Marbury Foundation

We are grateful to our Mothers and early Sisters who founded our community, inculcated its spirit, and guided it under the protection of Our Lady through the time from the Second Vatican Council to the present.  They laid the foundation of Dominican monastic life here at Marbury from which we can look to the future.

The above video (2015) is a narrated slideshow of the history of our monastery. Beginning with the foundation of the Dominican Nuns by St. Dominic in 1206 and the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary by Fr. Damien Marie Saintourens, O.P. in 1880, the video details the events in the early 1900’s leading up to the foundation of the first interracial cloister in the United States in 1944, and our life up to the present day.

Especially beautiful is the integral connection between the prayer of the rosary and the nuns’ life at the heart of the holy preaching of the Dominican Order, as the nuns’ life and the history of their community make incarnate in a striking way the reconciliation of all things in Christ which the Dominican friars proclaim in their preaching of the Word.

History of Our Foundation

The Dominican Monastery of Saint Jude was founded on August 17, 1944 by Mother Mary Dominic, O.P., and Mother Mary of the Child Jesus, O.P.

An early photo of the foundresses and community

The purpose of this foundation was to provide a place where those who aspired to the Contemplative Life could enter regardless of race. Many bishops were contacted and asked if such a community would be welcome, however the replies were not too encouraging. Many thought it a noble idea, but unsuitable to their area or the time or to the people of their diocese. In 1944 our foundresses were finally welcomed by Archbishop Thomas Toolen of Mobile, Alabama. With the cooperation of Father Harold Purcell, founder of the City of Saint Jude, a place was found in the (then) Diocese of Mobile.

Fr. Purcell intended to establish the cloistered sisters in a building adjoining the Church of Saint Jude in Montgomery. He could not build, however, because of the shortage of materials in wartime. There was a house available in Marbury, 30 miles north of Montgomery. All he needed to do there was to make suitable adaptations to turn a frame farm house into a temporary monastery.

Image of St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible causesOur foundresses left the monastery at Catonsville, Maryland, on August 17, arriving in Marbury the next day. The small frame house was ideally situated in a quiet, country spot. Named for Saint Jude, the Saint of the Impossible, the monastery is proof of his powerful intercession and patronage. With the Bishop’s approval the community decided to remain in Marbury. In the early 1950s the Nuns began to solicit funds to build a permanent Monastery on the adjoining hilltop. There were countless responses to the request, “Just throw a brick at us! Each one is 14 cents.”

Bishop Toolen turned the first spadeful of earth on November 13, 1952. The community moved into this new Monastery on the Feast of Saint Jude, October 28, 1953.

The Canonization of Saint Katharine Drexel has special significance for the nuns in Marbury. Several of them attended schools operated by her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Some even met Mother Katharine when she made her annual visitations to the classes.

Photo of Dominican Nuns praying at the cemetaryWe also commend to your prayers the souls of our sisters who have completed their earthly pilgrimage:

  • Mother Mary Dominic, O.P. +1966
  • Mother Mary of the Child Jesus, O.P. +1980
  • Sister Mary of the Trinity, O.P. +1984
  • Sister Mary Jerome, O.P. +1990
  • Sister Mary Hyacinth, O.P. +1992
  • Sister Mary of the Immaculate Heart, O.P. +2008
  • Sister Mary Magdalen, O.P. +2010
  • Sister Mary of the Rosary, O.P. +2015

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.