The Dominicans Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Fr. Paul M. Conner, OP

As a pre-med student and hospital orderly, I always thought about medicine as my future, until graduation from St. Mary's College, Moraga. Then I went to France to teach English in a French high school. Slowly that year, the deeper desire to become a priest emerged, along with the thirst to pursue the truth of life and religion as I had experienced this thirst in the teaching and preaching of Fr. Joseph Servente, O.P., Chaplain and Professor at St. Mary's. I cancelled my medical school acceptance and entered the Western Dominican Province formation program. I loved Dominican life and my philosophy and theology years at St. Albert's College, and after a year of pastoral ministry at Holy Rosary parish in Antioch, I began teaching theology at Mt. St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. But my thirst continued, and I next completed my licentiate and doctoral work in Rome.

I began my 13 years of teaching at St. Albert's College (which became the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology), at our Lady of the Rosary College at Mission San Jose, and half-time some years at our University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. During most summers I gave retreats and up-date classes in moral and spiritual theology. Next, I engaged in more pastoral ministry at St. Dominic's in San Francisco, followed by teaching at Notre Dame College in Belmont and Silver Lake College in Wisconsin. During my years on the East Coast, I introduced the master's program in ethics at New York Medical College, worked at the Pope John XXIII Center for Research and Education in Medical Ethics in Boston (now the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia), and finally was asked to help at the only college in the USA run by the Dominican Fathers and Brothers, Providence College in Rhode Island. I have been here for 13 years happily teaching my specialties of moral and spiritual theology to both undergraduate and graduate students. Thus, my innate thirst for the truth, God's grace, and the peerless Dominican vocation have led me to a life of fulfillment I would never trade! [updated: September 6, 2005]

[2012 addition]

“As a college professor of moral and spiritual theology, I have the thrill of knowing that I evangelize three full classrooms of students each semester.  Their number at 69 is a mere drop in the bucket of our young population, but if you could see their mindset change over a semester, you would be cheered with me that at least a truth-seeking and truth-telling minority will be leaders in the next few years.  These students learn how to detect subjective pressures on thinking that dominate our culture, especially its leaders.  These students discover that finding the truth of important matters is possible!  This discovery revolutionizes how they think about abortion, contraception, test-tube babies, embryonic stem cell research, homosexual lifestyle, and euthanasia.  These students discover the priceless value they have as human beings and how this value can be fostered or harmed by their free choices.  Many of these students discover as well the amazing up-grade to their lives that Christianity adds, and often their faith is born or vitalized for the first time.  They become grateful that their inquiring minds and their God-given faith harmonize!  Being well aware of the counter forces of our secularlized culture, most of these students become resolute to live their futures in truth, if not also in faith. 

So satisfying is this regular outcome of a semester’s effort at being a Dominican priest and teacher!  You know humbly that you are cooperating with God and his Church in the New Evangelization.”[Oct 2012]

Photo 2006

Christian Totality: Theology of the Consecrated Life
by Basil Cole, OP & Paul Conner, OP (1997)
ISBN: 0818907983

Married in Friendship
by Paul M. Conner (1987)
ISBN:
0722052642

Celibate love
by Paul M Conner (1979)
ISBN: 0879738278

Providence College, Associate Professor of Theolgoy

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