St. Dominic founded the “Order of Preachers” in 1216, sending his friars to Europe’s great university cities to pray and study to preach the Gospel. These new “urban monks” earned their living by begging and preaching. 800 years later, Dominican friars continue to preach, teach and pray in more than 100 countries, still relying on help along the way.
Dominic wanted his friars to be “mendicants” or what we might call beggars. This new form of poverty freed up the friars, enabling them to dedicate themselves totally to study and preaching. Dominic also knew this form of religious life could not survive without many faithful friends.
Our Province of St. Albert the Great, founded in 1939, is one of 40 Dominican provinces around the world. Over 150 friars, including nearly 30 in formation, serve in parish ministry and pastoral care, on university campuses, at our Aquinas Institute Graduate School of Theology in St. Louis, and at renowned Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois. Our friars teach at the distinguished “Angelicum” in Rome and study at Jerusalem’s Ècole Biblique, one of the world’s most prominent scripture schools. Chicago’s Dominican Shrine of St. Jude brings healing to people worldwide.
Today, Dominicans rely on contributions from those to whom they preach just as they did 800 years ago. This “1216 Annual Fund” supports our young friars in formation and friars in limited service who have given their lives as teachers, preachers, missionaries, chaplains and pastors. Your gift creates the annual “harvest” to continue our work of preaching and teaching.
Dominicans ask questions, keeping the Church alive while helping Her think. Great challenges to our faith invite the very best minds to negotiate spiritual and moral challenges. Dominicans help answer the questions all Catholics long to understand, allowing them to enthusiastically embrace their faith in our rapidly changing world.
As we did 800 years ago, Dominicans share our contemplation and study with others, above all through preaching. We do not do all the Church’s preaching, of course, but it is our priority. For example, the Aquinas Institute doctoral program in preaching prepares seminary professors from around the country to keep the Word of God alive through those they in turn teach.