The Doctor of Sacred Letters will recognize the community of Queen of Peace Monastery for their formation as Catholic religious women in the Dominican intellectual and monastic tradition. It also recognizes their extraordinary work in establishing a new monastery near the Vancouver-Whistler corridor in the Upper Squamish area of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. This community is a prophetic witness to the integration of the Catholic intellectual tradition within a stable monastic community of prayer, work, learning, fraternal charity, and monastic hospitality. This community of Dominican Nuns is an integral part of the Order of Preachers, an ancient Catholic Order that goes back to 13th century France, and one which claims a long tradition of intellectual and influential members, including St. Dominic (de Guzman), St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Martin de Porres, Meister Eckhart and several canonised popes. These Nuns of the Order of Preachers began in British Columbia in 1999 with five members, and today there are nine professed nuns, along with two members in formation. By 2009 the steady growth in the maturity of this foundation in Western Canada was formally recognized and affirmed by the Holy See, the Order of Preachers and the Archbishop of Vancouver, and thus it was “given the privileges and spiritual favours and obligations which all Monasteries of the Dominican Order legitimately enjoy.” The community comprises members from different parts of Canada, the United States, Europe, the Philippines, Australia, and Africa. They also bring with them various academic and artistic credentials, as well as work and service experiences. From temporary homes in South Surrey and Fort Langley, the community has secured 82 acres of land in the Upper Squamish River Valley. The building of a 23,000 square foot monastery, nearing completion, will be the home for their monastic life and presence, a life of freely chosen withdrawal by enclosure and silence. An integral part of the community’s mission of monastic welcome is its liturgical prayer - open to all, the provision of meeting space in a contemplative setting for the wider local community, and in due course, a small guest house.
Canada’s only other Dominican monastery is in French-speaking Berthierville, Quebec, founded in 1925. The honorary degree will be received on behalf of the community of Queen of Peace Monastery by their Prioress, Sister Claire Marie (Rolf), OP.