Charism

"Dominicans are called by the Spirit to be faithful to the prophetic mission of Jesus by the integrity of our lives, and to proclaim the Truth fearlessly and confidently, as Dominic did."

From Mission Statement Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia

 

Contemplation and study of the Word reveal this Truth to us in Scripture and Tradition and it is further developed in the people, events and circumstances of our human society.

Empowered by the gifts of the spirit, alert to the signs of the times and working for Gospel values, we seek to preach truth, defend freedom and promote justice.

The hallmark of Dominican Charism (spirituality) is preaching, a point that is made obvious to us in the fact that St Dominic founded the Order of Preachers (OP).  St Dominic oriented everything he did toward authentically imitating Christ.  He knew in his own age, which was wrought with heresy, that only a well-educated person who lives humbly, charitably, and uprightly could best transmit the life of Christ to the world.  Therefore, his placement of prayer first in his life, his poverty and austerity, his insistence on study and thorough education, his emphasis on community life and charity all have a purpose: everything that a Dominican does must prepare his soul for preaching well the truth of Christ to the world.

The Value of Charism

Can we ask then: does it really matter if the Dominican charism endures or not?  Surely what matters is that the Gospel of Jesus is preached, and that God's spirit is received in human hearts.  Fundamentally Dominic himself would no doubt agree.

Dominicans around the world would, I believe, answer the question with a resounding 'yes', perhaps adding that it also matters that the Dominican charism continues to give life to the Church.  It matters in the sense that the response which Dominic gave to the Gospel of Jesus in his life and preaching has enriched the life of the Church through the past eight hundred years and continues to enrich humankind both within and beyond the Church.  The Gospel charism received by Dominic is a gift to the Church and to the world, a gift from the Spirit of God active and alive in the hearts of those who are, like Dominic, ready to respond.

Gift of Charism

The Dominican charism is a great gift, the value of which is drawn upon in diverse ways and discovered anew in the context of the times and culture.  It expands the horizon of one community to a broader global family network.  Dominican history, replete with the stories of great men and women, and the continued vibrant witness of contemporary Dominicans around the world, is a source of collective power.

Communicating the Charism

The task of passing on a sound understanding of the founding charism has been identified as a major role of stewardship for religious congregations.

As Thomas Aquinas noted so long ago, beauty, like goodness and truth, is an attribute closely associated with the Divine.  With its capacity to engage the depths of a person, beauty is thus central to a holistic setting.

Acknowledgements
Extracts taken from Towards the Intelligent Use of Liberty: Dominican Approaches in Education Edited by Gabrielle Kelly OP and Kevin Saunders OP, ATF Press 2004
Extracts taken from The Gift of Charism: A Principal's Perspective Jillian Havey OP - Principal St Dominic's Priory College, Adelaide

 

The Four Pillars

The Dominican Charism is often described in terms of the Four Pillars:

 

 

Prayer

Personal and community prayer are central to Dominican Life.  The Word of God is our focus. An important Dominican motto is "To contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation".

 

Study

Veritas (Truth), a significant motto, encourages us to be truth seekers in our times through scriptural, theological and secular study.

 

Community Life

“The Kingdom of God is here and now”. Our Gospel living is encouraged and supported by those with whom we share our lives.

 

Ministry and Service

Inspired by our prayer, in touch with reality through our study and supported by community, we respond to the needs of our time, each according to ability and circumstance.

 

 


 

We are sent on mission
because of our deep experience of God.
We are not sent because of our resumes,
our credentials, our experience,
or our careers.
Mission is about reconciliation,
crying out for justice,
standing with the powerless
in word and witness.
        Ann Willits OP