The Dominican Sisters of Peace began their mission 201 years ago when a handful of young ladies from St. Rose Catholic Church founded St. Catharine’s.
Those young ladies were not alone as they worked to get the new order off the ground. Not only were they assisted by volunteers from the church and community, there were others that worked side-by-side with the sisters to farm the land, build the school, and perform any other tasks the sisters needed. These hard-working individuals were slaves, some of whom were owned by the sisters.
“It is a part of our history that we are not proud of. But now we want to honor these men and women,” said Sister Barbara Sullivan.
A monument in honor of the slaves that provided so much aid to the sisters was dedicated in the cemetery at St. Catharine on Tuesday, May 16. Sister Barbara led the ceremonies,
The monument, which stands next to the crucifix in the cemetery, was blessed by Father Kevin McGrath of St. Rose.
During the dedication ceremony Sister Elaine Riley, OPA, gave a moving reflection on the “spirit of truth” and the events leading up to the monument.
“Clearly, it was the pursuit for telling the truth which has brought us to assemble here for this memorial dedication honoring the enslaved who once walked these sacred grounds,” Sr. Riley said. “This monument is a true testament of how the lives of the Dominican Sisters and the lives of the enslaved are inseparable.”