Texas attracted another corporate expansion this year, one that could have an impact on a major institution in this state, and one that flew under the radar of state leaders in Austin. The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are growing so rapidly, they had to build a second convent for the nuns. And they chose the Hill Country town of Georgetown.
The sisters, who founded their order in Ann Arbor, Mich., might seem like ordinary Catholic nuns, if the word ordinary could ever be applied to someone who takes such extraordinary vows. They wear long, white habits. They keep a regimen of prayer and worship throughout the day. Their mission is to teach schoolchildren. They smile kindly and talk a lot about God’s will.
But do not be fooled by their gentle ways. These 140 nuns have tapped in to the earnest energy of a new generation of millennial recruits seeking a sense of community, permanence and joy. As Americans’ trust in institutions dims and our skepticism of long-term commitment grows, the sisters have added so many young women to their order that they need more space. The order that was established when four nuns moved to Ann Arbor in 1997 has grown to 140 (average age 32), more than the convent in Michigan can hold.
“We were out of room and so we had to go someplace,” said Mother Mary Assumpta Long, prioress general and a founder of the order, in a recent interview at the new facility. “We had property in California, we had property here and you always want to do God’s will. Where does God want us to land and build a community? But California we found was too, it was too difficult to build there because of just, issues.”
“All those rules and regulations,” Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, also one of the four founders of the order, said in the interview.
“So we thought God wants us in Texas,” Mother Assumpta Long said.
So they raised $30 million and built a convent on land that had been donated outside of Georgetown. Twelve nuns have moved in, and there’s room for 56. The sisters built living quarters and a large building with space for gathering and eating, with a temporary chapel. They plan to build a full chapel with housing for 115. For that they need to raise more money. They express no doubt that the expansion project will continue.
She said: “So again, just coming down to Texas, everything about this spirit is just kind of out there. What you see is what you get, and they say what they mean and they mean what they say and that’s a very Dominican type of spirituality. We just said, the Texans just get it. They’re just kind our type people. Let’s think big and do big things for God. One lifetime’s kind of short. Let’s get moving.”
Full story at Dallas News.