Our community is the place in which we live Christ’s command, ‘Love one another’, and in striving to do this we experience both the support and the suffering which are part of our commitment to one another in faith.
St. Thomas, in writing about prayer, speaks of ‘contemplare et contemplata alliis tradere’, passing on to others the fruits of our contemplation. A life of prayer is essential to nourish and sustain us in preaching the Gospel.
To foster a deeper relationship with God, sisters spend time apart each day in personal prayer. Our personal prayer lives are nourished by spiritual reading, the prayerful reading of Scripture and private recitation of the Office of Readings, and silent awareness of God’s presence.
Sisters also make an annual retreat and are encouraged to participate in days of recollection. Often communities will plan days of reflection together, spending time sharing their faith stories with one another.
Devotion to Mary the Mother of God is integral to our Dominican tradition. Legend attributes the development of the Rosary to St Dominic: he is often portrayed (sometimes with St Catherine) kneeling to receive the Rosary from Our Lady. We are encouraged to pray the Rosary to foster our life-long meditation on the Gospel.
It was said of St Dominic that he ‘spent the night speaking to God and the day speaking of God’, and he exhorted his brethren to do the same. Prayer and study were at the heart of Dominic’s life, nourishing one another. So too, they are at the heart of our lives, both as individuals and members of a community.
St Catherine of Siena
This is the central question of one’s spiritual life – do we belong to the world with its boisterous demands, worries and vain promises of satisfaction or do we belong to God? St Catherine’s life proclaims to us that man’s deepest hunger for belonging and identity – ‘to see myself as I truly am’ is something only sated in the loving encounter and union with God Himself. In the ‘Cell of Self Knowledge,’ Catherine discovered her true self in the discovery of being the fruit of God’s pure love, as He tells her; ‘It was with Providence that I created you, and when I contemplated my creature in myself, I fell in love with the beauty of my Creation (Dialogue,135).Catherine’s rare gift to us then is a clear vision into the heart of our being – a glimpse of a God who delights in loving and forgiving, whose goodness we ourselves can taste and know in and through our struggle to find belonging, truth and happiness.