Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
February 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Dominican Friars


[This article was published in 1948. For the full citation, see the end of the teaxt.]

Dominican Friars. This religious order was founded by St. Dominic (1170-1221) in the early years of the thirteenth century, with the object of combating the Albigensian heresy in southern France. The name of the order is derived from that of its founder, but the name of "Preaching Friars" (O.P.) was given to it by Pope Innocent III at the time of its foundation. Honorius III designated the friars "the champions of the faith and the true lights of F the world", when he formally approved the order in 1216; but they have been something more than mere preachers. The originality of the Dominican ideal lies in this, that, far from preferring action to contemplation, the Preaching Friars consider the latter as the one true source of the former. One of the fundamental obligations of the Dominican life is study; and the other is asceticism, including penitential exercises and prayer. The result is that the order has produced both outstanding preachers and great mystics. The distinctive habit of the order consists of a tunic, a scapular, and a hood of white wool, a leather girdle with a rosary suspended from it, and a large black mantle and hood. From this they have been commonly known in England as "Black Friars".


The Canadian province of St. Dominic had its beginnings in 1873, when the Dominicans established themselves in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. Here a novitiate was opened in 1885. This was transferred to Ottawa in 1900; and in 1909 the college became a studium générale, or university, of the order. Other establishments were founded in Montreal in 1901, in Quebec in 1919, in Sackville, New Brunswick, in 1926, and in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 1929, in Sherbrooke in 1939. The Dominican houses in Canada, together with two in the United States (Lewiston, Maine, founded in 1881, and Fall River, Massachusetts, founded in 1887), were organized as an autonomous province in 1911. Priors preside over the individual houses. In 1931 the Canadian Dominicans undertook, at the request of the Holy See, the direction of the missionary diocese of Hakodate, Japan. See Constitutiones Fratum S. Ordinis Predicatorum (Rome, 1932) and J. B. Reeves, The Dominicans (New York, 1930).

Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 222.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College