The Most Blessed Sacrament Friary, previously known as the Monastery of Saint Dominic, was originally the home of an order of Dominican nuns. The monastery was built in the early 1880’s and it was modeled after the monasteries of the Old World. Some features of these monasteries were arched cloisters, a traditional well, a vault resting-place for the departed of the community, and double grilles which separated the outer world from those on the inside.
In 1880, four nuns from Oullins, France, came to Newark, New Jersey to establish the first permanent American foundation of cloistered nuns at the monastery. The Monastery of Saint Dominic was one of the few places in the United States, at the time, where women led monastic lives of contemplation.
When the monastery had become available, a group of lay people had met with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal to discuss the possibility of establishing a Novitiate in the Archdiocese of Newark. The nonprofit corporation, the Friends of the Newark Monastery, Inc., was created to acquire the Monastery of Saint Dominic for the Friars.
On March 10, 2004, the Friars moved in to the monastery and began their ministry. Their ministry would be threefold. First and foremost, the Friary would be a house of formation for novices. Second, the Friary would serve as a center for outreach to the poor in the community. Finally, the Friary would serve as a base for the Friars’ mission of evangelization and renewa
In April, 1884, the Sisters moved into their new residence and nine years later, the monastery was full with all 47 cells occupied. The Sisters lived very contemplative lives, every day, rising before dawn to spend the entire day in prayer and meditation.
The monastery was closed to the public since its founding in 1884, but in September 2003, the eight nuns who lived there opened their doors to the public for the first time as they prepared to move out. The monastery had become increasingly difficult for the nuns to maintain which prompted the move.