Our Mission - the Apostolate
After much prayer and discernment, we've decided to share our life's experiences, reflections and thoughts through this blog, hoping to spread the Gospel through our witness.
Although we may not personally know all the readers who stumble onto our blog, we are hopeful that the individuals who do find our content and read about our experiences are those who are in the right place, in the right time. Trusting in God's providence, we will continue to go forward in prayer and study, sharing how God is working in our lives, one story at a time.
Thank you for supporting the Joy of the Just. We know that the success of our apostolate and mission is driven solely by God's grace. We humbly ask that you remember us in your prayers, as we continue to follow in the footsteps of St. Dominic.
Who We Are
Initially known as the Third Order of Saint Dominic, the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic are made up of secular men and women who live in the world but follow the Constitution and Rule of the Order of Preachers. They commit to live under the four pillars of Prayer, Study, Community and Apostolate.
Our Formation Group is called the “Joy of the Just,” after a title Our Lady gave to herself during a revelation to St. Bridget of Sweden: “I am the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of Mercy; I am the Joy of the Just, and the gate of entrance for sinners to God….”
Our formation group began meeting in April, 2014. The formal postulancy began in July and these nine made their first Temporary Promises as Dominican Novices on January 19, 2015:
We're excited to share this moment of our lives with you, as God calls us further into the deep of His love.
What to Expect from a Lay Dominican Vocation
What will be expected of me?
This is an important question to ask early in the process of inquiry into the spirituality of a Dominican vocation. Find some answers in the questions below.
How long is the commitment?
From start to finish, it takes almost five years to become a life-promised Lay Dominican, but inquirers are actually received into the Order after the first six months of Postulancy.
What is the spiritual philosophy?
St. Dominic exhibited a fully sanctified human intellect: an intense intellectual curiosity, exalted by faith; a yearning for peace of heart, or repose in God and the need for action. These are the three dimensions of Dominican spirituality: the life of the mind in study, the absorption of the mind in God by prayer and contemplation, and the outflow of charity from the soul into apostolic action.
The true signs of Dominican life are inward ones of active study of the Word of God, a thirst for Truth, a prayerful life, and a joyous giving of oneself in an apostolate, and community with one’s fellow Dominicans.
Not all souls grow closer to God by taking an intellectual route. For example, Lay Franciscans grow in holiness without much study; they focus upon detachment from worldly pleasures, so they practice voluntary poverty. Lay Carmelites pray constantly for the entire Church. Opus Dei lay persons sanctify their work as a prayer to God. One must try to align oneself with a spirituality that will help one’s soul grow in faith, hope and charity and ultimately, reach eternal beatitude with God.
Do I have to attend every meeting?
Candidates for acceptance into the Dominican family must show zeal for progress in their spiritual life by faithful attendance at all meetings and formation sessions. When formation sessions are missed, candidates must arrange with the Formation Director to make up the class even when the absence is excused. This includes writing up either answers to questions posed in the reading or a summary of the material.
What are the four pillars of Dominican spiritual life?
The pillars of Dominican spirituality are Prayer, Study, Community and Apostolate. Lay Dominicans take seriously the challenge to grow and share the fruits of their interior life. They contemplate Divine Truth (God) by recitation of daily Morning and Evening prayer from the Divine Office of the Catholic Church, study the Word and other spiritual materials, attend Mass frequently, go to Confession monthly, make an annual retreat, seek time for adoration and contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament, and share the Divine Love (Caritas) that flows from the soul in the form of an apostolate (writing for the Chapter Blog and other chosen apostolates), and share this same caritas in community with fellow Dominicans in monthly chapter meetings.
Prayer: The First Pillar
Lay Dominicans pray a lot, publicly and privately. They keep in constant communication with God throughout the day. They oblige themselves to pray daily the Divine Office (Morning and Evening—the hinges of the day). They pray the Rosary daily. They attend Mass frequently and enter into liturgical prayer. They pray for one another, for their families and friends, for the marginalized and infirm, for the dying and the deceased.
Study: The Second Pillar
The path from Inquirer to a life-promised Lay Dominican involves study of 56 modules over five years. To be received as a candidate, a person completes six modules and a self-evaluation form within a year’s time (usually six months). A Novice completes 14 more modules and a self-examination form within a year’s time and may then be accepted to make a three-year Temporary Promise. Temporary-Promised candidates complete 36 modules and a self-examination form over a minimum of a three-year period. If accepted for Life-Promised status, they continue to study the Word and documents of the Catholic Church and spiritual reading for the remainder of their lives.
Apostolacy: The Third Pillar
Lay Dominicans pursue Chapter and personal apostolates to bring Divine Truth and Divine Love to other souls. Generally, this means reaching out beyond the boundaries of the parish. The Joy of the Just Affiliate Chapter offers a blog to which members must submit a writing at least once a year.
Community: The Fourth Pillar
Especially during Formation, candidates are expected to attend every monthly meeting as well as possible activities of the Chapter depending on its apostolate. It is a requirement to serve if elected to a Council position for a three-year assignment (Chapter officers sit on a Council.) or to serve on committees or projects as assigned by the council.
Lay Dominicans support their chapter, region and province financially by paying dues of approximately $75 annually; however, scholarships and other arrangements may be made if someone is experiencing financial difficulty.
Moving to a new location does not end a vocation as a Lay Dominican because other chapters and regions and provinces exist across the country and around the world. Transfers are easily accomplished.
How to discern if you have a calling?
Please pray for guidance from God as to whether or not He is calling you to Dominican spirituality. The goal is to save your soul, so if you pray, He will put you in the right place to accomplish that end. Remain docile to the Holy Spirit and listen to God.
Learn more about our local province of St. Joseph.
The Dominican order celebrated 800 years of existence in 2016.
Meditate deeper on the mysteries of the rosary with the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary - the rosary is a special place in Dominican spiritual life.
Join the St. Joseph province in a spiritual partnership for chastity under the special patronage of Our Lady and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Visit the Province of St. Joseph's main site to learn more about vocations to the Order of Preachers.
Read the Dominicana Journal for regular new content covering a variety of of-interest topics.