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How We Live

Vocation to the Dominican Laity

A vocation to Dominican life as a lay person is a vocation to holiness. Pope John Paul II tells us that:

“The vocation to holiness must be recognized and lived by the lay faithful, first of all as an undeniable and demanding obligation and as a shining example of the infinite love of the Father that has regenerated them in His own life of holiness.” (CL 17, JPII)

As Dominicans, we strive to live this vocation to holiness by living within the elements of Dominican life.

Community: We are brothers and sisters, sharing a common spirit, who nurture and encourage one another. We are a worldwide community, and meet in local chapters or prochapters (those in early stages of formation.) Our communities are governed democratically. Our Order is mendicant; as a community, we strive to live a simple lifestyle. Each of us share in our brothers’ and sisters’ struggle to live the Gospel.

Liturgy and Prayer: We strive to make part of our daily life reception of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, along with personal meditation and prayer, including the Rosary. This commitment provides the strength necessary for our way of life.

Study: Scripture, documents of the Church and spiritual and theological writers are the foundation of our continual effort to know the Truth. Prayerful study prepares us for the mission of the Order: preaching, in whatever fashion our state in life allows or occasions. Our spiritual formation is lifelong; therefore, our study, both personal and in common, is assiduous.

Discipline: Practices of personal penance, simplicity of life and dictates of charity form the basis for our self-discipline.

Apostolate: We are active witnesses, striving to give service, compassion and enrichment to others. We achieve this through our holy preaching, Ministry of the Word, or our participation in various activities or initiatives (such as Peace and Justice).

Dominican Laity Formation Program

Requirements For Admission To Formation In The Dominican Laity

Interested persons must meet the following criteria:

  • be at least 18 years of age and fully initiated in the Catholic Church for at least two years

  • have a strong commitment to live the Catholic faith

  • have a desire for a deeper relationship with God nurtured through liturgical and private prayer

  • have a stable and moral character capable of persevering in following the Rule and Statues of the Dominican Laity

  • have a desire to search for truth through prayer and study

  • be active in spreading the Good News through apostolic work, the example of their lives, and formal or informal preaching when the opportunity presents itself

  • be willing to join other lay men and women in prayer, study, and works as a member of a community

Initial Formation Of Lay Dominicans

The purpose of the initial formation program is to allow new members a period of discernment and study without a formal commitment to the Order or to the chapter. During this time, Inquirers and Candidates are expected to begin gradually to observe the practices of the Laity.

Year One: The period of inquiry (six to twelve months) is where new members seek to discern whether they are, in fact, called to Dominican life. During this period, the study is centered on what it means to be a Dominican, familiarity with Dominican history and saints, as well as with the role of the Laity in the Church today.

Year Two: The period of Candidacy (12 months) is where members continue to discern their vocations, begin to practice the daily obligations to which they will commit themselves at the end of this second year, and begin to participate more in the life of the chapter.

After completing this period of initial formation, participants are able to request full admission into the Order as Lay Dominicans.

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