History of Mt. Thabor Monastery


The two founding sisters started their religious lives many years before in a Dominican Monastery in Union City, New Jersey.

May 1968

Our purpose was to ponder a future contemplative mode of life within the monastic setting. A life that was being effected by a changing society and a changing Church. Thus begun our quest to find and realize a vision born out of the historicity of time.

July 1969

We spent our first year in W. Virginia at the invitation of the Bishop who was most eager to start a new house in an experimentation of the contemplative life in the modern world. We moved on for further investigations along the east coast.

In the way God leads us and has formerly led us, an invitation from the Bishop to open a house in the Archdiocese of Detroit arrived in answer to our search in July 1969. Kind Missionary Sisters sustained us until a suitable place could be found.

October 1969

When a country setting did not appear, we traveled in the poorer section of the city of Detroit and finally spied an almost abandoned house on Grinnell Street with a "for rent" sign. After a week scrubbing and cleaning we moved into our new home. The Missionary Sisters provided Mass furnishings, cooking utensils and a folding bed; the extent of our belongings. Within weeks, generous neighbors provided sufficient furniture to live comfortably and neighboring churches generously supplied the needs of our chapel. Masses in our chapel were always attended by neighbors.

1972

Time for our next move arrived when Divine Providence again stepped in with little notice, and our home was sold. Shortly before leaving Detroit, we came upon this lovely setting in Ortonville so suited for a monastery such as we envisioned. Without money, the owners, extraordinary people, encouraged us to accept the ten acres of land and pay in the future! So started the most astonishing story of blind trust in God, as He daily provided just a little each day to allow the project to move on to reality.

Two Geodesic Domes, the smaller to be the chapel, were to be our Monastery. It was bitter cold when we, without much help, dug the foundation and poured the cement. The owners of the land called neighbors together for volunteer help to erect the domes. The electrician and plumber, also friends of the owners, donated all labor free of charge. A neighboring builder freely presented himself and offered to complete the interior. God moves the hearts of His people to accomplish His work. Through all the building process, we remained on the job and helped the workmen while sewing in the evening to earn some money.

August 1, 1973

We moved into the monastery, which was quite incomplete but livable.

August 6, 1973

The first wonderful feast to be celebrated was the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Thabor. This great mystery of the Church had been the one chosen from the very inception of this establishment. The concept of the choice clearly pointed to transfiguration of religious life and our place within the transfigured church. The rich essentials of contemplative style of living fit into our space age of technology and mobility.

August 8, 1973

On the Feast of St. Dominic, the Blessed Sacrament was first reserved in the tiny chapel that had been carefully prepared.

1979 -- 1980

Two buildings were added to the Geodesic Domes. The cloister wing, which is the general living and work area, dedicated in honor of St. Martin de Porres, O.P. The Chapel followed, dedicated in honor of St. Catherine of Siena, O.P. in memory of Catherine Repucci, a student victim of the Providence College, Rhode Island fire in 1977.

November 6, 1995

A new library wing was added. It was blessed and dedicated in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P. by Adam Cardinal Maida.

1997

The RCIA from various neighboring parishes make annual visits to the Monastery for part of their formation, praying Vespers with the Sisters and learning what Monastic life is.

1999

Fr. Lawrence Kearney, O.P. named first permanent Chaplain to the Monastery, St. Joseph Cottage (Chaplin House) is remodeled and prepared for occupancy, and the Sisters had a new garage built to house three cars and tractors.
 

December 8, 1999

The community receives its official aggregation into the Dominican Order.

2000

The Monastery is named a pilgrimage site for the Jubilee Year 2000.

September 19, 2001

Ground breaking for St. Dominic Wing. The new Wing will be the community dormitory, recreation and conference room, and laundry.

April 15, 2002

St. Dominic Wing is blessed and dedicated in honor of St. Dominic, O.P.

2003

The building of Transfiguration Retreat House was begun the day after Palm Sunday and completed by August 10, 2003.

August 10, 2003

Thirty years established in Ortonville, Michigan is celebrated. Transfiguration Retreat House is blessed. New outdoor Blessed Mother Statue
and St. Dominic Statue, created by Suzanne Young, are blessed.

September 21, 2003

New outdoor Stations of the Cross, created by Suzanne Young, are blessed.

2006

The original Chapel was enlarged to create space for the public attendance of ceremonies.
 

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