New Audio Recordings of Dominican Poets

May 8, 2014

Matthew Powell, O.P., Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Film at Providence College, has assembled an anthology of poems by Dominican friars, sisters and laity (forthcoming, New Priory Press). He has made a few audio recordings of poems from the collection available, in advance of the book’s release. The following is a small sample of the poetic work that Fr. Matthew has compiled. He has generously shared these recordings of himself reading four poems by various authors.

Ars Morendi: The Art of Dying, by Dominic Rover, O.P.

Dominic Rover, O.P. (1920-1998), a friar of the Province of Saint Joseph taught theology at the Dominican House of Studies and Providence College. He was also a spiritual director, retreat preacher and prolific writer. Besides his poems and works in theology he wrote three plays that were produced at the Blackfriars Theatre in New York and a series of television scripts for the Catholic Hour on NBC. Father Rover wrote Ars Morendi: The Art of Dying, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, an incurable progressive neurological disorder, which eventually killed him.

The Fourth Beatitude, by Benedict Ashley, O.P.

Father Benedict Ashley, O.P. (1915-2012), a communist and atheist in his youth, studied comparative literature at the University of Chicago. While there he converted to Catholicism after reading the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas under Mortimer Adler. Father Ashley later became a major exponent of what became known as the River Forest School of Thomism. He taught at various institutions including the Dominican School of Philosophy at River Forest, Illinois; Saint Louis University and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute. During his long life, Father Ashley wrote nineteen books and dozens of poems.

The Prayer of Father Dominic, by Mary Alphonsus Downing, O.P.

Mary Ellen Downing ( 1828-1869) while in her teens was active in the movement for Irish independence and wrote for the nationalist newspaper. After the British government suppressed the group and arrested most of her friends, Downing entered the Third Order of Saint Dominic with Mother Mary Imelda, O.P., prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Drogheda, as her spiritual director. She wrote over 500 poems which she published under her tertiary name, Sister Mary Alphonsus. The Prayer of Saint Dominic is from her collection Voices From the Heart.

Creation by Damian Magrath, O.P.

Damian Magrath, O.P. (d. 1982), a friar of the English Province, ministered most of his priestly life in South Africa where he taught theology, wrote theological articles and poems and served in vicariate administration. Creation is from his book When Time and Meaning Are One.

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