St. Vincent Ferrer Church: An Oasis of Solitude

March 4, 2012

This past summer, the New York Times published an article describing some of the “oases of solitude and quiet in Manhattan.”  On the list was St. Vincent Ferrer Church run by the Dominican Friars.  The article spoke highly of the architectural beauty of St. Vincent’s and the refuge it provides in a city where, even when there are people crowded all around, one can still feel alone with God.  Taking a reflective moment to sit in church can bring great calm to the otherwise busy atmosphere of New York City. Amongst all the other oases, the article said this about St. Vincent Ferrer:

Stop in, for example, at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, one of more than 200 churches that quietly make their spiritual pitch amid the clamor of commerce. Believer or nonbeliever, no matter; this Upper East Side sanctuary, dedicated by the Dominican friars in 1918, is an architectural delight, inviting all comers to sit awhile and become lost in the dominant celestial blue of the stained glass. Accept the offer. Take a seat in one of the dark-wood pews. Outside, in the late morning heat, students hustle west, eagerly, to classes at Hunter College, while others walk east, pensively, toward the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Inside, in the incense-laced coolness, only the gentle rattle of votive candleholders being tended by a sexton disturbs the silence. Actually, no: the noise somehow heightens the silence.

If you live in New York and haven’t yet been to St. Vincent Ferrer, it is definitely worth the visit.  A friend of mine, who grew up in Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan for years, visited St. Vincent Ferrer for the first time two years ago and said, “I could not believe that a church such as this existed in my city.”  Stop by and enjoy the silence.

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