The graces which were visible in the souls of the foundresses are visible yet in the community. …The Holy Spirit is with the Congregation today. When we are placed in touch with the spirit of St. Dominic and with the spirit of the foundresses and their generosity and faith, we are made more aware of His presence, and we are moved to a deeper attachment to the Church and a greater personal generosity and fidelity. St. Cecilia has affectionately watched over the Congregation since 1860. A good end will be seen in a good beginning. (Sister Rose Marie Masserano, The Nashville Dominicans)
In her history of St. Cecilia Congregation, The Nashville Dominicans, Sister Rose Marie Masserano writes: “How is it that a small and remote Congregation survived periods of crisis, near dissolution, and the changes brought about by the renewal of the Second Vatican Council? The answer in part at least is life within. The Sisters of the St. Cecilia Congregation have valued a simple and straightforward manner of life. Historically, they have practiced poverty. In their educational endeavors they have preferred the solid and the unpretentious. Behind such attitudes has been a Dominican prayer life and discipline. The larger answer is not within our reach. It is related to the mystery of grace and God’s goodness.”
As one looks back over the 150-year history of St. Cecilia Congregation, it is evident that God’s guiding hand has been with the community since its foundation. “He gave this community from the beginning and maintained in it,” writes Sister Rose Marie, “the deep loving desire to answer faithfully to his call.” A debt of gratitude is owed to the first sisters who began the new foundation in 1860. While poor in material goods, they were “rich in charity,” bequeathing a legacy of humble, prayerful, and energetic virtue. This treasure of our St. Cecilia Dominican life has been carefully safeguarded and passed on from generation to generation. May God continue to bless us with his grace and mercy.
The first chapter of our history, Foundation in 1860, begins with the arrival of the first four sisters in Nashville, their early work, and the establishment of St. Cecilia Academy. A New Century discusses the joys and trials of the 20th century through World Wars, the Great Depression, and observable growth in the life and vitality of the young community. During the period of rapid changes following the Second Vatican Council, the Congregation was gifted with dedicated and capable leadership. The Years of the Second Vatican Council discusses the renewal of religious life called for by the Council and the guidance of Mother Marie William at this time in our history. Today, God’s guidance is ever present with the Congregation. The Fruits of the New Springtime discusses His blessings on the community in recent years. For this blessing of new life, growth, and the call to serve, we thank God.