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Saint Vincent Ferrer High School: A Catholic School Deepens its Dominican Roots

By Blackfriars Staff

“A large part of teaching has been developing relationships—not simply conveying knowledge, but getting to know the students and helping them grow in the Faith and become the young ladies God intended them to be.” —Father Matthew Carroll, O.P.

Father Matthew Carroll, O.P., with religion students at Saint Vincent Ferrer High School. Photos by M.J. O’Toole


Sister Martha Kunesh, O.P., with math student. Photo: M.J. O’Toole

Saint Vincent Ferrer High School, a girls’ college preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, was founded by the Dominican Friars in 1884 and recently took two steps to deepen its Dominican roots.

The principal, Sister Gail Morgan, O.P., reached out to Prior Provincial Father Kenneth Letoile, O.P., to request that a Dominican Friar be assigned as the sophomore religion teacher. “It was my desire to have more of a Dominican presence at the school,” says Sister Gail.

In response to her request, Father Matthew Carroll, O.P., began teaching religion in September 2016. “A large part of teaching has been developing relationships—not simply conveying knowledge, but getting to know the students and helping them grow in the Faith and become the young ladies God intended them to be,” says Father Carroll.

On September 8th, 2017, the feast of the Blessed Mother’s birthday, Sister Gail together with Sister Martha Kunesh, O.P, and Sister Christine Cosgrove, O.P.—all Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Springs of Bridgeport—began wearing the Dominican habit. Their habits were made by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to Sister Gail, in the wake of Vatican II, many religious felt pressure to abandon traditional garb. “The mantra was that we should be attentive to the signs of the times. Those signs are very different today. People need to see that we’re committed to religious life.”

Sister Christine adds that, before adopting the habit, it was hard to explain to the students how the Sisters’ way of life was unique. “I realized that God was calling me to put the net in on the other side.”

Sister Christine Cosgrove, O.P. (left), with Sister Gail Morgan, O.P. Photo: M.J. O’Toole

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