Web Edition


In the United States

© by Sr.Mary Nona McGreal, O.P.

Collaboration within the Order

From the time that friars invited women to participate in their Dominican mission in Kentucky, collaboration among branches of the order has remained an important factor, sometimes disregarded in American Dominican history.

Of current significance is the Dominican Leadership Conference, which began in 1935 as a conference of Dominican mothers general of the United States. Today it brings together yearly the leaders of sisters and friars in American congregations and provinces. The Conference encourages various forms of collaboration by means of the following groups:

  • PARABLE Conference for Dominican Life and Mission. Staff members provide "Encounter with the Word" retreats; study tours to the Lands of Dominic and Central American missions; and preaching teams for parish missions.
  • Project OPus: A History of the Order of Preachers in the United States. Researchers from the four branches of the Order are engaged together in this undertaking: the first integrated history of the American Dominicans..
  • Las Casas Foundation and Fund
  • Promoters of Preaching
  • Dominican Charism and Emerging World Order. A committee formed to assess the needs of the global community and prepare for a new world order.
  • U.S.Dominican Collaboration. A committee to promote regional conferences and action in the Dominican Family.
  • Initiatives for collaborative programs of initial formation began in 1976 with nationwide internovitiate conferences. These have led to the launching of a common novitiate for Dominican women, and a combined novitiate and Studium for friars of the St. Albert and St. Martin de Porres provinces.
  • The monasteries of Dominican contemplative women initiated in 1983 the Conference of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers of the United States. which organizes monastic study weeks and publishes Dominican Monastic Search to promote contemplative life.

    Out of their traditional association with universities in Europe and the Americas, Dominicans have served as administrators and professors in higher education throughout the United States. They have founded more than eighteen colleges and universities, including the unique graduate school for men and women, Aquinas Institute of Theology. Recent movement toward collaboration in the United States has resulted in a Consortium.

    Reaching beyond national boundaries, friars and sisters who are Dominican Promoters of Justice and Peace for North America join the promoters of the whole Order to educate, advocate and coordinate the campaign for world peace through justice.

    World-wide collaboration among branches of the Order was stimulated in the mid-twentieth century as General Chapters gave new emphasis to an old reality: the Dominican Family. The revision of the Constitutions of the friars in 1968 gave renewed emphasis to the Dominican family, declaring that all friars, sisters, nuns and laity "share the same common vocation and each, in its own special way, serves the mission of the Order in the world." Succeeding chapters continued this emphasis, leading to the first international Symposium of the Dominican Family at Bologna in 1983, led by Vincent de Couesnongle O.P., Master of the Order. At this historic event, in which American Dominicans fully participated, the delegates produced the definitive Bologna Document on the Dominican Family as a basis for continuing world-wide collaboration in the Order of Preachers.

    This history is the first draft of the article by Sr. Mary Nona McGreal, O.P., of Project OPus, on Dominicans requested by Michael Glazier and the The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN for the just published Encyclopedia of American Catholic History.

    Note:  Photos on this page are not part of the Encyclopedia entry.

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