A place for music, art and quiet reflection
Your tour guide: Eileen Dushek-Manthe, Sinsinawa Mound
Travel through the southwest corner of Wisconsin and you will notice a series of mounds rising in the distance. As you near the Mississippi River in Grant County, make the last mound your destination. What you see is Sinsinawa Mound, affectionately called "The Mound." On the south side of the Mound is the Motherhouse of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, founded in 1847. The Sisters enjoy sharing their peaceful oasis, so come and visit.
Whether you only have a short time or an entire day, you'll find yourself wanting to stay a little longer. We're famous for our bakery products (especially our cinnamon bread and caramel rolls), as well as the windows in Queen of the Rosary Chapel and the congregation's founder, the Venerable Father Samuel Mazzuchelli. The Mound offers a peaceful place for reflection and inspiration along with an opportunity to explore history and culture. The Native Americans called it "Home of the Young Eagle" and Manitoumie, meaning "Where the Great Spirit dwells."
The grounds and Motherhouse complex span 450 acres. The grounds include lush woodlands, orchards, vineyards, fields and vegetable and flower gardens. They offer a perfect retreat to refresh your soul, take photos, meet friends and experience the unglaciated beauty of southwest Wisconsin.
The Motherhouse sprawls over the land, each building with its own history. The architecture of the buildings built in the 1800s and early 1900s reflects the Italian heritage of Fr. Samuel. The Stone Building (1846) was built from stone taken from the Mound. In 1965, a grand edifice was created which includes Queen of the Rosary Chapel.
This building is the focal point of the Motherhouse complex. It ascends four stories in the round, topped by a sweep of diamond-shaped stained-glass windows and a fluted roof. The Chapel is simple yet rich in its grandeur. African mahogany pews and a Niagara limestone altar made from boulders excavated from the Mound grounds accompany the windows to make this Chapel truly awesome. The windows reflect off the marble floor, changing colors with the movement of the sun. Sister Teresita Kelly reverently designed the windows to show Christ's love for us here on Earth.
Another special feature of the chapel is the Casavant pipe organ. The organ was built in 1965, then the second largest two-keyboard organ in the country, and underwent a major refurbishing in 2009. It has 30 stops and 37 ranks of pipes. Guest organists from around the country are featured every Wednesday at 7 p.m. throughout June, July and August.
The acoustics in the Chapel lend themselves to glorious music. Every November the Sinsinawa Mound Civic Chorus and the Sinsinawa Strings Orchestra usher in Advent with the annual Messiah concert. The Sinsinawa Youth Choir and featured visiting groups also perform in the Chapel throughout the year. The Sinsinawa Strings Orchestra gives an annual July 4th patriotic concert.
The Sinsinawa Book & Gift Gallery is a favorite place of visitors. The art gallery opens a new exhibit bi-monthly with a reception and talk by the featured artist(s). The gallery features art in an array of mediums by artists from around the world. Browse through the many books, art, gift selections and inspirational prayer or meditation items. In support of our Dominican mission for peace and justice, we offer International Fair Trade products. Sinsinawa Bakery items--must have purchases--include delicious breads, rolls and pies.
While you're here, take a stroll around the grounds. There are beautifully landscaped shrines scattered throughout the property that welcome you to sit, rest and reflect. Each one is a special discovery placed along the roadside, tucked in a corner, or up a hillside. Any time of year, the beauty of nature combined with the talent of our grounds staff and volunteer gardeners offer tranquil views.
Labyrinths provide a peaceful place to meditate. The outdoor labyrinth is shaded by trees in the summer and glistens in the winter snow. The indoor labyrinth is easily accessible to everyone.
The history of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation is represented in the Telling Our Story exhibit. View a collection of artifacts and photographs as well as the Sinsinawa collection of Susan S. Frackelton hand-painted porcelain and art pottery.
Fr. Samuel must have recognized the special feel of this place, which he purchased in 1844. An exhibit, "Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, Tracing a Journey," is dedicated to the life and work of Fr. Samuel. Learn about this extraordinary man. The Sisters and other Mazzuchelli supporters are working and praying for Fr. Samuel's beatification.
We welcome the public to come and visit us throughout the year. Please check in at the front desk upon arrival. Contact our guest services staff to arrange a tour group or inquire about retreats.
Often when people leave they remark, "I'll be back. There's just something about this place." We hope to see you soon.