With numbers booming, Dominican sisters expand to Texas

Convent blessing Dominican sisters at the blessing of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent. | Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist had a problem.

They were running out of room at their convent in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they had been based since 1997.

It was a good problem to have, the result of a boom in young vocations. But it meant that the community of 140 sisters needed to expand.

With property in both California and Texas, the sisters prayerfully considered both options, ultimately deciding that God was calling them to open a new convent in the Georgetown, Texas.

Twenty-five miles north of Austin, Georgetown is in the Hill Country of the Lone Star State.

The sisters' presence in Texas reaches back to 2009, when eight sisters came to teach in the Diocese of Austin, invited by then-Bishop of Austin Gregory Aymond. Members of the community currently teach in four Catholic schools in Texas.

"As our presence has steadily grown, our apostolate has flourished, enabling us to expand the work to which God has called us – to praise, to bless, and to preach through catechesis, evangelization, and witness," the sisters said in a statement.

"Through it all, our hearts have been captured by the love of so many who have made all this possible through their sacrificial goodness."

In 2012, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist began a $30 million capital campaign to fund the first phase of a new Religious House.

That phase was recently completed and is comprised of living space for 56 sisters, along with dining space, a gymnasium and library, and areas for education and community. Twelve sisters have moved in so far, the Dallas News reports.

The building was blessed in a Feb. 16 ceremony.

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, head of the diocese where the sisters are from, presided over the ceremony. He was joined by bishops from around the state of Texas: Bishops Joe Vasquez of Austin, Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi, Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Brendan Cahill of Victoria, and Stephen Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The new home is named "Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent."

"As patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a special place in the heart of our own community as well," the sisters explained in their statement.

"We seek her motherly protection and guidance as our Sisters take up residence, begin their studies, and continue to nurture and teach those entrusted to their care."

The Texas convent marks the community's first expansion beyond the Motherhouse since 1997, with more expansion projects planned.

"Never in our wildest imagination, did we ever think about being in Texas when we first started," said Mother Assumpta Long in an interview in the Dallas News.

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"I tell people that it's such an adventure to be religious because when you worship, you never know what he has in mind… All you do is trust and you follow him, but he had it all planned. We didn't have a clue."

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