Sinsinawa Dominicans Celebrate 175 Years
April 7, 2022
SINSINAWA, Wis.—The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa celebrated 175 years on March 20 with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Donald J. Hying of the Diocese of Madison. The Mass was held in Queen of the Rosary Chapel at Sinsinawa Mound as part of a yearlong anniversary celebration. 
The congregation was founded by pioneer priest Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, on Aug. 4, 1847, starting with two sisters and growing to 100 by the mid-1870s. 
The Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters have served in parishes and schools in the Diocese of Rockford for many decades. Some sisters reside in this diocese, and the Sinsinawa Motherhouse, just over one mile north of the state line between the dioceses of Rockford and Madison, which offers numerous programs open to the public. The order’s founder, Father Mazzuchelli, served in and built some of the churches in the northwestern part of the Diocese of Rockford.
Those present included sisters of the congregation and the leadership councils of neighboring congregations of sisters, coworkers, Dominican Associates of Sinsinawa, and invited guests. 
Sister Toni Harris, OP, who serves as the 14th prioress of the congregation, welcomed those attending.
She described how the congregation’s Motherhouse at Sinsinawa started out in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, was part of the La Crosse Diocese for a time, and is now in the Madison Diocese, “but we never moved!” 
Sister Toni celebrated the sisters’ history and called them to look forward to the future. 
“… Nearly 3,400 women have made vows as Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. Two more will make perpetual vows in May,” said Sister Toni. 
“… Let us fully embrace the challenge of Father Samuel that we have heard thousands of times, embrace it in a new way, and set out into the years ahead for ‘any place where the work is great and difficult, but where also with the help of the one who sends us we shall open the way for the Gospel,’” Sister Toni concluded. 
Bishop Hying gave thanks to God for the congregation and their rich spiritual legacy. 
“Before Wisconsin even became a state, your community was here. None of you look that old, by the way,” he joked. 
He reflected on the sisters’ call to enter religious life, the places they have ministered, and “the people whose lives that have been touched and enriched and informed because of your wisdom, your holiness, your prayer, your consecration. 
“Only God can measure the ultimate impact of nearly 3,400 women radically consecrated to Christ and the service of the Gospel. None of us can ever fully measure or weigh the glory of that impact. This is a beautiful moment to celebrate your legacy.”
Bishop Hying spoke of Father Mazzuchelli’s trust in divine providence and the legacy the sisters and others have continued. 
Bishop Hying closed in thanksgiving. “For all that has transpired and has been completely a blessing to the world and to the Church because of your community, we give thanks and praise.”
Anniversary information provided by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters.
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