Our History

1950 - foundation

In 1950, the Archbishop of Santa Fe invited Dominican priests to take over the Newman Center at the University of New Mexico. The first priest to arrive, Fr. Ralph Goggins, immediately began recruiting lay Dominicans to help in his work and foster spiritual growth. The chapter began in 1951 with eleven members and was officially chartered in 1953.

The Dominican priests fostered the growth of the chapter through individual spiritual direction, lectures, and reading about the Dominican order, saints and spirituality.

1959 - Work begins

In the late 1950's, the lay Dominicans received their first assignment to organize, paint and staff the small library of the Newman Center. In 1959 they were assigned to borrow materials and prepare altars for the Newman Center Convention, later becoming the general sacristans.

Every Friday night the members met for Divine Office and talks from the priests, and they held a formal meeting once a month. Members attended university lectures by the Dominican priests and hosted retreats. Another chapter was formed in Santa Fe.

1960's - changes of vatican II

With the Second Vatican Council came changes to the Rule and to the lay Dominicans. It was a time of tension, confusion and disagreement for most of the Church, our Chapter not excluded. Retreats were less silent. Liturgy changed. As the emphasis moved from study and prayer to more social events, many members lost interest and dropped out. After one member visited Dominican nuns in France in 1975, she was strongly impressed by the power and potential of the Order and sought to rebuild the Albuquerque chapter. The provincial leaders from Chicago came to help and instructed the remaining chapter members on the essentials of Dominican lay life - prayer and work in common, study and contemplation. But the chapter was unable to regain membership and fell into a long period of inactivity. We have no history from 1979-1997.

1998 - a new chapter

Nuestra Senora de las Montanas by Fr. William H. McNichols, OP.   www.fatherbill.org

Nuestra Senora de las Montanas by Fr. William H. McNichols, OP.


A Dominican priest working at the Newman Center saw in interest among the people in Dominican spirituality and decided to revive the old Albuquerque chapter. The first members founded a new chapter and named it Nuestra Senora de las Mantanas, Our Lady of the Mountains, for the unique spirituality of Albuquerque, nestled at the base of the beautiful Sandias. 20 new members were recruited. Meetings took place on First Saturdays.

Things continued mostly in the same way until 2014, which brought big changes for the chapter. The Dominican friars moved away from Albuquerque and diocesian priests took over the Newman center, leaving only one friar who meets with the Dominican Laity as spiritual assistant. The chapter decided to relocate meetings to Villa Matthias, still meeting every First Saturday to the present.