The nuns of the Order of Preachers, known as Dominican came into being when St. Dominic Guzman gathered Albigensian women converts to the Catholic Faith in the monastery of Blessed Mary of Prouille, France in 1206. This occurred ten years before his Friars Preachers were approved in 1216 by Pope Honorius III. These nine women, free for God alone, Dominic associated with his "holy preaching" by their prayer and penance. He entrusted them as part of the same apostolic Order to the fraternal concern of his sons. (LCM) The Order of Friars Preachers is known from the beginning to have been instituted especially for worldwide preaching and salvation of souls.
Saint Dominic de Guzman, Our Founder
In 1880, the Very Reverend Damien M. Saintourens, OP, while zealously promoting the Association of the Perpetual Rosary among the laity, was inspired by Our Lady of Lourdes to found a community of cloistered nuns, whose sole purpose and apostolate would be to pray the Holy Rosary perpetually, that is, at every hour, both day and night. Forming a Guard of Honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary would thus be assured faithfulness and continuity.
the Very Reverend
Damien M. Saintourens, OP
Together with Mother Rose of St Mary, OP of the Mauleon Monastery in France he founded a new community modeled on the Constitutions of the existing monasteries of Contemplative Nuns and making appropriate modificactions. So, with all proper ecclesiastical permissions, Father Saintourens opened, at
Calais, France, the first convent of Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary. It flourished and later moved to Louvain, France. In 1891, a foundation was made from there to Union City, NJ, USA from which point numerous other foundations were made.
Mother Rose of St Mary, OP
Our own monastery was founded by the one in Catonsville, MD (now closed). On June 10, 1925, Mother Mary of the Crown, OP, as Prioress, together with eight other Sisters began a new house in South Enola, close to Harrisburg, PA. Later in 1946, the Union City Monastery sent six Sisters to help out as vocations were slow in coming, due to the remoteness of the area. Because of structural deficiencies, a new monastery was built in Lancaster, PA in 1952. Under the direction of the Most Reverend George L. Leech, Bishop of Harrisburg,
Mother Mary of the Crown, OP
it was dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, appointing Mother Mary of the Immaculate Heart, OP as Prioress.
Mother Mary of the Immaculate Heart, OP
The historic Ecumenical Council of Vatican II brought many changes in the church and in Religious Life. With the reorganization of Rules and Constitutions, we now share the same Constitutions of the Dominican Nuns throughout the world and are under leadership of the Master of the Order, Reverend Carlos A. Azpiroz-Costa, OP, while maintaining autonomy within the Order. In the US the monasteries are united through a formal association which meets every four years for mutual sharing and support.
At this time, we experience the same decline in vocations as is met by many Religious groups in the Church, but we are confident that God in His Providence, will provide in due time. God is still calling many women to follow Him in consecrated life, but the challenges to respond are many. We pray that young women will come to know Jesus, who satisfies the yearning of every human and be drawn by Our Blessed Mother to follow Him by their "fiat' to Jesus' invitation: "Come follow Me."