By BlackFriars Staff
James Donovan encountered the Dominican Friars at age ten, when he attended a Dominican-run boys’ camp in Staatsburg on the Hudson, New York. He lasted a week, before a bee sting and homesickness sent him back to Astoria, Queens, but he would reconnect with the Friars as a young man.
While studying at a Fordham University, James worked at Bloomingdales and made a daily visit to the nearby Dominican Church of St. Vincent Ferrer. “It reminded me of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on a smaller scale. It was always warm and welcoming, and I liked the fact that they maintained the choir on the sides,” James says. He was drawn to the personalities of the friars, who he remembers as “always working, always doing something, never idle.”
James, a lecturer and middle school principal, met his wife, Patricia, on the S.S. United States the first day out of port en route to Bermuda: “Something inside me clicked and a voice said, ‘She’s the one.’ I went over to her and said, ‘Pardon me, madam, would you like a glass of strawberry champagne?’ She said, ‘Yes, I would.’ The rest is history.” The president of the United States Lines sent a scale model of the S. S. United States to James and Patricia as a wedding gift. It remains on James’ bookshelf to this day.
James and Patricia were married at St. Vincent Ferrer and made it their safe harbor during a life of travels to five continents. They were ‘adopted’ into an Indonesian family (with whom James maintains contact) and invited to Scotland by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Cardinal Thomas Winning, whom they befriended on a transatlantic cruise. Their marriage was blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II.
Patricia passed away in 2017, and remains in the prayers of the Dominican Order.
We are grateful to James and Patricia for their generous support. According to James, a daily reader of St. Catherine of Sienna, whose Dialogue he keeps beside his armchair, “I like the fact the fact the Dominicans are on the front line when it comes to the youth. God knows we need preachers!”