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 Vatican II Reform and Beyond


1968   Revision of the Constitutions of the Friars

RIVER FOREST, IL--The revision of the Constitutions of the friars in 1968 gave renewed emphasis to the Dominican family, declaring that all friars, sisters, nuns and laity "share the same common vocation and each, in its own special way, serves the mission of the Order in the world."

The Constitutions of 1968 which were adopted according to the instructions of Vatican II at River Forest, Illinois  represent the renewal and updating of the Order. The constitutions returned the Order to its traditional collegiality and subsidiarity, and respected the findings of modern psychology: the new Constitutions laid greater responsibility on the shoulders of each member for the well-being and action of the Order. The Constitutions received final confirmation at the general chapter of 1974.

1968   Mt. Thabor Monastery Established, Michigan

Sister Mary Martin and Sister Anne Mary from the Dominican Monastery in Union City, New Jersey, established the Mt. Thabor Monastery after envisioning what a future contemplative mode of life would be within the monastic setting. A life that they saw was being effected by a changing society and a changing Church.

For the first three years the sisters lived in a single house which was converted into a religious house. The Bishop gave immediate permission for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament and local priests came on a regular basis to celebrate Mass.  Funds were very scarce, but the Sisters earned whatever they could using their expertise of sewing. The city experience was rich in the witness given to the local people who often visited the little chapel and attended Mass. Three years passed until they moved into their present location in Ortonville, Michigan.

 U.S. History Timeline

 1973   Abortion Legalized

v. Wade: Landmark Supreme Court decision legalizes abortion in first trimester of pregnancy (Jan. 22).

 1977   Capital Punishment Resumes

Gary Gilmore, executed by a firing squad in Utah, became the first to die under the new laws following Gregg v. Georgia (1976), the court case which allowed capital punishment to resume in certain states.  Today, 38 states and the federal government have reinstituted the death penalty.

1976   Initial Formation Collaboration

Initiatives for collaborative programs of initial formation began in 1976 with nationwide internovitiate conferences. These have led to the launching of a common novitiate for Dominican women, and a combined novitiate and Studium for friars of the St. Albert and St. Martin de Porres provinces.

1979   Province of St. Martin de Porres Established

NEW ORLEANS--In 1979 the friars of the eastern and central provinces collaborated in a foundation unique to the Order: the combination of their personnel and resources to form the southern province of St. Martin de Porres, centered at New Orleans. The friars of the new province launched their mission of preaching and teaching in the South with a verbal motif given by the Master of the Order: "A New Birth in Hope."

 U.S. History Timeline

1981   AIDS
From 1981 to June 2001, the total U.S. AIDS cases reported to Centers for Disease Control: 793,026; total AIDS deaths reported: 457,667.

1985 National Black Catholic Congress Re-established

1983   First International Symposium
           of the Dominican Family

Vincent de Couesnongle

Toward Making the Dominican Family a Reality

History of the Dominican Laity 
A broad vision of the laity was proposed at the first International Conference of the Dominican Family in Bologna in 1983. There, led by the Master of the Order, Vincent de Couesnongle, O.P., the members enlarged the concept of "lay Dominican" to include all men and women who "look to Dominic and the Order for inspiration." In the United States these include women and men invited to be associates of many congregations of Dominican Sisters.

In 1985 the North American groups welcomed lay Dominicans from all continents to Montreal to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Third Order in 1285. With a thrust toward the future they emphasized the elements of Dominican spirituality which many lay Catholics seek to live.

1983   Dominican Conference of Nuns Initiated

The monasteries of Dominican contemplative women initiated in 1983 the Conference of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers of the United States. which organizes monastic study weeks and publishes Dominican Monastic Search to promote contemplative life.

1985   Spokane Dominican Sisters Established

SPOKANE, WA--Dominican Sisters who had come from Speyer, Germany in 1925 to serve in the northwestern states became the American congregation of Spokane, Washington in 1985. [The Spokane Dominicans merged with the Sinsinawa Dominicans in 1995.]

Formerly the American Province for the Poor School Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic (Germany)

In 1925, answering the request of Bishop J. P. Carroll of Helena, Montana, asking for sisters who would take charge of the domestic affairs of Carroll College in Helena, a group of twelve sisters, under the leadership of Mother Bonaventura, O.P., crossed the Atlantic and started a new province for the Poor Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic (Germany).

 U.S. History Timeline

 1991   Persian Gulf War

U.S. leads international coalition in military operation (code named "Desert Storm") to drive Iraqis out of Kuwait (Jan. 16–Feb. 28). Iraq accepts terms of UN ceasefire, marking an end of the war (April 6)

1995   Dominican Sisters of Hope Established

In 1995 the Dominican Sisters of Hope was established when three separate Dominican congregations merged, following years of collaboration since 1981: The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena of Fall River, Massachusetts; Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Newburgh, New York; and Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor of the Immaculate Conception of Ossining, New York. 

The traditional Dominican shield in a circular version forms the basic concept for the congregation's logo. It suggests light, earth, movement, inclusivity. The stylized leaf images new life, the result of the new foundation which flows from the history and tradition of the former congregations. Each of the three former congregations had historical connections to a river, and the river image was very meaningful in the founding ritual. The flow of water in a river image, and the new life that emerges from it, offer an image that defines the uniqueness of the Dominican Sisters of Hope.

1995   Black Dominican Conference Formed

Duane Brown, OP
The Black Dominican Conference was formed as a means of bringing the Dominican tradition to the Black Catholic community in a more focused manner. Duane Anthony Brown, one of the founding members, served as its first president.

Duane was a gifted musician and in 1996 with two other Dominican brothers, Martin Gleeson and John Pitzer, and a member of the Columbus Dominican Sisters, formed a musical-preaching group named Veritas. In January of 1997 Duane was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), and shortly before his death on Novemeber 4 that same year, he completed a CD entitled Tell the Story.

1997   Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist

ANN ARBOR, MI--In 1996 Pope John Paul II's summons for the 'new evangelization' inspired four Dominican women religious to undertake a new initiative calling themselves the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.  On February 9, 1997, John Cardinal O'Connor recognized their wish to develop a devotional form of consecrated life and established them as a Public Association of Christ's Faithful in the Archdiocese of New York. The founding members were Mother Assumpta Long, Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, Sister Mary Samuel Handwerker, and Sister John Dominic Rasmussen.

 U.S. History Timeline

 1998   U.S. Missile Attacks in Sudan and Afghanistan

U.S. launches missile attacks on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan following terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (Aug. 20).

1999   Federation of Dominican Sisters Formed

The Federation of Dominican Sisters USA was founded May 15, 1999 to be "a dynamic union that promotes among its members mutual collaboration for the preaching mission."  Two years later, in April 2002, more than 400 Dominican women representing 24 congregations and thousands of Dominican Sisters and Associates throughout the United States came together in St. Louis, Missouri for the first National Convocation of the Federation of Dominican Sisters USA.

1999   The First VERITAS Delegation Sent to Iraq

The first of three VERITAS delegations of Dominican religious traveled to Iraq in 1999 to comfort the suffering Iraqi people, to learn firsthand the effects of the U.N.-imposed economic sanctions on the country and to boldly call for an end to the U.S.-supported punishment of the Iraqi people through those economic sanctions. The Dominicans have taken this stand primarily to protect the God-given, human rights of every person.

2000   Contemporary Missions to the United States

At the close of the twentieth century Dominican women and men continue to come from other nations to minister to people of the United States. The following list shows the nation and Dominican group from which they come, and the location of their provincial or regional headquarters in the United States. Click Here to view these missions.

2000   A Public Act of Contrition

ST. CATHARINE, KY--The Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, founded in 1822, joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Sisters of Loretto, both founded in 1812, in a public act of contrition for their use of slaves. They invited African-Americans to participate in the ceremony.

Sister Joan Scanlon, president of the Dominican Sisters,
spoke for all in these words:

We come before you, our African-American brothers and sisters to ask for your forgiveness. We have a shared history with you. Our fore-sisters, our people, hurt your people. Our people held your people in the bondage of slavery. We deeply regret this. We are deeply pained by our sins of the past. We seek your forgiveness. We seek God's forgiveness.

2001   Project OPUS Publishes Its First Volume

 More Info on Book 
Members of the research team Project O.P.U.S. published the first of three volumes of an integrated history of the Order of Preachers in the United States compiled from original documents. The series will cover the mission of Dominican friars, sisters, laity and nuns in the United States.

Publisher: Editions du Signe, 1, Rue Alfred Kastler, 0700838 Strasbourg Cedex 2, France. You may order from: Project OPUS, 5082 W. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60644 tel: 773-921-2538


 U.S. History Timeline

 2001   September 11 Terrorist Attack

Two hijacked jetliners ram twin towers of World Trade Center in worst terrorist attack against U.S.; a third hijacked plane flies into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashes in rural Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 people die in the attacks. U.S. and Britain launch air attacks against targets in Afghanistan after Taliban government fails to hand over Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks


    CREDITS: The timeline is based primarily on the contents of THE ORDER OF PREACHERS IN THE UNITED STATES, edited by Mary Nona McGreal O.P. and published by Editions du Signe of Strasbourg. Vol. I, Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786-1865, published in 2001, is available from PROJECT OPUS, 5082 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60644 Another source is the article by M.N.McGreal in the Encyclopedia of American Catholic History, requested by Michael Glazier and published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN. The original content of the book and article has been edited and adapted into a time-line format using photos and other resources on the web.
     USA Dominican Life Today
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    Don Kania, OP