The Order of Preachers is the oldest Preaching Order in the Church established in 1216 by St. Domini de Guzman. The 800 year old order popularly called Dominicans is devoted “for preaching and the salvation of souls.” The mission of the order is to preach Christ till the end of the earth so that every single person may know the savior and savor his salvific love.
Committed to common life, prayer, preaching and study Dominicans have across the centuries been the Domini Canes/ Hounds of the Lord preaching the gospel and protecting the Church against heretical teachings. Over 5800 Dominican Friars work in 77 countries explaining the truth of Catholic faith and reconciling those who had fallen away. Our common life, along with our time of study and at prayer, allows us to share the fruits of our contemplation andproclaim the good news to every land and nation. As religious “men intent on procuring their own and other people’s salvation;”, Dominicans are “gospel men, following in the footsteps of the Savior, speaking to God or of God, among themselves or with their neighbors”.
St. Dominic was appointed as the first Mater of the Scared Place , an office which is known as Theologian to the Papal Household . Since 1218 this is an office exclusively held by the Dominicans. Up 1743 the Dominican Master of the Scared Place held exclusive right to preach before the pope and his court . Pope Benedict XIV in 1743 entrusted the right to preach to the to Capuchins and Dominicans were to preach to the Papal household. Through the emphasis on study we have gifted Mother Church intellectual titans like St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, St. Catherine of Siena, who are amongst the 33 Doctors of the Church. The Order has been blessed with fiery preachers like St. Peter of Verona, St. Vincent Ferrer, mystics like Bl. Henry Suso, Meister Eckhart,Bl.Catherine of Racconigi who received stigmata. The Dominicans are privileged to be the brethren of St. Martin De Porres, St. John Macias, St. rose of Lima etc. Blessed Virgin Mary gifted the Rosary to St. Dominic and gave the habit of the Order to Bl. Reginald of Orleans. Dominicans showed such commitment to the Rosary through preaching and Rosary Confraternity that the Dominican Rosary became the most popular symbol of Marian devotion.
There are presently around 5,800 friars living in 550 Dominican priories and houses throughout the world, 2,750 nuns living in 200 monasteries, 23,000 active sisters belonging to 150 congregations, and around 166,000 Dominican laity living out the Dominican charism in the midst of their daily lives. To this day the Order of Preachers, founded eight hundred years ago , guards and illuminates the Church with the torch kindled by St. Dominic, the light of the Church.
Men may come and men may go but the word of God stays the same and Dominicans have preached this at all times and in all places. What Henri Lacordiare, the greatest pulpit orator of the 19th century holds true of the Order in these challenging times of the 21stcentury;
“If God granted us the power to set up a religious Order we are sure that after considerable reflection we should discover nothing newer or better adapted to our times and its needs than the rule of St. Dominic. There is nothing old about it save its history, and it would be pointless to rack our brains for the sole satisfaction of dating from yesterday.”