- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Rev. Pierre Hyacinth Conway, O.P., a scholar of Thomas Aquinas and Dominican priest for nearly 65 years, died Jan. 23 of a heart ailment at the Dominican House of Studies in the District. He was 90.

Father Conway was born Eugene Scanlan Pierik Conway in Forest Hills of Long Island, N.Y., in 1915.

After his mother died in the flu pandemic of 1918, Father Conway lived with family relatives in Canada, where he became an accomplished ice hockey player and avid bicyclist.

In 1931, Father Conway sailed to France and during the trip took on the name Pierre Conway, a derivation of his mother’s maiden name, Pierik.

He then spent three years in Fribourg, Switzerland, and graduated from the University of Paris before joining the Dominican Order a few weeks before his 19th birthday in 1934.

The order gave Father Conway the religious name “Hyacinth” after the Polish Dominican saint of the 13th century.

In 1941, he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Dominic’s Church in the District and five years later received his doctorate in philosophy from Laval University in Quebec, Canada.

From 1945 to 1946, Father Conway was associate editor of Holy Name Journal in New York, where he met Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, the founders of the Catholic Worker movement.

He served as a professor of philosophy at numerous academic institutions, including Providence College, the Ohio Dominican College and the Angelicum in Rome.

Fluent in Latin and French, Father Conway was assigned to the Dominican House of Studies in the District from 1957 to 1962 to write and translate Latin texts.

From 1989 to 2005, he served as chaplain and spiritual director of the Immaculate Conception Chapter of the Third Order of Preachers, a branch of the order which meets at the Dominican House.

In 1997, Father Conway began conducting monthly meetings of an Aquinas Circle to discuss science and faith from a Thomistic viewpoint. In 1998, he helped found the Holy Family Adoption Agency in St. Paul, Minn., which seeks to persuade women to give up their babies for adoption rather than aborting them.

During his lifetime, Father Conway published numerous papers and books that involved Aquinas in some way, including “Principles of Education: A Thomistic Approach (1960) and Faith Views the Universe: A Thomistic Perspective (1997).”

He co-wrote his first book, “The Liberal Arts in St. Thomas Aquinas,” in 1959, and also was responsible for the original translations of several works of Aquinas.

“Father Conway was a 21st century Thomas Aquinas,” said Fran Griffin, prioress emerita of the Immaculate Conception Chapter of the Third Order of Preachers. “He could find the answers to all of life’s questions in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, and lived as Thomas would have lived.”

Father Conway is survived by his brother John K. Conway of Dallas; and several cousins in the D.C. area.


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