We sing the following antiphon at Lauds on the feast of St Dominic: “Dominic prayed, prayed without ceasing, prayed both night and day.”  Dominic as we know is the founder of a preaching Order but the most striking characteristics, highlighted in the process of canonisation and in Blessed Jordan’s account of the beginnings of the Order, the Libellus, describe Dominic, first and foremost, as a man of prayer – prayer was the source from which his preaching flowed.  Dominic preached by his way of life long before he founded his Order and even while devoting himself to preaching the Gospel throughout Europe he continued his practice of unceasing prayer.  It comes as no great surprise then that ten years before he gathered together his friars preachers he had already gathered, in the monastery of Blessed Mary of Prouilhe, a group of women converts whom he associated with his ‘holy preaching’ by their prayer and penance.  Throughout the eight hundred years of the Order’s existence down to the present day Dominican contemplative nuns have been associated with the preaching of their brothers and sisters who ‘preach the name of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world.’

“Imitation of Blessed Dominic as he imitated Christ” is the ideal set before us Dominican Nuns in our Constitutions and we are urged to perpetuate his “fervour and spirit of prayer” by harmoniously ordering our whole life to preserving the continual remembrance  of God while striving to have the same mind as Christ Jesus.  Dominic’s unceasing prayer led him to have the same mind as Christ – fruit of the gift of the Holy Spirit – Blessed Jordan says that Master Dominic always communed with God and the angels even while living in this mortal flesh.  This unceasing communing with God flowed from his study of sacred truth especially the Holy Scriptures – he always carried with him the Gospel of Matthew and the Epistles of St Paul and knew them by heart.  Blessed Jordan tells us that Dominic was “adept at keeping God’s Word” for he “warmly accepted the Lord’s commands” and “welcomed the voice of his Lover with loyalty and pleasure” – Jordan uses the lovely image of comparing Dominic’s memory to a “kind of barn for storing God’s Word” but he did not just hold on to it for himself – no it bore fruit in his way of life – “his external behaviour and actions broadcast publicly the treasure that lay hidden in his holy breast.”
Dominic “haunted the church by day and by night, devoting himself ceaselessly to prayer – weeping and interceding on behalf of sinners, the afflicted and oppressed whose distress he bore in the inmost shrine of his compassion.”  His special prayer was for the gift of true charity which would enable him to “spend himself utterly in winning souls” in imitation of the Lord Jesus who offered himself entirely for our salvation.  Frequently on his travels he would suggest to his brothers that they would think about the Saviour and Fra Angelico, one of the early friars, frequently depicted Dominic at the foot of the Cross – the book of the art of love – meditating on the sufferings of the Saviour.   Just as Dominic’s apostolic zeal sprang from his contemplation of the Cross so too we the nuns of the Order invited take our place with Mary and Dominic at the foot of the Cross, embrace the Cross in our daily lives and unceasingly beg for God’s mercy for ourselves and the whole world.
In his recent Apostolic Constitution to Contemplative women, Pope Francis tells us that our prayer and contemplation is chiefly “nourished by the ‘scandalous beauty’ of the Cross” and says that the Church counts on the life of prayer and self-sacrifice in bringing the Good news to the men and women of our time. 
As we celebrate this Jubilee Year of the Order and that of Diving Mercy, may our holy Father St Dominic intercede for us that we may remain faithful to our life of prayer and self-sacrifice in the heart of the Order and of the Church in the midst of our modern world.