The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist announced March 3 that they are no longer planning to purchase the John Paul II Cultural Center in D.C., citing a lack of funds.
The head of the order, Mother Assumpta Long, said in a March 3 open letter that while “architectural renderings of the facility determined that the building could be renovated, the Sisters discerned that to pursue this endeavor was not a prudent use of our limited resources.”
The decision to retract their offer was also influenced by what Mother Assumpta described as an inadequate level of financial support for turning the building into a House of Studies for their sisters in formation.
The center, which was the brainchild of the now retired Archbishop of Detroit, Cardinal Adam Maida, has been beset by numerous financial difficulties over the years. Intended to be a museum and Catholic intellectual hub, the center borrowed heavily from the Archdiocese of Detroit, owing them $40 million as of 2006, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Instead of moving to D.C., the sisters are now moving ahead with plans to establish priories in California and Texas. Mother Assumpta said that the new priories will “enable us to receive new vocations and to spread our teaching apostolate across the country.”
“It is our hope to continue to expand the witness of religious life across our nation,” she said.
Sister Thomas Augustine, director of California Mission Advancement, told Catholic San Francisco that the order has had “between 10 and 20 new vocations per year for the past five years.” “It has happened to us before that by the time we finished adding onto the motherhouse in Ann Arbor we were already out of room! This time we are hoping to stay ahead of things so we are planning for two new houses of formation.”
Mother Assumpta said in her open letter that they received 19 young women into their postulant program this past February. A retreat weekend designed for women thinking about becoming religious sisters drew more than 100 inquirers.
Information on the sisters’ expansion efforts can be found at: www.sistersofmary.org/expansion