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 Early Foundations in the 20th Century       


1905   House of Studies in Washington D.C.

Dominican House of Studies, Washington D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C.--One of the deterrents to full Dominican life among the early friars on the frontier was the lack of traditional emphasis on study, one of the basic elements given to the Order by St. Dominic. That emphasis was sacrificed for many decades to the founding of the Church in parishes and dioceses, whether in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, or other places. Some friars were sent to Europe to study; and Regents of Studies were sometimes appointed for brief periods. But not until the turn of the century was a proper House of Studies set up in 1905. adjoining the new and struggling Catholic University of America.

The other houses of studies in U.S. which were built and organized after the one in Washington in 1905 were River Forest, Illinois, in 1922, Oakland, California, in 1932, and Dubuque, Iowa, in 1956.


1901   Sinsinawa Sisters Open St. Clara College

St. Clara College University
History Time-Line 
RIVER FOREST, IL--Dominican Sisters in the early 1900's were attending colleges and universities in increasing numbers at home and abroad, and beginning to establish colleges for young women.. The Sinsinawa congregation opened St. Clara College (later Rosary College, then Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois) which granted its first bachelor's degrees in 1904. 


1902   The Great Bend Dominican Sisters

Sister Antonina Fischer

 Slide Show
100 Years on the Plains

GREAT BEND, KS--The first decade of the century was marked by a foundation in Kansas, far from the concentration of Dominican men and women on the east an
The seven sisters who left New York to go to Great Bend, Kansas in 1902.
d west coasts. It was from Brooklyn  that the former prioress of the Dominican community of Holy Cross, Antonina Fischer, founded in 1902 the congregation of Dominican Sisters of Great Bend who would offer ministry in education and health care.


1904   Fire Destroys St. Catharine Academy

The beautiful structure built in the valley by the first Dominican foundation in the U.S. in Kentucky was destroyed by fire in 1904. The Sisters thanked God that no life was taken during the horrendous fire that destroyed St. Catharine's. Their hearts were broken but their spirits and determination were not crushed. The Kentucky Dominican sisters resolved to rebuild. This time, however, not in the valley but on the Heights.


 U.S. History Timeline

 1906   San Francisco Earthquake:

San Francisco earthquake leaves 500 dead or missing and destroys about 4 sq mi of the city


1910   Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor

NEW YORK, NY--In 1910 Mary Walsh obtained the official recognition of the Church for the community of women she had gathered in New York in 1879 to offer health care to the poor in their homes. These Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor later moved their central house to Ossining on the Hudson. [In July, 1995 three Dominican Congregations, Fall River, Newburgh, and Ossining joined to become the Dominican Sisters of Hope.]

1910   Sending Missions Abroad

U.S. Dominican Missionaries

At the close of the twentieth century Dominican men and women from the United States offered a variety of ministries in the mission fields throughout the world.

 Click here to view the list.
SAN JOSE, CA--Soon after the Church in the United States emerged from its former mission status in 1908 Dominicans in the United States began sending members on mission to other countries. The first were the sisters from Mission San Jose, who in 1910 opened a school and then a novitiate in Mexico. The first American friars to staff a foreign mission were those of St. Joseph Province, who in 1924 sent men to Kienning-Fu in south China and later invited the Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, Ohio, to join them.

1912   Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic Founded

HAWTHORNE, NY--In 1912 the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic were founded by Mary Joseph Rogers at Hawthorne, New York to be the first American Dominican congregation of sisters founded specifically to serve in the foreign missions. They were given official approval of the Church in 1920.

1912   The Western Province of Friars Restored

OAKLAND, CA--The friars who began the California foundation in 1850 were obliged by frontier limitations on personnel and resources to set aside their status as a full province in 1864 and assume that of a congregation or vicariate. But by 1912 the Province of Holy Name was fully restored, with their central house in Oakland and ministries along the coast from Mexico to Alaska.

 U.S. History Timeline

 1914-18   World War I:

U.S. enters World War I, declaring war on Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1917 three years after conflict began in 1914.

 1916   Influenza Epidemic:

Nationwide over 7,000 deaths occurred and 27,363 cases were reported of polio (infantile paralysis) in America's worst polio epidemic.

 1919   Women Suffrage:

Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting women
the right to vote


1915-25   Monasteries of Nuns of the Order

Monasteries of nuns of the Order multiplied in the decade between 1915 and 1925, with eight new foundations established from coast to coast. Nuns from Newark opened a monastery in Cincinnati in 1915 and another in Los Angeles in 1924. From the monastery of Farmington Hills, Michigan nuns formed a new community in Albany, New York in 1915; and in New Jersey a group from Union City opened a house in Summit in 1919. From the Bronx monastery a foundation was made in Menlo Park, California in 1921. Nuns from Catonsville, Maryland opened a monastery in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1922 and another in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1925. In the same year, the monastery at Camden opened a daughter house at Syracuse, New York.

1923-31   Five Dominican Colleges Founded

Between two world wars five colleges were founded. Providence College, conducted by the Province of St. Joseph, granted its first degree in 1923. In succeeding years Siena Heights College, founded by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, granted degrees in 1924, Ohio Dominican College at Columbus in 1927, and Albertus Magnus in New Haven, both conducted by the Dominicans of St. Mary of the Springs, gave bachelor's degrees in the following year. At Berkeley, California the Dominican School of Theology and Philosophy, conducted by the Holy Name Province, gave degrees in 1936. The pioneer congregation among American Dominican Sisters, St. Catharine's, Kentucky, opened a junior college of the same name and first granted associate degrees in 1931.

Click on the squares below to visit the Dominican Schools on the World Wide Web:

1923   Two Newburgh Congregations
           Become Autonomous

Two widely separated provinces of the Newburgh congregation became autonomous congregations in 1923.

The future Mother Aquinas (Kathleen) Logan takes final vows at the hands of the first Prioress General, Mother Guilelma Stafford. (Edmonds, WA)
The Edmonds Dominican Sisters

ABERDEEN, WA--The first, which was founded at Aberdeen, Washington in 1890, now became the Dominican congregation of Everett, and later Edmonds, Washington.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters

ADRIAN, MI--The second group had become a Michigan province of the Newburgh congregation in 1892, centered at Adrian. In 1923 they became autonomous and called themselves "The Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary." Their provincial, Camilla Madden, became the first prioress of the new Adrian congregation. The Motherhouse is now situated in a four-story brick building that evolved from the original building erected so many years ago.

1923   The Dominican Mission in China

SOUTHEAST CHINA--The first mission to be accepted by the St. Joseph Province of friars was the Fukien mission in southeast China. Originally founded by Spanish missionary friars, it was entrusted to the Americans in 1923. The American friars were joined in the endeavor by a group of Dominican sisters from Columbus, Ohio. Great progress was made in spreading the Gospel there until the Communist revolution broke out following the Second World War. During the ensuing struggle between government forces and the rebels, one of the missionary friars, James Luke Devine, was captured and eventually killed by rebels in 1947. When the Communists finally gained complete control two years later, all foreign missions in China were closed and the missionaries expelled. A few friars from the province were held in detention for a time and suffered brutalities at the hands of the authorities. However, all of the Dominicans being held were eventually released with the last one returning home in 1956.
 SOURCE: John A. Langlois, O.P., The Province of St. Joseph: A Brief History


1929   The Akron Dominican Sisters

AKRON, OH--At the end of the 1920's the Caldwell sisters, by arrangement of the bishop of Cleveland, were given the choice of joining a new branch of the Order at Akron, Ohio or remaining in their New Jersey community. This second Dominican congregation in Ohio, which came into being a century after the first one at Somerset, was established in 1929.

 U.S. History Timeline

 1929   Stock Market Crash Ushers in the Great Depression:


 1932   First Woman Elected to the United States Senate:

Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband. She is reelected in 1932 and 1938.



Dominican Leadership Conference


The Dominican Leadership Conference began in 1935 as a conference of Dominican mothers general of the United States. Today it brings together yearly the leaders of sisters and friars in American congregations and provinces.

CREDITS: The timeline is based primarily on the contents of THE ORDER OF PREACHERS IN THE UNITED STATES, edited by Mary Nona McGreal O.P. and published by Editions du Signe of Strasbourg. Vol. I, Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786-1865, published in 2001, is available from PROJECT OPUS, 5082 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60644 Another source is the article by M.N.McGreal in the Encyclopedia of American Catholic History, requested by Michael Glazier and published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN. The original content of the book and article has been edited and adapted into a time-line format using photos and other resources on the web.
 USA Dominican Life Today
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Don Kania, OP