The two founding sisters started their religious lives many years before in a Dominican Monastery in Union City, New Jersey.
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.
We spent our first year in West 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 letter of aggregation into the Dominican Order.
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.
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.
The original Chapel was enlarged to create space for the public attendance of ceremonies.