Catholic Irving Gets a Bit More Catholic September 19, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, religious, the struggle for the Church, true leadership, Virtue.
One of the reasons Irving, TX is such a Catholic town, it must be admitted, is the presence of the University of Dallas (UD). No, UD is not what it once was, sadly, the effects of modernist influence under Msgr. Milam Joseph’s tenure and some subsequent problems have definitely had their effect, but UD does still remain one of the more Catholic universities in this country. A bit of a step back in the direction of relative orthodoxy was announced recently, with the standing up of a branch of the Nashville Dominicans to both study and teach at UD. No, the Nashville Dominicans are not explicitly traditional, but they are one of the most solid “mainstream” religious orders in this country, especially among the women’s orders.
Several nuns have already arrived in Irving to set up their convent and are teaching this semester. Their presence brings to six the number of monasteries/convents either within Irving or within a few miles (including – Carmel of the Infant Jesus of Prague in Dallas, Cistercians in Irving, Holy Family of Nazareth in Grand Prairie, Carmelites in Arlington, and both male and female Dominicans at UD. Am I missing any?). For this day and age, that’s an unusual density, though, even a few short decades ago, I think any city of 200,000 with a large Catholic population would have had far more than that, so we still have a long way to go. Some details from the announcement:
When classes began on Aug. 24, UD students were greeted by a different combination of white and black on the mall: the white and black of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, a religious congregation more commonly known as the Nashville Dominicans. The Cistercian fathers, the Dominican fathers and the diocesan priests have contributed much to the academic and spiritual life on the campus for many years, but the presence of women religious, so prominent in UD’s early days, has been lacking in recent times.
This past spring, Associate Professor and Chairman of Theology Mark Goodwin extended an invitation to alumna Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P., to teach systematic theology full time at UD. This invitation led to a conversation between President Thomas Keefe and the Nashville Dominican Mother General, Mother Ann Marie Karlovic, O.P., in which they discussed the possibility of a small community of sisters coming to serve at the University of Dallas.
As a result of this conversation, on Aug. 9, three Nashville Dominicans arrived in Irving and established a convent. Sister Mary Edith Humphries, O.P., another UD alumna, is teaching Literary Tradition I while continuing work on her doctoral dissertation on Shakespeare for The Catholic University of America; Sister Rosemary Esseff, O.P., is leading the Schola Rosa Mystica (a Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony choir) while also working on her doctoral dissertation in sacred music composition for the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, Italy; and Sister Jane Dominic, of course, is teaching theology.
The two alumnae sisters are happy to be back at UD.
In fact, nine nuns of the Nashville Dominicans are alumnae of UD. So it seems the university remains, still and all, at least something of a bastion of conservative Catholicism, if not outright traditionalism (though, there are many folks very friendly to tradition there, and there present is certainly felt at Mater Dei).
As for me, I always try to maintain a very open mind and find the manifest good (and it is certainly there) in these very conservative, if not explicitly traditional orders. I know from local experience that convents of nuns, in particular, would often love to fully embrace tradition but are prohibited from doing so by their own religious superiors or even diocesan intransigence.
These women do a great deal of good. I pray they continue to grow, and ever more rapidly. Speaking of good, there is a talk being given by the theology professor Sister Jane Dominic Laurel tonight at UD from 7:30 – 9 TONIGHT on the subject of praying as a family. See flyer below:
Childcare is available.