Branches of the Dominican Order
de Guzman (1170-1221) founded the
Order of Preachers, or Dominicans,
at the beginning of the 13th Century
the world he knew was in turmoil. Europe's
agrarian population was shifting to
urban centers, creating waves of change
that affected of of life, including
economic and social relationships,
politics and religious. Universities
established in these new urban centers
were attracting the interest of the
new generation and the attention of
Dominic as well.
1203, Dominic dedicated his life
and to a new ministry, through
which he would lead many other
men and women: preaching. The
new order was given the title Order
of Preachers and their itinerant
style of preaching keeps them on
the move. Today, many Dominicans
would say that they preach with
the Sacred Scripture in one hand
and the newspaper in the other.
In this way their preaching is
to bring the Word of God into dialogue
with the complexities and challenges
of our world.
Dominican Family Has Several Branches
the Dominican Order there are several branches,
all focused around a passion for preaching
and the same priorities, all living in the
same spirit and charism of St. Dominic. And
all have produced many recognized saints. They
are Friars (brothers, priests), Laity, Nuns,
both brothers and priests, profess the vows
of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Brothers
and priests share in a common life in the spirit
and charism of St. Dominic and may be involved
in a variety of ministries. Ministries among
the Friars include campus ministry, itinerant
preaching, parish ministry, teaching in schools
and universities, educational administration,
religious education, authorship, catechetical
formation, social work, psychology, health
care, the arts, and household support.
Each Friar, brother or priest, has heard a call
to his choice of dedication. A brother is not
a potential priest but one called to be a brother.
Many follow the preaching path, some are ordained
permanent deacons, but they don't hear a call
to priesthood. Some hear the call to quieter
apostolates of hospitality and solace for those
who seek it, others to very active apostolates.
Priests provide for the Sacramental life of the
Church as well. Each, brother or priest, serves
in the ministry of preaching and follows the
path to it: prayer, study, and community.
active, vowed religious women who are members
of over 25 different congregations in the US.
At the basis of all their activity is the primary
apostolate of preaching that takes many forms:
teaching, social work, missionary work, advocacy
for the poor, care of the earth, housing ministries,
retreat and spiritual direction, the arts,
just to name a few. In common with the other
branches of the Family, Sisters pray the Liturgy
of the Hours, observe a regular practice of
prayer and study, and share community.
Dominicans sisters' congregations enjoy an
enriching relationship with Associate
members who participate in the congregation's
charism, Dominican spirituality and tradition.
In this way, Dominican charism is extended
cloistered Dominican Sisters. Their lives most
closely resemble the communities founded by
St. Dominic to pray for the success of the holy
preaching of the Order. The nuns profess
solemn vows and usually enter and remain in
the same monastery throughout their lives.
Their days are marked by silence, the necessary
climate for contemplation and continuous prayer.
Nuns are also authors, supporters of the missions,
and ministers to the poor. They provide spiritual
counsel and their monasteries are power houses
of prayer. Many support themselves by producing
hosts and vestments for Mass and other religious
articles. The Liturgy of the Hours, as well
as Mass and devotions such as perpetual adoration
are the framework of their days.
Dominicans have a direct role in
the preaching mission. Many pursue degrees
in theology or liturgy, are engaged in
justice ministries and fully participate
in St. Dominic's call to contemplate
and share with others the fruits of contemplation..
Lay Dominicans preach primarily in wherever
our station in life finds us. We preach
by our lives and example, and when opportunity
arises, with our voices as well. Dominican
Lay men and women pursue study, particularly
in theology, Scripture, and catechesis
in order to preach well when called upon
to do so.
The Lay Dominicans make promises
to follow The Rule of the Lay Chapters of St.
Dominic and the Particular Directory of the Province
in which they live. They meet in community regularly
and participate with the friars, nuns, and sisters,
as well as the Church in general, in praying
the Liturgy of the Hours. They engage in active
apostolates such as letter-writing on issues
of peace and justice, ministry to the poor, liturgical
ministries, teaching, authorship, and spiritual