Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., the eleventh Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey, was re-elected as the major superior of the Benedictine Community in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 11.
In his role as the Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Archabbot Douglas serves as the spiritual leader of the first monastery established in the United States and one of the largest monasteries in the world. He is also the chancellor of Saint Vincent College and Saint Vincent Seminary. The Benedictines operate the Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia, and the Penn State Campus Ministry Program. In addition to his responsibilities in this country, the Archabbot is also the spiritual leader of monasteries in Brazil and Taiwan.
Archabbot Douglas attended Catholic grade schools at Saint Joseph, Everson, and Holy Cross, Youngwood, Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College in 1968, a Master of Divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1971 and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1977. He was professed as a Benedictine on July 11, 1966, and ordained to the priesthood at the Archabbey Basilica on May 21, 1972 by Bishop William G. Connare of Greensburg. He was first elected by his fellow monks on January 8, 1991 to become the eleventh Archabbot of Saint Vincent. On March 1, 1991, he received the Abbatial Blessing from Anthony G. Bosco, Bishop of Greensburg.
Prior to his election as Archabbot, Archabbot Douglas had served for five years as Secretary for Education of the Diocese of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1991 and Pastor of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, North Side, Pittsburgh from 1984 to 1986. At Saint Vincent College he served as Chairman of the Department of Psychology from 1979 to 1984 and Associate Academic Dean from 1983 to 1984. From 1978 through 1983, he was also a member of the staff in the Behavioral Science Department at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The Archabbot also served as a psychological consultant to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1978 to 1984.
Archabbot Douglas is a member of the Board of Trustees of the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Extra Mile Education Foundation, Saint Vincent College and Seminary Board of Incorporators, Saint Vincent College Board of Directors, the Saint Vincent Seminary Board of Regents, and the Board of Directors of the Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia. During his years as Secretary of Education in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, he also served as a member of the Saint Anthony School for Exceptional Children Board of Directors and the DePaul Institute Board of Directors. He is a member of “Power of 32,” a four-state regional visioning and civic engagement project that includes 14 Western Pennsylvania counties.
In 1992, Archabbot Douglas was named “Man of the Year in Religion” by the Pittsburgh Vectors Society and in 1995, received an Honorary Degree from Saint Vincent College. In the Fall of 1999, he received an Honorary Degree from Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan, Republic of China. The Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey founded the original Fu Jen University in Beijing, the first Catholic University in China, in the 1920s. Today the Benedictines have a priory in Taiwan and teach at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei. Archabbot Douglas received the Distinguished Service Award from Oakland Catholic High School in the fall of 2000. The award was given in recognition of his role in the establishment of Oakland Catholic High School during his years as Secretary of Education for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In 2004, Saint Vincent College created the Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B. Minority Scholarship in recognition of his participation in the establishment of the Extra Mile Education Foundation and the Crossroads Foundation in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and for his support of scholarships for minority students at Saint Vincent College. In October 2008, Archabbot Douglas received the North Side Hall of Fame Award from Dan Rooney and Kevin McClatchey for his contribution to elementary and secondary education in the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and for his continued support of expanding educational opportunities for minority students from the Pittsburgh area.
In November 2009, Archabbot Douglas was the recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Westmoreland Fayette Council, Laurel Hills District of the Boy Scouts of America. The award recognized the Archabbot’s leadership role in enhancing the Westmoreland/Fayette region through his commitment to the educational and cultural life of the area.
In 1993, Archabbot Douglas co-founded the “Benedictines of East Asia, Oceania and the Philippines,” an organization to facilitate collaboration among Asian monasteries. The organization brings together monastic communities from throughout East Asia for dialog on monastic issues and to work together on common projects to expand programs to create greater awareness of Benedictine spirituality and values for candidates for the monastic life and for the general public. Archabbot Douglas was also appointed by Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, head of the Benedictine Confederation in Rome, to serve as a member of the International Benedictine Commission on China.
Under the leadership of Archabbot Douglas, Saint Vincent Archabbey, College, Seminary and Parish have undergone major developments, including a new bypass and entrance road to the Saint Vincent campus, the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, the Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, the Carey Student Center, the Elizabeth Roderick Center and The John and Annette Brownfield Center, a new Apse organ in the Archabbey Basilica along with restoration of the Basilica Crypt, the construction of two college dormitories, Rooney Hall and Saint Benedict Hall, the renovation/restoration of the Archabbey Basilica, construction of a new parish center for Saint Vincent Parish, renovation of Prep Hall and the Latimer Family Library, the establishment of a minority scholarship program named in his honor and the construction of the $40 million Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion which is currently underway.
The son of the late Sylvester and Evelyn (Jackamonis) Nowicki, he was born in Everson, Pennsylvania on May 8, 1945. He is one of four children. His brothers are Edward Nowicki of Greensburg, and Lawrence Nowicki of Harrisburg. His sister is Mrs. Dean (Sylvia) Sickenberger of Greensburg.