Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception


Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

The Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception are a religious community of women consecrated to Christ in the Dominican charism with the mission of living the Word of God through teaching, evangelization and health care. They were founded in 1861 by Maria Rose Columba Bialecka in Poland.[1]

Contents

Identity & Mission

The ministry of the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception focuses on Christian education, care of the sick and elderly persons, and assistance to the poor throughout the world. A typical, daily routine for the sisters includes Divine Office, meditation, Mass, Holy Hour of Eucharistic adoration and Benediction, rosary, spiritual reading, recreation, and apostolic work. The apostolic work ranges in nature from teaching, facilitating retreats, caring of the sick and elderly, to preparation for the Sacred Liturgy (see Mass), etc. [2]

The Dominican – also known as “Order of Preachers”[3] – adhere to the motto of “contemplara et comtemplata allis tradere,” which translates from Latin as “contemplate and pass on the fruits of contemplation.” It was found by St. Dominic in the 13th century. He was motivated by the society’s need for greater education. He strived to confront heresy and stand for truth by proper educational formation and a devotion to prayer. [4]

All religious orders share certain practices in common, such as community prayer (primarily the Divine Office), community meals, labor/work, private prayer, meditation, study, and, finally, religious vows (typically, the vows of evangelical counsels; poverty, chastity, and obedience). Often, the formation process is divided into five “stages” of discernment: observant/aspirant, postulant, novice, simply professed, and solemnly professed (or perpetual vows). Until solemn profession of vows, the discernment process typically continues for about 5-8years and the novice can leave at any time during this period. [5]

A typical schedule for a religious community might look like the following: 5:00 AM, Rise 5:30 AM, Office of Readings (Matins)/ Morning Prayer (Lauds) 6:30 AM, Holy Mass 7:45 AM, Breakfast 9:30 AM, Morning Chores/ Classes 12:50 PM, Mid Day Prayer (Terce/None) 1:30 PM, Lunch (with spiritual readings) 2:30 PM, Free Time/ Siesta 4:30 PM, Vespers, Meditation 6:00 PM, Private Study 7:30 PM, Supper/ Free Time 8:30 PM, Night Prayer (Compline) 9:30 PM, Lights Out [6]

Orders that are more “contemplative” (e.g. Benedictines) tend to allot more time to community prayer and have a more fixed schedule as listed above. On the other hand, the Dominican, who are more “active,” allot more time to an apostolate (serving the community in some capacity). Regardless of being contemplative or active or both, however, every religious community shares in common both the heart of life is prayer and dedication to a life of self-conversion and renunciation for the sanctification of the Church. Across all religious communities is a shared breathe of prayer because they all recite the same Divine Office every day across the world. [7]

Active orders are perhaps better labeled “active-contemplative.” They are those orders such as Franciscans, Dominicans, Missionaries of Charity, etc. who tend to have more worldly interaction compared with contemplative orders. It was suggested by Saint Thomas Aquinas that these active-contemplative orders are the most perfect form of religious life. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, one cannot be in the world without amounting “a little dust on his shoulders.” However, it is these orders who employ both faculties who must be the most vigilant. The closer one draws to the world, the more at risk he is of being sucked into it and conforming to the flesh instead of the spirit. Domincans draw inspiration from St. Paul, who reminded the faithful to: “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” [8] Thus, the more active a religious, the more prayerful he must be also. The power of conversion relies entirely on one’s recourse to prayer.

History

The Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception was founded by Mother Maria Rose Columba Bialecka in 1861. She was born on August 23, 1838 in eastern Poland. Utilizing her many natural and supernatural gifts, Mother Bialecka, at the age of 19, followed the dictates of her heart and entered the novitiate of Dominican Sisters in Nancy, France to receive her religious formation. Not long after making her first religious vows, she returned to Poland to lay the foundation for the Congregation of Dominican Sisters in Poland. [9]

Heavy on Mother Bialecka’s heart was her countrymen’s many needs, namely their struggle with poverty and illiteracy. Her mission of charity began by organizing a network of parochial schools where children and adults could learn to read, write, and better understand their Catholic faith. It was her burning desire that society’s poorest, sick, and dying were provided with material help and sacramental assistance from the Church. She desired for them to realize their own dignity and reconcile themselves with God before they died. [10]

Mother Bialecka founded the very first Dominican Convent in Poland in 1861. Before her death in 1887, this congregation grew significantly and four other convents were also established. [11]

Membership

The requirements for entering the congregation are: the applicant must be 18-35 years, have a high school diploma, be in good physical, mental and emotional health, and have a pastor’s or spiritual director’s letter of recommendation. [12] Joining the community is a thorough process in which the community and the person interested discern whether or not this lifestyle is appropriate for the person in question.

Other/Areas where they order can be found

The Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception are present in 8 countries and on 4 continents and they have served the Church in North America for 80 years. Other convents of Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in North America are found in Justice, Il (Provincial House); Milwaukee, WI; Mountain Home, AR; and Calgary, Alberta in Canada. Internationally, these sisters also have convents and mission houses in Poland, Italy, Cameroon, Russia, Ukraine, and Byelorussia. [13]

Areas where the order can be found

Justice, IL

Milwaukee, WI

Mountain Home, AR

Calgary, AlbertaCanada.

Poland

Italy

Cameroon

Russia

Ukraine

Belarus[14]

External links

References



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