Study of Sacred Truth

The Life of a Dominican Nun

Vows

Saint Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270)

Dominican nun

As Nuns of the Order of Preachers, we follow the Gospel way of life given to us by our Holy Father Saint Dominic, in union with our brothers the Dominican Friars. The form that life takes, 800 years after the establishment of the Order, is presented to us in the Book of the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers.  This life is a liturgical one, lived in common, as a unique way of following Christ.  ​​ 

St Agnes of Montepulciano (1268-1317)

Dominican nun

Prayer

The various practices that constitute our way of life are called "observances". These include all the elements that make up our daily life as we seek to follow Jesus Christ and grown in union with him.  

"In the liturgy the mystery of salvation is present and at work, especially in the Eucharist, in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is recalled, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of future glory is given.  Appointed for the work of divine praise, the nuns, in union with Christ, glorify God for the eternal purpose of his will and the marvelous dispensation of grace.  They intercede with the Father of mercies for the universal Church as well as for the needs and salvation of the whole world.  This joyful celebration joins the pilgrim Church to the Church in glory. Hence the solemn celebration of the liturgy is the heart of our whole life and the chief source of its unity. The conventual Mass should be the center of the community liturgy.  As a memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, it is the bond of fraternal charity and the primary source of apostolic zeal."

Blessed Diana d'Andalo (1201-1236)

Dominican nun

Saint Catherine de' Ricci (1522-1590)

Dominican nun

Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617)

Dominican tertiary

Outstanding among these observances are:

Common Life

"The vow of obedience is preeminent among the evangelical counsels, because by virtue of this vow, a person consecrates herself wholly to God; its acts approach more closely the goal of our profession, which is perfect love. By this vow, the nuns in their own way cooperate in the work of redemption, following the example of the Handmaid of the Lord who “through her obedience became a cause of salvation both to herself and to the whole human race."

The Observances

In order to be faithful to the observances of the Common Life, Liturgical and Private Prayer, Study and the Vows, we are also helped by 

"The light and source of our study is God, who spoke in the past in many and varied ways, and in these last days speaks to us in Christ through whom the mystery of the Father's will is fully revealed in the Church by the sending of the Holy Spirit and all minds are enlightened. The nuns are to be instructed particularly in the Sacred Scriptures, in which they can contemplate the mystery of salvation. Likewise, they should receive such instruction as will enable them to participate more deeply in the liturgy, in which that same mystery is made unceasingly present and actual. They should nourish their faith especially on the mystical teaching of the Fathers, as well as of other theologians and authors, in particular those of the Order. In the study of St. Thomas let them find their best master, whose doctrine the Church always commends and the Order has received as a patrimony."

at the heart of the Order of Preachers

The Dominican nun seeks to draw close to Mary, to imitate her fiat; to embrace a life of sacrifice and adoration; and to be conformed by the Holy Spirit to Jesus in his loving obedience to the Father as Savior of the world. 

"The methodical study of sacred truth, according to the capacity of the individual, is a fruitful preparation for lectio divina and an aid to human maturity. The blessed Dominic recommended some form of study to the first nuns as an authentic observance of the Order. It not only nourishes contemplation, but also removes the impediments which arise through ignorance and informs the practical judgment. In this way it fosters the fulfillment of the evangelical counsels with a more enlightened fidelity and encourages unanimity of mind. By its very constancy and difficulty it constitutes a form of asceticism and aids mental equilibrium."

Dominican Nuns

"More and more impelled by the love of Christ, that all-embracing divine friendship, they should become all things to all. In the common life of the religious family to which they are united in a closer bond through chastity, they should cultivate sisterly affection and serene friendship."

"The nuns offer a sacrifice of praise to God especially through the celebration of the liturgy in imitation of the Church in Jerusalem which was drawn together by the teaching of the Apostles and united in daily prayer (cf. Acts 2:42).  Persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus, they ardently long for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, so that with unveiled face they may reflect the glory of the Lord and be transformed into his image from splendor to splendor by the Spirit of the Lord (cf 2 Cor. 3:18)."

What follows is a selection of texts from the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers:

Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)

Dominican tertiary

Blessed Cecilia Caesarini (1203-1290)

Dominican nun