What is a Lay Dominican?

Lay Dominicans

Members of the Fraternities of St. Dominic are lay men and women who are fully incoporated members of the Order of Preachers and live out their Dominican vocation in the world. Lay Dominicans, who in the past have been called Third Order or Dominican Tertiaries, have existed almost as long as the Dominican order itself. The Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic was founded with its own rule in 1285 and was officially recognized by the Church on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1286.

Lay Dominicans "are accordingly distinguished both by their own spirituality and by their service to God and neighbor in the Church. As members of the Order, they participate in its apostolic mission through prayer, study, and preaching according to the state proper to the laity."(The Rule of the Lay Fraternity #4)

Lay Dominicans come from every background, joining the Dominican charism to their state of life in the world. In this unique Dominican way, they live out their won special vocation "to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will."(Lumen Gentium 31)

You've undoubtedly heard of these Dominicans

  • St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
  • Bl. John of Fiesole ("Fra Angelico"), Sacred artist
  • St. Pius V, Pope
  • But have you heard of these LAY Dominicans . . .?

  • St.Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church
  • Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Man of the Beatitudes
  • Bl. Margaret of Castello, Patroness of the Unwanted

  • The gospel parable sets before our eyes the Lord's vast vineyard and the multitude of persons, both women and men, who are called and sent forth by him to labour in it. The vineyard is the whole world (cf. Mt 13:38), which is to be transformed according to the plan of God in view of the final coming of the Kingdom of God."
    Pope John Paul II
    Christifideles Laici
    The Apostolic Priorities of the Dominican Order
    Catechesis in a de-Christianized world
    Evangelization in diverse cultures
    Promotion of Justice and Peace
    Communication through the mass media

    The Charism of the Dominican Order
    Preaching of the Gospel for the salvation of souls the attainment of personal holiness. 

    The Life of a Lay Dominican

    Prayer . . .

    We bless and praise Our Lord in private in community practices of PRAYER, adoration, meditation, and contemplation of him who is "... the way, the truth, and the life The foundation of a Dominican's prayer life is found in the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass, daily if possible. Our prayers are united with the Universal Church in the Liturgy of the Hours(Divine Office), which sanctifies the entire day. The practice of Lectio Divina nourishes our dominican life of faith, hope, and charity. Specific to our Dominican tradition is to contemplate the life of Christ through the daily recitation of the Rosary. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary ("Ad Jesum per Miriam"), we are brought deeper into understanding God's Love for us that fills our hearts, minds, and souls with awesome wonder.

     Study . . .
    STUDY is a life-long avocation for the Lay Dominican: Scripture, Church teachings, lives of the Saints, writings of the Church Doctors, documents of the Church, and theological treatises are complemented with historical and sociological writings that better prepare us to "Go out into the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation".(Mk 15:16)

    Community . . .
    Lay Dominicans come together to share their common vocation in the Order within a local chapter COMMUNITY. Joining together for Mass, prayers, or socializing helps strengthen the unity of the chapter and affords the Lay members opportunities to grow in love, patience, and understanding. Community is a true school of lvoe that helps us grow in charity not only for one another, but for all those we encounter every day.

    Apostolate . . .

    "... The Spirit of Truth will be my witness; and you too will be witnesses..." (Jn 15:26)
    APOSTOLATE is the work we do for Christ and the salvation of souls. This work may encompass many things, but for a Dominican, it always involves preaching. Like St. Dominic, we choose to undertake preaching the Gospel to the poorly catechized, to the uncatechized, to unbelievers, and to those who are hostile to the Gospel.

    The aposotlic life of a Dominican is where the call to preach is set in motion, and the benefits of one's prayer, study, and community life are infused into one's preaching. We become living Beatitudes to all those in need and promote good stewardship for God's Creation.