Dominican Sisters to leave Oxford, sell property

A religious community that’s been part of Oxford for 71 years is preparing to leave and sell its property.

The Dominican Sisters Motherhouse, located at 775 W. Drahner Rd., will be closing its doors. Exactly when has not been determined.

“Too few sisters and too much space” was the reason given by Sr. Joan Marie Jereb, O.P., one of the residents.

“We have a lot of empty rooms . . . It’s not efficient to keep the whole building running when only a few of the rooms are used,” she said.

According to Alice Black, director of communications for the Dominican Sisters of Peace, there are currently only 10 sisters living in the 57,860-square-foot motherhouse, which has 43 bedrooms and opened in 1998, and “the median age of the sisters is 82.”

“It is sad to leave Oxford, but the sisters see the necessity of such a move due to the decline in the number of sisters in the house,” said Sr. Sheila Marie McIntyre, O.P., mission group coordinator for the Oxford Motherhouse.

“It’s not something we have chosen to do, but something that the economy requires that we do,” Jereb explained. “Most of us are rather devastated by the whole decision, but we live a life that is under obedience . . . We feel very sad about it, but it’s what we have to do.”

The 10 sisters in Oxford will be moving to other convents, according to Black.

Black said the motherhouse property, which spans approximately 30 acres and includes the 16,862-square-foot St. Mary’s Retreat House, is currently “under contract” with a potential buyer. She noted if the sale goes through, the cemetery on the property “will be preserved.”

“There’s an easement allowing access to (it) in the contract,” Black said.

The Dominican Sisters came to Oxford in 1948 when they were part of the Congregation of St. Rose of Lima. They settled on a piece of property that was originally a little more than 800 acres because, according to a January 1998 Leader article, it was beautiful, “close to town” and “offered privacy.”

In April 2009, the Dominican Sisters of Oxford joined with six other Dominican congregations, “whose origins were different, but whose Dominican traditions were the same,” to form the Dominican Sisters of Peace, which is based in Columbus, Ohio.

Once the Oxford Motherhouse closes, the Dominican Sisters of Peace will have four motherhouses left in Ohio, Kansas and Kentucky.

“We have many friends (here) and we’re very sad to have to leave that all behind,” Jereb said. “The people of Oxford, as well as (the) people in the surrounding area, have been very, very good to us.”

Black noted the Dominican Sisters of Peace will continue to maintain a presence in the area through the Lourdes Senior Community and convent in Waterford.


6 responses to “Dominican Sisters to leave Oxford, sell property”

  1. I am so sorry to hear this. I was once a member of this community and can’t believe it didn’t survive. God bless all who were apart of this order and those who still are.

  2. My name is Linda Piovesana & I’ve been attempting to reach Sr Maria DeMonte who last communicated w/ me in 2016. My husband & I attended numerous retreats under her & we frequently kept in touch by mail. She has been in my thoughts lately & would like to know if she is still able to be contacted or if she has passed. I see that the beautiful property has been sold & the remaining nuns scattered. If you could be of any help I would appreciate it. Sincerely, Linda

  3. I am looking for two former students Cathy and Cookie Welch class 66 and 68 from lake Orion Michigan. any help I can get with this would be much appreciated

  4. I was a student at Sacred Heart School in Flint, MI. From 1944-1954.
    From age 7 to 14 I picked up and delivered the convents groceries six days a week.

    I gradually grew to know them as person’s.
    They were very instrumental in my upbringing. My sire abandoned my sister’s and I when I the youngest was 1 year old.
    He never paid child support.
    I quit highschool and joined the Army.
    I made a career of thee Army and at the end of 25 years. I had a BA degree and retired as LTC..
    In 1960 I came home and had. A conversation with the parish priest at Sacred Heart. I suggested that the school/church pay the sister’s for their service. I knew about the vows etc.
    However I suggested at the end of the year.
    Pat the sister’s a lump salary sum. Let them pay their taxes and Social Security. Then all that’s left give it back to the church or too the Dominican Administration.
    That way they would have Social Security benefits.
    I had just found out that two of my Aunt’s who were nuns. Would someday retire with none.
    I live about eight blocks from the Franciscan. Headquarters in Sylvania, OH.
    I’ve seen the unfair results of not paying sister’s. Nuns in their 70’s taking care of the 80 and older sisters and their ALL on Medicare! Sickening. I donate to them, but wish I could do more.

    Most important!! Keeping access to the graveyard was a good thing.
    Who pays for the upkeep of the graveyard?

    H. Anthony Weiss

  5. My great grandmother Anna Boksansky is a 5th sister and donated much of her money for this convent and is buried at the stations of the cross by the big pine tree. My great aunt sister mary elizabeth Bok was a Dominican nun and was a retired michigan school teacher. Sister mary elizabeth bok was also at Dominican University in River Forest Illinois in the 1960s and was mother superior of Dominican university for two years. I was friends with the nuns and priests at dominican university in the 2000s and father John O’Conner.

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