In his latest book, The Road to Character, columnist and commentator David Brooks notes how at odds the notion of vocation is with contemporary thinking. He writes, “A vocation is not about fulfilling your desire or wants, the way modern economists expect us to do. A vocation is not about the pursuit of happiness, if by ‘happiness’ you mean being in a good mood, having pleasant experiences, or avoiding struggle and pain. Such a person becomes an instrument for the performance of the job that has been put before [him]. [He] molds [himself] to the task at hand.” For more than seven decades now, The Society for Vocational Support (SVS) has been helping young men mold themselves to the task to which they feel called: preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ in a culture so in need of it.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of SVS. It’s an exciting marker in the evolution of the Central Province and the growth of our SVS family: all of you who have so faithfully supported us! A little historical context will help here.
The Order of Preachers, eventually nicknamed “the Dominicans” after its founder, St. Dominic, was approved in 1216 and given the special task of “preaching for the salvation of souls.” To carry out this worldwide preaching in contemporary times, SVS was established in our province to support and educate young men preparing to become Dominican priests and brothers. Our province, St. Albert the Great (the Central Province) was founded in 1939 from the province of St. Joseph the Worker (the Eastern Province). SVS was founded in 1940 to establish a restricted fund, the corpus of which could not be used by the province. The interest generated was to be made available for the education and the training of future Dominican preachers. However, funds for immediate use were needed and gave impetus to a new, additional approach in which monthly letters asking for support were sent to family and friends of the friars. Eventually these monthly letters were distributed to a growing number of friends of the Dominicans, touched by our various and expanding ministries, who asked, “How can I help to assure there are future Dominicans coming our way?”
Well, I’m happy to say that we have never been doing better in assuring those future Dominicans for the critical task at hand of preaching and teaching. This year alone six Dominican novices will profess Simple Vows, six more will take their place in the novitiate and five student brothers will profess Final Vows. What we most celebrate in this anniversary year is that our story is your story, because you have journeyed with us and have made our SVS family who and what it is today!
In the spirit of St. Dominic,
Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom,O.P.