Dominican Sisters of St. Mary - History
New Orleans, LA
Founded in 1860
The history of the New Orleans St. Mary Congregation is unique among U.S. Dominicans in its Irish origin. After a history of persecution and other crises dating back to 1644 in Galway, the nuns of Cabra (Dublin) were flourishing.
In 1860, a young Irish pastor succeeded in persuading them to let him bring seven Cabra Sisters to his parish in New Orleans. Their average age was 30. Others had been deterred from this same mission by the dread Yellow Fever. These seven sailed directly into the Civil War in the United Statese, barely surviving the Yellow Peril. Undaunted, they launched a mission of teaching which continues to this day as Dominican Sisters of Peace, with Sisters now engaged in a variety of ministries that also "preach the liberating truth of the Gospel."
The charism of these Sisters includes a sense of trust in Divine Providence, and of triumph over adversity. "The gift of trust, renewed in the sisters each day, enables them to be courageous and to persevere in times of difficulty..." A legacy from their Irish roots is a sense of humor and a deep love of their contemplative tradition, while giving to others the fruits of their contemplation.
Their New Orleans home has characterized St. Mary's with a joie de vivre and a sense of their place in history. Ministry and mission promise to flourish from this historic location for time to come.