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God’s loving Spirit has always guided the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, leading us to new places and inviting us to new ministries. We continually have our ears to the ground (listening for the needs of God’s people in our midst), our eyes to heaven (making sure we follow God’s plan for our work here on Earth), and our hearts and minds fully open (suspending judgment or fear of the new and unknown) so that we may be ready for where God will lead us next on our Congregation’s journey.

Healing at Marywood Health Center

Since opening its doors as a licensed skilled rehab facility in June 2013, Marywood Health Center has provided a place of rest and healing for more than 300 residents. Many of these individuals also have elected to engage in spiritual companioning with our Sisters – a new ministry of ours. We are pleased to announce that in October 2014, Marywood Health Center will have all 49 beds open and available for use, allowing us to serve more people and fully utilize the entire facility in this way for the first time. Individuals who have recuperated at Marywood Health Center have given the facility and the care they received glowing reviews. Ninety-eight percent of them gave a 4+ star rating on their satisfaction survey.

“The opportunity to come to a health care center where my spiritual needs are also taken care of is just wonderful. When you walk in this front door, you just feel so grateful and peaceful that Marywood Health Center is where you get to recover,” said retired insurance professional Maryann Cwayna, a patient at the Health Center in 2014.

“After I had one hip done, my recovery at Marywood Health Center was such a great experience that when I was having my right hip done, I knew this was the place I was coming back to for rehab,” said Christy Dykgraaf, retired Rockford Public Schools teacher and current Grand Rapids Community College adjunct professor.

Living at Aquinata Hall

A long-term assisted living facility, Aquinata Hall is home to Sisters and lay residents. Here residents are able to enjoy the benefits of communal living while having the privacy of their own room. The facility affords wonderful opportunities for residents to engage with each other or visitors in multiple locations such as one of the community living rooms, main dining area, or the three-story atrium. Daily prayer services and planned activities foster spiritual and community life, drawing residents from Aquinata and Sisters from all over the campus, to the space. For those unable to physically attend, chapel services are broadcast to individual rooms and community spaces.

“Our intention was to create a place of rest, healing, and rich, spiritual life on the Marywood Campus for our Sisters and neighbors,” said Maureen Geary OP, prioress of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids.

This fall, we commemorate 125 years of ministry to the greater Grand Rapids community, which first welcomed the Dominican Sisters in 1889 when called by Bishop­­ Henry Joseph Richter (the first Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids) to come and staff St. John’s Home. This was closely followed by an invitation from the Redemptorist priests to help open St. Alphonsus School. We pause to reflect on that blessing of invitation that led us here with 125 days of blessings and two holiday events. The commemoration includes celebrating the past and honoring the present, all while we continue to look to the future and new ministry opportunities.

Over the past several months, and continuing into next year, Sisters, current supporters, and community leaders are meeting to look at additional opportunities for ministry on campus, particularly in the Motherhouse (main building). The planning process is thoughtful, intentional, and spiritual. It respects the Sisters’ history and always focuses on the campus as a living expression of the Dominican mission.

This campus – a green oasis of 34 acres that embraces visitors with a spiritual peacefulness and soul-calming comfort – is abundant with endless possibilities. We will ensure that our future of service to the greater Grand Rapids community has as big an impact and is as mission-driven as the first 125 years.