While the number of women entering religious life has been in a steep decline since the mid-1960s, it is notable and even startling that a contemplative order like the Dominican Nuns of Summit — where the sisters live in cloister and practice a life of prayer — would be able to attract young, college-educated millennials.
In the last decade, 15 aspirants have entered this tiny order, nine of whom stayed and are on track to take their final vows or have already done so. Two more will join the community before the end of the year.
Built in the 1920s and ’30s on a busy street in this bedroom community of Manhattan, the monastery was imagined as four-winged cloister until the Depression curtailed its scope.
What surrounds the brick and stone chapel is a kind of architectural afterthought, a ring of rooms housing the sisters’ bright, spare cells and their kitchen, dining room, offices and choir.
Underneath, a warren of spaces includes the woodworking and soap making shops — sales of their products help defray the sisters’ growing expenses. In a windowless storeroom, a few donated exercise machines huddle together (one sister’s mother works at a Y.M.C.A).
The Dominican sisters of Summit have finally outgrown their home.
New York Times: Millennials bucking the trend and becoming nuns
© Toni Greaves /Summit
Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/05/15
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