The Dominicans Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Fr. Michael Robert Carey, OP

When I was still a child I had two main interests – church and school. I thought that I might want to be a priest, but I also wanted to be a teacher. In college I studied English with the intention of teaching high-school. During my senior year, however, I realized that I had finally to face my interest in priesthood. I met the Dominicans and decided to enter the Order in 1971, just after graduation. I was ordained a priest in 1977.

My initial pastoral work was mainly at St. Mary Magdalen’s Parish, Berkeley. While there, I also did a law degree at Boalt Hall at Cal Berkeley. I was interested in the intersection of moral issues and public policy. I received the law degree in 1983.

After law school, I took a position as Assistant to the President at Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, where I was also able to teach in their great books program. In my administrative capacity, I worked with the board of trustees, helped draft personnel policy, and met with the architects working on the ever-expanding campus. All of that was interesting, but not so interesting as reading the great books with the students. Those courses gave me my first experience in teaching college. During my years at St. Mary’s, I also lived in the dorms with the students and was responsible to some extent for their welfare.

In 1989 I received a scholarship which allowed me to do further study in theology. I did my license at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C. Finishing that in 1991, I transferred to the Angelicum for my doctoral work in moral theology. My doctoral studies were done on a part-time basis, so that I studied in the fall and preached on the Mission Band in the spring. I did this until I finished my work in 1997.

Returning to California, I worked for a short while in the chancery in San Francisco as Director of Clergy Education. Then I was invited to join the faculty at the newly re-opened seminary in Denver, where I began in 2000. From the beginning I taught anthropology and moral theology and also did formation work, which was given a very high priority. With the other formators I spent many hours in one-on-one meetings with the seminarians, in formators’ meetings, and in intensive weekend workshops. My eight years there gave me great experience and helped me to understand, often by way of contrast, the approach to study and personal formation that is distinctly Domincan.

This fall, 2008, I will begin teaching at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in Saint Louis, the Dominican House of Studies for the mid-west province. I will again teach anthropology and moral theology, adding a new course this year on contemporary moral issues. I look forward to continuing my work, to developing it further, and to living and working again in a Dominican context. [updated August 2008]

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