We Are the Order of Preachers

We Are the Order of Preachers

We are the Order of Preachers (OP). We are not the Order of Preaching. Does this insight deserve our attention only during the 800th year of our existence?

We are also the Dominican Family. Do we celebrate our membership in the OP Family with as much gusto as we do the celebration of our 800th Anniversary?

What does being a part of both the Order and the Family suggest? Is one more important than the other? Are some members of one or the other more authentic in their Dominican identity than others?

So many questions, so many declarative sentences . . . For some the end punctuation requires revision. For others, it feels like a mirage, an intuition, an invitation to debate. For others it is simply a matter of opinion, for others a matter of choice, for still others a matter of emphasis. But does it in any way perhaps feel like something worth thinking about? Is it something worth talking about?

Preaching is a ministry. A ministry which Jesus used when he preached the Gospel of God. Dominic learned how to preach by seeing the potential in his sisters and brothers, by believing with utmost confidence in the Providence of God, and by giving himself entirely to the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. If we follow Dominic as he followed Jesus, we can uncover in our lives what it means to be a Dominican.

Perhaps we are ready to discover together what all Dominicans have in common and cease to focus on our differences. It will lead to an appreciation and gratitude for diversity rather than celebrate it in a way that elevates our ego. It will clarify our perspective of our OP identity as it relates to our membership at the same time anointing all of the other branches of the Order.

How I long for us to celebrate the 800th anniversary in conversation about what it means today that we are mendicant, itinerant, and astonishingly free.

Let me close this reflection with another question, if preaching is a ministry, what is our mission?

P.S. The pulpit from which we preach is sometimes in church, but it can also be our lives

Sister Ann Willits, Sinsinawa Dominicans


(10 December 2015)