THE DOMINICAN VOCATION
This is the time prior to arriving in Denver where the candidates receive the habit of St. Dominic and during which the men get a first-hand experience of life in the Order of Preachers. The men are introduced to the daily prayer routine of the Province and the way in which we sing. Several classes are held on many subjects and saints of the Order. This time is designed to give the candidates a running start as the novitiate approaches.
The candidates arrive and immediately occupy their rooms in the novitiate. They witness the first vows of the previous novice class and then are vested in the habit. For the next year the novices live the life of a brother and discern God’s call through many activities such as lectures, meetings, meals, social events, and outreach opportunities.
The Dominican novitiate is the house of religious formation for the novices (first year in formation to be a Dominican Friar) under the direction of the novice master. The novitiate for the Province of St. Albert the Great is located at St. Dominic Parish in Denver, Colorado.
At the end of the novitiate year, and after much discernment and approval by the local Dominican community and the prior provincial, the novices profess simple vows and move to the next phase of their initial formation and begin their formal graduate studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri. The professed brothers live at the studentate there and continue their formation for the next five to seven years.
The Dominican House of Studies in St Louis is the home for all the newly professed brothers of the Central and Southern provinces as they continue their Dominican formation. Attending classes at both the Aquinas Institute of Theology and St Louis University, the friars begin their philosophical and theological education according to the Vatican’s Program for Priestly Formation and the Dominican Order’s requirements for Thomistic studies. Outside the classroom, the Master of Students guides each brother in his formation, ensuring that they have a healthy balance of study, prayer, fraternity, and rest. The brothers reside in St Dominic’s Priory where they partake in the robust liturgical life of the house. Some of the brothers even find the time to pursue their hobbies, such as brewing beer. As they advance in their studies, the brothers begin to work and minister in various apostolates and parishes of the Archdiocese.