“I'm so excited that it's finally happening. I'm finally becoming a Sister! I feel as though my longing to be with God and to serve Him always as His bride is finally coming to be and I'm very excited about that,” she exclaimed.
The Dominican Sisters of Mary consist of women from 32 states as well as Canada. Sr. Joseph Andrew explained that the sisters are drawn to the community because they are real, faithful and joyful. She added that women come because the sisters share a common, clear vision, place emphasis on the Eucharist and use Mary as the example for their spiritual motherhood. Finally, said Sr. Joseph Andrew, women are drawn because the sisters are “on Fire with the Love of Mother Church and all her children!”
Assisting with Discernment
To help the women learn more about the sisters, the vocations director explained that the community offers three 24-hour discernment retreats each year. Attracting over 400 participants from all over the U.S. and Canada, as well Australia and countries in Eastern Europe, she explained that the retreats teach them how to “open up before God in an all-night Eucharistic Adoration and then how to ‘unpack’ what He has been trying to say to them all along.”
Perhaps, Sister Joseph Andrew surmised, “it took the motherly love of the Sisters for them to trust God enough to begin to really listen to Him.”
When women express interest in the community, Sr. Joseph Andrew works hard to stay in touch with them to assist them during their time of discernment. “I walk with each one both prayerfully and through email,” she explains, saying that it helps the young women know that she cares.
On August, 29, one day after the 17 new women arrive to join the community, the sisters are planning to host an event celebrating the completion of construction on the final new additions to their Motherhouse.
The construction, which started last May, brought the total number of monastic cells to 100, explained Sr. Maria Guadalupe Hallee, OP, director of mission advancement. “If all 17 Aspirants enter, we will have 99 Sisters – again, we are at capacity.”
“In short,” she added, “we can hardly build fast enough to keep up with the growth of the community.”
To celebrate the completion of the latest phase of construction, the Bishop of Lansing, Michigan, Most Reverend Earl A. Boyea, will bestow a blessing on the Motherhouse. According to Sr. Maria Guadalupe, the celebration will consist of the Liturgy of the Word, a homily, the Litany of the Saints, and then the blessing of the people and of the building.
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After the blessing, a few sisters will make remarks, followed by tours of the public areas of Motherhouse.
For more information about the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, visit: http://www.sistersofmary.org.