Dominican Rosary Walks Connect Community

In the Holy Family Foyer, (from left,) Campus Minister Rebecca Wallace ’15, student Chloe Guidry ’23, and Vice President of Dominican Catholic Identity Maureen Wright, OP, PhD. pray the rosary in front of the giclee print reproduction of The Holy Family. The painting was donated by Mrs. Joan McLaughlin of Munster, Indiana, in memory of the deceased members of the Shondel and McLaughlin Families. Mrs. McLaughlin is the sister of Bro. Roger Shondel, O.P. who is on the school’s staff.

Our Lady Queen of the Rosary Chapel on the second floor of Aquinas Hall at St. Mary’s Dominican High School is a place for celebrating Mass, quiet reflection, and recitation of the Rosary.  This fall school term, it has become a starting place for Rosary Walks. Vice President of Dominican Catholic Identity Maureen Wright, OP, PhD, said inspiration for the walks came when she and Campus Minister Rebecca Wallace ’15 would pray the Rosary in the chapel. 

“The idea came to me one day as I considered how to very intentionally pray for our campus community. While Rebecca and I could pray in the chapel for people, it seemed more impactful to take prayer to our spaces and let people know that when they saw us, we were praying for them. We always begin each Rosary Walk in Our Lady Queen of the Rosary Chapel by verbally sharing any intentions we feel called to pray for that day. It is a communal extension of the daily private prayers that Rebecca and I pray for Dominican,” shared Wright. 

After learning about the first Rosary Walk, students active in the Retreat Team, Student Preachers, and other Dominican Catholic Identity groups asked Wallace to schedule future walks during their free period so they could join them. The Rosary Walks rotate with class periods, allowing different students the opportunity to participate. 

“Faculty and staff have responded very positively by expressing their appreciation and commenting that they saw us pass their classroom. On several occasions faculty and staff who were outside of a classroom have paused what they were doing and entered silence as we passed them,” said Wright. 

In Our Lady Queen of the Rosary Chapel at St.  Mary’s Dominican High School, Campus Minister Rebecca Wallace ’15 prays before the start of a Rosary Walk.

Every Rosary Walk starts in the chapel; however, the route followed is unique. Participants may pray aloud or silently, or simply be present and supportive during the walk.  The walks are inside and outside, with stops at paintings and sculptures throughout the campus.  Dominican is home for several acclaimed works of art by the renowned New Orleans artist Angela Gregory. These include aluminum and walnut panels that trace the life events of Saint Pope John XXII in Alumnae Hall, the bronze architectural sculpture of the Blessed Virgin on the second floor of St. Mary’s Hall, and the sculptural design inspired by the life of Albertus Magnus, O.P., on the second floor of the Gayle and Tom Benson Science and Technology Complex. Also known as Albert the Great, the Dominican Patron of Peace and Patron of Natural Sciences was canonized and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1931. The Erminia Wadsworth Library is home for the Rosary Group sculpture, moved in 2021 from the former Rosaryville Spirit Life Center in Ponchatoula, LA.  Outside the Siena Gymnasium is a sculpture of St. Catherine Siena, who had great influence on the Catholic Church and Italian literature. Canonized in 1461, she is also a Doctor of the Church.

“Dominican is blessed to have so many reminders of the truth of why we are here,” noted Wright. “Yes, we are here to educate our students for life in the world, but we also have a higher calling for the salvation of souls. Dominican has so many beacons of the true, the good, and the beautiful to help us focus on our ultimate goal of an eternal relationship with God. Visitors to our school, including those from other Catholic schools, have commented on the visual expressions in our spaces, and the fact that our Catholic identity is present everywhere on campus. These works of art are true reflections of the Dominican way which incorporates prayer, study, community, and service into all aspects of our lives. It is especially inspiring to walk from one to the next while praying the Rosary. They are waypoints on a pilgrimage of prayer connecting the work of our founding sisters to the future work of our students.”

At the St. Catherine of Siena statue, Dr. Maureen Wright (from left), student Mia Signorelli ’23, and Campus Minister Rebecca Wallace ’15 stop to pray during a Rosary Walk.