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Project OPUS Records

Identifier: DUMC-C-002

Content Description

The Project OPUS Collection incorporates its organizational papers: the history of the project, annual reports, Dominican Leadership Conference-related materials, OPUS committee records, correspondence, staff biographies, conference material, research material, publication information, financial records, photographs, and books.

Box 14, a legal size box, contains oversized items. Items from series 7 were moved to this box. A note was made of this move in the series’ folder inventory. Box 15 contains the original calendars of Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, O.P. and Sr. Mary Francis McDonald, O.P. Box 16, an oversized flat box, contains various preprints created during the publication process. Box 0 contains a binder that was discovered after the collection was arranged. This binder, which belonged to Sr. Nona, contains important information from the beginning of Project OPUS, including information about Project OPUS and how to become a researcher, regions maps, staff information, meeting minutes, expenditure lists, lists of members, OPUS newsletters, and articles about. Also included are documents and notes on various foundations.

The materials found in the Project OPUS collection are organized into fourteen series. The organization of the collection is adapted to the standards for institutional/corporate papers. Many of the folders in these series were separated out from the Volume I papers, so an original order never existed. Depending on the series, the folders were organized chronologically or alphabetically, while some were kept in the order in which they came.


  • Majority of material found within 1982 - 2008

Biographical / Historical

Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, O.P. designed a research program to write the history of the Dominicans in the United States, known as Project OPUS (Order of Preachers in the United States). In 1982, the 17th General Chapter of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa voted to establish a study center. They formed a commission to solicit ideas about the purpose for and location of this center. In April 1984, the commission reported their findings and appointed Sr. Mary Nona McGreal as its coordinator. By the end of that year, Project OPUS and the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission sponsored the In Our Keeping conferences for US Dominicans, archivists, historians, and congregation secretaries. In August 1985, the Dominicans of the United States were invited to participate in historical research in the new center at 5082 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL. The first congregations to respond were: the Sisters of Adrian, Akron, Grand Rapids, and Newburgh; the Friars of St. Albert and St. Joseph Provinces; the Laity; and the Dominican Nuns. This marked the beginning of the research of Project OPUS, which continues today.

In 1989, Project OPUS became officially sponsored by the Dominican Leadership Conference. This allowed for more researchers and the eventual publication in 2001 of Volume I: Dominicans At Home in a Young Nation: 1786-1865 in the series The Order of Preachers in the United States: A Family History. Correspondence indicated that Volume I was well received by the Dominican Family. Research for Volume II started in 2001 and continues today. In 2007, Project OPUS moved from Chicago’s West Side to Dominican University, River Forest, IL. This new center, now known as the Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, O.P. Center for Dominican Historical Studies, contains the documents obtained by Sr. Mary Nona McGreal and all of the researchers involved in the project. This includes the material obtained for Volume II and the consecutive volumes. It also houses collections received from other members of the Dominican family, such as the Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission Collection, the Alliance Collection, and the Fr. Norbert Georges, O.P. Papers. In July 2009, financial responsibility for the Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, OP Center for Dominican Historical Studies transferred from the Dominican Leadership Conference to Dominican University. Partnership between the McGreal Center and DLC continues today.


12 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Project OPUS Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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