November 20, 2019

A Chaplain’s Thoughts: The Dominican Mission

By Rev. James F. Quigley, O.P. ’60
Associate Chaplain
National Alumni Association

Rev. James F. Quigley, O.P. ’60
Rev. James F. Quigley, O.P.

Alumni, faculty, and staff recently gathered in the College’s cemetery to pray for those deceased Dominicans buried there. Who were these friars?

St. Dominic began his priestly ministry serving at the cathedral in the Spanish town of Osma. That soon changed when he came in contact with the larger world of Western Europe and its cultural diversity. The Catholic faith then was attacked by movements that challenged its core beliefs and its moral vision. 

Dominic could not just stand by; he rushed in to teach, preach, clarify, defend, give witness to, and promote the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gradually, he was joined in that mission by others, and thus was born the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans. 

For more than 800 years, Dominic’s vision has continued to motivate the brothers and sisters of the Order. The serious study of truth about God, Jesus Christ, the Church, the human person, and the meaning of a moral vision for existence have been the energy of its ministries. Friars, joined by women religious and laity, have preached the gospel over time in a variety of contexts, e.g., universities, parishes, overseas missions, through scholarship, writing, art, science, and spiritual counselling. Dominicans have done this for more than 100 years at Providence College. 

This ministry of Catholic education tries to capture in today’s culture what Dominic did so long ago. With intelligence, hard work, charity, and openness to others, the preachers try to serve all brothers and sisters in Christ.  

There are now 113 brothers buried in the College’s cemetery. They were men with varied talents and personalities, gifts, and interests. Faithful to their vocation to truth, to the Order, and to the Church, and dedicated to thousands of young women and men students, they were not perfect but died trying.