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American Dominican Sisters move to Scotland

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, poses with the smiling Nashville Dominicans outside their motherhouse in Tennessee (CNS)

One of the most flourishing religious congregations in America is to establish itself in a medieval convent in northern Scotland.

Four Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia from Nashville, Tennessee, will be formally welcomed this weekend by the Diocese of Aberdeen during a celebratory Mass at Greyfriars Convent in Elgin. The four Sisters, popularly known as “Nashville Dominicans”, will reside at the convent in Elgin, formerly home to the Sisters of Mercy who left in 2010.

Writing in the magazine, Light of the North, the Sisters announced: “Sister Anna Christi, Sister Amelda Ann, Sister Nicholas Marie and Sister Christiana… will be available to assist in the formation of youth and adults in the Catholic faith; in sponsoring retreats and catechetical courses and offering pastoral assistance in local parishes.

“Catholic education and the Christian formation of children, young people and adults have remained the principal mission or apostolate of the Dominican sisters of St Cecilia. Although at 153 years we are relatively ‘young’ compared to centuries-old Scotland our congregation is linked to the 800-year history of the Dominican order as a whole.

“As of this August our community numbers almost 300 and we are privileged to send sisters out from Nashville to serve in 19 dioceses in the US and four in additional countries – Italy, Australia, Canada and, beginning this August, Scotland.”

Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen described the Sisters as a “great gift”. He said: “I am most grateful to their Mother Prioress, Sister Ann Marie Karlovic, and to her council for accepting our invitation. It is with great joy that I welcome the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of St Cecilia from Nashville, US, into the Diocese of Aberdeen.”

The convent which the Dominican nuns are moving to was first erected for the “Observantine friars” of the Franciscan order by Bishop Innes in 1479.

For an extended version of this article see this week’s print edition of The Catholic Herald, out on Friday