The Dominican Order dates back to 1206 when St. Dominic de Guzman established an order of preachers to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Order rapidly grew and continues to flourish throughout the world with communities of friars, nuns, and active religious sisters. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia were founded in 1860 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA and have grown to a membership in 2015 of approximately 300 religious sisters. Their main work is the living of religious life in community and in providing Christian education to young people in institutions of learning in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Italy with additional mission houses in Scotland and the Netherlands.
Greyfriars Convent dates back to 1479 when the Order of Friars Minor, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi built a friary for living Franciscan religious life and for charitable works in the Elgin community. Parts of the convent became a ruin after the Reformation. All was rebuilt in 1898 through the beneficence and vision of the third Marquis of Bute, John Crichton-Stuart who allowed the newly-arrived Sisters of Mercy to use it for a religious house. In 1944 his heir, Colum Crichton-Stuart donated the convent to the Sisters of Mercy with the provision that should they leave, the property would pass into the hands of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen. Greyfriars Convent once again became a centre of Catholic religious life and good works, as the Sisters of Mercy trained young women in the religious life and ran schools throughout Moray. The Sisters left Greyfriars in 2010 due to a declining membership and the property passed into the hands of the Diocese of Aberdeen.
In 2013 at the request of Right Reverend Hugh Gilbert, OSB, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen, four Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia took up residence in Greyfriars Convent, Elgin for the purpose of bringing religious life back to this historic convent and to provide faith formation opportunities to the people of the area. The sisters engage in various apostolates in Scotland: volunteering in local Catholic schools religious education programs, providing sacramental preparation for the local parish, St. Sylvester’s, running youth groups, planning and running retreats and days of recollection for teenagers, young adults, and adults, leading Catholic Faith Formation series for adults, and giving talks to parishes, university groups, and schools when requested.