Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Santa Fe Institute

In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. - Saint John Paul II

Founded in 1970, the Santa Fe Institute comprises a vast collection of religious art and a library containing over 12,000 volumes dedicated to the study of art and religion. Among its holdings is one of the largest collections of biblical movie posters worldwide. Michael Morris, OP can arrange for access to the Institute.




As a ministry of the Western Dominican Province, the Santa Fe Institute will promote fine arts in general and sacred art in particular as tools for the new evangelization; and promote the Internet as a resource aid to assist in promoting the fine arts as an
evangelical tool.

To accomplish this mission, the Institute will:

  1. maintain a research library for artists and academics whose work aligns with the goals of the Institute,
  2. maintain a fine arts collection for the purposes of providing resources for “gallery classrooms” which instruct participants in the truth that beauty is a fundamental need and right of all humans, and an avenue to the Divine,
  3. make these resources available to the educational programs of DSPT and WDP, specifically as they relate to religion and the arts,
  4. encourage artists who wish to integrate theory and praxis, especially as it relates to production of sacred art.

Current initiatives of the institute include:

  • Relocation of the Collection. The top priority is to relocate the collection to a permanent facility that is more accessible to the Faculty and Students of DSPT.
  • Cataloging the Collection. While the books have been inventoried, the entire collection needs to be catalogued in a software system that will allow both onsite and online access using standard cataloging protocols. We have begun this process and hope to have an online version available by the end of Spring 2015.
  • Development Efforts. Two achieve the first two initiatives, the Board is actively seeking supportive friends.

For more information about the Santa Fe Institute email us at


As soon as he arrived as the new chaplain at St. Albert the Great Newman Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Fr. Blase Schauer, a Dominican from the Western Dominican Province, began introducing his innovative ideas to encourage greater lay involement in the Holy Mass. Soon known as "the Las Cruces Experiment," the Newman Center offered a dynamic educational program in Catholic culture, doctrine, and liturgy. Winning national awards for its education program, the Center quickly expanded its population, including not only students at New Mexico State University but also established local artists such as Meinrad Craighead. Under the banner of "symbol, season, and heritage," Fr. Schauer guided both groups in the development of quality Catholic liturgy. The results of this "experiment" brought forth a vibrant new liturgical program entitled "Liturgy in Santa Fe." Offering workshops across the nation to both lay and religious leaders, Fr. Schauer combined the tradition of sacred art and music with new technological innovations in multimedia to encourage an active involvement in the liturgy that revolved around both the natural and liturgical cycles. At its peak, the Liturgy in Santa Fe program boased a collection of over 30,000 35 mm color slides of fine arts, and a vast collection of LP recordings of classical music. The program remained in New Mexico until 1987, when the decision was made to move closer to the Bay Area and offer its resources to the Dominican School and the Graduate Theological Union. After the death of Fr. Schauer, the resources were taken over by Fr. Michael Carey and Fr. Michael Morris, Dominicans from the same Western Dominican Province. Under their leadership the Institute became less a liturgical "laboratory" and more a research center for scholars interested in Religion and the Arts. Together they amassed a vast collection of religious art and a library containing over 12,000 volumes dedicated to that discipline. Fr. Michael Carey soon left for teaching positions in Denver and St. Louis, leaving Fr. Michael Morris as Director of the Institute.

Over the years, Fr. Michael Morris started to collect biblical movie posters worldwide as an adjunct to his interest in religious film. In ten years time he acquired one of the largest collections of that genre, buying and restoring and framing the collection so that it could tour the United States. It debuted at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley accompanied by a film festival, and then traveled to the Museum Of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) in St. Louis, the University of San Francisco (Thacher Gallery), The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) in Manhattan, and The Jewish Museum in Melbourne Australia. A catalog essay of the show was published by MOBIA under the title REEL RELIGION: A CENTURY OF THE BIBLE IN FILM.

While it was showing in New York, an official from the Vatican Library viewed the collection and enthusiastically suggested that it would be the kind of exhibition that would be well received in Rome. Father Michael now hopes that the collection can be underwritten by a number of benefactors interested in donating the unique collection to the Vatican Museum and Library where it can be preserved in perpetuity.

Students and Professors of DSPT have used the Santa Fe Institute for their research for classes and publications. It is a unique collection of resources that advances the study of Religion and the Arts in a world that has become increasingly secularized. Those interested in visiting the collection should contact Michael Morris, OP or Chris Renz, OP.

The Santa Fe Institute is an official ministry of the Western Dominican Province, with asterisked inclusion in the Official Catholic Directory. It is a 501(c)(3), non-profit religious organization incorporated in the State of California, and is able to receive tax-deductible donations for its mission.

As an affilitate educational entity, the Santa Fe Institute is open to faculty and students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to any member of DSPT. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its access and use policies.