Friar by friar.

Friar by friar.

Here’s something to cheer the heart.

The Official Studentate Photo for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph

These are the men in the Easter Province of the USA.

Vocations.  It’s not rocket science.

Speaking of vocations…


… how about supporting even more vocations by refreshing your supply of Mystic Monk Coffee?

Okay.  Dominicans aren’t monks.  They are friars.  But, hey!  I’m trying to sell some coffee here!

Think of it this way, I am sure that many of you like your coffee black, right?  Dominicans wear black, right?  And white?  Think…. milk or even cream!

Okay, the addition milk just confirms that coffee isn’t black after all.  It’s brown.  But work with me here.  Brown… think… Carmelites… as in the Wyoming Carmelites whose coffee you ought to be buying in huge quantities.  Why huge?  To support their way of life and… wait for it… even promote vocations.

See how easy that was?

Mystic Monk Coffee!

It’s swell!

PS: Okay…. I know that Carmelites aren’t monks.  They, too, are friars.  But, hey!  I’m just trying to make a living, okay?  And so are they, okay?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Just Too Cool, Vocations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. The Masked Chicken says:

    “These are the men in the Easter Province of the USA.”

    The men in the Lenten Province fast more. :)

  2. Matt R says:

    Sweet photo!
    I have personally met Br John Baptist Hoang and Br Luke Hoyt; both are excellent men.

  3. ladytatslace says:

    Yeah! for vocations.
    monks, brothers, friars…..
    an explanation of the differences would be helpful

  4. letchitsa1 says:

    Uhm…Eastern Province, perhaps?

  5. iPadre says:

    This is a group of really good men. I know a few of them and some help out in my parish on occasion. Some of the younger ones are learning the Dominican Rite.

  6. Random Friar says:

    To paraphrase something I heard a thousand times,

    “They are an Easter province, and ‘Alleluia’ is their song!”

  7. Katheryn says:

    I second the request to know the difference between monks, friars, and priests.

  8. majuscule says:

    Speaking of those Carmelite coffee monks– they need more space. I understand they are attracting lots of vocations. Buy more coffee! Or donate and pray!

    I love their work habit:

    “For more serious work like running equipment or branding cattle, the brothers wear overalls with the monastic capuche. This garb is dubbed the “extraordinary work habit” and it serves as a protection for the brothers’ safety during serious work.”


  9. Matt R says:

    A friar is a member of a mendicant order; these orders include the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Augustinians, and the Carmelites. Each was established in the 13th century. These orders make the vows of the 3 evangelical counsels, and any time in the cloister is to prepare them for public ministry. The vow of poverty bound both the friars and their orders historically (until Trent, fixed revenues and communal property were forbidden; these restrictions have been modified since).
    A monk is a man living in community who lives a contemplative life away from the world. They live according to the rule of their order, which include the 3 evangelical counsels (but not necessarily worded like the vows of the mendicant orders, which were the first to make those vows of voluntary poverty, perpetual chastity, and entire obedience).
    -From the Catholic Encyclopedia

  10. AnnAsher says:

    You are too funny. Love the photo.

  11. Lucy C says:

    This picture is great! Brother Thomas Davenport and my son, Matthew were classmates back in elementary school – starting in 4th grade! I haven’t seen him or his family in quite some time, but I remember him as a fine young man. God bless him and all his brother Dominicans!

  12. Faith says:

    For Ladytatslace and Katheryn, a monk is strictly cloistered. A friar is half monk, i.e., he leaves the cloister and goes out into the world to work. Monks don’t. They work in their monastery. Friars live in community in places called friars, or priories.
    Brothers can be monks, friars, or other religious. It’s the name given to those who take vows, but are not ordained priests.

  13. Michelle F says:

    I looked at the pictures of their work habits, and I read the description. The traditional style work habit is made of heavy cotton canvas like Carhartt work clothes, and the overalls are nearly the same shade of brown as the work habit.

    Somehow I think this is what the Vatican II Council Fathers had in mind when they recommended that religious orders take advantage of the new fabrics being produced in the 1960s!

    Bravo to the Brothers!

  14. Michelle F says:

    I should have specified that I looked at the pictures of the Carmelite habits via the link provided by majuscule.

  15. NobisQuoQue says:

    They recently celebrated the Ancient Dominican Rite at their House of Studies:

    And speaking of coffee, the cappuccino is related to the habit of the Capuchin Friars.

  16. PhilipNeri says:

    Matt, actually, Dominican friars make only one vow: obedience. The other two counsels are included as part of our obedience to the Rule and the Constitutions.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  17. Matt R says:

    Thanks Fr Philip! Why is that?
    I would become a mendicant friar if I was called to the religious life; there’s something about their vows and spiritual life that’s appealing to me… or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lived in two towns with Dominican parishes (C-ville VA and Louisville KY), and met several Dominican brothers and sisters at different functions.

  18. Katheryn says:

    Okay, so then does that make friars priests, in the sense that they can offer the Sacrafice of Mass, but they don’t run parishes?

  19. Matt R says:

    Friars can be priests, but not all are (Fr Philip, do most Dominicans receive orders?)
    Also, some friars are assigned parishes, and live in community with other members of their order.

  20. capchoirgirl says:

    Yes, the friars are priests. The Dominicans first take their solemn vows to the order and then are ordained to the priesthood. So they’re both. Although, I think you could be a “brother” friar and not take priestly ordination, but I could be wrong.
    Matt R: We Dominicans (I’m a TOP–Third Order Dominican, a Lay Dominican) only take a vow of obedience because all the others are contained within that vow.
    My best friend is in formation for the Eastern Province; he’s in his third year of formation. My Parish (St. Pat’s in Columbus, OH) is also run by the Dominican friars, so right now we have three of them, plus a brother in his diaconate year, and we get two or three student brothers in the summer. IT’s awesome. :)
    So, yes, Katheryn, they do run parishes! Get some! :) :)

  21. Katheryn says:

    Thanks for clearing it up for me! I appreciate the wealth of knowledge that is available on this blog.

  22. Matt R says:

    capchoirgirl, St Francis for example, did not receive priestly ordination, but became a deacon so he could preach publicly and read the Gospel. An answer to a question on Franciscan life by a Franciscan brother on Catholic Answers Forums was interesting.

  23. Southern Baron says:

    As a New Orleanian, cafe au lait with chicory is usually the extent of fanciness in my coffee; but I’ve been more likely to order a cappuccino ever since I learned it’s named for the color of a Capuchin habit.

  24. Random Friar says:

    You can definitely have a Dominican friar who is a brother and not a priest. Sadly, this vocation has faded greatly in our order. My personal feeling is that in the corrective against clericalism, we disregarded that there is a beauty and holiness in the vocation of a brother which is their own.

  25. Charivari Rob says:

    Another example of a Dominican being a brother but not a priest would be Saint Martin de Porres. He was what I think is (or was?) called a cooperator brother (one article I Googled called them coadjutor brothers)

    He came to mind when I saw the photo Father Z. posted, and a question along with it.

    One of the priests I hold in fondest memory assisted at my hometown parish – he was an O.P. and wore the white habit. My favorite icon in my current parish church is a statue of St. Martin de Porres – he is depicted wearing the white habit with a black, ummm…, I guess it might be called a tabard. I once read (I think it was somewhere on the same website that Father Z. linked) that the white with black was at one time the specified habit of the cooperator brothers and that at some point (the author’s observations seemed to be paralleling what Random Friar alluded to) the decision was made that a Dominican was a Dominican and there should not be a distinction in habit.

    Anyway, my question (since it seems there are a couple of people here who would be in a position to know): the black with white shown in the photo – is that the habit for those in formation, or is that some sort of cloak/outerwear? Thank you.

  26. VexillaRegis says:
  27. Eriugena says:

    Monks are a monarchical structure, where the Abbot is king (and until fairly recently was in office for life); Friars are democratic, and the Prior is elected for a fixed term.

    In separate news, it was easy to tell the difference between a Dominican Priest and lay brother by the way they wore their cotta. In the Discalced Carmelites, lay brothers had a leather triangle on the tip of their capuce at the back, and Priests had no such thing, but this may no longer be the case; Carmelite Novices and those in simple vows have a wooden crucifix on their breast under the capuce; those who have made solemn vows a metal one.

  28. Random Friar says: You can definitely have a Dominican friar who is a brother and not a priest. Sadly, this vocation has faded greatly in our order. My personal feeling is that in the corrective against clericalism, we disregarded that there is a beauty and holiness in the vocation of a brother which is their own.

    Maybe a small step back in the right direction would be to restore the now-suppressed habit of the lay brothers, so that they may be distinguished as lay brothers. Take away the things that make them distinct, and they eventually disappear. (And while we’re at it, get rid of the nutty new requirement that lay Dominicans to use “O.P.” instead of “T.O.P.” or “O.P.L.,” erasing the distinction between laity and religious, thus quashing our dignity as laity.)

  29. Chiarivari Rob: the black thing in the lay habit that St. Martin de Porres wore was the scapular. If memory serves, this was suppressed in the glorious ’60s. Somebody can correct me if I’m wrong on that.

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    The Franciscan Family still has a lot of friars that aren’t ordained and that number is growing. Franciscans understand the call to religious life as a primary call, and the call to the priesthood, if it comes, as a another call additional to the first. Every Franciscan friar is not called to be a priest. In fact more than half of the men who become Franciscan friars are not ordained now. This is a change from the patterns of the 19th & 20th centuries in the United States where more were ordained to staff parishes. The change is due to a number of factors including a smaller number of vocations, and an increased focus on the ancient charism of the Franciscan Order.

    Franciscans do all kinds of work. They do research and teach. They are historians and scholars, cooks and craftsmen. They serve the poor and the sick and the sad. Some of them are ordained to serve the spiritual needs of the others.

  31. catholicmidwest says:

    Incidentally, if you look at a picture of a group of Franciscan friars, you won’t be able to tell which ones are ordained and which aren’t unless the picture has been taken during mass. They’ll also probably all be called Br. by each other. This is because there’s not supposed to be any class system among them based on who’s ordained and who’s not. They are supposed to serve each other in fraternity and with gladness, each according to his place in the community.

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    Anita, you’re right about the scapular. I’m a secular Franciscan, and we also had our habits abbreviated in the 60s. We use a tau cross as the habit now. I believe that the Lay Carmelites of both types still use a large scapular for ceremonial use and wear a small one on the street now, similar to the Trinitarian Laity and the Servite Seculars. I don’t know any Lay Norbertines or Secular Augustinians so I can’t comment on what they use.

    The further abbreviation of your postnominal initials is interesting. I wonder why that was done. The Secular Franciscans in the US recently had a name change too. We used to go by the initials TOSF, for Third Order of St. Francis. In 1978, that was changed to SFO, for Secular Franciscan Order. But this last spring, it was changed again, and we are now OFS, abbreviated from the Latin name for the order, Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis. Now the intials are the same all over the world, regardless of the local language, and that was the reason for our change.

  33. fr. Boniface says:

    I don’t know about Franciscans, Carmelites, or Augustinians, but Dominicans generally live in convents rather than, say, a friary (and no, convent is not a term for sisters only). A priory is a convent that has enough members (generally at least 6) to be recognized as such and so the ability to elect the superior, who is called a prior. Thus, priory.

    The black outer garment that the brothers in the photo are wearing is called a cappa, and it forms part of the full Dominican habit and is worn (or at least may be worn) by all members of the Order. It was traditionally worn to preach, as well as during the monastic fast, if I am not mistaken. It’s also very nice when it is cold outside, rather less so when it is hot.

    Dominicans — friars, cloistered nuns, and laity — only take the vow of obedience, under which we are obliged to live out the evangelical counsels of poverty and chastity. In a general sort of way, I have always understood, as someone suggest above, although we may both stand in need of correction, that obedience for us encompasses the other two because obedience is the most personal, if you will, being the one that most directly engages the interior person.

  34. Charivari Rob says:

    Scapular! Thank you.

    I should’ve remembered that. I’ve heard the word used in correct context enough times. Somewhere in the back of my mind there was that thought that there was a particular term, though “tabard” is at least descriptively somewhere in the right ballpark.

  35. Faith says:

    If you’re curious about Dominican Brothers, read a Dominican Brother’s Blog, Br. Paul.

  36. Benedict says:

    This photo does not include the 30 senior friars also living at the Dominican House of Studies. The community is now 80 friars, the largest it has been in many years and just about to capacity! Also please say a prayer for our Novices in Cincinnati.

    It is true, it is not rocket science about vocations. Here is what Archbishop Augustine DiNoia OP says about his province: “Why are there so many Dominican vocations?”

    *another VOCATION VIDEO: “Leaving All Things Behind
    Next Vocation Weekend for the Eastern Province Dominicans.

  37. Matt R says:

    Question: what does it mean to be a Third Order Regular Franciscan?

  38. acardnal says:

    Matt R, see for starters.

  39. acardnal says:

    Sorry, wrong website above. Try this

  40. catholicmidwest says:


    Third Order Regulars are consecrated (vowed) religious, generally living together in community. Religious using the Third Order Regular Rule can be men (friars, ordained and not) and women (sisters).

    Franciscans belong to a cluster of ancient orders, each with its own distinct rule and “flavor,” all derived from the original band of penitents that lived with either St. Francis or St. Clare in Assisi. The original THREE orders were the Friars Minor (OFM), the Poor Clares (SC) and the Third Order of St. Francis, now known as the Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis or OFS. These were all founded at the beginning of the 1200’s in Assisi, Italy.

    From the OFMs, two additional branches grew, the OFM Capuchins and the OFM Conventuals. From the Third Order laity, a new branch called the Third Order Regular grew as some took vows and entered convents and friaries, leaving the lay life. There is the origin of the Third Order Regulars or TORs, that you asked about.

    In addition to all this, there are a large number of congregations, founded much later, that don’t really belong to any of the orders, but do belong to the Franciscan “Family” and are considered Franciscans because they have many Franciscan-like properties and practices: Franciscans of the Immaculate, Franciscan teaching sisters and on and on. The more the merrier!

  41. catholicmidwest says:

    The one thing a person who joins the Franciscans learns very quickly is how venerable and flexible but convoluted the structures are. There are a lot of Franciscans of all kinds out there. Unity in diversity is not a modern slogan for Franciscans. It’s one of our ancient hallmarks, and a great source of organizational strength, even if it does leave people scratching their heads in puzzlement about how we’re all related to each other–and to St. Francis and St. Clare. Franciscans are very prolific and we are the largest religious family in the world.

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    There is an interesting connection between the Dominicans and the Franciscans too. It is said that Saint Dominic and Saint Francis knew each other. There is still a strong bond between the two orders of mendicants. There are some significant differences between the two orders, but we’re still far more alike than different. Franciscans look up to Dominicans as our elder brothers in faith and we respect them highly for their knowledge and commitment to truth; Dominicans are very protective of us, and they respect us for our commitments to life and the dignity of human beings within God’s creation. Working together, we cover a lot of territory.

    That’s a lot of Dominicans in that picture. Very good. :D

  43. Matt R says:

    Thanks! Yup, united we stand, divided we fall.
    I really like the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate…and the Dominicans.

  44. Thepeug says:


    Some would argue that the Conventuals, being the organic result of the leadership of Elias of Assisi–and, later on, St. Bonaventure–are actually the original Franciscans, and that the OFM’s, like all the myriad descendants of the “spiritual” tradition, are technically only as old as the Leonine Union.

    I’m inclined to think that perspective is everything in that particular debate.

  45. catholicmidwest says: There is an interesting connection between the Dominicans and the Franciscans too. It is said that Saint Dominic and Saint Francis knew each other. There is still a strong bond between the two orders of mendicants. There are some significant differences between the two orders, but we’re still far more alike than different. Franciscans look up to Dominicans as our elder brothers in faith and we respect them highly for their knowledge and commitment to truth; Dominicans are very protective of us, and they respect us for our commitments to life and the dignity of human beings within God’s creation. Working together, we cover a lot of territory.

    I have heard it said that St. Francis and Holy Father Dominic traded cinctures. That’s why the Franciscans wear a white cord around their waists, and the Dominicans wear a black belt. Don’t know if that’s true (though I think I heard it at St. Albert’s Priory), but if it’s not, it should be.

  46. catholicmidwest says:


    Ah yes. The Franciscan Question.

  47. Dominican says:

    For my esteemed Dominican brothers…strictly speaking, it is not the VOW of obedience we make but the PROFESSION of obedience. Within this profession are the 3 vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We profess obedience to a whole way of life encompassing the vows, common life, liturgical prayer, study, penance, etc. This profession is made by both the friars and the cloistered nuns who share a common bond through profession to the Master of the Order.

    Several monasteries of Dominican nuns are also growing although not with the large numbers of the friars or active communities of sisters such as Nashville and Ann Arbor but that is to be expected. The monasteries of Farmington Hills, MI, Linden, VA and Summit, NJ each have rather full novitiates. About 5 to 8 in each. The nuns in Summit are the ones that make Seginadou Soaps which Fr. Z sometimes promotes although he seems to prefer coffee!

  48. lucy says:

    Just used your button to purchase more Mystic Monk coffee! It’s swell!

    My husband met Fr. Michael Mary when he was at the seminary in Denton, NE for a retreat. Fr was in seminary then to become a priest. Awesome men!

  49. capchoirgirl says:

    Love all these comments. I thought St. Martin was a brother friar, but I guess I’d forgotten it. Thanks y’all.
    There IS a slight distinction between the OPs and the TOPs, still: We have to put “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Miss” before our names to use the OP. So in my breviary it says “Miss (my name), O.P.” Before I could put my name and TOP after it. It’s a tinnnny distinction, but it’s still one.
    Lay Dominicans can also be buried in the habit, which I love! For us, temporary promised (like I am) have a small white scapular–it’s still quite a bit bigger than say, the Brown scapular that laity can wear, but it’s not as big as the life promised members, which also has the Dominican cross on it. (It’s a black and white cross–you can see it and some of our other symbols here:

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