|Bishop Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP|
Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP, was born in 1768 in southern Maryland. At the age of 16 he set out for Belgium for his studies and entered the Order of Preachers in 1790, entering the word "Americanus" after his name in his profession. Fenwick desired eagerly to return to the United States to be a missionary; specifically he intended to found a college, an institution of higher learning modeled after Bornhem College in Belgium. Writing to Fr. Luke Concanen, OP, assistant to the Master of the Order, Fenwick made his intentions clear: "My design is to begin with a little school by way of a nursery to raise young plants in for the vineyard of the Lord. This has always been my intention, to begin with a school or to execute the plan of Bornhem College and Convent in miniature." Fr. Fenwick's plan for a missionary Province in America was to be centered around a Dominican College, complete with scholars and preachers to continue the great Dominican intellectual charism. None of this is surprising or shocking; that part would be left to what happened upon his arrival in America.
Fr. Fenwick had alerted Bishop John Carroll of his intentions to "execute in miniture the plan of Bornhem College and Convent," hopefully in the capital itself. Apparently this message was not as clearly stated as Fenwick had hoped, for he writes to Bishop Carroll after their first meeting in December, 1804:
"I must observe for the present that it is totally owning to my inaccuracy and inattention, which I am sorry for, if Your Lordship did not clearly understand from my letters the chief and primary object of my coming over to be that of establishing the Order of St. Dominic by any possible means which might hereafter afford assistance to the mission in my native country at large, and that I conceived the only way establishing it would be in a college or convent. For this purpose alone, My Lord, I applied and with great difficulty obtained permission of my Superiors."
|Bornhem College, Belgium|
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