A brief guide to a very influential religious order with many popular saints.
At the beginning of the 13th century, St. Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest following the Rule of St. Augustine as a Canon Regular, saw the need for a new type of religious order. It would be preaching order that embraced a life of simplicity and poverty, much like the Franciscans that were founded around the same time.
Many others started to surround Dominic and together they founded the “Order of Preachers,” with a rule based on the Rule of St. Augustine. Dominic then sent out the members of his new order two by two, training them how to preach effectively and to live a life of simplicity that reflected the Gospel message they proclaimed.
Here is a brief guide to the Dominicans, detailing the basics of this highly influential religious order.
Names & Abbreviations: Order of Preachers, O.P., “Black Friars”
Date of Foundation(s): 1216
Founder(s): St. Dominic de Guzman
Motto & Charism: Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare (To praise, to bless and to preach)
According to the Dominican Order’s website, “We are consecrated for the proclamation of the Word of God, proclamation which is done using all the means available to us: preaching, confession, teaching, publishing, spiritual accompaniment, humble presence … Preaching animates what we do or what we live, to the point that our communities (‘priories’ or ‘convents’) have been called the ‘holy preaching.'”
Furthermore, “The original preaching of St. Dominic while in contact with Catharism impressed upon the friars that the proclamation of the Gospel could be done only through authentically evangelical means … Joining others and understanding them imposes a lifestyle like that of the apostle: a life that is lived in common and one that is itinerant.”
The Order of Preachers also puts a great emphasis on academic study in service of the Church. Rigorous study is matched with devout prayer, equipping them to boldly preach the truths of the Catholic faith with clarity and conviction.
Examples of Dominican Communities: Some Dominican communities include USA Provinces, Dominican House of Studies Priory, Dominican Friars of England and Scotland, Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Nuns of the Order of Preachers
Famous Dominicans: St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope St. Pius V, St. Hyacinth, St. Martin de Porres, and Bl. Jordan of Saxony. Lay Dominicans include St. Catherine of Siena, St. Rose of Lima, and Bl. PierGiorgio Frassati.