Dominican House of Studies

The Dominican House of Studies, officially the Priory of the Immaculate Conception, is a community of the Province of St. Joseph of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in Washington, DC. It is dedicated to the theological formation of Dominican friars and the service of the church in the Archdiocese of Washington. It serves as a formation community for Dominican candidates for Holy Orders and the Dominican cooperator brotherhood.[1][2] It also operates the Thomistic Institute.[3]

Dominican House of Studies
Monastery information
Other namesPriory of the Immaculate Conception
OrderOrder of Preachers
DioceseArchdiocese of Washington
PriorThe Very Rev. Father Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P.
Location487 Michigan Ave., N.E.,
Washington, D.C.,
United States
Coordinates38.9317°N 76.9993°W / 38.9317; -76.9993
Public accessYes

It houses:


The Dominican House of Studies is located on Michigan Avenue NE, directly across from The Catholic University of America, in the part of northeastern Washington, D.C. that was once known as "Little Rome", today more commonly referred to as Edgewood.

The building was initially called the College of the Immaculate Conception and located on what was then Bunker Hill Road NE. It was designed in the Gothic style by architect A.O. Von Herbulis, architect of several buildings for the Catholic Church. The exterior walls were to be built of Indiana limestone, the building was to accommodate about 150 students, and the estimated cost was $300,000. A building permit was applied for in April, 1903.[4]The contract for construction was awarded to the Brennan Construction Company at the beginning of June, 1903.[5] Construction could not begin, however, because a building permit had still not been issued due to a question of whether the proposed slate roof supported by wooden beams complied with laws passed by Congress limiting the height of residential buildings that were not completely fireproof. On June 19, 1903 District of Columbia Engineer Commissioner Col. John Biddle recommend a permit be issued, and construction could finally commence.[6] Construction was completed in 1905, and a private dedication by cardinal James Gibbons was held at 12:00 noon on August 20, 1905. The reason the dedication was private was due to the chapel not being completed. At this time about 40 students from Kentucky and Ohio were in residence at the college.[7]

In addition to the Pontifical Faculty, the priory is home to the journal The Thomist and the Dominican College Library. It also provides office space to the Washington Theological Consortium, of which it is a member,[8] and the Leonine Commission, the commission preparing the critical edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas.

The Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception


The Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception (or PFIC) was founded in 1941 by the Holy See; however, it traces its origins to 1834 when the first house of studies (or "general studium") was established in Somerset, OH under the leadership of Nicholas Dominic Young, O.P. After the founding of The Catholic University of America, the Province moved the house of studies to Washington, D.C. in 1905. With a major university nearby, the Eastern Province Dominicans could continue the long-standing tradition of training the next generation of Friars Preachers in close proximity to other universities, while maintaining their independence. In 1941, the Holy See established the house of studies as a Pontifical University under the title of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception. Most recently, the PFIC received civil accreditation to award the Master of Divinity during the 1970s and, in 1993 the Master of Arts. The PFIC shares the patronage of the Immaculate Conception with the Priory and with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which is across the street.


While the Pontifical Faculty was established in order to educate Dominican Friars of the Eastern Province, the PFIC also accepts students from other religious institutes as well as lay students.

The PFIC offers the following degrees:

The Faculty, primarily intended to train Dominicans for preaching, has a strong affinity to the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. The faculty's Thomistic Institute, founded by Rev. Thomas Joseph White, O.P. and directed by Rev. Dominic Legge,O.P., sponsors lectures in academic centers, such as universities and campus ministries, around the East Coast to engage contemporary issues from the perspective of Aquinas' thought.

The current president of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies is Very Rev. John A. Langlois, O.P. The Vice President and Dean is Rev. Thomas Petri, O.P. A full list of the Faculty may be found at the website for the House of Studies.

Notable Alumni

Dominicana Records

On October 31, 2013 Dominicana Records and the student friars of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., released their first album: In Medio Ecclesiae.

Recorded in historic St. Dominic’s Church in downtown Washington, D.C., and directed by Fr. James Moore, O.P., In Medio Ecclesiae offers fine chant and polyphonic choral pieces from the Church's musical tradition as well as two new compositions by Dominican friars.

Since then, they have released four additional albums. The most recent album, The Hillbilly Thomists, features traditional bluegrass music and was released on December 12, 2017.[9]


  1. "Home". Dominican House of Studies and Priory of the Immaculate Conception. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  2. "Cooperator Brothers - Dominican Friars Province of St. Joseph". Dominican Friars Province of St. Joseph. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  3. "The Thomistic Institute". Thomistic Institute. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  4. "Order of Dominican Fathers to Erect College Building". The Evening Star. 21 April 1903.
  5. "Contract Awarded for Dominican College". The Washington Times. 2 June 1903.
  6. "Application of Dominican Fathers Approved". The Evening Star. 19 June 1903.
  7. "Cardinal Gibbons Will Officiate at the Private Ceremony Tomorrow". The Washington Post. 19 August 1905.
  8. Washington Theological Consortium Membership List
  9. "Dominicana Records Presents "The Hillbilly Thomists" | Order of preachers". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
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