroni, Geno, 114, 127n67, 128n68 Barry, Sister Martin, 143 Bayamón, New York, 219 Bay City, Michigan, 87 Beauduin, Dom Lambert, 161–162, 183n22 Becket, Thomas, 85 Bell, Charles, 179 Benicia, California, 132 Benton, Wisconsin, 68 Bergoglio, Jorge Mario, 121 Berkeley, California, 136–137, 163, 179 Bevilacqua, Anthony, 142 Bionda, Kate, 54 Blake, Judy, 298 Blauvelt, New York, 25, 25f, 219, 235 Bliss, Bill, 314n27 Bogotá, Colombia, 229 Boivin, Leonore, 303, 310–311


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Bokel, John A., Jr., 56 Bolivia, 220–221 Boniface VIII, Pope, 243 Bouyer, Louis, 160–161, 183n22 Boyle, Elizabeth Michael, 191–212 Bradford, Ann Helen, 103 Bradford, Benjamin Franklin, 103 Bradford, Margaret Hayes, 103 Bradford, William, 103 Bresette, Linna E., 109–111, 125n36, 126n44, 126n48 Broccolo, Gerard T., 175 Brooklyn, New York, 15–37, 41n32 Brooks, Eleanor, 173 Brooks, Garth, 195 Browder, Earl, 99 Brown, Janice, 302 Bruno, Patricia, 134–135, 141, 148–150, 153n35 Buckley, William F., 113–114 Buffalo, New York, 256–257 Burtner, Kent, 171, 183n22 Burton, Katharine, 331 Burton, Richard, 179 Butler, Anne, 131–132 Butler, Nicholas Murray, 83 Byrne, Barry, 78–79 Byrne, Christopher, 251 Cabrini, Frances, 328–329 Cadore, Bruno, 205 Caldwell, New Jersey, 16 Camden, New Jersey, 256, 259–260 Campbell, Eleanor, 98n88 Carey, Cecilia, 202 Caritas International, 235 Carroll, James T., 15–37 Carter, Heath W., 99–121 Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems (CCIP), 104–108, 108f, 111–113 Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, 33 Catholic Radical Alliance, 109 Catholic Worker movement, 109 Catonsville, Maryland, 255, 259 Cavanaugh, Sarah, 300 Caveglia, Jerry, 169 CCIP. See Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems (CCIP)

CELAM. See Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) Ceylon, 223 Chang, Agneta, 222 Chan-McFrederick, Amy, 194, 197–198 Chapultepec Peace Accords, 136, 149 Chavez, Cesar, 113 Chenicek, Barbara, 198–201, 213n16 Chiang Kai-shek, 221 Chicago, Illinois, 22, 72–73, 75–80, 84, 112, 297–298, 304, 310 child abuse, 235–236 Chimbote, Peru, 230 China, 221–222 cholera, 27 Christian Family Movement Group, 169 Christman, Elizabeth, 109 Church of Saint Catherine of Siena, 20–22 Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer (New York), 18–22, 26 Cicognani, Amleto, 327–329, 331 Cincinnati, Ohio, 249–250 Civil War, 17, 44d, 47–48, 52, 61 Clark, Maura, 233 Clarke, Magdalen, 46 Clarke, R. H., 322 cloistering, 243–244, 264–267 CMSW. See Conference of Major Superiors of Women (CMSW) CMSWR. See Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) Cold War, 215–216 College of the Roses (San Rafael, California), 133–134 Collin, Mary of Jesus, 253 Colombia, 216, 224, 228–232 Colton, Charles, 256–257 Columbus, Ohio, 19 Commission on American Citizenship, 65 Common Life Project, 280 Communism, 99, 117, 221–226, 235 Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM), 216, 228 Conference of Major Superiors of Women (CMSW), 226–227 Connolly, Marie, 125n41

inde x 349 Consortium Perfectae Caritatis (CPC), 227 contemplation, 243–244, 264–267 Conway, Mary Daniel, 94n41 Cooper Village Museum & Arts Center (Anaconda, Montana), 201 Corbett, Jim, 136 Cormier, Hyacinth M., 37n8 Corpus Christi Monastery (Bronx, New York), 35, 247 Corpus Christi Monastery (Menlo Park, California), 250 Corr, Patricia, 134 Corrigan, Michael Augustine, 20–21, 34–35, 42n49, 244–245, 247, 253 Coston, Carol, 114–115 Coudeyre, Cyril, 258 Coughlin, Charles, 112 Coughlin, Samuel, 74 Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), 227, 236 Course of Study for Dominican Schools, 70–71 CPC. See Consortium Perfectae Caritatis (CPC) Craighead, Charlene, 166, 185n52 Crippen, Rita, 110 Crooks, Julia, 34, 244–245, 251 Crooks, Ramsay, 245 Cross, Sharon, 134 “Cry of the Poor,” 137–139 Cuba, 32, 218, 225 Cummings, Kathleen Sprows, 316–338 Curley, Daniel, 260 Cusack, Thomas, 248–249 Daley, Joeann, 201, 211 Daley, Mary Imeldine, 78 D’Arcy, Martin, 85 Davis, James, 172–175 Davis, Marcella, 308 Davis, Stan, 188n71 Day, Dorothy, 336 de Andreis, Felix, 325 Deitering, Carol, 179 Delaney, Fidelia, 33 DeLay, Dominic, 205, 208 democracy, 215–216 de Sales Kirk, Mary, 130, 134

Detroit, Michigan, 247–248, 294, 297, 308, 311–312 Devine, Elizabeth, 201 Dewey, John, 65, 90 Distributist Movement, 162 Dittoe, Columba, 49 Divinus Perfectionis Magister (John Paul II), 333–334 DLC. See Dominican Leadership Conference (DLC) Dolan, Anne, 145, 149 Dolan, Jay, 20 Dolan, Vincent, 175 Dominican Chapel of the Plains (Great Bend, Kansas), 199–200 Dominican College (San Rafael, California), 133–134 Dominican Composers Project, 281 Dominican Institute for the Arts, 209–212 Dominican Leadership Conference (DLC), 198, 289 Dominican Literacy Center (Detroit, Michigan), 296–297, 300, 302–303, 307–308, 312 Dominican Republic, 221 Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786–1865 (McGreal, ed.), 1 Dominican Sisters of Hope (DSOH), 237, 288 Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 130–150 Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, 21 Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, 24–25 Donat, Mary of Mercy, 245–246 Donnelly, Tom, 178, 188n75 Donovan, Jean, 233 Dougherty, Patricia, 131–132 Dowling, Margaret, 35 Dowling, M. Dominic, 27–28 DSOH. See Dominican Sisters of Hope (DSOH) Duchesne, Rose Philippine, 318, 325 Duwelius, Mary Kenneth, 308 Ecclesia Sanctae, II (Second Vatican Council), 227 Eckert, Robert, 329 economic justice, 99–121


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Ecuador, 233 Elmira, New York, 261 El Salvador, 136, 142, 147–148, 150, 233 Emery, Susan, 321 Engel, Frances, 109–110 Eucharist, 56, 86, 172, 194, 196, 267n11, 275, 277, 279, 285 Evangelii Nuntiandi (Paul VI), 232–233 Everson, William, 162 Ezoe, Magdalena, 194–195 Faith and Freedom, 87–89 Fall River, Massachusetts, 237 Fanelli, Josephine, 110 Faribault, Minnesota, 74 Faribault Plan, 69 Feehan, Patrick, 50–51 Fenwick, Edward, 45, 67, 317 Ferrer, Sr. Vincent, 99–101, 103–115, 121, 124n33, 126n48 Fialka, John, 133 Fife, John, 136 film, 205–207 Fischer, Balthasar, 171 Fitzgerald, DeRicci, 80–81 Fitzpatrick, Vincentia, 46 Flaherty, Elizabeth, 302 Flint, Michigan, 298–300 Foley, John, 247 Ford, George Barry, 81–83 Ford, Ita, 233 foreign missions, 31–34, 217–238 Francis, Pope, 121, 334–335 Frank, Roger, 309 Furfey, Paul Hanly, 85 Galveston, Texas, 251 Gangloff, Anthony, 48 Gans, Roma, 81 Gargan, Catherine, 35 Gargan, M. Thomas, 30 Gaudium et Spes (Second Vatican Council), 227 Geary, Maureen, 118–119 Germany, 217, 220 Gibbons, Edmund, 249 Gilded Age, 17–22, 28–29 Gill, Eric, 183n20, 184n34 Gilmore, Joseph M., 108f Glover, R. H., 108f

Goemaere, Mary of the Cross, 130–132 Goergen, Donald, 279 Gorman, Dorothy, 110 Goupil, René, 322, 325–326 Grace, Thomas Langdon, 45–48 Gracewood, 48 Grady, Thomas, 175 Grand Rapids, Michigan, 87, 118, 128n80 Great Bend, Kansas, 197–198, 225 Great Depression, 100, 105–106 Greeley, Andrew, 157–158, 171 Green, Mary Ellen, 279–280 “green bible,” 66 Greer, Allan, 326 Guatemala, 225 Guiding Growth in Christian Social Living, 66, 87–88, 90 Gulf War, 231 Gumbert, Kenneth, 205–206, 214n36 Gurney, Marian, 21, 42n50 Gutiérrez Merino, Gustavo, 228–229 Guzman, Dominic de, 242 Gy, Pierre-Marie, 171, 174 Habig, Marion, 327 Haiti, 303–304, 306 Hamilton, Alice, 100 Hamilton, Katherine, 149 Hanlon, Raya, 143, 145 Hanna, Edward, 250 Hansen, Barbara, 116 Harden, Mary, 82–83 Harkins, Kathleen, 209 Harper, Lucy, 46, 49 Harrison, G. B., 174 Hartigan, Patrick, 20 Havana, Cuba, 218 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 316 Hawthorne, New York, 22 Hawthorne, Sophia Peabody, 329 Hayes, Finbar, 162–163 Hayes, Patrick, 33, 81–82 Hemmen, Mary, 297 Henneberry, Mary Marcelle, 78 Hennessy, Rosemarie, 209 Hinds, Claudia, 298 HIV, 236 Hoey, Robert, 174 Holmes, Urban T., 275, 291 Holy Name Journal, The, 19

inde x 351 Holy Name Society, 19, 37n8 Hong Kong, 221–222 Horace Mann Boys School, 82–83 Hordes, Stanley M., 181n1 hospitals, 31–32 Howard Association, 55 Huber, Alice, 35 Huber, Mother Rose, 337 Huegel, Peter, 259 Huerta, Dolores, 113 Hughes, John, 37n3 Huijbers, Bernard, 171, 174 Hull House, 99–100 Hutchins, Robert, 85 Iannelli, Alfonso, 78–79 Ibanez, Armando, 205–209 Immaculate Conception Monastery (Albany, New York), 248–249 Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), 259–260 INAI Studio, 198–201 Indonesia, 233 Ireland, John, 324–325 Ireland, Judy, 304, 309–310 ISPLA. See Latin American Institute of Pastoral Social Action (ISPLA) Jacyna, Fabian, 297 Jamaica, 33, 219 Japan, 219–220, 222 Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, 177–178 Jimenez, Rafael, 304–305 Jogues, Isaac, 322, 326 John XXIII, Pope, 113, 181n5, 191, 200, 331 John Paul II, Pope, 333–334 Johnson, Andrew, 52 Johnson, George, 65 Jones, David, 162, 182n14 Juarez, Mexico, 167f Jungmann, Joseph, 171 justice: economic, 99–121; social, 130–150, 200–201 “Justice in the World” (Synod of Bishops), 115 Kalamazoo International Congress on Medieval Studies, 281 Kalinozoski, A., 300f

Kalmer, Leo, 57–58, 61 Kandinsky, Wassily, 194 Kathmandu, Nepal, 235 Katzer, Frederick, 254 Kazel, Dorothy, 233 Kearney, James, 261 Kelly, D. M., 108f Kelly, Joseph Augustine, 48–49, 51–52, 56, 59 Kelly, Katherine B., 126n46 Kelly, Teresita, 193 Kendall, Raymond, 159, 182n9 Kennedy, Diane, 269–292, 300f Kennedy, Mary Benedicta, 320 Kentucky, 44–45, 59 Kenya, 232, 266 Kieffer, Adelaide, 146 Kiley, Leo A., 170 Kingston, Jamaica, 219 Kinkaid, Angela, 187n61 Kintz, Catherine, 58 Klemm, Marcine, 296 Knights of Columbus, 37n7 Knox, James, 177 Koehlinger, Amy, 135, 151n19 Koestler, Alfred G., 170 Korea, 222 Kovack, Carla, 132, 134–135 Kyoto, Japan, 219–220 La Crosse, Wisconsin, 257–258 LaPietra, Cecilia, 306 Larkin, Benedicta, 193–194 Larroca, Joseph, 253 La Salette Academy (Memphis), 48, 54, 58 Las Casas, Bartolomé de, 206 Las Cruces, New Mexico, 157–181 Lathrop, George Parsons, 330 Lathrop, Rose Hawthorne, 31, 35, 316, 329–331, 336–338 Latin American Institute of Pastoral Social Action (ISPLA), 220–221 Laub, Gillian, 337 Lavoy, Anna Louise, 138–139, 153n31 Lawson, John R., 108f LCWR. See Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), 198, 226–227, 236


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Leary, James J., 108f Le Corbusier, 173 Leo XIII, Pope, 37n8, 101–102, 107, 116, 322 Lester, Thomas, 92n21 Ley, Florence, 125n41 liberation theology, 228–232 Lieder, Marlene, 296 Lilly, Michael Dominic, 35–36, 38n6 Linden, Virginia, 257–258 Liturgical Piety (Bouyer), 160, 183n22 living wage, 117–119 Lloyd, Henry Demarest, 102 Lohman, Marie Gertrude, 167, 184n36 Loras, Mathias, 324 Los Angeles, California, 250–251 Loughlin, John, 15, 26, 40n27 Lumen Gentium (Second Vatican Council), 226, 333 Mackey, M. Eveline, 87 Madden, Camilla, 295 Maerz, Seraphina, 217–218 Malarkey, Susannah, 138–139, 146, 148, 153n31 Malvern, Corinne, 89 Maly, Carleen, 298, 300–301, 313 Managua, Nicaragua, 221, 232 Mann, Horace, 81 Mannion, Mother Rose of Saint Mary, 255 Mao Zedong, 221 Marbury, Alabama, 218f, 261–263 Marchionda, James, 194, 195f, 196–197, 281 Martin, Thomas, 37n3 Mary Immaculate Hospital (Jamaica, New York), 31 Maryknoll, 33–34, 36, 42n43, 170, 203, 217, 219–221, 223, 225, 227, 229–233, 235 Mary Nona McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies, 287 Mary the Queen Monastery (Elmira, New York), 261 Mater et Magistra (John XXIII), 113 Matthew, Gospel of, 142, 192–193 Maynard, Theodore, 331

Mazzuchelli, Samuel, 66–68, 74, 201, 316, 317f, 318–320, 324, 327–329, 331–332, 334–336, 338 McArdle, Mary Marguerite, 98n87 McArdle, Rose, 89 McCary, Joseph, 58 McCauley, Joanne, 270f McCloskey, John, 18, 37n3 McCormick, Catherine, 46 McCormick, P. J., 88 McDevitt, Richard, 259 McDonnell, Carol Jean, 114 McDonnell, Charles, 26, 33, 40n27 McDonough, Philomena, 49 McFaul, James, 256 McGarvey, John R., 56 McGary, Joseph, 52 McGill, Mary Margaret, 298 McGill, Ralph, 125n34 McGreal, Kehoe, 84 McGreal, Mary Nona, 1, 65–67, 75–76, 84–85, 87–88, 300f, 316–317, 332, 334 McGuinness, Margaret M., 43–61 McHugh, John, 174 McKenna, Charles, 19 McKernan, Magdalen, 54 McKernan, Mary Joseph, 53–54 McLaughlin, Janice, 232, 234 McLuhan, Marshal, 170 McNabb, Vincent, 183n20 McNicholas, John, 33, 35 McSweeny, Edward, 323, 327, 333–334 Medellín, Colombia, 216, 224, 228–232 Memphis, Tennessee, 44–49, 46f, 53–61 Mendicantours, 282 Menlo Park, California, 250 Message to Catholics, A (Browder), 99 Mexico, 218–219, 229–230, 271 Middle East, 225–226 Miles, Richard P., 45 Mills, John, 176 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 254 Mission San José Dominicans, 217, 219, 229, 262f Mission San Miguel (Santa Fe, New Mexico), 172–173 Moeller, Henry, 249

inde x 353 Molinsky, Stephen J., 314n27 Monastery of Our Lady of Grace (North Guilford, Connecticut), 263–264 Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary (Buffalo, New York), 256–257 Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary (Summit, New Jersey), 258–259 Monastery of the Angels (Los Angeles, California), 250–251 Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament (Detroit, Michigan), 247–248 Monastery of the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary (Baltimore/ Catonsville, Maryland), 255 Monastery of the Holy Name (Cincinnati, Ohio), 249–250, 266 Monastery of the Holy Rosary (Syracuse, New York), 260–261 Monastery of the Infant Jesus (Galveston, Texas), 251 Monastery of the Presentation (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 254 Mongale, John, 165 Mooney, Edward, 248 Moore, Joe, 178, 188n75 Moots, Sister Giotto, 174 Moriarty, Joseph T., 88 Moses, Donna Maria, 215–239 Mother of God Monastery (West Springfield, Massachusetts), 259 Mueller, Gerardine, 192–193 Mundelein, George, 40n27, 76, 78–80, 103–104 Murphy, Carmelita, 279 Murray, Cathy, 149–150 Murray, Cecilia, 242–267 music, 194–198, 208 Nairobi, Kenya, 232 Nashville, Tennessee, 44, 49–52, 54, 56–57, 59–61 National Catholic School of Social Service, 108 National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC), 104, 124n33 National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), 142 National Council of Catholic Women, 108

National Labor Relations Board, 120 National Recovery Association, 105 Navarre, Mary, 97n81 Nazareth Trade School (Suffolk County, New York), 30 NCCB. See National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) NCWC. See National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) Nelson, Jackie, 173, 176 Nelson, John, 173 Nepal, 235 Nestor, Agnes, 109 NETWORK (organization), 114–115 Neuhierl, Augustine, 24 Neulander, Judith, 181n1 Newark, New Jersey, 42n49, 258 Newburgh, New York, 16, 41n32, 237 New Deal, 101, 109, 112–113, 121 Newman, John Henry, 165 New York, 15–37, 80–86 Nicaragua, 221, 232–233 Nigeria, 225 Noel, Virginia, 245 Noffke, Suzanne, 281 North Guilford, Connecticut, 263–264 Nugent, Carole, 116–118, 128n80 Oakland, California, 307 O’Connell, Rose Celeste, 308–309 O’Connor, J. J., 108f O’Connor, John, 258 O’Connor, William, 319, 333 O’Donnell, Mary Louis, 130, 133 O’Hanlon, Catherine, 75 O’Hanlon, Ellen, 75 O’Hara, Gerard P., 125n34 O’Hern, John, 261 Ohio, 45 O’Leary, Barry, 108f O’Leary, Thomas, 259 O’Meara, Gertrude, 52 OPUS. See Order of Preachers in the United States (OPUS) Order of Preachers in the United States (OPUS), 1, 215 O’Reilly, Charles, 257 Ormond, Margaret, 279 Orphan Home Society (Brooklyn, New York), 26


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Ortega, Pedro, 174 Ossining, New York, 237 Oullins, France, 244–245 Our Lady of the Rosary (Camden, New Jersey), 256 Our Lady of the Rosary Home (New York), 30 Pabst, Frederick, 254 Pakistan, 225–226, 231, 266 Panama, 221 Papua New Guinea, 236 Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission, 269–292 Paterson, New Jersey, 258 Paul, 215 Paul VI, Pope, 115, 138, 174, 216, 228, 232–233, 265 Peabody, Elizabeth, 70 Perfectae Caritatis (Second Vatican Council), 134, 152n23, 194, 227, 264–265, 331 Perpetual Rosary, 251–264 Peru, 204–205, 230 Peterson, Esther, 109 Petit, Loretta, 46 Pieper, Josef, 171, 174 Pius IX, Pope, 65, 330 Pius X, Pope, 158, 161 Pius XI, Pope, 105–106 Pleasantville, New York, 22 Pocket Manual of the Holy Name Society, The, 19 poetry, 207–208 Pope Boniface VIII, 243 Pope Francis, 121, 334–335 Pope John XXIII, 113, 181n5, 191, 200, 331 Pope John Paul II, 333–334 Pope Leo XIII, 37n8, 101–102, 107, 116, 322 Pope Paul VI, 115, 138, 174, 216, 228, 232–233, 265 Pope Pius IX, 65, 330 Pope Pius X, 158, 161 Pope Pius XI, 105–106 Pope Urban VIII, 319 Populorum Progressio (Paul VI), 216, 228 Power, Ellen, 68 Power, Emily, 70, 102–103

Power, Thomas Louis, 68 Priniski, Mary, 119–121 Progressive Era, 20, 22, 28–31 Puerto Rico, 33, 219 Purcell, Eileen, 139–140, 142, 146–148, 150 Quadragesimo Anno (Pius XI), 105–106 Quam Singulari (Pius X), 161 Quarry, Martha, 54 Quinn, John, 141–142, 146, 150 Radcliffe, Timothy, 202, 210 Raffeiner, John Stephen, 15 Rafferty, Isabel, 201–202 Ratzinger, Joseph, 233 Ray, Agnes, 53–54 Rea, Mary Richard, 314n16 Reagan, Ronald, 121, 136 Realmuto, Berchans, 25f Refugee Act of 1980, 136, 147–148 Regensburg, Germany, 294 Reilly, Thomas, 221 Religion as Poetry (Greeley), 157 Religious Formation Conference (RFC), 198 Rempe, Francis, 254 Renz, Christopher J., 157–181, 209 Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII), 101, 104–105, 107, 116 Reville, Emile, 56, 60 RFC. See Religious Formation Conference (RFC) Riberalta, Bolivia, 220–221 Ribera-Ortega, Pedro, 179 Riordan, Patrick, 250 Robinson, Angela, 51 Rochford John Antoninus, 26–27, 35 Rockefeller, John D., 76 Roeber, Carolyn, 209 Rogers, Mary Gabriel, 253 Rogers, Mary Josephine, 33 Rohowski, Casimir, 295 Romero, Óscar, 136, 150, 203, 233 Ronin, Ann, 307 Roosevelt, Theodore, 19 Rosarian Academy (West Palm Beach, Florida), 298 Rosary Altar Society, 19–20 Rosary Apostolate, 19

inde x 355 Rosary Confraternity, 252 Rosati, Joseph, 325 Rule of Augustine, 118, 243 Rupe, Alan de, 252 Russley, Louis, 300f Ryan, John, 106, 109, 124n33 Ryan, Kathleen, 305 Sacra Tridentina Synodus (Pius X), 161 Sacrosanctum Concilium (Second Vatican Council), 166, 168, 171, 194 Saigon, Vietnam, 231 St. Agnes Academy (Memphis), 46–48, 54–58 St. Agnes Day School (Memphis), 48 St. Agnes Home for Boys (Sparkill, New York), 27, 30 St. Albert the Great Newman Center (Las Cruces, New Mexico), 170 Saint Alphonsus School (Brooklyn, NY), 15 St. Brendan School (Chicago), 85 Saint Catherine of Siena School (Sparkill, New York), 39n14 Saint Catherine’s Hospital (Brooklyn, New York), 31 St. Cecilia Academy (Nashville), 49–51, 60–61 St. Clara Academy (Benton, Wisconsin), 68, 70, 74 St. Dominic, 135, 271 Saint Dominic’s Guild for Business Girls (New York), 30–31 St. Dominic’s Monastery (La Crosse / Washington, DC / Linden), 257–258 St. John’s College (Santa Fe, New Mexico), 175, 178 Saint Joseph Province, 18 St. Joseph’s Academy (Adrian, Michigan), 295 Saint Joseph’s Orphan Asylum, 25 Saint Joseph’s Parish in Yorkville, 20 St. Jude Monastery (Marbury, Alabama), 218f, 261–263 St. Mary Magdalene Academy (Springfield, Kentucky), 45 St. Mary’s Convent (Somerset, Ohio), 49 St. Mary’s Orphanage (Memphis), 51, 60

Saint Nicholas Convent (New York), 24 Saintourens, Damien Marie, 252–253, 256 St. Peter Catholic Church (Memphis), 45–46, 46f Saint Rose Industrial School (Suffolk County, New York), 30 St. Thomas Apostle Parish (Chicago), 75–78, 77f, 78–80, 84–85 St. Vincent de Paul Society, 37n7 Sammon, Mary, 25 Sanchez, Robert Fortune, 176–177 sanctuary movement, 136–150 Sandinistas, 232 Sandoval, Eugene, 169 San Francisco, California, 148, 156n82 Sangre de Cristo Catholics, 157–158 Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico, 177–178 San Rafael, California, 130–150 Sansbury, Angela, 45 Sansbury, Benvenuta, 45, 52 Santa Fe, New Mexico, 172–178, 187n64, 187n67 Santora, Mamie, 109 Sanvito, Joseph, 252 Sbaretti, Donato, 32 Scannell, Patrick, 56 Schauer, John, Jr., 159, 167f Schauer, John, Sr., 159 Schauer, William Blase, 157–181 Schillebeeckx, Edward, 273, 275, 291–292 Schiltz, Rita, 198–201, 213n16 Schlesinger, Arthur, 20 Schneiders, Sandra, 331 Schoen, Connie, 280 Schoenlein, Marie Damian, 294–296, 300, 300f, 301, 313 Schulte, Anthony, 301 Schultz, Rima Lunin, 90 Schwarz, Barbara, 201 Schweback, James, 257 Second Vatican Council, 87, 130–131, 134–136, 158, 191–192, 196, 201, 217, 226–228, 264–267, 291, 331–333 Semelet, Mary Dominic, 253 Serra, Junípero, 334–335 Seton, Elizabeth Ann Bayley, 325–326, 329, 337


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sexual abuse of minors, 235–236 Shannon, Thomas V., 76–80 Shea, John Gilmary, 321, 323–324 Sheil, Bernard, J., 112 Sherman, William T., 47 Short, Edward, 336 Siena Literacy Center (Detroit, Michigan), 297, 303, 310–311 Simpson, Ann, 46 Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, 66–68, 73–74, 79–82, 102–103, 193, 201–202, 272–273, 280, 300f, 306–307, 317–320, 329, 331–332, 334 Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America (Fialka), 133 Sisters of Catherine de Ricci (Albany, New York), 27, 32, 218, 229 Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine, 21 Sisters of Saint Dominic (Columbus, Ohio), 19 Skerrett, Ellen, 65–90 Slenker, Elizabeth, 211–212 Smisek, Anita, 209 Smith, Joan, 65–67, 75, 78, 80–89, 98n90 Smith, Lucy Eaton, 30–31 Smith, Virginia, 281 social justice, 130–150, 200–201 Somerset, Ohio, 45, 49 South Africa, 235 Southerners for Economic Justice, 119–120 Spanish-American War, 32–33 Sparkill, New York, 27, 41n32, 211–212, 226, 231, 233, 306 Speaight, Robert, 85 Springfield, Illinois, 305 Springfield, Kentucky, 45 Spring Valley, Illinois, 102 Sri Lanka, 223 Stack, Frank, 173 Staimer, Seraphine, 24, 26 Stechschulte, Margaret, 206 Steck, Francis Borgia, 43 Steffen Cecil, 201 Steinmetz, B. I., 108f Stevens, Borromeo, 70, 72–73 Stevens, Chase A., 92n21 Stevens, Clara Louisa, 70

Stevens, Clifford, 170, 181n5 St. George, Trevor, 201–202 Stratemeyer, Florence, 81 Stutts, Liz, 307–308 Sudan, 232 Summit, New Jersey, 258–259 sustainable development, 237–238 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 237–238 Swanson, Thoma, 203–205 Synon, Mary, 92n21 Syracuse, New York, 260–261 Szoka, Edmund, 295–296 Taiwan, 224 Tanzania, 223 Taylor, Cynthia, 130–150 Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre, 193–194 Tennessee, 43–61 Teos, Morena, 143–145, 144f Teos, Solomon, 143–145, 144f Thailand, 231 Theissling, Louis, 32–33 Theola, Mary, 87 These Are Our Friends, 88–90 Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, 29 Thompson, Randall, 160 Thorpe, Alice, 26 Thorpe, Emily, 46 Thorpe, Lucy, 30 Thuente, Clement M., 20–21, 35–36, 37n8, 42n50 “To Hear the Cry of the Poor,” 137–139 Toolen, Thomas, 262 Tortugas, New Mexico, 165 Tra le sollecitudini (Pius X), 158, 161 Transfiguration Parish (New York), 37n3 Trujillo, Dominican Republic, 221 Trump, Donald, 239 tuberculosis, 27 Tugwell, Simon, 279, 281 Tuite, Marjorie, 114, 127n67 Udon Thani, Thailand, 231 Union City, New Jersey, 253, 255, 260, 265 United Farm Workers, 113 University Lutheran Chapel (ULC) (Berkeley, California), 136–137

inde x 357 Urban VIII, Pope, 319 Uselmann, Robert, 334 Van Antwerp, Francis, 247–248 Vanni, Helen, 179 Vatican II, 87, 130–131, 134–136, 158, 191–192, 196, 201, 217, 226–228, 264–267, 291, 331–333 Venezuela, 233 Vietnam, 231 Vilarrasa, Francis, 131 wage, living, 117–119 Walker, Nancy, 147 Walsh, Frances, 49–50 Walsh, James, 33–34 Walsh, Mary, 32, 35–36, 41n37 Walters, Ann, 116 Washington, DC, 26, 42n50, 51, 65, 69, 75, 85, 90, 93n32, 108, 257–258, 306 Weber, Carol, 298 Wehrle, Rose of Saint Mary, 252–253, 255 Welch, Bertha, 250 Welsh, Janet, 65–90 Werner, Honora, 279

Wernert, Maria Dominica, 245–246 Westchester County, New York, 22, 29 West Hoboken, New Jersey, 253 West Palm Beach, Florida, 295, 298, 300, 303–304 West Springfield, Massachusetts, 259 Whelan, James, 47–51 White, Colette Mary, 201 Wigger, Winand, 246, 253 Williams, Ralph Vaughan, 160 Wilmette, Illinois, 297–298 Wilson, George, 38n6 Wilson, Samuel, 44 Witzlhofer, Josepha, 24 Wombacher, Bernadette, 139, 141–142, 145, 153n35 Wood, Mary Elizabeth, 98n87 Wood, Priscilla, 201–203 word painting, 195 World’s Fair (1893 Chicago), 69–70, 76 World War I, 21, 23, 37 World War II, 159, 219–222 yellow fever, 52–61 Zimbabwe, 234 Zorina, Vera, 174

catholic practice in north amer i ca James T. Fisher and Margaret M. McGuinness (eds.), The Catholic Studies Reader Jeremy Bonner, Christopher D. Denny, and Mary Beth Fraser Connolly (eds.), Empowering the People of God: Catholic Action before and after Vatican II Christine Firer Hinze and J. Patrick Hornbeck II (eds.), More than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church. Volume I: Voices of Our Times J. Patrick Hornbeck II and Michael A. Norko (eds.), More than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church. Volume II: Inquiry, Thought, and Expression Jack Lee Downey, The Bread of the Strong: Lacouturisme and the Folly of the Cross, 1910–1985 Michael McGregor, Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax Mary Dunn, The Cruelest of All Mothers: Marie de l’Incarnation, Motherhood, and Christian Tradition Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance. Photographs by Vivian Cherry, Text by Dorothy Day, Edited, with an Introduction and Additional Text by Kate Hennessy Nicholas K. Rademacher, Paul Hanly Furfey: Priest, Scientist, Social Reformer Margaret M. McGuinness and James T. Fisher (eds.), Roman Catholicism in the United States: A Thematic History Gary J. Adler Jr., Tricia C. Bruce, and Brian Starks (eds.), American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism Stephanie N. Brehm, America’s Most Famous Catholic (According to Himself): Stephen Colbert and American Religion in the Twenty-First Century Matthew T. Eggemeier and Peter Joseph Fritz, Send Lazarus: Catholicism and the Crises of Liberalism John C. Seitz and Christine Firer Hinze (eds.), Working Alternatives: American and Catholic Experiments in Work and Economy

Jill Peterfeso, Womanpriest: Tradition and Transgression in the Contemporary Roman Catholic Church Lincoln Rice (ed.), The Forgotten Radical Peter Maurin: Easy Essays from the Catholic Worker Margaret M. McGuinness and Jeffrey M. Burns (eds.), Preaching with Their Lives: Dominicans on Mission in the United States after 1850 Luke Ritter, Inventing America’s First Immigration Crisis: Political Nativism in the Antebellum West