New congregation founded: ‘Dominican Sisters of Peace’
ST. LOUIS, MO - On Easter Sunday, April 12, seven U.S. congregations of apostolic Dominican Sisters officially united to form one new congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Peace:
• Congregation of St. Rose of Lima (Oxford, Michigan)
• Dominican Sisters, Congregation of St. Mary (New Orleans, Louisiana)
• Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs (Columbus, Ohio)
• Dominican Sisters of Great Bend, Kansas
• Dominicans of St. Catharine (St. Catharine, Kentucky)
• Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic (New Orleans, Louisiana)
• Sisters of St. Dominic of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Akron, Ohio)
Sister Gemma Doll, Cultural Formation Coordinator for the Diocese of Dodge City, has been named to the leadership team for the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
The leadership team will be installed and take up their duties and residence in Columbus, Ohio, August 8.
Sister Gemma commented that she felt that the Chapter gives her great hope that the Dominicans of Peace will be about great things.
“We congratulate Sister Gemma on her election and the confidence her sisters have placed in her,” read a statement from the Diocese of Dodge City. “We wish Sister Gemma well and ask God’s continued blessings upon her ministry, even as we regret that this will mean that she will be moving on.”
This historic event was celebrated with a festive Founding Event in St. Louis on April 14, where guests from throughout the country and around the world joined to rejoice with the Dominican Sisters and Associates of the new congregation.
Notable speakers included the Master General of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), Father Carlos Azpiroz-Costa, OP, who offered a reflection as part of the opening prayer ritual and presided at the Eucharistic Liturgy; former Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Albert the Great, Father Donald Goergen, OP, who preached at the Liturgy; and International Dominican Co-Promoter for Justice and Peace Sister Toni Harris, OP, who was the keynote speaker.
Simultaneous celebrations took place at six other locations for Sisters and Associates unable to travel to St. Louis. With the meeting telecasted to these locations, remote participants were able to see and join in the various events of the day.
The decision to form a new congregation was made through a formal discernment process begun in 2002, where the seven communities explored ways they could more closely collaborate in their common mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through their many ministries.
A petition was sent to the Holy See in 2007 and approval for the new congregation was received that fall. The official decree from the Rome, authorizing the establishment of the Dominican Sisters of Peace on Easter Sunday, was received this spring.
A pontifical institute, the Dominican Sisters of Peace will include more than 650 Sisters serving in 29 states and in Honduras, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania, and Vietnam. The congregation will also have more than 500 Associates (women and men from throughout the country who partner in mission with the Sisters). Central administration offices for the congregation will be located in Columbus, Ohio, with various other offices located in St. Catharine, Kentucky; Akron, Ohio; and Oxford, Michigan.
The First General Chapter (canonical meeting for decision-making in religious congregations) of the Dominican Sisters of Peace follows the Founding Event, April 15-21, 2009, in St. Louis. Most of the Chapter similarly will be broadcast to other locations for Sisters to view the proceedings. During the Chapter, direction and priorities for the Dominican Sisters of Peace will be articulated and a Prioress and Councilors to lead the congregation will be elected.