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Our Monastery

 

This is the happy life, and this alone: to rejoice in you, [my God], about you and because of you.  This is the life of happiness, and it is not to be found anywhere else...  Now the happy life is joy in the truth; and that means joy in you, who are the Truth, O God who shed the light of salvation on my face, my God.

-St. Augustine

 
 

Our foundation

As early as 1908, Rev. A.L. McMahon, O.P., then Provincial of the Western Dominican Province, desired to bring to the San Francisco area a monastery of Dominican nuns whose purpose would be to honor and promote devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  But it took until May 29, 1921 to clear away all the difficulties involved in establishing this shrine of love and adoration. 

On that day, the Sunday within the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi, five choir nuns and three lay sisters left our founding monastery at Hunt's Point (Bronx), New York and boarded a westbound train to begin the foundation.  They arrived in Oakland, California on June 2nd and were provided accommodations with the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael until their new home in San Francisco was made ready.  Their first home in the Bay Area was on Eddy Street, approximately six blocks east and six blocks south of Saint Dominic's Church in San Francisco.  It wasn't long, however, before the nuns outgrew their temporary home due to incoming vocations and they had to look for suitable arrangements elsewhere.

 Picture taken from the drive to Vallombrosa Retreat Center ("across the street") of the first phase of our monastery - the chapel wing.  Note to the right of the chapel where we now have the north wing with the public/extern areas and parlors, it's still trees!

Picture taken from the drive to Vallombrosa Retreat Center ("across the street") of the first phase of our monastery - the chapel wing.  Note to the right of the chapel where we now have the north wing with the public/extern areas and parlors, it's still trees!

After several roadblocks, they eventually secured property and began building a new Gothic-style monastery in Menlo Park, California; at the time, it was the last train stop out of the city and the only other development in the area was Saint Patrick's Seminary - most everything else in the area was ranch and farmland, or simply uncultivated.  The nuns really felt that they'd come to the end of the world!

Today, Corpus Christi Monastery sits in the middle of one of the most important and influential areas in the world - halfway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with Facebook and other tech giants in our "backyard".  Despite the changes around us, our mission remains the same; with love and fidelity, we continue to seek the face of God before the Blessed Sacrament and offer our prayers and sacrifices for the apostolic work of the Order and the salvation of souls.


our community today


nuns from our past

A new foundation!  What does it mean to the nuns who make it?  Their enclosure becomes dear to them, beyond what words can express.  Within those monastic walls, the nun has found her refuge, her repose, her Love.  Must the contemplative then go forth from the cleft in the rock?  But across all earthly sounds, above all human beauty, the voice of the Crucified must be followed.

 Silver Jubilee photo of Mother Mary Pia, with Sister M. Columba and Sister M. Albert.

Silver Jubilee photo of Mother Mary Pia, with Sister M. Columba and Sister M. Albert.

From the first nuns of Prouille, france to the shores of California...

From Prouille to Nay, then Dax, followed by Oullins.  From Oullins, under the strong hand of Mother Marie Dominique de Jesus, the first foundation of Dominican nuns in the United States was begun at Newark, New Jersey.  It was the express purpose of Bishop Corrigan, then-bishop of Newark, that they would bring to his diocese the glory of perpetual adoration.  On August 4, 1880, the Feast of our Holy Father Dominic, Bishop Corrigan celebrated Mass in the chapel of the nuns' temporary home, blessed the house and exposed the Blessed Sacrament.  The exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on that occasion was the official inauguration in the United States of perpetual adoration, our nuns being the first religious of any Order or Congregation to bring this privilege to the U.S.  

Bishop Corrigan was subsequently made bishop of New York and desired the Dominican nuns to bring their life of prayer and adoration to his diocese once again.  So, Newark founded Corpus Christi Monastery at Hunt's Point (Bronx), New York in 1889.  Then, in 1921, from Hunt's Point a new foundation was once more made, this time in San Francisco, California.  By God's grace, the nuns of each of these houses heard and responded to the voice of Jesus, leaving behind the familiar for the unknown and trusting in His care and providence.  Who were these women?  Their stories are coming soon.


foundresses from france

Mother Marie Dominique of Jesus, O.P. (1910)
Mother Mary of Jesus, O.P. (1924)
Mother Mary of Mercy, O.P. (1924)
Mother Mary Emmanuel, O.P. (1928)
Mother Maria Dominica of the Rosary, O.P. (1923)


foundresses of corpus christi monastery | menlo Park

Founding Prioress: Mother Mary of the Rosary, O.P. (1950)
Founding Subprioress: Mother Mary Emmanuel, O.P. (1925)

Mother Mary of the Immaculate Heart, O.P. (1945)
Mother Mary Agnes of St. Dominic, O.P. (1937)

Mother Mary of the Visitation, O.P. (1958)
Sister Mary Benedict, O.P. (1936)
Sister Mary Rose, O.P. (1937)
Sister Mary Thomas of the Rosary, O.P. (1947)