The Order of Preachers (commonly called Dominicans) is a religious order consisting of friars, contemplative nuns, congregations of active sisters, and laity (formerly known as Third Order).
Founded by St. Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III in 1216, the Dominicans combated heresy by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and leading lives of prayer, community, and study. These four pillars (prayer, community, study, and preaching) still form the foundation of Dominican life today.
As the Order of Preachers, preaching has always played an integral role in the life of all Dominicans. Impelled by this mission, Dominicans have served the Church as purveyors of the Good News for nearly 800 years. Notable Dominican preachers include St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Hyacinth, Bl. Jordan of Saxony, Bartolome de las Casas, and Henri Dominique Lacordaire.
Renowned for their intellectual tradition, Dominicans have contributed to the fields of theology and philosophy continually from the Order’s inception. Notable Dominican theologians and scholars include St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Raymond of Penafort, St. Catherine of Siena, and Yves Congar.
Spiritually, the Dominicans are rooted in scripture, contemplation, communal prayer, and study. Strengthened through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, each Dominican seeks to live a life completely poured out for Christ, others, and the Catholic Church. Devotion to the Rosary is also a hallmark of Dominican spirituality.
The Province of St. Albert the Great moved its school, Aquinas Institute of Theology, and its students from Dubuque, Iowa, to St. Louis in 1981. With the Province of St. Martin dePorres, the provinces comprise 25 states in the central and southern United States and provide service in a variety of ministries from itinerant preaching to education to parish and campus ministries and beyond. See what the student friars are doing by visiting PreachingFriars.org.