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The Four Pillars of Dominican Life

The Adrian Dominican Sisters, as members of the Family of St. Dominic, base our lives on the Four Pillars of Dominican Life: Prayer, Study, Community and Ministry. The Four Pillars are interrelated, each strengthening and being strengthened by the others.


Prayer

“Prayer, both personal and communal,
centers our life in mission
in our relationship with God…” (Adrian Dominican Constitution and Statutes, #13)

Dominicans are expected to spend time in personal prayer. The traditional call for Dominicans is to “contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation.” Thus, we spend time in quiet, reflective meditation. In particular, we focus on Scripture, the Word of God, as our source of God’s truth. Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates are also invited to pray in whatever other ways that God touches their hearts, such as in the rosary, in other devotions, and in the experience of nature.

A community of Adrian Dominican
Sisters pray together in their home.
The Adrian Dominican community gathers in
Holy Rosary Chapel to celebrate the Easter Vigil

Adrian Dominicans are also called on to pray communally. Members of local communities decide how they will pray and share their faith together. Communal prayer can also take place in mission groups, in Chapter Assemblies and in other gatherings of our Sisters and Associates. In addition we participate in the prayer of the Church - in the celebration of the Eucharist, daily when possible; in Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours; and in the Sacraments. "Like Dominic, we seek to center ourselves and our mission in the Eucharistic moments of our lives" (Adrian Dominican Constitution and Statutes, #13).


Study

“In a contemplative spirit we search for truth,
using our own experience
and the resources of human knowledge
in order to be more effective
preachers of the Word” (Adrian Dominican Constitution and Statutes, #14).

The Dominican pillar of Study includes
formal seminars, workshops and classes,
as well as informal learning that
Dominicans pursue on their own.

Veritas (truth) is a Dominican motto, and study enables us to search out and find the truth of our times. From our earliest history, Dominicans have understood the value of study to enable us to be more effective as preachers and ministers. St. Dominic, in founding the Order, sent his friars to the universities of his day to study theology. Some of our greatest saints have modeled this focus on study. St. Thomas Aquinas integrated the wisdom of Aristotle with that of Scripture and wrote his classic summary of Christian theology. St. Albert the Great was noted for his study of the natural sciences. That emphasis on study continues today as our Sisters engage in life-time study of theology, Scripture, and the disciplines needed for their ministry. In addition, we are encouraged to keep up with the issues of our day so that we can speak to the Signs of the Times in our preaching.


Community

“Called to embrace the human condition more fully
in solidarity with the poor and suffering everywhere,
we believe that shared life and faith,
necessary for continued conversion,
enlarge our capacity for service” (Adrian Dominican Constitution and Statutes, #11).

Living in community is essential to our mission. In communal living, we support and challenge one another; pray and share faith together; extend hospitality and service to others; and hold all of our resources in common, trusting our lives to one another. We live in the unity called for by Christ, while at the same time respecting and celebrating individual differences. In this often challenging way of life, we witness to the world the acceptance, support and unity of the Kingdom of God and of the earliest disciples of Jesus.

Sisters enjoy a meal together
at the Siena House, a house of formation
Community life gives Sisters the
opportunity to share life and to
get to know one another.

Ministry

“We Adrian Dominicans
Claim the apostolic spirit of our founder, Dominic,
Centering our ministerial activity
In contemplative encounter with God,
So that we too
Might speak the Gospel word
In the transforming power of the Spirit
According to the needs of our time” (Adrian Dominican Constitution and Statutes, #6).

Sister Nancy Murray, OP, portrays
Dominican Saint Catherine of Siena to a
group of young students
Sister Donna Markham, OP, former Prioress, offers a reflection during a gathering As Dominicans, we preach
through our ministry to
those in need

St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers in the 13th Century to preach the Gospel and to combat the heresies of his day. Preaching is, therefore, essential to Dominican life. We all preach the Word of God through our ministries, whether as teacher, social worker, parish minister, social justice advocate, or any other ministry. As members of an apostolic Congregation of women religious, we preach God’s love, compassion, and mercy through our lives of service, so that others may come to know and follow Jesus Christ.