Throughout the history of the Order, women have responded to Dominic’s vision in numerous ways. Some have gathered in monasteries, others have formed into groups devoted both to prayer and social outreach. In time, some of these groups remained lay Dominicans, others became secular institutes, while still others became congregations of Dominican sisters. These congregations, recognized as belonging to the Order by the Master of the Order, retain various degrees of independence and autonomy. Almost all of them belong to Dominican Sisters International (DSI), "an international movement of Dominican Sisters which seeks to create links between all Dominican Sisters of Apostolic Life throughout the world for the sake of the mission of the Order."

Although St. Catherine of Siena was a laywoman, she is also a model for apostolic Dominican sisters. Profoundly devoted to Christ, she was invited by him to leave her cell in order to care tenderly for the most disinherited people of Siena, to work for peace in Italy, and to labor for the unity of the Church. In these endeavors, she maintained close ties with the men and women known as her ‘famiglia’.

In the same way, other women responded to the needs of their own time and joined together for prayer, study, common life, and announcing the good news of God’s tender compassion through a variety of apostolates: education; ministering to people who are sick or who are mentally or physically challenged; evangelization; serving people who are poor, lepers, released captives, children and young people in danger.

Today, faithful women still respond to this call and work locally and across cultures and international boundaries to address new challenges and extend the historic visions of their various congregations. We lead a communal life in cooperation with one another; we draw strength from personal prayer and heartfelt common celebrations of the liturgy; we study resolutely, looking for the truth in all things.

Daughters of our time, Dominicans affirm that diversity, welcomed in an attitude of listening and openness, is a source of enrichment and creativity, allowing us to widen our perspective, to understand reality better, and to act out of a more profound discernment.

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