In the Dominican tradition prayer and study of sacred truth cannot be separated. Always the human and the divine, nature and grace, are seen as one.
So too the Dominican vocation is one, with its two essential elements of prayer and preaching: prayer is at the heart of the Dominican calling; preaching makes prayer fruitful.
All members of the Dominican Family – friars, religious sisters and laity who dedicate themselves to handing on the Word contemplated; as well as nuns whose primary call is to contemplation itself – embrace the same mottoes: “Veritas” (Truth) and “Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere” (Contemplate and give to others the fruits of contemplation.)
Dominican monastic life is a search for God in the depths of one’s own heart. Our whole life is harmoniously ordered to the continual remembrance of God. Even so our prayer is never solitary; with St Dominic we continually beg the Father of mercies for the salvation of the world.
Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere
The solemn celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours is the centerpiece of our life. It is here that the mystery of salvation is ever present and at work. It is here especially that we glorify God for the eternal purpose of his will and intercede for the whole world and the needs of all its peoples.
The psalms and readings of the Divine Office are drawn from Sacred Scripture, to which are added hymns and other meditations and prayers. We sing a major portion of the Office each day using beautiful yet simple chant melodies that lift our hearts into the meaning of the words we say.
Closely following our times of liturgical prayer and flowing from it is personal prayer. Two hours of each day are set aside for each sister’s personal converse with the Lord. Listening to and celebrating God’s Word in the liturgy, we now enshrine it in our hearts, allowing that seed of grace to grow, transforming us more and more into Jesus, God’s Word Incarnate.
No set method of personal prayer is recommended. Each sister’s prayer is unique, reflecting her own gifts and talents, her own call to grace and her own personal relationship to God.
Study of sacred truth represents our human efforts to know and love God. It is the keystone of the Dominican charism and the counterpart of prayer. Our prayer is doctrinally based. We seek to know and understand God in order to love him more. And the more God’s love enflames us, the more eagerly we want to know.
Time is set aside for personal study throughout the week. Always the light and source of our study is God, in the many and varied ways he speaks to us. Always the Word we contemplate is Jesus, God’s Word Incarnate in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And always study is according to the capacity of the individual.
We take time each day for communal reflection on the Word of God. Beginning with the readings of the day’s liturgy we offer one another the fruits of our own contemplation, enriching and learning from one another.