Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
The hoped-for sale of the John Paul II Cultural Center, which we reported on last October, isn’t going to happen. The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist announced last Thursday that they are withdrawing their plans to purchase the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., due to a lack of funds.
“…the Sisters discerned that to pursue this endeavor was not a prudent use of our limited resources,” wrote Mother Assumpta Long, superior of the order, in an open letter.
The John Paul II Cultural Center has been suffering financially almost from its very beginnings. Built at a cost of $75 million, largely through funding from the Archdiocese of Detroit, the museum was never able to achieve the visitors it hoped to achieve.
The order had hoped to renovate the building into a House of Studies for their sisters in formation. Instead, the sisters will be pursuing plans to establish priories, to receive new vocations, in California and Texas. Over the past five years, the order has received between 10-20 new vocations each year. Founded with four sisters in 1997, the order has grown to more than 100 sisters in just 13 years. The average age of the sisters is 26, and the average age of the women who enter is 21.
“The John Paul II generation is alive and well,” said Sister Joseph Andrew, vocation director for the community. “We attract about 400 young women each year to our Vocation Discernment Retreats. The world is starving for spiritual mothers…it needs that Marian maternal love. These women are coming to us because they want the sacrifice.”
“We went through those years of so much confusion where young people didn’t hear about religious life,” recalled Sister Joseph Andrew. “John Paul II turned the young onto God’s will and here they come.”