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Formation Guidelines

The intent of these guidelines is to provide a general framework for formation programs by identifying the essential elements for instruction. These guidelines are not intended to impose burdensome requirements, but rather to aid chapters in forming members to the Dominican way of life.

It is crucial to acknowledge that the call to the Dominican Order is a call to a vocation for the purpose of sanctification of its members. Union with God and personal holiness are the goals for every Dominican.

As followers of St. Dominic, it is important to instruct our newest members in the twofold aspect of the Order’s charism; the contemplative life and the active life. To bear good fruit in the active life, we must first begin with the contemplative life. Accordingly, the greatest emphasis must be placed on developing a deep and rich contemplative life, so we may thereby attain our goal in the active life, which consists in the salvation of souls.

A good Dominican formation program provides detailed instruction (which can be tailored to the needs of each chapter), that helps us integrate The Rule, The Particular Directory and the promises we make, into our daily lives. The guidelines presented here list the standard aspects for proper formation. Also provided is a list of basic and recommended materials for each year.

I. YEAR ONE

The year of Inquiry (Postulancy), is the year in which new members seek to discern whether they are, in fact, called to Dominican life. During this year, the study is centered on what it means to be a Dominican, familiarity with Dominican history and saints, as well as the role of the Laity in the Church today.

Topics of Instruction in Year One:

  • Liturgical Prayer
  • Loyalty to the Church
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Rosary
  • Devotion to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena
  • Study
  • Community Life
  • Familiarity with the Rule and Particular Directory
  • History of Saint Dominic / Dominican Order
  • Mission of the Order
  • Four Pillars: Study, Prayer, Community, Preaching

 

Required Materials for Year One:

  • Holy Bible
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Liturgy of the Hours (4 volume set)(You may want to buy one book at a time or go to iBreviary website for the daily hours.)
  • Dominicana: A Guidebook for Inquirers, Second Edition by Robert Curtis, OPL and Karen Woods, OPL
  • Saint Dominic by Sister Mary Jean Dorcy, OP (Tan Books and Publishers)
  • Rule and Directory of the Lay Dominicans (access on website)

Recommended Materials for Year One:

  • St. Dominic’s Family by Sister MaryJean Dorcy, OP
  • Dominican Saints by Dominican Novices (TAN Books and Publishers)
  • My Way of Life pocket edition by Walter Farrell, O.P., S.T.M. and
  • Martine J. Healy, S.T.D.

 

II YEAR TWO

During this year of Candidacy (Novitiate), the new members continue to discern their vocations and continue to practice the daily obligations. They also become more involved in chapter life and continue to commit to the Dominican life of study. The focus of study is from Jordan Aumann’s Spiritual Theology.

Topics of Instruction in Year Two:

  • The Virtues and the Beatitudes
  • The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace
  • Schools of Spirituality
  • The Sacraments
  • Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • The Mystical State
  • Mary, Mother and Mediatrix

 

Required Materials for Year Two:

  • The Holy Bible
  • The Catechism of The Catholic Church
  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • The Rule and the Particular Directory
  • Spiritual Theology by Jordan Aumann, O.P.

 

Recommended Materials for Year Two:

  • Dominican Penitent Women (The Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Total Consecrationby St. Louis DeMontfort
  • True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis DeMontfort
  • Dominican Spirituality, Principles and Practices by Fr. William Hinnebusch, OP
  • Papal Encyclicals
  • Vatican II Documents
  • Dialogue of St. Catherine of Sienna

 

III YEAR I, II, and II Temporary Professed

Temporary profession is a promise to live according to the Rule of the Fraternities of St. Dominic for a period of three years. Formation in Dominican life and spirituality continues during this time. At the end of this period, the candidate and the Order decide if the candidate is prepared to make final or permanent profession.

Topics of Instruction in Year I:

  • The External and Internal Senses
  • The Intellect and the Will
  • The Sacraments
  • The Theological Virtues
  • The Moral Virtues
  • Prayer: Vocal, Affective Meditation, Contemplative, Silence
  • Examination of Conscience
  • Desire for Perfection

 

Required Materials for Year I:

  • The Holy Bible
  • The Catechism of The Catholic Church
  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • The Rule and the Particular Directory
  • Spiritual Theology by Jordan Aumann, O.P.

 

Topics of Instruction in Years II and III:

  • Sixteen Documents of Vatican II
  • Four Pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Precepts of the Catholic Church
  • Dominican Saints
  • Papal Encyclicals
  • Local Parish Evangelization
  • Prayer
  • Devotion to Mary

 

Required Materials for Year Two:

  • The Holy Bible
  • The Catechism of The Catholic Church
  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • The Rule and the Particular Directory
  • Spiritual Theology by Jordan Aumann, O.P.
  • A Concise Guide to the Documents of Vatican II by Edward P. Hahnenberg
  • Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry A. Weddell
  • Dominican Saints by Dominican Novices

 

Recommended Materials for Years I, II, and III Temporary Professed:

  • Vatican Council II Documents by Austin Flannery, O.P.
  • Christi Fideles Laiciby John Paul II
  • Other Papal Encylicals

 

IV Final Professed

The Final Professed member makes a promise to live according to the Rule of the Fraternities of St. Dominic for the rest of his or her life. The members agree to the text(s) they will study each year.

Required Materials for Final Professed:

  • The Holy Bible
  • The Catechism of The Catholic Church
  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • The Rule and the Particular Directory
  • Spiritual Theology by Jordan Aumann, O.P.

 

Additional Recommended Ongoing Formation Materials:

  • Praying with the Dominicans by John Vidmar, O.P.
  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis
  • Taming the Restless Heart by Fr. Gerald Vann, O.P.
  • He Dwells in Your Soul by Fr. Bede Jarrett, O.P.
  • Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross
  • Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Frances de Sales
  • Interior Castle by Saint Teresa of Avila

 

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