Your donations make
a real difference
for the friars of the Western Dominican Province and their ministries.
Simple, Safe, Secure
Donations made easy
Please visit our
Keeping the Light Shining Bright
Our Program of Formation involves eight years of academic and ministerial training. Throughout all that time our student friars in formation depend completely on the generosity of others and so keep our benefactors in particular at the center of our prayer life. Pleased do ad your own regular donation to our continuing need. We thank you now and will continue to thank you with our prayers.
You are called.
Are you called to Religious life?
Click here, and discover what it means to become a preacher of truth!
Western Dominican Province
5890 Birch Court
Oakland, CA 94618-1626
Our Dominican School
The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA offers Masters and other degree and certificate programs rooted in the tradition of the Dominican order and our brother, St. Thomas Aquinas. Faithful to the teaching of Holy Mother, the Church, our school prepares not only young men studying for the priesthood, but also other men and women who will be the leaders of local communities of faith. Please do join in supporting this essential ministry of the Western Dominican Province.
Fr. John Samuel Jones, OP
"Being made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time, for his soul pleased God; therefore He hastened to bring him out of the midst of iniquities."
In the sudden and unlooked-for death of Reverend Father Jones, which occurred on September 30th, after but several weeks' illness, his many friends have received a serious shock. Apparently in good health, and vigorously engaged in active duty when he was stricken, Father Jones had given but little indication of the fatal disease that ended so promising a career. Verily, he stepped aside from the crowd in instant response to the heavenly summons.
From the moment that it was announced that he was the victim of cerebro-spinal meningitis, slight hope was entertained of his recovery, and, in spite of careful nursing, skillful medical attendance and careful watchfulness on the part of the members of his community, Father Jones steadily wasted away. He leaves a host of sorrowing friends.
Father Jones was born in Aurora, Nevada, March 17, 1865. He lost both parents when quite young and, shortly after their death, with a surviving sister, came to California with distant relatives. In his boyhood he early displayed an insatiable thirst for knowledge and availed himself of means to acquire it at its best.
When a mere boy he manifested aspirations for the religious life and, when scarcely fifteen, selected the Dominican Order, entering upon his novitiate at the Dominican monastery, Benicia, California. The persistent industry that dominated the entire course of his theological studies foreshadowed the energetic zeal that characterized all his later undertakings.
After his ordination Father Jones was entrusted with successive offices of responsibility in his community in the discharge of which he displayed an extraordinary business ability and an alertness in grasping important, practical details that was surprising in one so young in experience.
Father Jones is favorably known throughout the length and breadth of California, and beyond its limits; but he especially endeared himself to those who were so fortunate as to come under his immediate direction. His priestly ministrations in Vallejo and San Francisco were notable in fruitful results. In any work that was assigned to him he labored indefatigably, and cheerfully, achieving much by his steadfast optimism.
He was singularly free from illusion. Whether in spiritual or in temporal concerns he sought to meet the needs of the present moment, and to the extreme felicity of his promptitude of action may be attributed the effectiveness and remarkable scope of his work. To the children he patiently and perseveringly devoted himself. He would have them realize in themselves the loftiest ideals socially, religiously, and aesthetically considered.
To educational communities in general he was fond of awarding a just meed of praise for the evident care and solid instruction that they bestowed on the young. He based his hope of future Catholicity on the religious teaching and training of the child -- a teaching and training that comprehended the requirements of body, mind, and soul -- that bespoke a cheerful, happy, intelligent service in the high and holy calling of a Christian. He constantly rnaintained that nothing short of Catholic education of the child could effect desirable results; hence his untiring interest in school work and his personal direction of classes when time permitted. Latin was a favorite study with Father Jones, and the creditable progress of large classes which he conducted in the different schools to which he was attached attests his patient efforts.
Music, vocal and instrumental, seemed to express the peculiarly harmonious qualities of his temperament. He was the embodiment of laughter, cheer and sunshine; song, sacred in its character of spirit greeting and unshed tears seemed to suit his nature best. And so, he led the children's voices in happy, joyous strains the echo of whose cadence will resound forevermore!
The organization of a junior choir from among the children of S. Dominic's Sunday School, that under his direction developed remarkable singing voices, is a pleasing feature of Father Jones' success in local work. It will be tenderly remembered in connection with his name as an instance of his zeal in encouraging the children to devote some of their time and talent to the most acceptable praise of God in prayerful hymns. Nor did he confine them to sacred music; operatic selections that came within the range of their powers, were carefully selected and patiently imparted to them, with a success that delighted all who have heard them.
It would be vain to attempt to indicate even in a slight way, the spiritual good that has accrued to others through the priestly influence of Father Jones. Soundly grounded in his faith, emphatic in expression of religious and personal convictions, gentle in commiseration of human shortcomings, he seemed the impersonation of a hearty cheeriness and spiritual buoyancy that invigorated all who met him. There was nothing sombre in his nature; he loved God and hoped great things of his fellow-men. He preached the mercy of God and gloried in the repentance of the sinner, ever carefully distinguishing between the errors of the thoughtless and malice of the hypocritical. Zealous for the observance of God's law he would bring all to a knowledge of the consolation that springs from a cheerful and reasonable service.
Uniquely grand is the figure of this unselfish Dominican as we contemplate him in his priestly character; his loyalty where he professed friendship; his strong personal influence for good; his unswerving fidelity to duty. Noble, indeed, is the lesson of his pure life; his kindly sympathy, his submissive humility, his patient charity, his unshaken confidence in God's unlimited mercy. He was happy in his life work, happy with youth and innocence. Thus will he live in our memories. Golden glory, celestial brightness and sweet hosannas greet his work well done; for,
Not in garments black as night
Death at evensong has come;
But adorned in raiment white
She has fondly led him home!
Death is not a jailer dire
Binding man with cruel chains;
But an angel fair whose lyre
Lulls to silence all his pains!
Death is not a bitter blast
Nipping rose-buds ere they bloom;
But a burst of sunshine cast
Over life's encircling gloom.
Death is not an iron gate
Leading to the dungeon's night;
But a portal where await
Angels robed in ruddy light.
--1905, Dominicana V.6, pg. 323-325
Obituary from a local newspaper
Some six or seven weeks ago his many friends in Benicia were startled by the announcement that Rev. Fr. J. S. Jones had been stricken with cerebral spinal meningitis in Reno, Nevada, where he was doing temporary service, and was taken to the French Hospital in San Francisco so ill that his life was despaired of. His strong constitution, however, resisted the power of the disease, and he lingered on from week to week until hope began to arise that he might recover. This faint hope was blighted last Saturday evening when the telegram came announcing his death.
Fr. Jones was born at Aurora, Nevada, on the 17th of March, 1865. His father was one of the most extensive mining men in the State at that time. At an early age the son expressed a wish to receive holy orders, and in 1879 he was entered in the Dominican Monastery at Benicia. In 1888 he received the sacrament of holy orders, being ordained by Bishop Manogue, a lifelong friend of the young priest's father.
Father Jones was one of the best known men in the Dominican Order on this coast. His services have principally been in Vallejo, San Francisco and Benicia. In each place his genial disposition, pulpit ability and musical talent won for him hosts of friends. His last services were in Reno, Nevada, where he was supplying the place of the resident priest, who is taking a trip to Europe.
In San Francisco Fr. Jones drilled a choir of young voices that became known for its singing, which was so good that many people went to the early Mass to hear the children rather than attend the late service, when the singers were all professionals. By way of recreation and work Father Jones taught his young singers several operas, which they gave in a most creditable manner and which were repeated for other benefits. It was through the efforts of Fr. Jones that St. Dominic's church in the city got its magnificent pipe organ.
Date of Birth
Date of Profession
Date of Ordination
Date of Death
March 17, 1865
May 25, 1882
September 30, 1905