About the Dominican Friars Foundation

History of the Dominican Friars & More

St. Vincent Ferrer
On May 5th each year, the Order of Preachers celebrates the feast of one of its greatest preachers and miracle workers, St. Vincent Ferrer.

The Order of Preachers is a vibrant religious community of men with an 800-year-old tradition. In 1216, Saint Dominic founded the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Friars, the Blackfriars, or simply the Friars. The Order’s founding mission was to combat the heresies of its day by preaching the Truth of Jesus Christ with ardent zeal and intellectual reasoning.

Through eight centuries, the Dominican Friars continued the tradition of Saint Dominic through prayer, study, fraternity, and preaching. By this tradition, the Order has produced over seventy saints and two hundred blesseds, including Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Catherine of Siena, and Saint Martin de Porres.

Today, the Dominican Friars continue this great tradition, dedicating their lives to preaching the Truth. They serve in universities, parishes, international missions, military chaplaincies, television and radio. The Friars give their lives that the world may come to know Jesus Christ.

The Province of Saint Joseph was founded by Father Fenwick in 1805, becoming the first province of Dominican Friars in the United States. Today, the Province extends from the East Coast to Kentucky and from New England to Virginia. Its headquarters are in New York City, and its House of Studies is in Washington, D.C. The provincial apostolates include the following:

  • Providence College (founded and run by the Dominican Friars)
  • chaplains at Dartmouth, Brown, University of Virginia, New York University, Johns Hopkins, Quinnipiac University, and more
  • 18 parishes
  • professors at universities and seminaries, including Dunwoodie, New York and St. John’s, Boston
  • chaplains to Dominican cloistered nuns
  • chaplains to armed services
  • itinerant preaching at colleges and parishes

The Province of Saint Joseph is among the fastest growing communities of men’s religious orders in the United States. We have over 70 men in formation, putting our houses at capacity. Many men come to the Order already having advanced degrees from top universities, and some are leaving behind successful careers. They all come with a desire to give themselves in service to God and the Church. Other orders are scrambling to recruit new members, but we have the opposite problem.  We are in need of financial support for these young men who desire to give their lives in service to the Church. This growth in vocations is a down payment for what God has in store for the Church and the world. As our society turns further away from God, these men will respond with the effective tradition inherited from Saint Dominic.


The Dominican Friars Foundation is the 501(c)3 advancement arm of the Province of Saint Joseph.  Founded in 2008, the Foundation unifies the various fundraising efforts that supported the Province throughout the years.  Such efforts include devotional shrines and formation appeals. The Dominican Friars Foundation is headquartered in New York City, adjacent to our parish at St. Vincent Ferrer. The Foundation is headed by Father Gabriel Gillen, O.P., and is staffed by lay professionals. Father Luke Clark, O.P. serves as the regional director in Washington, D.C..

The Dominican Friars Foundation’s express purpose is to support the Dominican Friars of the Province of Saint Joseph. Two groups particularly depend on the Foundation’s support: the aging friars who have fought the good fight and the young who are preparing for battle.

 St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church

St. Thomas Aquinas
“This (Dominican) Order … acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools.” — Pope Benedict XV

St. Thomas Aquinas is honored as a Doctor of the Church, and considered the Order’s greatest theologian and philosopher.

Saint Thomas is an authentic model for all who seek the truth. In his thinking, the demands of reason and the power of faith found the most elevated synthesis ever attained by human thought…”

— Saint John Paul II

“From on high the fount of wisdom poured abundance on holy Thomas like a river of clear knowledge, and he poured out the grace he had received of unrestrained and highest skill, and he watered the whole of holy Church.” 

— Matins responsory for the feast of St Thomas Aquinas