In 1985, the McGreal Center at Dominican University called for writers to compile a second volume for their proposed series on the history of Dominicans in the United States. It was aptly named: Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786-1865.
Sr. Michael Ellen Carling responded to that call with a compilation of original sources from our congregation. In 2004, the structure of the second volume was changed from a chronological approach to a thematic one. Sr. Michael Ellen’s work no longer fit the redefined criteria.
Meanwhile, in the congregational archives, Sister Michael Ellen’s compilation, Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids: 1877-1915, was in demand as a ready reference for names, dates and events. Her book contains facsimiles of original documents, as well as photographs, charts, letters, transcriptions of oral histories, maps, copies of newspaper clippings, excerpts from journals and copies of letters – some in translation. When Sr. Mary Navarre became director of Archives in 2015, she saw the value of making sure the work of Sr. Michel Ellen was made public.
“I do not feel that all has been in vain,” wrote Sr. Michael Ellen in the Forward of her now published book. “Because of the research done, we have new and better information about the beginnings of our Congregation.”
With Sister Mary Navarre’s encouragement and the Congregation Leadership Team’s affirmation, the text was published this year. A limited number of copies may be borrowed through the Marywood Library or the Archives Department of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids. Copies wanted for personal libraries can be obtained from the Archives Department for a small fee to cover postage and handling.
In the Forward to the book, Sister Michael Ellen explains the time frame of the collection:
“Mother Eveline Mackey was the first Mother General to begin to collect historical information: annals and mission lists began during her terms in office. This was in 1927, fifty years after our founding, so this book attempts to fill in and add to information about our early years during the tenure of Mother Aquinata.”
A limited number of copies may be borrowed through the Marywood Library or the Archives Department of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids. Copies for personal libraries can be obtained from the Archives Department for a small fee to cover postage and handling.