Lay Dominicans

St. Michael’s is home to a Lay Dominican group. If you would like to learn about us, please click here to email us.

About Us

Who are the Lay Dominicans? Lay Dominicans are one of several recognized “Third Orders” within the Catholic Church, which are defined as “Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute” (Code of Canon Law #303). Lay Dominicans are a branch of the Dominican religious order.

Our History: The Dominican religious order is one of the 4 great “mendicant” orders of the Catholic Church. Dominicans are formally known as “the Order of Preachers” (or O.P.), and were founded by St. Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest (1170 – 1221 A.D.). The Order of Preachers was approved by Pope Honorius on December 22, 1216 A.D. Dominicans have been around for a long time! Over the last 800 years, the Dominican Order has given the Catholic Church several Popes, Saints, and Doctors of the Church.

Study Materials:

We have a short list of books you will need to begin formation. Please see our “Formation” page for more details.

Formation Guidelines from the Southern Dominican Province

The intent of these guidelines is to provide a general framework for formation programs by identifying the essential elements for instruction. These guidelines are not intended to impose burdensome requirements, but rather to aid chapters in forming members to the Dominican way of life.

It is crucial to acknowledge that the call to the Dominican Order is a call to a vocation for the purpose of sanctification of its members. Union with God and personal holiness are the goals for every Dominican.

As followers of St. Dominic, it is important to instruct our newest members in the twofold aspect of the Order’s charism; the contemplative life and the active life. To bear good fruit in the active life, we must first begin with the contemplative life. Accordingly, the greatest emphasis must be placed on developing a deep and rich contemplative life, so we may thereby attain our goal in the active life, which consists in the salvation of souls.

A good Dominican formation program provides detailed instruction (which can be tailored to the needs of each chapter), that helps us integrate The Rule, The Particular Directory and the promises we make, into our daily lives. The guidelines presented here list the standard aspects for proper formation.

YEAR ONE – Inquiry

The year of Inquiry (Postulancy), is the year in which new members seek to discern whether they are, in fact, called to Dominican life. During this year, the study is centered on what it means to be a Dominican, familiarity with Dominican history and saints, as well as the role of the Laity in the Church today.

Topics of Instruction in Year One:

  • Liturgical Prayer
  • Loyalty to the Church
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Rosary
  • Devotion to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena
  • Study
  • Community Life
  • Familiarity with the Rule and Particular Directory
  • History of Saint Dominic / Dominican Order
  • Mission of the Order
  • Four Pillars: Study, Prayer, Community, Preaching

YEAR TWO – Candidacy

During this year of Candidacy (Novitiate), the new members continue to discern their vocations and continue to practice the daily obligations. They also become more involved in chapter life and continue to commit to the Dominican life of study.

Topics of Instruction in Year Two:

  • The Virtues and the Beatitudes
  • The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace
  • Schools of Spirituality
  • The Sacraments
  • Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • The Mystical State
  • Mary, Mother and Mediatrix

Temporary Professed – Years 1, 2, and 3

Temporary profession is a promise to live according to the Rule of the Fraternities of St. Dominic for a period of three years. Formation in Dominican life and spirituality continues during this time. At the end of this period, the candidate and the Order decide if the candidate is prepared to make final or permanent profession.

Topics of Instruction in Year I:

  • The External and Internal Senses
  • The Intellect and the Will
  • The Sacraments
  • The Theological Virtues
  • The Moral Virtues
  • Prayer: Vocal, Affective Meditation, Contemplative, Silence
  • Examination of Conscience
  • Desire for Perfection

Topics of Instruction in Years II and III:

  • Sixteen Documents of Vatican II
  • Four Pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Precepts of the Catholic Church
  • Dominican Saints
  • Papal Encyclicals
  • Local Parish Evangelization
  • Prayer
  • Devotion to Mary

Those Finally Professed

The Final Professed member makes a promise to live according to the Rule of the Fraternities of St. Dominic for the rest of his or her life. The members agree to the text(s) they will study each year.