Our Order was founded, from the beginning, especially for preaching and the salvation of souls. Our study ought to tend principally, ardently, and with the highest endeavor to the end that we might be useful to the souls of our neighbors. (Primitive Constitutions of the Order of Preachers)
Even prior to 2012, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia had often been sent for studies at the Dominican House of Studies (The Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception) and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. An obstacle that had prevented the community’s assigning larger numbers of student sisters to study in the nation’s capital, however, had been the commute to Washington, D.C. from the sisters’ convents in Virginia and Maryland.
In 2012, the community was able to establish Our Lady Queen of Preachers House of Studies in Washington D.C. Located in a religious house formerly belonging to another religious institute, this convent provides a residence for a large number of sisters, one which is conducive to living the regular Dominican life in an atmosphere that readily fosters study, prayer and community. Within walking distance of the Dominican House of Studies, The Catholic University of America and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the house is a prime location to live while pursuing degrees in Theology, Philosophy and other areas to which sisters might be assigned by the community.
Sisters who teach, study or serve in Washington, D.C. during the school year are now able to do so while living at Our Lady Queen of Preachers Convent. During the summer months, a larger number of sisters reside there while pursuing summer classes, whether at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception or at The Catholic University of America.
The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia are grateful for this gift of the congregation’s first formal house of studies. It is a center where Dominican life can flourish, and where sisters have the opportunity both to be reinvigorated by their studies and renewed in their eagerness to be open to the grace of sharing the fruits of their contemplation with those to whom they are sent.
In his plan for the Order, Saint Dominic included as an essential element study ordered to the ministry of salvation. The sisters should continue their study throughout their lives, according to the work enjoined on them by obedience (Constitutions 130).