Catholic Educational Heritage: Dominican


Last Updated: May 4, 2016

A Dominican college or university carries on a centuries-old commitment to learning and spiritual, personal, and community transformation.

In 13th-century France, St. Dominic de Guzman founded the Order of Preachers to battle heresy within the Church. Preaching throughout Europe, he found his vast knowledge—gained through years of university study—helped him relate to all types of people and spread the Word of God. He believed that the pursuit of Truth through education helped people love and better serve God and their neighbors. As a result, St. Dominic made study a necessity in the Order, and it serves as one of the four pillars upon which Dominican universities are grounded.

The other pillars—community, prayer, and preaching—are expressed in a variety of ways. For Dominicans, the spirit of community is not tied to a certain place or group of people. It’s a way of life that respects all of God’s creation and values the individual for that which makes him or her unique. Dominicans are dedicated to social justice and work to foster peace, whether on campus or around the world. Likewise, students are encouraged to participate in service activities that make a local, national, or global impact.

As with all Catholic universities, Dominican schools value prayer and spiritual growth. But preaching—the origin of the Dominican Order—adds another dimension. It includes helping others to incorporate Gospel values into their everyday lives. Students will find the support they need from professors, campus ministry, and university offices to live truthfully, ethically, justly, and with compassion and respect.

Like a lot of religious communities, many things have changed in the Dominicans’ 800 years. But the core principles remain true to St. Dominic’s vision—one that is carried out on college campuses nationwide. 

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