The Dominican Tradition

Men and women of the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, have been on mission in the United States for more than two centuries. The mission given them by St. Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221) from the founding of the Order, is to proclaim the Word of God by preaching, teaching and example, while sustained by life in common.

Dominican spirituality is centered in the Word of God.

  • The creative Word has been proclaimed by such members
    as Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eickhart.
  • The incarnate Word has been proclaimed by Catherine of Siena and all who contemplate and preach the mystery of Jesus Christ.
  • The revealed Word has engaged those who have studied and taught theology and Scripture in every century.

The single mission of the Order of Preachers embraces many ministries, developed as needed to bring the Word of God to people in varying societies and circumstances. St. Dominic had this in mind when he urged the first members of the Order to identify with each culture, to listen to the voice of the poor, to those who sought deeper meaning in life and who sought to know God.

The twofold motto of the Order continues to be Veritas, in a world hungering for truth; and Caritas, the equally urgent need for human compassion and mercy.

The Order of Preachers is composed of men and women of four branches: friars, who may be priests or brothers; cloistered nunssisters; and laity. Dominic de Guzman was called to ministry in the universal Church. His followers have proclaimed the Gospel around the world to peoples never known to the founder, including those of the Americas.

This information is courtesy of DomLife, a web crossroads for Dominicans.

Hounds of the Lord
What’s up with the dog and torch?

The Dominican dog goes back to a vision St. Dominic’s mother supposedly had before she had him. Struggling with infertility, she was making a pilgrimage to the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos in Spain when she dreamed that a dog jumped from her womb holding a torch and set everything around them and the world on fire. Soon after, she conceived a son with her husband and named him after the 11th century St. Dominic of Silos, for whom the abbey she had visited had been named.

The dream was prescient due to a play on words in Latin: although Dominic called his order the Order of Preachers, it would later come to be known as the Dominicans; in Latin, that’s Dominicanus, which is very similar to domini canis, or “dog/hound of the Lord.”

Given the order’s charism for zealous preaching of the Gospel, the story and the play on words seemed fitting! So, to this day, the Dominicans are nicknamed the “hounds of the Lord.”

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