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Federation of Dominican Sisters USA Records

 Record Group
Identifier: DUMC-C-008

Content Description

This collection contains institutional material from the Dominican Federation. Originally, this collection existed as a group of binders in several bankers’ boxes. The binders had no specific order, so one had to be created for them. The materials within each binder were kept to their original order.

All of the photographs in this collection have been re-housed together in their own series, and labeled what meeting they are from and who is in the picture. The scrapbook had to be dismantled because of acid transfer. Before dismantling, photographs were taken of its original look, and placed in the Dominican Federation folder on the H-drive. The scrapbook was re-housed in a binder with polypropylene sleeves for each document and photo. It was kept mostly to its original order.


  • 1995 - 2010

Biographical / Historical

The Federation of Dominican Sisters USA was started out of a dream for unity among the congregations. In 1985, the Dominican Leadership Conference created a task force of five members to prepare a report that explored three different structural models that could be used as an organizational frame work for the US Dominicans. The three models the task force presented were: a national model with an administrative component, a DLC Secretariat and a program component like Parable; a regional model based on the geographical foundation of apostolic foundation; and a local model for grassroots participation.

In 1989, following the DLC meeting in Convent Station, NJ, a meeting was held to further collaboration among US Dominicans, and create a task force to develop a way to explore ways to create a US Dominican Federation. This meeting consisted of leaders from twenty-five congregations and the Province of St. Albert the Great (Central). During the next five years, The Collaboration Task Force’s focus changed to a regional collaboration. They designed the two New Story New Creation workshops, which were held in 1992 and 1994 in several parts of the US.

In 1995, the then Executive Director of DLC, Elizabeth Schaeffer, surveyed the Dominican leaders about their interest in a “closer union”. Eight DLC members met to discuss the issue, and the result was the first Closer Union meeting. This meeting created the Closer Union Committee who was given a three year mandate to further the conversation about Closer Union. Keeping to that mandate, a second Closer Union meeting was held in 1996. The leaders from twenty five congregations gathered together at this meeting to develop models of closer union. The committee recognized that there were three subgroups to the models: expanding collaboration, congregation structural alliance, and a non-governmental closer union that preserved the identity of the individual participating congregations. The Closer Union decided to focus on the third subgroup, and developed four possible models that would preserve congregational identity and be open to all Dominicans. The models were: U.S. Dominican Federation, Congress of U.S. Dominican Family, Inter-Dominican Association, and Network of U.S. Dominican Apostolic Women. It was decided that the US Dominican Federation was the best vehicle for the common mission. The Federation model was refined, and other Dominican entities were invited to join. The Federation Transition Committee was created to further define the Federation, write a Covenant, and invite congregations to join. After much discussion, the Dominican Sisters USA Federation Covenant was finalized in October, 1998. Each Prioress was invited to declare her congregation’s commitment to the Covenant in November, and asked to select two representatives for the Founding Event and Federation work.

On May 15, 1999, twenty three congregations became the founding members of the Dominican Sisters USA. These congregations were: Adrian, Akron, Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Columbus, Elkins Park, Eucharistic Missionaries, Grand Rapids, Great Bend, Hope, Houston, Kenosha, Kentucky, Mission San Jose, New Orleans, Oxford, Roman, San Rafael, Sinsinawa, Sparkill, Springfield, and Tacoma. A coordinating committee of five congregation representatives was developed at the meeting as well. Their task was to implement the mission of the Federation. Several local chapters were also established in various parts of the country. Two other congregations joined the Federation: Edmonds (2000) and Racine (2002). Several congregations joined together to form the Dominican Sisters of Peace in 2009, making the official total of congregations nineteen.

The Dominican Federation held three National Convocations. The first one was in 2002, where over 400 Sisters and associates participated. The next one was in 2005, and the same amount of individuals participated as well. The last Convocation was in 2008. This event was shared with the Dominican Associates. Along with the National Convocations, the Dominican Federation also sponsored regional and local chapters, and a grant program called Funding the Fires.

The Dominican Federation ended in 2010.


4.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Federation of Dominican Sisters USA Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Mary Nona McGreal, OP Center for Dominican Historical Studies Repository

Dominican University
7900 West Division Street
River Forest IL 60305 USA
(708) 524-6677
(708) 524-6546