"Let us walk faithful to the love we had at first"
Letter to the whole Order announcing the Jubilee Year for the
800th anniversary of the foundation of the first community of
My brothers and
I send you this letter from the Monastery of Blessed Mary in Prouille,
the first monastery of the Order, on the Feast of Saint Catherine of
Siena, our older sister, "into whom, it seems, ‘the whole
soul of Dominic passed (as indeed into Blessed Jordan of Saxony)'".
In our history there are many events that encourage us to renew our
faithfulness to our vocation as sons and daughters of Saint Dominic:
"to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation".
"The nuns of the Order of Preachers came into being when our
holy Father Dominic gathered women converts to the Catholic faith in
the monastery of Blessed Mary of Prouille. These women, free for God
alone, he associated to his ‘holy preaching' by their prayer
and penance". Blessed Jordan wrote: "the Order of Preachers had not
yet been founded; it was rather a question of its institution, as Saint
Dominic was still dedicating himself fully to the ministry of preaching
... And so, from the death of the Bishop of Osma - Diego - until the
Lateran Council, approximately ten years passed, during which bro.
Dominic was practically alone in the region".
800 years have now passed since this historic event. As we consider
what is, in some way, the first Dominican community, truly the hidden
seed of the Order, analogously we celebrate as well the theological
priority that contemplation holds in our life and mission.
It is truly right and just that we thank God for the gift of our
contemplative sisters! They support us in the path we follow; they
participate in a special way in our preaching; they welcome us that we
may share the hopes and joys, the grief and anxieties of our itinerant
ministry. As Saint Catherine of Siena did, so they encourage us to have
no fear, to go forth in the highways and byways to meet those who
thirst for God; they compel us to live a passion for Christ and for
We must live this anniversary with the serene joy of Saint Dominic. God
willing, and with the whole of the Order of Preachers, beginning with
the first Sunday of Advent (3 December 2006) and continuing through the
Epiphany in 2008, we will celebrate a Jubilee Year, dedicated to the
memory of these 800 years of our contemplatives. We will live a
"novena" of years that will take us to another important event: the 8th
centenary of Pope Honorius III's confirmation of the Order with the
Bull Religiosam vitam of 22 December 1216.
We will concentrate our celebration during this Jubilee Year in each
and every monastery throughout the world. The contemplative charism of
our nuns is certainly not tied to any one particular site or community.
For this reason, we have not planned any functions, events or
ceremonies centred in Prouille. Nevertheless, as an eloquent sign of
the communion with all of the monasteries of the Order, on the first
day of the Jubilee some of the friars of our General Curia will
celebrate the Eucharist in monasteries that the Order considers "true
sanctuaries" due to their special connection with the life of Saint
Dominic: the Monastery of Blessed Mary in Prouille (founded in
1206-1207); the Monastery of the Holy Rosary (ex-Saint Sixtus) in Rome
(founded in 1219); the Royal Monastery of Saint Dominic in Madrid
(founded in 1218-1219); the Monastery of Saint Dominic in Caleruega
(founded in Caleruega in 1270). Each monastery could organize
similar initiatives involving the whole Dominican Family.
To prepare our hearts for this celebration, each monastery will offer
its own suggestions and proposals for events, initiatives and
celebrations to help the whole Dominican Family renew our vocation by
concentrating on the riches of the contemplative life, the well-spring
of our preaching. The International Commission of the Nuns will also
offer some subsidies to live more intensely this Jubilee Year.
May all of us, the sons and daughters of Saint Dominic, prepare
ourselves to make this pilgrimage to our monasteries joyfully; let us
there drink of the fresh simplicity of the "love we had at first",
feeling ourselves at the feet of Jesus, that we may be with Him and
listen to Him. Let us live this time with intensity and grace, sharing
with our contemplative communities the joy of their consecration, the
fruitfulness of their silence, the beauty of their liturgy, their
special love for the Word.
The Jubilee Year will be an expression of gratitude for our Dominican
vocation through which we are called to Praise, to Bless and to Preach
God with the Church, in the Church and for the Church.
The Holy Spirit providentially inspired Saint Dominic de Guzman to lay
the foundations of the Order of Preachers in some way in the life and
mission of our contemplatives. We shout Magnificat! for all that the
Lord has done for us through them!
Fraternally in Saint Dominic, from the Monastery of "Blessed Mary" in
Prouille, 29 April, the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, 2006,
Bro. Carlos A.
Master of the Order
 Fr. Aniceto Fernández in Analecta O.P. 78
(1970) 481; see Mortier, Histoire des maîtres
généraux de l'Ordre des Fre`res Pre^cheurs, I
(Paris 1903) 139.
 Liber constitutionum Monialium Ordinis Pr?dicatorum n. 1,
 Libellus n. 37.
 see ACG Providence 2001 nn. 321-323.