News Release - Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci (USA): After a year-long complex process of discernment, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci have voted to request a merger with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The action took place during their Extraordinary Chapter, held at their retreat center in Niskayuna, NY, December 13-15, 2011.
Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci To Request Merger With Dominican Sisters of Peace
NISKAYUNA, NY December 17, 2011 --- After a year-long complex process of discernment, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci have voted to request a merger with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The action took place during their Extraordinary Chapter, held at their retreat center in Niskayuna, NY, December 13-15, 2011.
The congregation had been in discernment with the Dominican Sisters of Adrian and the Dominican Sisters of Peace for about two years. All three congregations had extensively and mutually engaged in a multi-faceted process that included face-to-face meetings in various locations around the country, focused study, personal connections and leadership discussions.
Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, President of the Dominicans of St. Catherine de’ Ricci said, “We rejoice at the decision of the Chapter and the blessings of the Holy Spirit. It has been an incredibly humbling experience to engage with the sisters of Peace and Adrian in this process. Both congregations could not have been more open, more committed or more generous in engaging in a genuine discernment with us. We look forward to beginning the canonical petition process and pray for an affirmation of our request from Rome. We are excited about beginning this new journey with The Dominican Sisters of Peace.”
Sr. Margaret Ormond, OP Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace said, "I consider the Dominican Sisters of Peace blessed to receive the sisters from the Congregation of St. Catherine de Ricci into our congregation. Our experience as a newly reconfigured Dominican congregation prepares us well to enter into this merger with humility and gratitude. We recognize the struggles involved in this decision, such as the deep sadness at the loss of the de Ricci congregation and the difficulty of choosing our congregation rather than the wonderful Adrian Dominicans. We promise to walk gently together into our evolving future, with our eyes fixed on our common mission of preaching."
Sr. Attracta Kelly, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian said, “It was indeed our privilege to have been invited to participate in “holy and intimate conversations” with the Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci. We saw such invitation to engage with the de’ Ricci Sisters in their communal faith journey as in the best sense our living out our vow of obedience.
We prayed that such holy and intimate conversations would provide us with the opportunity to listen and learn and come to our truth together. We are disappointed of course but know that this is truly the work of the Holy Spirit. We wish our de’Ricci and Peace Sisters every blessing and grace-filled ease as the merger process proceeds.
We are grateful for the opportunity to get to know in a more intimate way so many more of our Dominican Sisters and know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers as you continue on this faith journey.“
In a document describing its journey toward merger, the de’ Ricci Sisters said, “It is indeed, our passion for mission that brought us to this merger journey, convinced as we are that merely to survive is not a worthy goal, but to advance Dominican Life and Mission is worth all of our effort and conviction.”
The congregation’s 63 members saw merger as a way to place their mission in a larger context and to contribute their gifts for ministry to another Dominican congregation. The sisters have been in a ten year process that began with a 2001 Chapter directive to explore deeper collaboration among and with other Dominicans. This process, in part, led to the formation of the Dominican Northeast Six in which the congregation participated over the next several years. In 2008, as the six congregations evolved their direction, the de’ Ricci Dominicans set out to intentionally seek a merger with another Dominican congregation. Eventually, the community focused their discernment with the Dominican Sisters of Adrian and the Dominican Sisters of Peace in a year-long process of visits to each other’s motherhouses and retreat centers, study of Constitutions and other documents, interpersonal exchange and many other avenues of information sharing.
Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, said, “This was a most difficult choice because both the Dominicans of Adrian and of Peace were such wonderful companions on this journey, incredibly generous and willing to engage in a deep discernment with us. Both Congregations have such vibrant and exciting women, their ministries are compatible with our own mission and we found that we had inadvertently had to choose between two wonderful groups. It was an impossible choice and an extremely difficult decision.
We are profoundly grateful to the Dominican Sisters of Adrian for their prayer, their dedication to the discernment process their generosity in welcoming us and their genuine openness to confirm wherever the Holy Spirit would lead. They have our profound respect and sisterly love.”
The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci were founded to serve the spiritual development and faith formation of women and pioneered retreat ministry in the United States. They began the first retreat house for women in Albany, NY in 1882. They presently operate retreat centers in McLean, VA and Niskayuna, NY and minister in nine states. The de’Ricci congregation had a great deal of influence on the development of the retreat movement which today is reflected in retreat centers and houses of prayer all over the United States operated by hundreds of religious organizations.