Friday, June 18, 2021

Life in a Dominican Studium before Vatican II (Oakland, 1961)

I originally posted these videos some ten years ago, but I thought some of our readers who never saw them might find them interesting. Enjoy!
The video “Life a Monastery” was broadcast on Oakland Channel 6 in 1961. It shows life in the Western Dominican Province House of Studies, Saint Albert the Great Priory, in Oakland, California.

VIDEO ONE The film begins with clips of our House of Studies, still the same today in Oakland CA. Then follows film of the Dominican Rite Solemn Mass, the center of the liturgical day at the House of Studies. The film than moves to the class room, and then highlights different aspects of the life.

A list of those appearing is below the video. The times listed for each of the scenes in the identification list tell where you can find that segment on the video.

The Priory and Grounds (time 0:00)

Members of the Choir (time 1:35) are identified for Second Video

Solemn Mass Ministers (time 2:43) Celebrant: Fr. Martin Giannini; Deacon (l): Bro. Aquinas Wall; Subdeacon (r): Bro. Nicholas Prince; Senior Acolyte (r): Bro. Bernard Cranor; Junior Acolyte (l): Bro. Brendan O’Rourke; Thurifer: Bro. Bertrand Pidgeon

Classroom (time 5:07): Instructor: Fr. Fabian Parmisano

Student in his Room (time 7:00): Bro. Jordan DeMan

Library Stacks (time 7:26): Bros. Terence McCabe and Sean Doherty

Studying in Library (time 8:36): Bro. Peter Cole


Student Discussion by the Fire (time 9:11): Bros. Philip Valera, Benedict DeMan, Bertrand Pidgeon, Albert Linkogle, Brendan O'Rourke, and Edmund Ryan

Chess Players (time 9:58) : Bros. Stephen Coughlin and Lawrence Ackerman

Music Room (time 10:20) : Bros. Thomas More McGreevy, Salvador Calderon (Mexican Province) and Francisco Brenes Camocho, O.P. (Spanish Province)

Drama Practice (time 10:43) : Director: Bro. Lawrence Ackerman; with Bros. Sabastian Haterias, Gerald Elher, and Fr. Fabian Parmisano

Weather Service (time 11:30) : Bro. Stanislaus Sharlach

Art Studio (time 11:56) : Bro. Aquinas Wall

VIDEO TWO The second part of the film highlights the fine arts and the domestic life of the house. It then returns to the Solemn Mass and ends with the chanting of the Exsultet according to the Dominican chant. The credits were actually added later, I am told, by Fr. Finbar Hayes.

Music Session (time 0:00) : Trumpeter, Bro. James Aymong; Guitar, Bro. Louis Fronk

Print Shop (time 0:30): Bro. Antoninus Everson, T.O.P.

Wood Shop (time 1:25) : Bros. Daniel Thomas and Raphael Goodfriend

Visiting the Infirm (time 2:39) : Fr. Bertrand Clyne and Bro. Gregory Lira

Student and Teacher (time 2:60) : Fr. Leo Thomas and Bro. Giles Wentworth

Priest Leaving for Sunday Supply (time 3:30): Fr. Mark McPhee

Gardens (time 4:06) : Bro. Matthias Lockett (weeding)

Dominican Sisters at Grotto (time 4:35) : Sisters Assumta Vorndran, Maria Goretti Eder, Nicolina Kohler, and Melita Wolf

Sisters in the Kitchen (time 5:02) : Sisters Rosalia Steinbach and Maria Goretti Eder

De Profundis Line and Refectory (time 5:19) : Fr. William Lewis, the Prior

Reader in Refectory (time 6:35) : Bro. Stephen Coughlin

Friars at Table (time 7:03) : Frs. Dominic Deniz Ortega, (Spanish Province), Martin Giannini, Mark McPhee, and Fr. John Flannerty

In the Cloister (time 7:40) : In garden (unknown); in archway, Bro. Thomas Thierman, T.O.P.

The Choir at Mass (time 8:35) : The Cantors (left to right): Bros. Francisco Brenes Camacho (Spanish Province), Louis Fronk, Bertrand Pidgeon, and James Aymong.

Front Row on Left (left to right): Bros. Daniel Thomas, Gregory Lira, Antoninus Everson (T.O.P.), Albert Linkogle, Lawrence Ackerman, Augustine Hartman, Anthony Chavez, Patrick Labelle, Bede Wilks, Philip Valera, and Fr. Peter Miles.

Back Row on Left (left to right): unidentified

Front Row on Right (left to right): Bros. Sebastian Haterias, Gerard Elher, Giles Wentworth, Stephen Coughlin, Edmund Ryan, Frederick Narberes, and Adrian Rivera (lay brother postulant). plus four others unidentified,

Back Row on Right: empty stalls, then Bro. Terence McCabe

Solemn Mass (time 10:00) ministers are identified for first video.

The Exsultet (time 11:34) : Bro. Kieran Healy

Credits (time 14:00) : Frs. Mark McPhee, Fabian Parmisano, Finbar Hayes and Leo Thomas/

I thank Bro. Lupe for his help with the production of this video and Fr. Edmund Ryan for his help in identifying the friars. I also thank the many friars who have written me with corrections and new identifications.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: