Windows depicting St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the
Dominican Order, and St. Catherine of Sienna, the great Dominican saint and
Doctor of the Church, adorn the main arcade level of our church building closest
to the sanctuary. These windows are a tribute to the Dominican Sisters and the
service they have given to our parish since their arrival in 1853.
The building that now houses the Trinity SRO was formerly
known as the Convent of the Holy Cross. It is actually three buildings; at
one time the main section of the building (in the middle--at 157 Graham Avenue)
housed the motherhouse of the Dominican Congregation of the Holy Cross (now
popularly known as "the Amityville Dominican Sisters"); the section to the left
of the motherhouse housed an orphanage, while the section on the right, closest
to the church building, housed the novitiate or formation house for the sisters'
The Amityville Dominican Sisters are a community of women
religious. As they preach and teach the Gospel, they seek
creative ways to minister in today's world. The community is
present in eight States, Puerto Rico, Colombia and the Dominican
You may reach the sisters' vocation director at the following
address, phone number and email:
555 Albany Avenue
Amityville, New York 11701
Tel: 631-842-6000, ext.324
The four original Dominican Sisters, Josepha, Augustine, Francesca and Jacobina,
came to Trinity in 1853 from Heilig Kreuz (Holy Cross) Monastery in Ratisbon (now Regensburg),
Bavaria (now part of Germany). They had
intended to settle eventually in Pennsylvania where they had previously been
invited by a Benedictine priest to teach German-speaking children. For some
reason, when the sisters arrived in New York, neither the Benedictine priest nor
anyone from Pennsylvania came to meet them; they were then stranded without a
sure destination. A local Redemptorist priest heard of their situation and took
them to his church where they were later introduced to Father John Stephen
Raffeiner, the first pastor of Most Holy Trinity.
Father Raffeiner convinced the sisters to come to Williamsburg in order to work
with the German-speaking children of his parish. Within a week of their arrival
on the docks of New York City, the sisters settled into humble quarters located
in the basement of the original rectory at Trinity and they took charge of the
Eventually additional sisters came to Trinity from Ratisbon and they joined the
efforts of the four who had come first. The early sisters at Trinity formed the
foundation of what is now the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Amityville, New York.
From the Amityville Dominicans, twelve sister congregations have formed in other
parts of the country and the world.
The last of the Dominican Sisters departed Most Holy Trinity in
the summer of 2009. For the first time in one-hundred and fifty-six years,
the sisters no longer served full-time in the parish. A special bond
between the Dominican Congregation of the Holy Cross ("the Amityville Dominican
Sisters") and the parish will last forever!
if not thousands of Dominican Sisters served the parish after the
community first arrived in 1853 and until the last departed in 2009. For
the hundreds of sisters who served the parish, we are forever grateful!
As members of the Dominican Congregation of the Holy Cross, we are
active contemplatives, vowed and bonded members sharing a variety of
gifts and cultures.
As prophetic witnesses in collaboration with others, we will call
ourselves, the Church and society to credibility. We will be responsible
members of the universe. We will promote the dignity of marginalized
persons. We will reject violence in ourselves and in society in order
that all Generations will grow and cherish life.
With the world as our frontier, we are open to the Spirit.
are eight triangles on
the Dominican Shield--four white and four black. The
triangles symbolize the unity of a community made
up of many different people who nonetheless work side-by-side in order
to promote the well-being of all. The cross, superimposed over and
unifying the triangles, represents victory, duty and self-sacrifice; it
at each end, a traditional symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The black triangles symbolize wisdom,
silence, fortitude and penance. The white triangles symbolize peace, purity,
charity and sincerity. Sometimes the shield is also surrounded by
six or eight stars; they are the symbol of St. Dominic de Guzman
founder of the Dominican Order.