Dominican high school preachers visit Sacred Heart Convent

High school students from Marian Catholic and Sacred Heart Griffin posing with the green hills of Jubilee Farm in the background.

Dominican student preachers from Sacred Heart Griffin and Marian Catholic high schools gathered at Sacred Heart Convent recently for a one-day immersion in Dominican life with the goal of sharing their experience with their peers. 

Nineteen students learned about the rich history of the Springfield Dominicans starting their educational journey with Sister Ann Clennon who retold the story of the founding sisters traveling from Kentucky to Jacksonville, Ill., to serve as teachers to the large population of Irish immigrant children whose fathers were building the railroad. 

“They were under the assumption that after two years in Jacksonville they would be returning to Kentucky. On the day they were packing for the trip home a priest revealed the plan was for them to establish a new congregation,” said Sister Ann. 

“Imagine the shock they felt when faced with an uncertain future,” she continued. 

Melissa Rodriguez, 17, of Sauk Village, Ill., a senior at Marian Catholic High School, said she is grateful for the experience. 

“I had no idea there were so many things about our history and our past that make us who we are as a Dominican-sponsored school. I feel proud of who we’ve become and what our culture is. I appreciate the work that the sisters are doing,” said Rodriguez. 

While on a tour of Jubilee Farm the group heard from Sister Sharon Zayac, an eco-spirituality and Earth literacy educator, who reminded the group we are all connected. 

“No matter who we are or where we are or what we do, as Pope Francis writes in the encyclical Laudato Si’, we are all called to live responsibly, with the common good in mind. And, to live intentionally not lackadaisically but with intention to know what we are doing,” said Sister Sharon. 

Ella Maloy, 16, a Springfield and a senior at SHG, said the day brought a new perspective to consider. 

“Hearing about how they want to listen to the land made an impact on me because it showed me how I need to listen and help the environment,” said Maloy. 

The day concluded with a chapel tour followed by supper and fellowship with the sisters. 

Both Maloy and Rodriguez agreed they learned from the experience and were happy for the opportunity to visit the motherhouse. 

“Now I can bring the four pillars into my next school year and into my life,” said Malloy.

Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield, Ill., Marian Catholic High School, in Chicago Heights, Ill., and Rosary High School in Aurora, Ill., are sponsored ministries of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois.

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