Welcome to the Dominican Pause Walking Tour at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville.
This walk is important to our congregation because our Founder St. Dominic de Guzman was a walking preacher – a joyful itinerant! St. Dominic preached the Good News of Jesus’ love to all. On this journey, you also are invited to take a “Dominican Pause”, to read the markers which include a bit of our history as well as reflections to help to exercise your mind, spirit, and body in this easy mile loop around our Motherhouse grounds.
If you are walking the path of the trail at the Motherhouse, please watch your step and be aware of cars.
Before beginning this tour, we would like to acknowledge how special this land is to all the people who have dwelled here. We raise a thankful prayer to all of creation and to the Indigenous tribes who inhabited this land for thousands of years; the African American settlers who built the first black church on Long Island – Bethel AME – in 1843, just one mile south on Albany Avenue; and all those who farmed and cared for this land before it was donated by the Schlegel family in 1876 to the Amityville Dominican Sisters. Blessings also to all those who find their way here now: to worship, to help, to educate, to learn, and to encounter each other as family.
If you notice, there are “Dominican paws” on the map of our Dominican Pause Tour. Although it is unknown if St. Dominic had a pet dog, our Founder is often featured with a pup carrying a torch in its mouth. Before Dominic was born, his mother Jane of Aza (Juana) had a vivid dream. She envisioned her child born as a dog with a lit torch that set the world aglow! A monk told her the torch was a symbol of the Word of God, and her son would become a great preacher! The word Dominican has even been viewed as a playful nod to the Latin phrase “domini canes” which means “dogs of the Lord.”
Since the Sisters' arrival in 1853 in Brooklyn, the Sisters of St. Dominic have carried that torch of illumination and have cared for the most vulnerable in our society, teaching immigrant children and founding schools. The Amityville presence begins in 1875 with a donation of 83 acres from Mr. Schlegel and Mother Seraphina’s purchase of the adjacent 19-acre farm “for a big convent."
Below is the map of the self-guided tour. Follow the arrows and paw prints or feel free to visit the different stops in a different order. Scroll down to view the videos below with tours of the Motherhouse grounds and the story of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville.
Enjoy and thanks for taking our tour!