St Dominic embraced the same general elements of the Christian life shared by others in the Church, but blended them into a specific spirituality that is original, balanced, and unique. Dominican Spirituality draws from Sacred Scripture, bases itself on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, and the liturgy, incorporates principles of traditional asceticism, and drinks from the purest sources of Western mysticism and monasticism.
It is extremely lofty – theocentric, Christological, sacerdotal, monastic, contemplative, and apostolic. It is, in truth, the spirituality of Christ the Preacher and of the Apostles. The primary intention is to elevate the Friar to the heights of contemplation, but going beyond this, Dominican contemplation itself is intended to fructify into the apostolate for souls, especially through preaching, teaching, and writing. Hence this two-fold character of the Order – of contemplation, and of the salvation of souls through preaching – distinguishes the Dominicans from all other Orders.
In our daily life we aim to fulfil that traditional Dominican formula coined by St Thomas: to contemplate and to give to others the fruit of contemplation. For, on the one hand, we are bound to the recitation of all the hours of the Divine Office in choir, which we regard as our primary work and our most efficient means of attaining our end, as well as two periods of meditation a day, the Rosary, and Spiritual Reading. And on the other hand, the Sisters are involved in the work of teaching, either of the children in St Anthony’s Primary School or of the secondary-aged girls of St Dominic’s College and at St Thomas Aquinas College.
Silence, Study, Enclosure
You may wonder how it is possible to keep the silence and enclosure when we are involved in running a school. During the day we observe the Mitigated Silence in which we may speak if necessity or our work demands it, however, silence is always observed at mealtimes in the refectory, and in the evening during the Grand Silence, which extends from after Compline until after Mass the next morning. With regards to the enclosure, we are permitted to leave the grounds of the Convent for certain reasons, for example: to run children’s camps, for shopping, or on a outing with the community or with immediate family for the purpose of recreation.