Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke




Wieneke445Here lies the hoarded love the key
To All the treasure that shall be
Come fated heart the gift to take
And smite the sleeping world awake.”

Here is a video that contains a photo of Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Major Superior of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque. Her cousin, Mary Magdalene Wieneke-Rosamond, was my grandmother, the mother of Rosemary Rosamond.

Above is an amazing photo of the groundbreaking ceremony for Briar Cliff College that is located on the Missouri River overlooking the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. I might do a painting of this scene because more than likely there are more than twenty of my kindred in it. My grandmother Mary is above in white.

Look at those beautiful children who want their shot at life even though they know they are crippled. They are filled with hope. How can anyone who claims they are a Christian, talk about taking away hope from any child who suffers?

Jon Presco

In March 1929, Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Major Superior of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque, along with the Most Rev. Edmond Heelan, Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese, co-founded Briar Cliff College after meeting with members of the Sioux City community, who committed to raising $25,000 to support the establishment of a Catholic women’s college in Sioux City. The twelve foundresses of the College were carefully chosen by Mother Dominica. They were led by Sister Mary Servatius Greenen, who was named the first president.[2]

Congregation with Motherhouse at St. Francis’s Convent, Dubuque, Iowa. Founded in 1876 by Mother Xaveria Termehr and Sisters from the House of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany, who, on account of the infamous “May laws”, were compelled to leave Germany. Sisters, 399; novices, 34; postulants, 20; orphan asylums, 2; industrial school, 1; academy, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 43; pupils, 6829.

The Diocese of Sioux City was inducted into Briar Cliff University’s Mother Dominica Society this past weekend. The induction took place during the Alumni Awards Dinner at the St. Francis Center at the university.
The Mother Dominica Society is a group that recognizes the top lifetime benefactors of Briar Cliff University. The society is named for the founder of Briar Cliff University, Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke.
Receiving the award on behalf of the diocese was Bishop R. Walker Nickless. Briar Cliff University’s president, Bev Wharton, presented the award.
Bishop Nickless was pleased to recognize the connection of the diocese and the university.
“It’s a wonderful chance for us to be noticed, what the connection between the diocese and the university is all about,” said Bishop Nickless. “Bishop Heelan, the first bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City, graciously gave the land for which the university was built. So, since the first day, there has been a connection between Briar Cliff and the diocese.”

Location Briar Cliff University is located at the edge of urban development, yet it is just minutes from Downtown Sioux City (population 80,000). Located where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota meet, Sioux City is connected with other metro areas by Interstate Highway 29 and is about an hour away by air from Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis and Denver.

In March 1929, Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Major Superior of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque, along with the Most Rev. Edmond Heelan, Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese, co-founded Briar Cliff College after meeting with members of the Sioux City community, who committed to ar program was extended to four years. Fifty-five men were admitted to Briar Cliff in 1965 and co-education was formalized in 1966 with the admission of 150 full-time male students.
Our congregation originated in Herford, Germany where the plight of many homeless and hungry children touched the heart of the young woman we know as our foundress, Mother Xavier Termehr.  Soon other young women asked to join her in this work of compassion and our congregation was born in November 1864.  From its beginning, the congregation has been committed to serving human needs and are not limited to one apostolate. The sisters cared for the orphans at Haus Bethlehem and also nursed the elderly in their homes.  A destitute elderly couple was cared for in the orphanage until their death.
When the call came for nurses on the battlefields of the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars the sisters responded, earning the Iron Cross from Empress Augusta and Emperor Wilhelm in 1872 for their service.  Two sisters died of infection while nursing the soldiers.  
Political changes resulted in the passage of laws in 1875 which called for religious communities to either disband or go into exile unless they were strictly nursing orders. The entire community of 18 professed sisters, seven novices and four postulants chose exile.  But where to go?  A nephew of the elderly couple mentioned above, a pastor in Iowa City, had visited the sisters to express his gratitude for their kindness. On learning of their choice to emigrate he offered them refuge in Iowa City.  On September 8, 1875 they arrived in their new home.
In Iowa City the sisters opened the first Catholic orphanage in the state and nursed the sick, much as they had in Herford.  A new apostolate opened for them as they were requested to take charge of parochial schools.  Within a year of their arrival in Iowa, the congregation began to accept postulants.
Archbishop Hennessy of Dubuque, Iowa requested that the congregation move to Dubuque to open and staff an orphanage in that city.  They arrived in Dubuque in December 1878, lodging at first in an abandoned stone church.  The orphanage opened in fall of the next year. (The sisters staffed it until it closed in 1968.)  As in Iowa City, the sisters were also called upon to staff and often to establish Catholic schools.
New apostolates were added as the years progressed including  the domestic department of the local seminary, a home for the aged, a second  orphanage (in Sioux City, IA), a home for working girls in Dubuque, hospitals, the only Catholic college (now University) in the Sioux City, IA diocese and a mission in China.
Our commitment to community and ministry among those in need is still vibrant.  We have ministered in Chile, Guatemala, and El Salvador, in Tanzania and Zimbabwe and currently in Honduras and the island of St. Lucia.  With fewer sisters in classroom teaching, we also educate though ESL classes and after-school tutoring programs. We are pastoral associates, chaplains, spiritual directors and social workers, workers in health care and alternate health therapies, and volunteers in many organizations. We partner with other religious congregations and civic organizations to respond to those whose needs are greatest in this country and abroad.
Though we speak a different language and dress in different attire from that of Mother Xavier and the founding sisters, we are truly their daughters in faith and in commitment.
Our strength, our hope and our joy flow from our commitment to prayer, to each other, and to the people God calls us to serve in love.  We believe the words of Mother Xavier “God is with us still.”

The general idea of lay people affiliated to religious orders, as seen in the Benedictine Oblates or confraters (Taunton, “Black Monks of St. Benedict”, London, 1897, I, 60-63; for Norbertines cf. Hurter, “Papst Innocenz III”, Schaffhausen, 1845, IV, 148), is too natural for there to be any need to seek its origin. Founders and benefactors of monasteries were received in life into spiritual fellowship, and were clothed in death in some religious habit. So too the Templars had a whole system whereby layfolk could partake in some sort in their privileges and in the material administration of their affairs (English Hist. Rev., London, April, 1910, 227). But the essential nature of the tertiary is really an innovation of the thirteenth century.

Primarily the work of the Third Order and its definite spirit may be summed up by saying that it was established first to help in reform of church discipline. Its initial purpose was the preaching of penance; but under Dominican influences it rather leaned to the intellectual aspect of the Faith and based its message to the world on the exposition of the Creed; it was to reform church discipline by the more wide-spread knowledge of the mysteries of faith. Secondly, to defend the Church. Originally this was a military necessity, demanding physical force with which to restrain equally material opposition. Thirdly, to develop the communion of prayer. The medieval ideal of Christ’s Mystical Body which has captivated all spiritual-minded people implies a harmony of prayer. To achieve this end the contemplative and monastic orders were begun; and the Third Order of St. Dominic endeavours to link pious souls to this great throng of religious (Proctor, “The Dominican Tertiary’s Daily Manual”, London, 1900, 15-20).

The Third Order as it exists today can be divided into two categories: regular, i.e. comprising Tertiaries, whether men or women, who live in community and wear the habit externally; and secular, i.e. whether married or single, cleric or lay, who live their lives like others of their profession, but who privately take up practices of austerity, recite some liturgical Office, and wear some symbol of the Dominican habit. The origin of the conventual women Tertiaries has never been very clearly worked out. It is usual to trace them back to Bl. Emily Bicchieri, about the year 1255 (“Manual of Third Order of St. Dominic”, London, 1871, 9). But if the view taken above of the origin of the Third Order in the Ordo de Poenitentia be correct, we are forced to the conclusion that the communities of women established by St. Dominic at Prouille, S. Sisto, etc. were really of this Third Order. Their constitutions, approved first for S. Sisto, though previously observed at Prouille, expressly speak of the nuns as “de Poenitentia S. Mariae Magdalenae” (“Analecta Ord. Praed.”, Rome, 1898, 628 sqq.). It would seem then that the Ordo de Poenitentia did not exclude convents of enclosed nuns from its ranks, and this was due probably to St. Dominic himself. Very much later came a conventual order of men, originated by the genius of Père Lacordaire. He considered that the democratic spirit of the Dominican Order fitted it especially for the task of training the youth. But he knew how impossible it was for his preaching associates to tie themselves down to schoolwork among boys; as a consequence, he began, in 1852, a Third Order of men, wearing the habit, living in community yet without the burdens of monastic life. The rule was approved provisionally in 1853 and definitely in 1868 (for the rule cf. “Acta Capituli Generalis Ord. Praed.”, Rome, 1904, 106 sqq.). But by far the greatest portion of the Third Order consists of secular Tertiaries. These are of every rank of society, and represent the old Ordo de Poenitentia and the old Militia. In certain countries they are grouped into chapters, having a lay prior and sub-prior or prioress and sub-prioress, and hold monthly meetings. Since the Rule of Muñon de Zamora (1285), they have always been subject to a Dominican priest appointed by the Dominican provincial. For the actual reception of the habit, the master-general can give faculties to any priest. The full habit is the same as that of the members of the First and Second Orders, but without the scapular (granted, however, to communities since 1667). Though the habit is not worn during life many procure it so that they may be buried in the recognized dress of St. Dominic’s children.

Origin, development, and present state of the secular Third Order
It has been believed for some time that the Third Order of St. Francis was the oldest of all Third Orders, but historical evidence is against such an opinion. For, besides similar institutions in some monastic orders in the twelfth century, we find, before the foundation of St. Francis, a Third Order, properly so called, among the Humiliati, confirmed together with its rule by Innocent III in 1201 (see text in Tiraboschi, “Vetera Humiliatorum monumenta”, II, Milan, 1767, 128). But if the Third Order of St. Francis was not the first of its kind, it was, and still is, undoubtedly the best known and most widely distributed and has the greatest influence. About its origin there are two opposite opinions. According to Karl Müller, Mandonnet, and others, the Secular Third Order is a survival of the original ideal of St. Francis, viz. a lay-confraternity of penitents, from which, through the influence of the Church, the First and Second Orders of the Friars Minor and the Poor Clares have been detached. According to others, St. Francis merely lent his name to pre-existing penitential lay-confraternities, without having any special connection with or influence on them.

Soon after the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was established in Europe in the thirteenth century, lay persons, not bound by religious vows, seem to have attached themselves to it more or less closely. There is evidence of the existence of a “Confrairie N.-D. du Mont-Carmel” at Toulouse in 1273, and of a “Compagnia di Santa Maria del Carmino” at Bologna in 1280, but the exact nature of these bodies is uncertain owing to a lack of documents. Somewhat later mention is frequently made of trade-guilds having their seat in churches of the order, members of which acted as their chaplains. Thus the master-bakers, innkeepers and pastry-cooks at Nîmes, the barbers and surgeons of the same town, who were also connected with the Dominicans, the goldsmiths at Avignon. Benefactors of the order received letters of fraternity with the right of participation in the privileges and good works of the friars. Others, under the name of bizzoche and mantellatoe, wore the habit and observed the rule, e.g. “M. Phicola nostra Pinzochera” at Florence in 1308. Others again became recluses in the anchorages attached to Carmelite churches, and made profession under the form: “Ego frater N. a Spiritu Sancto ad anachoreticam vitam vocatus offero me, coram Deo, Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, et promitto me in servitio Dei secundum Scripturam sacram Novi et Veteris Testamenti more anchoreticae vitae usque ad mortem permansurum.” Among the tertiaries not living in community must be mentioned Blessed Louis Morbioli of Bologna (d. 1495).

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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