In the early 2000's, the Dominican nuns in Elmira, New York started thinking about relocating in order to be closer to other members of the Dominican family. They eventually decided on coming to Springfield Illinois, where their brothers in the Central Province, active Dominican sisters, and lay Dominicans already enjoy close relationships. After much discernment, on May 5, 2014, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, wrote Sister Miriam of the Cross, OP, Prioress of the Monastery of Mary the Queen in Elmira, welcoming the nuns into the Diocese Springfield.
The nuns made a significant and courageous move and the Dominican sisters in Springfield welcomed them generously and warmly while the nuns awaited the opportunity and feasibility of building their own monastery. The nuns began by renting part of Siena Hall on the grounds of the Dominican sisters, waiting for the day when they might have their own monastery, which at that time they anticipated being in 2016, the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order. God’s time, however, is not our time, but the day finally came. the new monastery has been completed on property in Girard, Illinois, and its dedication took place on the Solemnity of the Assumption, August 15, 2022. The nuns are prepared to move before the end of the month of August. Sister Anna Marie, the current Prioress for the nuns of the Monastery of Mary the Queen, was able to bring to completion what God had begun.
During the planning process, now eight years ago, Sister Rose Marie, then prioress of the Springfield Dominican sisters, shared with the Springfield sisters the following:
In the course of our days together it became increasingly clear that this is an historic moment, not just for the Elmira and Springfield communities, but for the Dominican Order. This venture is about bringing members of the Dominican family together. We hope that a model, ever ancient in our Dominican roots but ever new in current practice, would bring together Sisters, Nuns, and, hopefully, Friars, in a very intentional, collaborative way. As we concluded our weekend meeting, all of us agreed that the Dominican Nuns of Elmira and the Dominican Sisters of Springfield are being called by God into this unfolding mystery for the sake of the Gospel. Together and with joy we embrace this alluring call confident that our collaborative spirit, openness, and trust will continue to energize us. This is a moment of transformation for both communities. We bring an attitude of mutuality and celebrate this moment, grateful for God’s loving guidance and the blessing of our shared Dominican call.”
At Mass on this past Monday, August 15, Bishop Paprocki dedicated the monastery and its chapel. Invited guests were present. From the Province were Charles Bouchard, Donald Goergen, Ed Ruane, and eight Dominican students from St. Louis. There were also representatives from the Springfield Dominican sisters and other Dominican monasteries, including Sister Marie Christine from Menlo Park. Bishop Paprocki presided and preached. Father Donald Goergen read a congratulatory letter from the Master of the Order. Soon fourteen cloistered nuns will be moving into their new and long awaited home.
Come the Fall, take an opportunity to visit and pray with the sisters.
Above: Bishop Paprocki blesses the monastery, the nuns, and guests.