Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province
“For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34) Evidently, from all eternity, God has destined that a small group of 13 Dominican sisters, missioned on the coast of Vietnam who cannot return to the Motherhouse after the Fall of Saigon in 1975, braved the rough unknown seas to start afresh in the Americas.
The late Archbishop John Louis Morkovsky and his then chancellor who later became his successor, Joseph Anthony Fiorenza, welcomed the immigrant Sisters to the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in 1978. Ever since the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province have been ministering in the Dioceses of Galveston- Houston, Beaumont, Victoria, Fort Worth, and Orange (in Southern California). Their recent appearances at the Astros home games have given them the name, the Rally Nuns.
Currently there are 103 sisters in the province with half of the sisters teaching in the Catholic School Education system and/or in the parish CCE programs. Among the hundred sisters, there are many hidden talents, which came to the fore recently through the sacred art workshops at the convent: Dominican Sacred Art through the style of Fra Angelico and the Byzantine Iconography Retreat.
Under the guidance of the Dominican friar and artist, Reverend Father Dominic Bump, O.P., the sisters painted the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and St. Dominic at the foot of the Cross using oil paints mimicking the fresco-like methods of Fra Angelico. As the sister painted the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a constant prayer came to mind, “Mold my heart unto thine.” Like Saint Dominic, daily the Sisters kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, interceding for the salvation of souls.
“Iconography has a very special connection to monasteries and monks and nuns, and there is no better place for iconography to happen, than in a community of sisters,” says Father Elias Rafaj who taught the sisters how to write icons with acrylic paints. Some sisters wrote the Salus Populi Romani icon from Santa Maria Maggiore basilica in Rome, 7th century while others painted the Theotokos Eleousa (of compassion), 14th century fresco from Constantinople and the monastery complex of Chora. For many sisters, this is the first time! However, with much prayer, dedication, and guidance, the results are beyond their imagination. The Lord works wonders to those who humbly trust in Him and generously apply their gifts and talents for His glorification.
Sister Amata Veritas Lam is a Novice of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province since 2022. While still an undergrad at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Sister Amata Veritas befriended the Dominican Sisters, who were teaching and studying there. Compelled by the love of Christ and the joyful witnesses of the Sisters, Sister Amata Veritas entered the religious life. A lover of the fine arts, Sister enjoys performing on stage since childhood, plays the violin since 6 th grade, and spends her leisure time baking and engaging in the arts and crafts.
Sister Mary Dolores Pham, O.P. was born and raised in Edmonton, AB Canada. In 2018 she moved to Texas to join the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province. Currently she is a 1st year temporary professed Sister and is pursing a degree in education with the hopes of becoming a high school science teacher. Sister Mary Dolores enjoys skiing and reading; she knits when time allows. Her “heart” icon was inspired by the Immaculate Heart and the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, her patroness.