Saint Dominic always intended that his brethren should live in community. Today, as Sisters with an active apostolate, we perpetuate this tradition by maintaining a fervent life in common. We pray together, eat together, have community recreation and whenever possible undertake the apostolate as a team. The love of God unites us and calls us to serve our neighbour with joy.
Dominican life is characterised by a spontaneity, warmth and joy, underpinned by sound common sense. We rejoice in our individual diversity and gifts.
The Vows Our unity both spiritual and temporal is fostered by striving together to live our religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Our poverty ensures a simplicity of life based on common values. This renders us unhampered and more able to spread the Gospel. Our chastity proclaims our total commitment to the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our obedience is a demonstration of lives gifted to God, Our Father. Through this vow we symbolically recognise the sacrifice of the Cross.
Obedience has always been a strong virtue in the Order of Preachers. It is the only vow that Dominicans mention explicitly in their profession formula. Unlike some religious, they do not take the vow to obey the rule, but a person, a person representing God. Dominican obedience has a personal quality that it does not have in every Order. It is the keystone of Dominican existence. It is not negative but positive. It is the fulfilment of personality because it makes the religious like the Only-Begotten Son of God who was obedient unto death. Imitation is one of the finest tributes we can render to Christ. He was obedient, not only to his heavenly Father, but also to Mary and Joseph. He obeyed Pilate, Herod, the High Priest, and his executioners.
Obedience, the most important vow, protects the religious from the misuse of his talents, brings him the guidance of superiors, and ensures him constancy of purpose and steady progress toward perfection. Obedience causes a great holocaust of consecrated lives to send up the smoke of sacrifice from the thousands of Dominican priories, monasteries, motherhouses, and convents that cover the map of the world.
Monastic Observance Dominican life has always been underpinned by monastic practices. These are useful in the religious formation of the individual, help foster a community and assist in the apostolate. Some of these practices which we undertake include:
Worthy Celebration of the Liturgy
Study of Sacred Truth
Wearing the Habit
Silence at certain times and places in the Priory
Spiritual Reading at Mealtimes
Cloister suitable to our way of life
Each sister has her own ‘cell’ for rest, prayer, lectio divina and study