Please note that Inquirers into the Dominican Laity must:
1. be at least 18 years of age and fully initiated in the Catholic Church for at least two years,
2. have a strong commitment to live the Catholic faith,
3. have a desire for a deeper relationship with God nurtured through liturgical and private prayer,
4. have a stable and moral character capable of persevering in following the Rule and Statutes of the Dominican Laity,
5. have a desire to search for truth through prayer and study,
6. be active in spreading the Good News through apostolic work, the example of their lives, and formal or informal preaching when the opportunity presents itself,
7. be willing to join other lay men and women in prayer, study, and works as a member of a community.
THE PATH OF FORMATION
INITIAL FORMATION OF LAY DOMINICANS
The purpose of the initial formation program is to allow new members a period of discernment and study without a formal commitment to the Order or to the chapter. During this time, Inquirers and Candidates are expected to begin gradually to observe the practices of the Laity. The formation program is broken down into two years, each of which is detailed on the following pages:
Formation - First Year
The first year of formation is the Year of Inquiry (or the Postulancy), 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 with the role of the Laity in the Church today.
RECOMMENDED BOOK LIST:
•The documents of Vatican II (Austin Flannery, OP)
• A biography of St. Dominic
• The Catechism of the Catholic Church
• The Holy Bible
• Praying with St. Dominic (Monshau, OP)
• Praying with St. Catherine of Siena (Vinje, OP)
Inquirers are expected to attend all study sessions, as well as the community retreat and other events.
At the end of this first year, the Inquirers are asked to write a letter to the chapter council requesting Reception into the Order. At the same time they must present letters from a spiritual director or companion, a fellow apostolic worker, and a friend. If accepted by the Council, the Inquirers are received into the Order and a replica of the white scapular is given to them as a sign of their membership.
Below are some sample lessons for this year of inquiry, which chapters may choose to implement if they so choose.
The second year of formation is the Year of Candidacy (or the Novitiate), during which the new members continue to discern their vocations, begin to practice the daily obligations to which they will commit themselves at the end of this second year, begin to participate more in the life of the chapter, the larger group. Candidates are welcomed to the study meetings of the senior group as well as to their own mandatory meetings.
The focus of study for the Candidates is the Beatitudes, the standards by which Christians come to resemble the Master, basic standards for Christian living and certainly, therefore, for Dominican life. Candidates are encouraged to facilitate their meetings, to prepare and present the material, and to lead their Liturgy of the Hours
RECOMMENDED BOOK LIST:
• Early Dominicans (Tugwell, OP)
• a book on the Beatitudes
• a Breviary (Christian Prayer)
Candidates are expected to attend all formation meetings and to take an active part. Toward the end of this second year, the Candidates are asked to write a letter to the chapter council requesting to make their profession. If accepted by the Council, the Candidates promise to observe the Rule and Statutes of the Dominican Laity, and they receive a Dominican cross to wear as symbol of their commitment.
The Rite of Reception And Profession
by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
We must recall here the division between ascetical and mystical theology that was generally accepted until the eighteenth century, and then the modification that Scaramelli and those who followed him introduced at that time. The reader will, therefore, more readily understand why, with several contemporary theologians, we return to the division that seems to us truly traditional and conformable to the principles of the great masters.
Until the eighteenth century, authors generally set forth under the title Theologia mystica all the questions that ascetical and mystical theology treats of today. This is evident from the title of the works written by Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs, O.P., Philip of the Blessed Trinity, O.C.D., Anthony of the Holy Ghost, O.C.D., Thomas Vallgornera, O.P., Schram, O.S.B.., and others. Under the title Theologia mystica all these authors treated of the purgative way of beginners, of the illuminative way of proficients, and of the unitive way of the perfect. In one or the other of these last two parts, they spoke of infused contemplation and the extraordinary graces which sometimes accompany it, that is to say, visions, revelations, and like favors. Moreover, in their introduction these authors customarily treated of experimental mystical theology, that is, of infused contemplation itself, for their treatises were directed to it and to the intimate union with God which results from it. Read more...
(Information from: The Three Ages of the Interior Life - Introduction: Section F)