The Dominican Mottos
Laudare - To Praise
As a child is drawn through wonder to get to know something, the wonder of God manifest in all of creation draws us to know the cosmic song of praise. Dominican life joins in the contemplative act of the universe in allowing God to draw us to the center of all life. It is a gift given. From attentiveness to the One who loves us all into being, we are moved to be transparent witnesses to the fire of love that is God. Our very being becomes an act of praise. How do we praise? : As we praise each other, we praise God. As we praise our students, we praise God. Our very being can be an act of praise.
There is something good in every person no matter how deep it may be hidden in this person (Peace Pilgrim) Take time to reflect on and praise the people around you.
Benedicere - To Bless
In contrast to our cultural norms, our value lies not in what we do but in who we are. To be a blessing calls forth our recognition of the Divine Presence in our very being as it is. It is not a matter of doing but of existence in the presence of God who is Love. To bless another is to place the presence of God into the light of the other's eyes. It is to pour forth from our hearts God so as to meet God in the other. To bless is to pronounce goodness in someone. We bless as we affirm each other as teachers, pupils and parents.
Praedicare - To Preach
God does not grace us for ourselves but for mission that the gift of love poured out on us might be shared in the Holy Preaching. When Dominic founded the Order over 800 years ago at Prouihle, it was the community of women, men, nuns, friars, and laity together that grounded the preaching in reality and truth. Our preaching is not limited to the pulpit. We need to be creative. Our relationship with others and with the environment should be that of preaching. The Dominican spirituality is a spirituality of joy, therefore in our preaching we should spread that joy to others. Source: www.catholicdominicansisters.org/topraiseblesspreach.html
Prayer is the beginning point of Dominican life. Without prayer, we have no living relationship with Christ. St. Dominic recognized the importance of prayer and insisted that his religious and lay followers practice a rigorous daily prayer schedule. Only through putting Christ first each day and by taking adequate time to pray to Him and contemplate Him can Dominicans have lasting fruits to give the world. We see, then, why one of the Dominicans' greatest mottoes, taken from St. Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologiae," is "to contemplate and to share the fruits of your contemplation."We contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation. What we contemplate, as Dominicans, is Truth - with a capital T - Divine Truth. It is that Truth which we have encountered in contemplation that we hand on to others through our preaching and teaching and other ministries. How do we pray? We pray through celebrating the Eucharist, at School assemblies, during meditation and contemplation, through the rosary, the angelus at mid-day, divine office, singing, praying with nature etc.
The Dominican call to study involves both academic study and study of the word of God. We need to study to address the heresies of our time and to continue to be relevant. To be able to preach we need to have good knowledge of the Bible and to be convinced of what we say. We read the newspaper and books, do research on the internet, listen to news, watch television and pray.
St. Dominic understood that study of the truth forms the human soul and makes a man alert and attentive in his knowledge of and life in Christ. In addition, though, St. Dominic shows us a further reason why we study: the saint thirsted for souls, longing to spend his life to the last drop in order to share the truth of his Christian convictions with all he met. Everything that St. Dominic studied deepened his thirst and longing for God. And because of this first love for Christ, everything that St. Dominic studied would ultimately be put to use in some form in his apostolic life in order to serve and save souls. His solid formation in Scripture and theology prepared him to found his Order and educate his brothers and sisters. His appreciation for diverse subjects made him an effective evangelist of many different types of people; his firm grasp of truth helped him to refute heresy with cutting accuracy.
The community is a source of strength and support. From the beginning, St Dominic had a community of women who had been converted from Albigensian heresy who stayed in the monastery and prayed for the brethren as they went out preaching. Today vowed Dominicans stay in community.
The school community refers to all the stakeholders, that is; pupils, teachers and parents. How do we promote community spirit in our school? Do I find the strength and support that I need in my school community? Retreat time is a time to build relationships as I take time to relate with self, others and God (to build community).
Dominicans preach both by word and action from the pulpit, in the classroom as teachers, in hospitals as nurses, as pastoral workers and where ever there is an opportunity. In their preaching, Dominicans spread the word of God into all parts of the world. Dominican educators join the Dominican Family in the ministry of preaching and bring the Good News to their schools and communities. This preaching could also be expressed in working for peace and justice and promoting the integrity of creation.
Black & White Shield: Symbolizes penance and purity, death and resurrection, and the light of Christ piercing the darkness. We are sinners but we long for holiness. Dominic spent many nights in prayer for the conversion of sinners: 'Lord what would become of sinners?' he would cry.
Dog: Dominic's mother, Blessed Jane of Aza, while pregnant with Dominic, had a dream that she would give birth to a dog carrying a torch around the world. She asked a priest at the nearby Benedictine monastery Santo Domingo de Silo, to interpret the dream. He told her she would give birth to a son whose preaching would set the world on fire for Christ.
Star: At the time of Dominic's baptism, a star is said to have appeared over his head, foreshadowing that Dominic would be a light bringing people to Christ. Icons of Dominic usually include a star. Gospel of St. Matthew: Dominic, the traveling preacher, always carried a copy of the Gospel of Matthew with him.
Rosary: There is a 15th Century legend, which claims that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave Dominic a rosary. Dominic is said to have popularized the praying of the Rosary, making it a much more widespread practice. Lilies - Yet another attribute is a lily or stalk of lilies, referring to St. Dominic's notable chastity. Book and Staff - Finally, we often see St. Dominic with a book and a staff, a reference to a vision recounted in the Golden Legend in which Peter and Paul give him these items and urge him to take them into the world and preach.