to the Order
In Preparation for the 800th Anniverary
of the Foundation of the Monastery in Prouilhe
29 April, the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena,
Dear brothers and sisters:
to the whole Order announcing the Jubilee Year for the
800th anniversary of the foundation of the first community
of contemplative nuns.
I send you this letter from the Monastery of Blessed
Mary in Prouille, the first monastery of the Order,
on the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, our older
sister, "into whom, it seems, ‘the whole
soul of Dominic passed (as indeed into Blessed Jordan
In our history there are many events that encourage
us to renew our faithfulness to our vocation as sons
and daughters of Saint Dominic: "to contemplate
and share the fruits of our contemplation".
"The nuns of the Order of Preachers came into
being when our holy Father Dominic gathered women converts
to the Catholic faith in the monastery of Blessed Mary
of Prouille. These women, free for God alone, he associated
to his ‘holy preaching' by their prayer and penance".
Blessed Jordan wrote: "the Order of Preachers had
not yet been founded; it was rather a question of its
institution, as Saint Dominic was still dedicating himself
fully to the ministry of preaching ... And so, from
the death of the Bishop of Osma - Diego - until the
Lateran Council, approximately ten years passed, during
which bro. Dominic was practically alone in the region".
800 years have now passed since this historic event.
As we consider what is, in some way, the first Dominican
community, truly the hidden seed of the Order, analogously
we celebrate as well the theological priority that contemplation
holds in our life and mission.
It is truly right and just that we thank God for the
gift of our contemplative sisters! They support us in
the path we follow; they participate in a special way
in our preaching; they welcome us that we may share
the hopes and joys, the grief and anxieties of our itinerant
ministry. As Saint Catherine of Siena did, so they encourage
us to have no fear, to go forth in the highways and
byways to meet those who thirst for God; they compel
us to live a passion for Christ and for humanity.
We must live this anniversary with the serene joy of
Saint Dominic. God willing, and with the whole of the
Order of Preachers, beginning with the first Sunday
of Advent (3 December 2006) and continuing through the
Epiphany in 2008, we will celebrate a Jubilee Year,
dedicated to the memory of these 800 years of our contemplatives.
We will live a "novena" of years that will
take us to another important event: the 8th centenary
of Pope Honorius III's confirmation of the Order with
the Bull Religiosam vitam of 22 December 1216.
We will concentrate our celebration during this Jubilee
Year in each and every monastery throughout the world.
The contemplative charism of our nuns is certainly not
tied to any one particular site or community. For this
reason, we have not planned any functions, events or
ceremonies centred in Prouille. Nevertheless, as an
eloquent sign of the communion with all of the monasteries
of the Order, on the first day of the Jubilee some of
the friars of our General Curia will celebrate the Eucharist
in monasteries that the Order considers "true sanctuaries"
due to their special connection with the life of Saint
Dominic: the Monastery of Blessed Mary in Prouille (founded
in 1206-1207); the Monastery of the Holy Rosary (ex-Saint
Sixtus) in Rome (founded in 1219); the Royal Monastery
of Saint Dominic in Madrid (founded in 1218-1219); the
Monastery of Saint Dominic in Caleruega (founded in
Caleruega in 1270). Each monastery could organize
similar initiatives involving the whole Dominican Family.
To prepare our hearts for this celebration, each monastery
will offer its own suggestions and proposals for events,
initiatives and celebrations to help the whole Dominican
Family renew our vocation by concentrating on the riches
of the contemplative life, the well-spring of our preaching.
The International Commission of the Nuns will also offer
some subsidies to live more intensely this Jubilee Year.
May all of us, the sons and daughters of Saint Dominic,
prepare ourselves to make this pilgrimage to our monasteries
joyfully; let us there drink of the fresh simplicity
of the "love we had at first", feeling ourselves
at the feet of Jesus, that we may be with Him andlisten
to Him. Let us live this time with intensity and grace,
sharing with our contemplative communities the joy of
their consecration, the fruitfulness of their silence,
the beauty of their liturgy, their special love for
The Jubilee Year will be an expression of gratitude
for our Dominican vocation through which we are called
to Praise, to Bless and to Preach God with the Church,
in the Church and for the Church.
The Holy Spirit providentially inspired Saint Dominic
de Guzman to lay the foundations of the Order of Preachers
in some way in the life and mission of our contemplatives.
We shout Magnificat! for all that the Lord has done
for us through them!
Fraternally in Saint Dominic, from the Monastery of
"Blessed Mary" in Prouille, 29 April, the
Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, 2006
Bro. Carlos A. Azpiroz Costa OP
Master of the Order
 Fr. Aniceto Fernández in Analecta O.P.
78 (1970) 481; see Mortier, Histoire des maîtres
généraux de l'Ordre des Frères
Prêcheurs, I (Paris 1903) 139.
 Liber constitutionum Monialium Ordinis Prædicatorum
n. 1, § I.
 Libellus n. 37.
 see ACG Providence 2001 nn. 321-323.
Last Updated ( Monday, 01 May 2006 )
"Let us walk faithful
to the love we had at first"
( Revelations 2, 4)
We will concentrate our celebration
during this Jubilee Year in each and every monastery
throughout the world. The contemplative charism of our
nuns is certainly not tied to any one particular site
or community. For this reason, we have not planned any
functions, events or ceremonies centred in Prouille.
...To prepare our hearts for this celebration, each
monastery will offer its own suggestions and proposals
for events, initiatives and celebrations to help the
whole Dominican Family renew our vocation...