On Sunday, August 12 at the 10:30am Mass, Bishop Evans celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for OLM Parishioner Laura Makin. Laura, who graduated from Providence College in May, enters her year of postulantcy for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia in Nashville on August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption . She is the daughter of OLM Parishioners, Thomas and Elizabeth Makin.
Dominican Friar Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP, the Associate Pastor at St. Pius V Church in Providence, preached the Mass and Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, OP, Chaplain at Providence, concelebrated along with Fr. Bernard Healey, Pastor of OLM, and Fr. Ryan Connors, Professor of Moral Theology at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, MA. Sr. Maria Francesca, O.P. , Principal at St. Pius V School and local superior along with other Dominican Sisters from St. Pius V School and Providence College joined in celebrating Laura's vocation at the Mass.
The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia are commonly called the Nashville Dominicans. The Dominican Order was founded 800 years ago by St. Dominic and the Nashville Congregation was founded in 1860 with the arrival of the first four sisters in Nashville, their early work, and the establishment of St. Cecilia Academy. Over their 150 years there has been an observable growth in the life and vitality of the young community.
The Congregation has experienced 64% growth since the year 2000 with 300 sisters in the community, the largest ever in their history. The median age is 36 with 58% of the Congregation under the age of forty. With an average of 18 young women entering the convent as postulants each year, the novitiate has an average of fifty sisters. The Congregation has expanded its apostolate to 33 schools located in the United States, including the Congregation’s own college in Nashville. The sisters are also present in 10 schools located in Rome and Bracciano, Italy; Sydney, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; the Diocese of Aberdeen, Scotland; Diocese of Roermond in The Netherlands and the Diocese of Limerick, Ireland. Here in Rhode Island they administer and teach at St. Pius School.
The Mother House of these good sisters is located on thirty-two acres located in downtown Nashville, St. Cecilia Motherhouse is an oasis on the north side of a busy southern city. St. Cecilia Motherhouse was completed in 1862. Additions in 1880, 1888, 1904, and 2006 completed the building. Today it houses the sisters in formation in the novitiate, the sisters who administer and teach at schools in Nashville, sisters who serve the community through specific duties at the Motherhouse, and many retired sisters.
The Constitutions of the Congregation state: “ Wishing to follow Christ more freely, we tend toward holiness by a narrower path. The consecrated life is the fruition of the baptismal grace. The consecrated virgin is set apart for the Lord. The voluntary gift of self by which we devote ourselves to God and strengthen our brethren becomes the source of tranquil peace. By our consecrated life we teach the way to holiness and joy.”
During her postulancy, Laura begins a year of immersion into the life of her new religious family. She attends all community prayers and practices the monastic customs that are a part of our life. During this year she becomes acquainted with the basics of Dominican spirituality and history, along with the charism of our Congregation.
We congratulate Laura on her decision to pursue her vocation to the consecrated life. May God continue to bless her and the Nashville Dominican Sisters with joy, faith, hope, and love!