The Congregation of the Dominican Teaching Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus of Fanjeaux is the Catholic girls’ school deep in wilds of Idaho. I recently covered their trip to Rome in the post Homesteading Idaho Catholics go to Rome, get rejected by the Pope. I’ve tried learning more about these traditional Catholic Sisters. To the best of my knowledge, the only boarding Catholic girls’ schools in all of the USA are run by “the traditional Dominican Teaching Sisters.” As far as I can tell, these Sisters could care less for the Internet and use it very, very little, as in none at all. They do not appear to have a primary website, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media accounts. They don’t seem to publicize themselves, their schools, nor do they appear to be desperately trying to find students. Unknown too many people these traditional Dominican teaching Sisters are expanding!
These Dominican teaching Sisters have sacrificed their life to provide a service to the Catholic community. They have chosen to give up getting married and having their own families so that they can live a more holy life which includes teaching our children. They appear to demand you are worthy of that sacrifice. They appear to be strict, demanding but loving of their charges. They appear to offer education for much less than the New Mass (Novus Ordos) based schools because the teachers or nuns don’t take a separate salary. They appear to make accommodations for larger families.
The Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux Mother House (this apparently means headquarters) is at La Celle, on the outskirts of Brignoles in the south of France. This Motherhouse serves approximately nine girls’ schools. Six schools are located in France, two in the US and since 2012, one in the Federal Republic of Germany, near Freiburg in Breisgau. There may be a school in Argentina I am not sure. They recently celebrated 10 new young women who have joined their order and have grown from 3 nuns in 1975 to over 200 in 2015.
Short history. In the 19th century, the Congregation of the Holy Name of Jesus started off as a separate group of nuns dedicated to teaching girls and women. Their Congregation had issues including living through the modernist French Revolution of the time and in 1885, Congregation of the Holy Name of Jesus became Tertiaries in the Order of St. Dominic. Thus, their proper name became Dominican Teaching Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus. Surviving the government’s socialist modernist anti-Catholic purge would leave its mark on this Congregation. After the Second Vatican Council, the vast majority of the Dominican order became very liberal, modern and turned their back on many Catholic traditions. The courageous Mother General Dominican Teaching Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus saw the new modernist revolution inside the church beginning to threaten the thriving Congregation, and she prevented them as much as she was able from taking root in her communities. However, opposition from the other superiors of the Dominican Congregation and opposition from progressive and liberal forces from Rome led her to make a definitive decision. With the help of a conservative minister Rev. Father Calmel, Order of the Preachers (O.P.) this Mother General choose to leave the authoritarian progressive dominated society of her time and cloister with other conservative, traditional Sisters. In 1975, in defense of the true Faith, she and several Mothers and Sisters left their religious family with one postulant, three books, and no money. Today in 2015 there were over 200 Sisters of the Congregation of the Dominican Teaching Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus of Fanjeaux.
The founder of the Society Archbishop Lefebvre had for years urged the Dominican teaching Sisters to found a school in America for American girls. When looking to found their first daughter house in America, they looked for an unspoiled place with as a strong Catholic and conservative anchor to start their ministry in the US. They choose Idaho. It was that in 1991, seven Dominicans arrived in Post Falls, Idaho, with nothing but seven suitcases and 7,000 pine trees, ready to continue the mission of the Congregation across the Atlantic. That Dominican school now has a new school building, and over 200 girls K – 12 attend. It is one of their largest and most successful daughter houses in the world.
The Dominican Teaching Sisters continue to open up new schools in the US. The Holy Name of Jesus Academy in Massena New York was established in 2007 and is yet another daughter schools of the Dominican Teaching Sisters. The Dominican Teaching Sisters appear to be ready to open their third American traditional Catholic school deep in the Appalachian Mountains of Walton, Kentucky. That school will be called Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy in Walton, KY in the Diocese of Covington. The person who spoke about that potential school is Sister Mary Jordan Fullerton, a member of the Dominican Teaching Sisters. It is very rare for these Sisters to interact with the general public. Thus I was happy to find her words. She said the following about her school purpose.
Sister Fullerton said the planned “rich classical curriculum” includes history, math, geography, science and English, including reading and recitation. Latin and French instruction begin in sixth grade, and special attention is given to philosophy in grade 12.
“Through the curriculum offered, we aim, like every school, to transmit to students the knowledge and the competence that will allow them to graduate. In addition and simultaneously, we wish to develop in them all the talents which will allow them to fulfill their role as Christians, free and responsible in tomorrow’s society,” she said. “The choice means, which our schools use, of accomplishing this profound formation of the heart and of the intelligence, and of fostering the ability to live in society, is to awaken the students to a broad culture, explicitly Christian in its inspiration and its content. This teaching arouses in the student of every age not only curiosity, but also the desire and the responsibility to understand the world in which he lives and to unify his knowledge.”
I have come across a few comments on the “inter-tubes of the Internet” that speak harshly of these Sisters. You can hear the self-centered attitudes of these parents just be reading their comments, and you wonder how selfish their children were. It appears the truth is that these conservative, traditional Catholic Sisters are strict and demanding. They demand that you perform and work hard. They do not teach in the modern method of everyone wins, everyone is special, and everyone is the center of attention.
If you want your children to be pampered, send them to your local New Order Mass based Catholic private school. If you want your children to be pushed hard, and taught a classic Western and traditional Catholic education, consider one of the (hopefully three) schools run by the Dominican Teaching Sisters, and pray they have space available.
Young women, who are interested in religious life, write (even in the German language or English) requests to the:
Dominican Enseigantes de Fanjeaux
St- Dominique du Cammazou