Traditionally the priests and brothers in a religious order are termed the “first order”, and the nuns and sisters the “second order”; but it’s an odd fact about the Order of Preachers that the nuns came first.
St. Dominic began his career of itinerant preaching in a part of France much overtaken by the Albigensian heresy. The Albigensians were gnostics who preached that the soul is pure and the body is evil; and they acquired followers in part by running schools for the daughters of noble and wealthy families. The young ladies would be educated in a variety of things, including Albigensian doctrine. St. Dominic preached to these ladies and brought many of them back to the Catholic faith; and of those, many wished to become nuns and live in community together. Consequently, St. Dominic established what became the first monastery of Dominican nuns at Prouille in 1206 or 1207 AD. (Yes, Dominican nuns live in monasteries, not convents. Deal!) The monastery at Prouille was razed during the French Revolution, but was later rebuilt, and Dominican nuns live there to this day.
But the Dominican nuns are not limited to Prouille; there are monasteries all over the world. And in particular, there’s a monastery of Dominican nuns in Summit, New Jersey who have taken to praying for us folks here at the Catholic Channel, and they’ve got a space problem. Seems that they’ve got more applicants than they have room for:
The Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Summit, New Jersey have launched a $4 million capital campaign called “Making the Light Shine Brighter.” The first official kick-off event of the campaign will be held at St. Teresa of Avila Church’s Memorial Hall, Summit, on Sunday, May 18th. Rev. Brian G. Plate, pastor of St. Teresa’s and honorary chair of the Centennial Committee, will share the nuns’ dreams of building a small wing onto their monastic structure.
The purpose of the Campaign is to respond to the desire of the Church and the Dominican Order that those dedicated to the contemplative life should share their life of prayer, as well as to meet the needs of the growing community of nuns by a 5,500 square foot addition to the monastery.
The nuns built their monastery in 1939 but due to the Great Depression were never able to complete their monastery.
“Our facilities for welcoming the many people who come to our monastery to seek Christ and to share our life are severely inadequate,” said Sr. Judith Miryam, OP, Director of Advancement. “In the past 10 years we have experienced a constant increase in the numbers of people who come to our monastery. Often we have to turn people away because of lack of space. The new wing will enable us to provide people with the ability to experience our life of prayer, listen to the Word of God and be touched by the maternal intercession of the Mother of God.”
So they are trying to raise money. If you’re in a position to donate, please do; and whether you are or not, please pray for them. Thanks!