Sister Michael Ellen Carling

We endeavor to understand ever more deeply the meaning of the Gospel and our call to Dominican life and mission in order to renew the message of Christ for the times in which we live. ... Study is an essential component of our Dominican life and mission. . . . The truth we seek is found in all reality. . . . We are called to serious thought and conversation, to contemplation and to enlightened action. -- Excerpt from Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1990

Vatican II asked us to return to the sources of all Christian life and to the original inspiration behind a given community and to read the signs of the times. (Perfectae Caritatis) I consider it fortunate to have experienced both the pre-Vatican II Church of my childhood and early adulthood, and the post-Vatican II Church, both of which have nourished my life.

April 22, 1933 was a most happy day for your Dad and for me (birthday card from my mother in 1992). My parents were Michael Howard Carling (1894-1973) and Margaret Ellen Oakes Carling (1907-1995). I was born in Grand Rapids during the Depression. My sister Nancy was born sixteen months later. We were baptized at St. Alphonsus.

I met the Dominican Sisters at St. Mary’s in Muskegon, a vibrant parish with grades 1-12 in the school. Because of my experiences at St. Mary’s (grades 3-8), I have always felt the importance and value of Catholic Schools.

I taught the upper elementary grades for twelve years, followed by years as a high school librarian and since 1997, I have worked in our archives.

I have always enjoyed reading, photography and in later years, genealogy.

2022 – 69 Years a Sister

Prayer Ministry

Pray for those with life-long illnesses, especially Multiple Sclerosis and mental illness.

Sister Michael Ellen compiled this book saying: “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.”  Read more

Sister Michael Ellen is a treasure trove of knowledge about the history of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids.

Introducing students from Forest Hills High School and other visiting high schools is one aspect of Sister Michael Ellen’s ministry on the Archives Team for the Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids.

Michael Ellen, OP is a member of the Dominican Associate Life Advisory Board. She provide guidance and ideas for Associate Life and provides formation ideas for deepening the spiritual lives of our Associates.

Sister Michael Ellen’s ministry in the Archives Department of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids makes her a welcome guest speaker.


In ministry with Sister Michael Ellen Carling, OP

Michael Ellen Carling, OP Announces New Book: Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids: 1877-1915


2019 National SisterStory Project Captures Stories About Sisters by Aquinas College Students


“Somewhere in the West” — An Archives Story Map Project


Dominican Associate Advisory Board


We Honor and Celebrate Women of Vision and Courage


New Book Recognizes Shared History of Grand Rapids and Adrian Dominican Congregations