Friday, November 8, 2013

The Pillars of Life...

DLS Panel on Prayer, 9/12/2013.
One of the gifts we receive from participating in the CDN is getting to know the wider Dominican family.  We have ample opportunities to practice hospitality as Dominicans pass through the house, staying for dinner, stopping overnight for a respite, or discussing order values during our Dominican Life Seminar (DLS).

Once a month, our DLS consists of an evening panel on a Dominican topic.  We invite four Dominicans for dinner, evening prayer, and a dessert panel discussion.  Discussions are topical and focused on questions surfaced by the novices.  This semester our topics are the Four Dominican Pillars: Prayer, Community, Study, and Preaching.  I have found these panels a fantastic way to form a relationships with the larger Dominican family and become more familiar with our pillars.

DLS Panel on Study, 11/7/2013

This past Thursday the CDN was graced with the presence of Colleen Mallon, Mary Ann Nelson, Jose Santiago and Martin Taylor for a discussion on Study.  Our conversation helped me think about study in a new way.  One important point that was made focused on the nature of Dominican study.  The Order generally tends to attract a more academic bunch, yet our call is not to gain knowledge for ourselves to build up our ego.  The Order has a rich tradition of “disputatio,” formalized public debates with a structure intended to examine a particular issue.  St. Dominic and his immediate successors were known for this and early Dominican were schooled in the process.  However, study cannot, and should not, be reduced to academic degrees.  Rather, we are called to search out truth (“veritas”) and give to others the fruits of our contemplation (“contemplata aliis tradere").  The foundation of these pursuits is study.  We study the world together: through life, through discussion, as well as through academia. Our call is to be curious, to ask questions, to discuss varying points of view and to learn about new ways of thinking.  I am always thankful for the wisdom and experience Colleen, Mary Ann, Jose and Martin brought to the panel.
DLS Panel on Community, 10/17/2013

And so, as Dominican novices, we continue to study Dominican life.  We strive to deepen our discernment and better understand the commitment we will be making with our vows.

“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”   ~ Romans 12:2


  1. What beautiful way to share your unique but common spiritualities. Oh to be a fly on the wall at your place... You are greatly blessed.

  2. Yes, the Dominican Life Seminars are great. Glad this is a meaningful part of your study this year.

  3. Loved the ending Romans 12:2 quote. How true. You do have lots of folks stopping in for a travel respite, nice to offer the hospitality and get the reward of learning and knowing more people in the Dominican Order. Your seminar times sound interesting! Love the dessert idea too. Enjoy this month of Thanksgiving.