The Dominican Order is comprised of different branches.
In addition to the friars (which includes priests and cooperator brothers), there are also cloistered nuns, who spend their lives in prayer, and active sisters who teach, work in hospitals, parishes, and other ministries.
There are also lay Dominicans, who may or may not be married and have families. They preach and minister in many ways that are appropriate to their lay vocation.
There are also those diocesan priests who, while called to their diocesan vocation, also deeply feel the Dominican Charism. These men join the Priestly Fraternity of St. Dominic.
Cloistered Dominican Nuns
The nuns have withdrawn from the world, seeking God in and through their cloistered life of prayer for the Church and the world.
They maintain their withdrawal from the world by enclosure and silence, by working diligently, studying the truth eagerly, searching the Scriptures with ardent heart, praying intently, willingly practicing penance, pursuing communion through their manner of government, in purity of conscience and the joy of sisterly concord, "in freedom of spirit."
In the Dominican Order, nuns hold a special place. St. Dominic founded the nuns before he founded the friars. In 1216, when the Dominican Friars were officially established, the first community of nuns had already existed for two years. They were founded with the express intent of praying for the success of the Dominican Preaching. And their mission is a vital one.
The Dominican Order needs women who will aid the preaching mission by a consecrated life of prayer. To learn more contact a Vocation Directress or use our embedded map listing the different monasteries and their locations.
Sr. Emmanuella, O.P. from the Dominican Nuns in Springfield, IL wrote a reflection for Friarly on the nature and place of the Nuns in the Order of Preachers.
Check it out here.
Monasteries in our Provinces
Monastery of the Infant Jesus
Monastery of St. Jude
Monastery of Mary the Queen
Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament
(Farmington Hills, MI)
Monastery of Mount Thabor
Active Dominican Sisters
These active sisters in the United States are a diverse, vibrant and colorful mosaic of the Church. Their mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ is carried out in countless ways.
Throughout the history of the Order, women have responded to Dominic’s vision in numerous ways.
The active sister congregations, recognized as belonging to the Order by the Master of the Order, retain various degrees of independence and autonomy.
These active sisters have responded to the needs of their own time and joined together for prayer, study, common life, and announcing the good news of God’s tender compassion through a variety of apostolates.
These apostolates include: education, ministering to people who are sick or who are mentally or physically challenged; evangelization; serving people who are poor, and much else.
Today, faithful women still respond to this call and work locally and across cultures and international boundaries to address new challenges and extend the historic visions of their various congregations.
They draw strength from both personal prayer and heartfelt common celebrations of the liturgy while studying resolutely, looking for the God in all things.
These women know that personal and communal contemplation shapes and supports our witness to the reign of God.
It speaks of our interdependence upon God and one another. Contemplation is the foundation of our lives, our relationships, and our ministries.
Today, there is a vital urgency and need for a profound commitment of Dominican women and men to embrace the mission of the holy preaching with one another.
We are convinced that speaking the truth in love continues the new creation and builds the reign of God here and now in the midst of our broken, fragile world.
And together, we are the Dominican Family and our very lives together and in our ministry and prayer are the Holy Preaching.
Active Dominican Sisters within the Provinces of St. Albert the Great & St. Martin de Porres
Adrian Dominican Sisters
Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids
Dominican Sisters Immaculate Conception Province
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois
Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, Nashville, TN
Dominican Sisters of Houston, Houston, TX
Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate, Houston, TX
In the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, men and women, both single and married, live lives inspired by St. Dominic and the Dominican saints as lay people in the midst of the secular world. These “Lay Dominicans” devote their lives to prayer, study and preaching the gospel.
And it is certainly a time of growth and renewal for our Lay Dominicans. But first lets break down what a Lay Dominican is more concretely.
What do we mean by the word “lay?” Lay members of the Catholic Church are ordinary members who are neither clergy nor recipients of Holy Orders nor profess vows in a religious order or congregation. We say the Holy Spirit is calling new members into the Dominican Order.
What do we mean by “into” the Dominican Order? Our lay members are Dominican; they are members of the Order. Yet at the same time, as lay members of the Church, our Lay Dominicans are not in the same state in life as the friars, nuns or active sisters.
So Dominican, yes, but in a way unique to their lay state in life.
Looking at the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic, it proclaims, “some lay people, moved by the Holy Spirit to lead a life according to the spirit and charism of St Dominic, are incorporated into the Order by a special promise according to their own statutes.”
The Lay Dominicans are formed into Christian communities called chapters. Each of the various chapter communities are organized geographically as a province.
Our Province of Saint Albert the Great contains over 20 chapters and a number of smaller groups. These members of the Lay Dominicans living within our province are members of the province, having Fr Gerard Timoner III, Master of the Order, and Fr Jimmy Marchionda O.P., Prior Provincial, as their legitimate superiors.
The Lay Dominican rules and statutes are approved by the province locally and the Dominican curia globally and each Lay Dominican makes special promises, further strengthening their legitimate role within the Catholic Church and their incorporation into the Order.
Our Lay Dominicans enjoy a unique vocation path sharing in the Dominican charism.
The Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic continues, “Lay Dominicans are therefore marked in a particular way both in their own spiritual life and in service of God and neighbor in the Church.
As members of the Order, they participate in its apostolic mission through study, prayer and preaching, in accordance with their condition as lay people.”
Lay Dominicans are those lay members of the Church called to a vocation as a Dominican, legitimately organized and structured within the Order, who enjoy the fruits of their own unique spiritual path.
It is a holy and beautiful way of life. How do we know that? Simply look at a list of the many Lay Dominicans declared saints: Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Rose of Lima, Blessed Margaret of Costello, Saint Louis de Montfort, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, among many others.
We thank God for our Lay Dominicans and we thank the Holy Spirit for calling new lay vocations to our province.
If you are interested in becoming a Lay Dominican or finding a chapter near you, please contact Br. John Steilberg, O.P., Promoter of the Dominican Laity.
If interested in becoming a member of the lay Dominicans, check out both the province-wide sites as well as the list of local chapters located on those sites. We have also provided the link for the local St. Louis chapter of Lay Dominicans which meets regularly at our priory, St. Dominic's.
Priestly Fraternity of St. Dominic
Just as members of the Dominican Lay Fraternities live secular lives inspired by the example of St. Dominic and the Dominican saints, so do members of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic.
A diocesan priest who wishes to serve his diocese and his local bishop, but who still experiences a draw to the Dominican Order is a perfect candidate for joining a Priestly Fraternity.
A member of the Priestly Fraternity makes profession according to a unique Rule. He becomes a true member of the Dominican Family after he makes his solemn promise to live according to the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic until death. He receives grace through his profession to live a life that is guided by the Dominican spirit of contemplation, disciplined by theological study and prayer, and combined with apostolic zeal to preach the Good News.
In living that Rule, in collaboration with Dominican Friars, the Priestly Fraternity member strives to be a more perfect evangelist.
Promoters for the Priestly Fraternity
St. Albert the Great (Central) Province:
Fr. Michael Joseph Monshau, O.P.
Fr. James Dominic Rooney, O.P.
St. Martin de Porres (Southern) Province:
Fr. David Keong Seid, O.P.
Phone Number: 510-326-3815
He that is truly obedient does not wait for a command, but as soon as he knows what his superior wishes to have done immediately sets himself to work, without expecting an order.
-St. Albert the Great, O.P.