On the third weekend of February, we Dominican Friars at St. Dominic Priory hosted more than 30 men discerning religious life for a vocations weekend. The weekend gave me some reminders about our life; here are a few thoughts.
#1. Men Discerning Religious Life Love our Prayer and Common Life
At the end of the weekend, men overwhelmingly cited common prayer and our community recreation as a positive impact. We try and make clear that community life is sometimes hard, but people notice that we love to have fun together, and love to pray together. Much of the Come & See schedule is different from our normal priory schedule, but our prayer, recreational and meal times remain largely the same; in those areas, it’s business as usual. It’s always edifying when the things people love about you are the things that make you most yourself!
#2. Men Discerning Religious Life Notice our Variety
In some places there is a saying, ‘If you’ve met one *fill-in-the-blank* you’ve met them all.’ During my time in the Order, I’ve heard an inverse phrase that applies to the Friars Preachers: ‘If you’ve met one Dominican, you’ve met one Dominican.’ Obviously there are unifying principles to our life (Read about those here), but there is a lot of diversity: different races, different economic backgrounds, different parts of the country (even different countries), all interested in preaching the Gospel of Christ as Dominican Friars. According to our feedback, our Saturday Night Panel – in which four student brothers give an account of Dominican Life from four unique perspectives – as well as the Sunday talk on the value of the Cooperator Brother in the Order communicated that preaching the Gospel as a Dominican takes a wide range of applicants.
#3. Dominican Nuns Make Us Unique
We were blessed to be joined by three representatives – two professed nuns and one postulant – from the Cloistered Dominican Nuns of Springfield/Girard (being cloistered, the trip was a big deal)! Sr. Emmanuella gave a stirring talk on the Nuns, founded more than a decade before the friars, as Dominic’s ‘Firstborn.’ Afterwards, the nuns took questions, ate lunch with those discerning and took their prayer requests. A number of men spoke about how humbled and grateful they were to have such holy women devoted to praying especially for their intentions, and said they had a feeling for how lucky we friars are.