Promoters of Abundance

Our brothers like to welcome promising new vocations, but very few are comfortable promoting them.

Such is the reason Brother Juan Manuel Hernandez, OP, General Promoter for Formation, invited the vocation promoters from every province of the Order to Rome. We shared best practices and principles for preparing ourselves to welcome new vocations – young men whom the Lord is calling into the Order, just as he called us in the past.

I was touched by the remark that religious orders do not exist to perpetuate themselves but to exercise their charism. There is a human and almost predatory way of promoting vocations, because we need them to perpetuate our institutions. The Dominican Order is an opportunity for each friar to live the abundant life into which Christ has welcomed us. In this, we are promoters of life in abundance, in the form that St Dominic received from the Lord.

Fr. Fabian Martin, an Augustinian, was striking in describing the four acts of faith needed in our work: faith in God, faith in young people, faith in the charism of one’s congregation and in one’s own vocation. He described the ways in which we can counter these acts of faith in practice: “If God calls them, they will come by themselves,” “I’m uncomfortable with the idea that God can call me to holiness, how can I call in my turn?” “Promotion is too difficult without formation. I don’t have the time to train myself, but I can train you if you want.”

One brother ventured this amusing idea, perhaps inaccurate but interesting: “I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is creative enough to create new charisms, so before wanting to create a new order, perhaps we should look to see if the Holy Spirit has not already expressed himself through a similar charism”. Everyone came away with new ideas from the discussion.

“How do we choose 12 candidates from the 500 knocking on our door in Nigeria?” “How do we speak to the heart of the right candidate?” “How do we take care of the one who won’t be able to return to us?” or “How do we have a clear provincial project to present?” Such questions occasioned an exchange of “best practices” in which each brother could be trained.

I will refrain from describing the great bursts of laughter, the quality of the pasta, the depth of the prayer and the richness of our diversity. If you are familiar with the graces of the Order of Preachers, you can imagine these additional elements of the gathering only too well.

Brother Raphaël de Bouillé, OP
Vocations Promoter
Dominican Province of France

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