Meet the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Photo Caption: Sister Teresa Paul Hill, OP, leads the kindergarten students at St. Jude School in Peoria in a process to recognize letters and groups of letters as a prelude to reading.
By: By Sister Mary Martha Becnel, OP
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a continuing series featuring religious communities and other forms of consecrated life around the Diocese of Peoria in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life. The celebration will run through Feb. 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated Life.
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist were founded in 1997 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization. The Sisters live a life centered on the Eucharist and Our Lady, impelled by the living of the evangelical counsels and community life, and share “the fruits of their contemplation” for the good of souls.
The Eucharist is the heart of our lives as Sisters of Mary. The Mass is “the source and summit” of our day (see “Lumen Gentium,” 11). We also have a communal Eucharistic Holy Hour daily. This time of encounter with our Spouse in prayer is the impetus for all of our life and work.
As the name of our community signifies, we strive to learn at “the school of Mary,” who always leads us to Jesus (see “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” 1).
Together as a community, the Sisters make the total consecration to Jesus through Mary, according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort. We renew this consecration daily during our Eucharistic Holy Hour and yearly on the Solemnity of the Assumption.
The Sisters also look to Our Lady as the model for our lives and our spiritual motherhood. We seek to follow the example of her receptivity to God’s love and His will and to be Mary to a world hungering for her Son, Jesus Christ.
St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, in the 1200s in response to the Albigensian heresy. The Dominicans sought to combine monasticism with an active apostolate of preaching for the salvation of souls. They desired “to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of their contemplation” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
Burning with a zeal for veritas ? truth ? the Sisters follow in the footsteps of St. Dominic and the other saints of their Order by seeking first our own salvation and then that of others. We strive to bring the truth to souls through preaching and teaching, primarily in Catholic education.
As Dominicans, we strive to teach our students as whole persons, with a special emphasis on formation in virtue and the life of grace.
The Sisters treasure the monastic customs of the Order of Preachers, including the common life, cloister, times of silence, the communal recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, and the black and white Dominican habit. These observances form and shape our interior life.
From the union with our Spouse developed in prayer and in the living of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, we go out to share with others what we have received in contemplation.
According to an ancient account of his life, St. Dominic dispersed his brethren throughout the world to establish monasteries and to preach, knowing that “grain bears fruit if sown, but if stored, it rots.” Following his example, the Sisters of Mary, in addition to the Motherhouse and schools in Ann Abor, Michigan, have mission convents throughout the country, as well as in Rome.
In 2013, we opened a mission in Peoria at St. Jude Parish. The Sisters teach at St. Jude Catholic School and at Peoria Notre Dame High School.