The OP after our names stands for “Order of Preachers,” the formal name of the religious order founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. As Dominicans, we preach with our lives—in both word and deed—guided by a search for truth (veritas) and a commitment to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation (contemplate et aliis tradere). 

Our Dominican lives are shaped by the interconnecting movements of study, prayer, communal life, and ministry. 

Dominic so firmly believed in the importance of study to the preaching mission that he provided a rule of “dispensation” from other responsibilities in the event they interfered with study. We are women committed to study. Through prayer and contemplation we interiorize our learnings and enter into communion with the Source of all truth. Our communal life orients us to the common good of the whole Earth community. And in ministry, our preaching takes effect.

As women of the Gospel, our preaching is also expressed in word. Read reflections on the Word of God posted by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates on the Praedicare Blog below.


Feast of the Immaculate Conception Preaching by Pat Walter, OP

Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Preaching by Sister Pat Walter, OP (Read by Sister Joan Delaplane, OP)

Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8, 2022
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

Sister Pat Walter, OP

Unlike Mary Catherine Nolan, I did not have great devotion to Mary for my first 50 years. Yes, we had a May altar at home, prayed the rosary every night in May and October, and had the Pilgrim Virgin in our house for every home visit – who needed to bring a companion?

After entrance, I prayed the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recited the rosary – even with outstretched arms – and sang the Salve nightly. But it always seemed to me that, if Jesus were God, why not go straight to the top with my concerns?

This gradually began to shift when I was Prioress. I found an old copy of the prayer we used to say to Our Lady of This House and prayed it, not every night, but often. After finishing my term, I went on the Fanjeaux retreat and then spent a week in Paris, also visiting Chartres. I was struck there by the image of Mary as a queen sitting on a throne, with her son seated on her lap facing forward. She is Mary, Seat of Wisdom. Her strength and personality made a far deeper impression on me than all the sweet Madonnas with swirling clothes and the rather stiff figures in icons.

During that sabbatical, I stayed with Dominicans in Rome, intending to read and to visit museums. By chance, I extended my time there to teach a course on Mary at the Angelicum, subbing in for Mary O’Driscoll. Rome on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was a revelatory experience.

December 8 is a national and religious holiday. Despite the Roman Ordo and all liturgical theology, it is the REAL beginning of preparation for Christmas. Homes, towns, and cities are decorated, trees and bonfires lit, families gather for a festive meal with special foods, all businesses and offices are closed, except for stores and Christmas markets, so shopping for gifts begins in earnest.

The highlight of the day comes at 4 p.m., when the pope, mayor of Rome, and assorted civil and religious dignitaries assemble at the 40-foot-tall Column of the Immaculate Conception near the Spanish steps. The head of the fire department climbs a ladder on a fire engine and places a wreath on Mary’s arm. The pope places flowers at the base, along with tributes from city and nation. He then prays for the needs of the world.

As I watched all this on television, I suddenly came to a new appreciation of Marian dogma in general and the Immaculate Conception in particular. In traditional Italian culture, the family is the most important of all relationships. Within the family, traditionally the bond between mother and son has been extremely strong. It makes sense, then, that in Italy the conception of Jesus’ mother begins the celebration of Christmas. The abstract typology of Eve and Mary, the long story of salvation history – all of this takes a distant second place to the concrete, primal relationship of this mother and this son. This relationship is key; this is the reason for celebration.

Mary is Jesus’ mother. So, of course, the Italian church celebrates her own conception in St. Ann’s womb as the concrete, real prelude to Jesus’ own birth, and chooses as the Gospel the story of Jesus’ own conception.

Jesus had only one mother. Mary’s vocation was unique. Yet Karl Rahner often emphasized that Mary is the Mother of the Church and, at the same time, her destiny as the first believer, the first to place her hope in Christ, reveals our own call and destiny as members of the Body of Christ. The Marian doctrines, he said, are just as much about our faith and hope in the Word of God, about our origin and future.

Although Paul’s letter does not mention Mary, Paul seems to make the same point. He makes no mention of "original sin." Listen to what Paul tells us:
We, too, are blessed – in Christ – with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
We, too, are thus “full of grace.”
We, too, are chosen in Christ – to be holy and spotless.
We, too, are loved into being by Love, to be God’s sons and daughters, God’s own family, through our relationship with Jesus the Christ.
We, too, have the favor of God’s will, we, too, live in God’s grace – which is simply God’s gift of Godself to us. We, too, have been chosen by God and, like Mary, place our hope in Christ and live for the praise of God’s glory.
So we, too sing Magnificat with Mary.

Perhaps today we might take time to sit with the annunciation and with this passage from Ephesians, to hear the Word of God spoken to Mary by the angel and by Paul to us:
to let that Word take hold of us and quicken in us,
to know ourselves profoundly as loved into being and highly favored – full of grace.
And then we might, with Mary, burst into that song of joy, the Magnificat.
We, too, can begin celebrating Jesus’ birth by celebrating his mother.
For as the Italian saying goes, “A good mother is worth a hundred teachers.” 


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