LEWISTON – Three Votive Masses with music will be held to honor the men and women in religious communities who have contributed to the life and development of the parish as part of the inauguration events for Saints Peter and Paul Basilica.

The first will be on Wednesday, May 18, to honor the Daughters of Wisdom. The sisters came to Lewiston in 1988 and volunteered their services in ministry to parishioners who were homebound, in elderly housing, boarding facilities and nursing homes.

At the present time, several sisters serve as catechists and since 1996, one has been director of the parish outreach ministry. Other sisters are involved in Wisdom’s Center in ministry to women and children in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

The Sisters of Charity, or Grey Nuns, will be honored on Thursday, May 19. The sisters arrived in Lewiston in 1878 to establish a formal school. Even though this was not their primary mission, they taught until the early 1890s.

In addition, they established St. Mary’s Hospital, now a regional medical center, the Healey Asylum for orphan boys, St. Joseph Orphanage for girls and the Marcotte Home for the Aged, now expanded and known as d’Youville Pavilion.

On Friday, May 20, the Dominican Fathers, Brothers and Sisters and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart will be honored. The Dominican Fathers arrived in 1881 from Belgium and France and later from Canada and served the parish until 1986.

Some of the fathers who later served were baptized at St. Peter’s. In that 115 year span, the present Saints Peter and Paul was built, as well as St. Peter’s School. St. Dominic High School was opened in 1941 and was a parish high school before becoming a diocesan regional school in 1966.

St. Dom’s Arena was built and later destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and named the Central Maine Youth Center. The parish later sold it to a private party and it is now owned by the city of Lewiston under the name of Colisee.

The Dominican Fathers also established the Catholic Bureau of Social Services, now Tri-County Mental Health Services, and St. Peter’s Credit Union, now Community Credit Union. There were many other accomplishments.

The fathers were assisted by the Dominican brothers, who performed many duties such as sacristan and receptionist, at the church and at the monastery.

The Dominican sisters originally came from Nancy, France, in 1904 and over the years were joined by many from the Lewiston-Auburn community. They taught at St. Peter’s School and St. Dominic Regional High School until 1968. Many of the sisters also served as principals of both schools.

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart came to Lewiston in 1926 and taught at St. Peter’s School until 1961 and at St. Dominic from its foundation until 1991. Many brothers served as principals. Many young men from the Lewiston-Auburn area joined the brothers to become teachers.

All Votive Masses will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Upper Church.

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