REPOSTED ACTION ITEM! “Could you do something for us, the nuns OFF the bus?”


You helped the chaplain and the soldiers in Afghanistan with socks.

Now, help some nuns… the other warriors.

You know them, I’m sure: the Dominican Sisters in Summit, NJ.  These are the legendary “soap sisters” of Seignadou Soaps.  (Great gifts, btw.)

They sent a PDF of a booklet for their campaign HERE.

I received this note, which I bring to your kind attention.

My emphases:

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

Pax Christi!
Thanks for all the hard work and balanced reflection you share on your blog. I don’t know how you do it but I’m glad you do!

Could you do something for us, the nuns OFF the bus?

We have launched a capital campaign to build a much needed new wing onto our monastery. Our monastery looks big but it’s because it is nearly all chapel! Our chapel is nearly the size of our local Catholic Church! We are running out of cell space in the professed dorm and need to take back the cells used for work and sewing rooms. Any “extra” space that would be standard in a monastery was sacrificed in order to make building our monastery possible after the Great Depression and we never really finished it. For years we’ve been making do but as time goes on the needs have changed and we are getting quite cramped!

Most of the new wing will be extern use: guest rooms, gift shop, guest dining room, etc. The bottom floor will be much needed work space for us. By building the new wing we’ll also be able to make our chapel handicap accessible. We know some people who make their Adoration sitting in the car in front of the open doors of the chapel. Sort of drive-through adoration, I guess! But they can’t get up the stairs so that’s the best they can do.

I’ve attached our campaign booklet for you to see. [HERE]

We have never had what you might call “big benefactors”. Our monastery was built with the dimes of many, many friends who bought a brick and so “brick by brick” [good phrase] our monastery was built.  We need to raise $4 million for our new addition, driveway configuration and renovation of the existing parlor, reception office and guest bathroom and hallway to the chapel. It’s a lot, we know, but this is Summit, NJ and EVERYTHING costs so much more here than in other parts of the country.

Just on the practical level this is truly needed and has been for a long time. Spiritually we believe that in the light of our Dominican charism the best way we cloistered nuns can participate in the New Evangelization (which isn’t really new, Dominicans have been at it for 800 years) is simply to offer what we have come to the monastery for: our life of prayer and union with God for the preaching of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. All day long people frequent our chapel and more and more people ask to come for retreat, especially priests and religious who have few places they can go that don’t offer weird, new agey stuff. Our guest room is in constant demand. We receive a lot of young women discerning their vocation. In fact, we have 3 voted on for postulancy. They are being delayed by school debt. We have quite a few making an aspirancy (live-in) and several finishing college before they can apply to enter.

The Sisters asked me to write you to ask you: would you be willing to give us a plug? Anytime you feature our Seignadou Soap products we get a good response! We’ve sent press releases to all the major Catholic media outlets but so far there is no interest. I guess we’d be more newsworthy if we were closing!  [We won’t let that happen.]

Thank you for whatever you can do to help us. Please be assured of our prayers and pray for us! [Please, do.  I will for you.]

In Christ and His Holy Mother,
Sr. Mary Catharine (for Sr. Mary Martin our prioress and all the Sisters)

Help the Sisters?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Be The Maquis, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The Campus Telephone Pole, Women Religious and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. A.D. says:

    I have read these sisters’ blog for years. They are for real! Although the vows of chastity and poverty are included, they make only one vow, that of Obedience, which to them includes everything. So we know they are definitely OFF the BUS nuns!

  2. Southern Baron says:

    Yes, help ’em out. A group from my parish recently visited the monastery. Our conversations with the extern and our time in the quiet of the chapel really helped us to see the sisters’ own joy in the Lord. It is a remarkable place and I feel blessed to be so close to it.

  3. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Wonderful project! I know these Sisters very well, having done conferences for them for over 25 years. Their church is splendid and large, but having done conferences in their Chapter Room and lived in the chaplain’s suite, I can say that they live under the most cramped and primitive arrangements.

    The monastery itself is like a narrow lean-to propped up against the walls of the nave and apse of the church. This construction is decades overdue. And, yes, I am not surprised that they, like most other Dominican institutes and provinces I know, make do virtually entirely by small donations from people of modest means.

    I would like, Fr. Z., with your and the sisters’ permission, to reprint this post on my Dominican Liturgy blog. May I?

    –Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P.

    [Please do!]

  4. Sandy says:

    These are REAL nuns! May God shower them with huge donations and blessings. Many of us can say we would not have the spiritual lives we have without holy women such as these who molded us for years. I will pass the word about their need.

  5. PhilipNeri says:

    FWIW, I’ll add my endorsement to this project! I’ve visited these holy women for the past three summers, giving them retreats on various topics. This summer I’ll be teaching their novices in the Monastic Theology Series. They are wonderful, prayerful, holy women who need our support! Also, Sr. Sabina probably needs a flea dip for the summer months. . .

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If only every group of nuns needed more room for more people!

    Will donate.

  7. capchoirgirl says:

    They are fantastically wonderful. I was discerning a vocation with them, which didn’t come to fruition, but the time I spent in their chapel (which is about the size of my parish church!), and in parlor with them, was time well-spent and richly rewarding, spiritually. The accommodations for discerning women are lovely, but limited for only two at the most. They are holy, faithful nuns who are full of Dominican joy. :)

  8. Uxixu says:

    Going to pray for these Dominican Sisters as well as order some soap tonight.

  9. Luvadoxi says:


  10. Hidden One says:

    The good sisters sell more than soap.

    I happily recommend the book Brother Petroc’s Return, available here:

    I once borrowed and quite enjoyed an old copy of this very Catholic novel.

  11. rbbadger says:

    These are a great group of nuns. I also wish to throw something out that anyone involved in church music would do well to consider. Back in the 1980s, the nuns put together a hymnal known as the Summit Choirbook. While I see they are sold out, I hope they’ll put it back in stock. This magnificent resource, first published in the 1983, has a lot of beautiful hymns. It also has a lot of chant hymns in English. While some of the chants are Gregorian, they also have some beautiful Russian and Ukrainian chants which aren’t too difficult for the average choir to learn. If you have to sing hymns, you won’t find anything in here that isn’t thoroughly orthodox.

  12. mrshopey says:

    I have bought their soap before and like it!

  13. Ben Kenobi says:

    Thank you very much for putting this out there, Father Z! :) These Sisters are wonderful!

  14. Darren says:

    I have visited their chapel for lunch hour adoration many times when I worked in the area. It is a wonderful place in the middle of a somewhat upscale area. As she said… “this is Summit, NJ and EVERYTHING costs so much more here”, and that is true.

  15. visigrad says:

    Get the word out; post this on your facebook page

  16. lmgilbert says:

    Hey, they’ve got a lot more than soap in their shoppe- books, pens, statues, cd’s, etc. A person could do a lot of his Christmas ( birthday, anniversary, etc.) shopping right here.

  17. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    I have just changed my cause on Goodsearch
    I normally raise about $40 a year on this search engine.
    A few hundred people using this could bring in a nice amount.

  18. James Joseph says:

    If folks consider it a blessing to sit in their parking lot let alone their chapel then they are doing something right.

    That stinking bus would take up too many parking spaces anyway!

  19. Amata says:

    As one of the 3 future postulants thank you for supporting my sisters.

  20. Moral_Hazard says:

    My mom has donated her time to this monastery for decades and I was an altar boy there as a kid. I just contribute financially now, but Sr. Mary Martin often writes beautiful personal notes. The Dominican Nuns are the real deal. To the best of my understanding, the order there faithful and growing. I urge any reader to contribute as they can.

Comments are closed.