Fr. Spitzer to speak in Phoenix on behalf of Dominican Sisters

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The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, are based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and teach at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School and St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix. (Courtesy photo/Dominican Sisters)

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, are based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and teach at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School and St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix. (Courtesy photo/Dominican Sisters)

Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, a renowned scholar, author and Catholic leader, will speak at an April 10 luncheon at Mount Claret Retreat Center.

Author’s luncheon featuring Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ

What: Benefits the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

When: 11a.m., April 10

Where: Mount Claret Retreat Center, 4633 N. 54th St., Phoenix

Info: (602) 840-5066

Fr. Spitzer’s appearance is on behalf of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, a growing community of religious sisters whose apostolate is Catholic education. Five of the sisters reside in the convent at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.

The luncheon is the brainchild of Melissa Fees, who feels the influence of the Dominican sisters deeply in the life of her family. Each of her five children has been taught by one of the sisters.

“We have been so inspired by the Dominican joy,” Fees said. “They are on fire for Mary and Jesus and they are such a testimony to some of the great things going on in the Church right now.”

Fees dreamed up the idea of having an annual “Author’s Luncheon” at Mount Claret as a way of raising financial support for the sisters and their mission.

In an era that has seen a sharp decline in religious life, the Ann Arbor-based community of sisters stands in sharp contrast. Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that in 1965, there were nearly 180,000 religious sisters. By 2013, there were about 51,000.

Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer, will speak at an April 10 luncheon at Mount Claret Retreat Center on behalf of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. (CNS photo/Image Studio, courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer, will speak at an April 10 luncheon at Mount Claret Retreat Center on behalf of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. (CNS photo/Image Studio, courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Founded in 1997, there are already 120 Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, teaching in eight states. They’re planning to build a large convent in Austin, Texas, that will house 50 and already have a temporary mission convent on site. Clad in the traditional white habit and black veil, the sisters’ average age is 29.

In the Diocese of Phoenix, two of the sisters teach at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School and three teach at St. Mary’s High School.

“They have a great love of teaching but they really believe that they are a witness to the children first and foremost of Christ’s love,” Fees said. “Their presence at St. Thomas has made an incredible contribution and I just wanted to do something to help their mission.”

Fr. Spitzer, it seems, is a big fan of one of the founders of the order, Mother Assumpta.

“Mother Assumpta is a strong and courageous woman inspired by the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit,” Fr. Spitzer said.

“Her charisma and relationship with the Lord touch the hearts of hundreds of young women who have been inspired to commit themselves to the fastest growing religious community in the United States.”

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