Our Story

Our History and Legacy

Our History & Mission

The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill are joyful women of prayer and compassion who proclaim the reign of God through ministry for justice and reverence for all creation.

The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill are part of the worldwide Dominican Family founded by Saint Dominic in the 13th century. Since our founding by Alice Mary Thorpe in 1876 to care for destitute women and children in New York City, we have continued to serve the people of New York. In response to needs in other places, we went to Missouri (1900), Pakistan (1958), Montana (1973), South America (1979), and many other parts of the United States to witness to the power of God’s presence and love working in us and in our evolving universe. We continue to be attentive to the cries of the suffering people of our time. Our more than 250 Sisters and Associates are committed to bringing the good news of the gospel to others by the witness of our lives and compassionate service.

To learn more about our story, click on a date or image to read about a particular time or event in our history. You will meet some amazing women doing amazing things!

1872 - 1899
1900 – 1930
1931 – 1960
1961 – 1975
1976 – 1985
1986 – 2000
2001 - Present
1872 - Arrival of Thorpe sisters in New York
1876 – The Founding of the Congregation
1880-1881 – New beginnings after death of founder
1880s – A time of growth for the Community and its ministry
1884 – A move to a new home in Sparkill, NY
1886 – St. Benedict’s Home for Children
1890 – The early days of educational ministry
1896 - The Community continues to grow
1899 - Fire destroys St. Agnes Convent and Home
1900/1911 – The beginnings of ministry in Missouri
1902 – St. Agnes Convent and Home rebuilds
1906 – Incorporation into the Dominican Family
1909 – New growth: ministry extends to Missouri
1912 – Opening more schools in New York
1914 – Dedication of Sacred Heart Chapel, Sparkill, NY
1920 – Commitment to education for Sisters
1922 – Opening of St. Agnes School, Sparkill, NY
1923 – Opening of Aquinas Hall High School
1926 – Ministry of St. Rose’s Settlement
1931/1932 – Villa St. Joseph in Saugerties, NY
1936 – St. Agnes Novitiate and Rosary Villa
1943 – The opening of Siena Hall, Wilmington, DE
1946 – Cardinal McCloskey Home and School, White Plains, NY
1946 – Thorpe Secretarial School, NYC
1947 – Villa St. Dominic in Glasco, NY
1951 – 75th Anniversary of the Congregation
1952 – St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY
1955 – Sts. Peter and Paul School, Easton, MD
1957 – Albertus Magnus High School, Bardonia, NY
1958 – The Sisters take on a new mission in Pakistan
1962-1965 – Second Vatican Council brings renewal
1964 – Rosary Academy, Sparkill, NY
1967 – Dedication of Dominican Convent in Sparkill, NY
1968 – Our first Pakistani novices
1973 – Affirmation of a Congregational Goal
1973 – Extending our reach to Montana
1975 – New forms of ministry at Motherhouse
1975 – Welcoming Sister refugees from Viet Nam
1976 – 100th Anniversary of the Congregation
1976 – New Hope Manor
1977 – Encore Community Services in NYC
1979 – Our missionaries to South America
1980 – Congregational Corporate Stances
1980 – Welcoming our first Sparkill Associates
1981 – The opening of Thorpe Village, Sparkill, NY
1983 – St. Rita’s Center for Immigrant and Refugee Services
1983 –The Leviticus 25:23 Alternative Fund
1983 – The opening of Emmaus House
1988 – Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, St. Louis, MO
1989 – Incarnation Children’s Center, NYC
1989 – Thorpe Family Residence, Bronx, NY
1993 – Opening of Pillar Place Apartments, St. Louis, MO
1993 – East Side Heart & Home Family Center, East St. Louis, IL
1995 – Dominican Sisters Family Health Services
1996 – Opening of Dowling Gardens, Sparkill, NY
1997 – One to One Learning, Rockland County, NY
1998 – Park Avenue Thorpe, Bronx, NY
2001 – Congregation celebrates 125th Anniversary
2001 – Dedication of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel, Sparkill, NY
2007 – St. Agnes Residence, Sparkill, NY
2009 – Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration
2010 – Dominican Sisters Conference
2010 – The creation of the Haiti Circle of Concern
2011-2015 – Creation of Falling Waters Preserve, Saugerties, NY
2018 – 60th Anniversary of Pakistan Mission
2018 – Creation of the Dr. J.T. Vincent Lou Fund
2018 – Dominican Sisters inspire Climate Solutions Fund
2019 – A covenant with the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine
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