SUMMIT, NJ - A gala benefit will be held November 6 to benefit the Dominican Nuns, the "angels of prayer", whose home has been the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit for nearly a century.

The event, Emceed by Summit resident Martha MacCallum -- co-anchor of “America’s Newsroom” on FOX News Channel -- will be held at The Grand Summit Hotel from 6:30 - 11:00 p.m. 

Louis J. Martine (1933-2013), James R. Prisco, Sr. and James R. Prisco, Jr. will be honored at the event; with special guest speakers including Bishop Manuel Aurelio Cruz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark; and Andreas Widmer, author of The Pope and the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard, and Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, The Catholic University of America.  Widmer will talk about his life-changing encounters with Pope St. John Paul II.

In 1206, St. Dominic de Guzman gathered together a group of women converts from the Albigensian heresy at Prouilhe, France.  Forming them into a community of prayer and penance, he associated them with the holy preaching of his brethren, the friars of the Order of Preachers, founded in 1216.  Under Dominic’s care, monasteries were founded in Rome, Bologna, and throughout Europe.  The first American Perpetual Rosary monastery was established in 1891 at the Blue Chapel, Union City, NJ.  In 1919, fifteen sisters led by Mother Mary Imelda Gauthier, O.P., left there to found the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit.

The Dominican nuns have a history and a legacy of helping others, by action as well as prayer. There is much written about their courage during the Holocaust, when they risked their own safety to aid, hide, and save the lives of countless European Jews. There is a local Jewish family who tell the story of their cousins, saved from the Nazis by Dominican nuns and a Dominican priest, who hid them underwater, with straws to breathe, until it was safe. 
 
 
There was Mother Superior Alfonse, who hid Jewish children from the Nazis in the Dominican Convent of Lubbeek near Hasselt.  And Sister Anna Borkowska, Mother Superior of a small group of Dominican nuns in Poland (what is now Lithuania), who in 1941, horrified by the massacre of thousands of Jews in the Ponar Forest near her convent, hid a group of 17 Jews in the convent.  A former Jewish refugee in this convent called it “the only spark of light that shined in the general darkness; the only place where one found brotherhood and human compassion.”

 For almost 100 years, the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit has been a “spark of light” to the community. Dominican nuns from all over the country and the world live a simple existence of contemplation, prayer, work, and study in what is the only cloistered monastery in the Archdiocese of Newark, and the only Dominican monastery in the State of New Jersey.  
 
Their Chapel is open to all those in the community -- of any denomination -- as a quiet place of retreat and prayer.   "We speak with or meet hundreds of people who come to us; we listen, we understand,” says Sister Judith Miryam, O.P., Director of Advancement.  “Sometimes they just want an ear; often they need us to say a prayer for their intentions.  We are cloistered, but not isolated.  We meet up with the world every day of our lives.  It’s about humanity and compassion. It’s not just prayer; it’s a whole mind, body and soul experience.”

The Dominican nuns’ life is made possible through the support of their religious, ecclesiastical and civil superiors, their families, friends, and benefactors. The nuns find work, and help towards their daily expenses, by handcrafting Seignadou Soaps, candles, and a variety of woodwork and needlecraft gifts which they sell in their small cloister gift shop.

Tickets to the Gala, which includes cocktails, dinner, raffles, awards, and entertainment provided by The Infernos, are $250 per person.  Preceding the Gala, at 5:30 p.m., there will be a Mass at Rosary Shrine, located at 543 Springfield Avenue in Summit. 

 
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nunsopsummit.org/fall-2014-gala/ or contact Maryann Cocoziello, Director of Development, via e-mail --  atdevelopment@summitdominicans.org -- or by calling 201 / 452-4996.