The Order of Friars Preachers, popularly called the “Dominicans,” was founded by St. Dominic in 1216. I joined 746 years later. In 1966, I took solemn vows in the Order, and after three more years of study, I was ordained to the priesthood. Only a small percentage of Dominicans are priests, however.
An extended family of nuns, brothers(or “friars,” as the English pronounced the French frère ), sisters, lay women and men, and priests, the Dominican Order is found all over the world. Its headquarters is in Rome at the beautiful old church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. The main work of the members is preaching and teaching, which take many forms, from missionary work to teaching computer science.
From the beginning, the friars have been organized into provinces for administrative purposes. There are four provinces in the United States. I am a member of the Central or Midwestern Province , named in honor of St. Albert the Great, the thirteenth-century scientist, mystic, and philosopher who taught St. Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart. I have also taught in Oxford for the English Province, at a house of studies called Blackfriars Hall , which is also a permanent private hall of the University. The present Master of the Order, Fr. Carlos Aspiroz Costa, is from Argentina.