Sparkill Community celebrates the
50th Anniversary of Dominican Convent
On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Sparkill community gathered to celebrate Dominican Convent’s 50 years of presence in Sparkill, New York. The life and ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill is deeply woven into the fabric of Rockland County. Dominican Convent, the place from which that life and ministry stems, stands as a concrete manifestation of the Sisters’ presence and impact. The building was dedicated on June 14, 1967 and serves today as home to many Dominican Sisters, the corporate and administrative offices, as well as the spiritual center for the Congregation. While not all Sisters live in or nearby Dominican Convent (see our ministry locations,) it is the hub of life and activity for all community members, and thus its 50th anniversary marks an important milestone in the Congregation’s history.
The anniversary was celebrated with a day of festivities featuring a visit from renowned Jesuit priest, editor and author Fr. James Martin, SJ. The Sisters, Associates, staff and benefactors participated in a Mass of Thanksgiving, celebrated by Fr. Martin, followed by a lovely meal. In her reflections shared at the Mass, past Leadership Team member, Sr. Carolyn Wolfbauer, spoke of what makes the Convent such a special place. “Dominican Convent, our Motherhouse, was constructed to serve three functions: to be the center for congregational administration, a residence for Sisters, and a gathering place for celebrations of liturgy, meetings, and educational and enrichment programs. This building provides the structure and space for its intended purposes. But it is a building—made of brick, mortar, metal, glass, etc. What brings it to life? What brings it spirit? Look around… Here we are! It is we who live here and who work here that create the spirit that makes this place more than just another well-built, fifty-year-old structure. And that spirit is not a given. It is something each of us has to keep going.”
Above: Sr. Carolyn Wolfbauer reflects on Dominican Convent during the Mass.
Below: The choir and musicians leading the congregation in song.
In the evening, Fr. Martin gave a wonderful lecture entitled, "Encountering Jesus: Meeting the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith" to a crowd of over 250 people. The Sisters were thrilled to welcome many parishioners from local Rockland and Bergen County parishes, as well as guests who traveled from near and far to hear Fr. Martin’s engaging presentation. Sister Margaret Palliser, a colleague and friend of Fr. Martin, commented, “Fr. Martin is a prolific writer who is able to speak with clarity, insight, wisdom and wit. He inspires us, challenges us, makes us laugh, makes us cry… and perhaps most importantly in today’s world, makes us think, really think— about what we believe, why we believe it, and how God might be calling us to grow in our thinking as we continue the gospel journey of faith. He did all of that in his talk here on June 14th, and I can think of no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dominican Convent, a place where we continue to find ways to bring the message of the gospel to life here in Rockland County.”
Fr. James Martin during the lecture at Dominican Convent.
We invite you to view all the photos from the celebration online.
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