Dominican Charism Initiative

Submitted by Gloria Marie Jones, OP

How do we pass on the Dominican charism at this crucial moment in our history?

How do we create new, relevant expressions of the Dominican charism to ensure its ongoing vitality through the formation of present and future generations of sisters and lay partners?

These questions have driven the work of the Dominican Charism Initiative this past year. Dominican sisters, friars, nuns, laity, associates and members of the Dominican Youth Movement from around the globe have contributed to making this initiative come to life.

This initiative will provide an online web-based learning platform for the Dominican Charism. It will offer the opportunity for all members of the Dominican family and lay partners to learn the foundational elements of Dominican life and mission. Through a variety of presentations and reflection questions, each of the eight different modules will offer instruction that will deepen your understanding of and excitement for being Dominican. 

Early in 2020 we will conclude the development of the first four modules, which will then be beta-tested over the next four months. Following the testing, the modules will be available as a resource for members of the Dominican Family to begin to learn, or engage more deeply, in the charism.

By the end of February the contributors will be determined for the final four modules: Dominican Spirituality, Dominican Prayer, The Call to Truth, and The Legacy of St. Dominic.

If you have any recommendations for contributors please send your ideas to Diana Marin at

Beginning this month, members, sponsored institutions and associates of DSI congregations will be invited to register within their congregations for access to the modules. For other members of the Dominican family not connected with a congregation, a separate registration process will be provided. Email at the end of January for information.

We are working to create learning experiences that capture the breadth of our Dominican family as well as its global reality. At this point the presentations are in English or have English translations. 


The collaborative work of the past year has focused on the first 4 charism modules, each presently in different stages of development. Listed below are module descriptions and contributors, as well as the dates they will be available.

The Life, Spirit and Mission of St. Dominic
In this module, Sr. Connie Schoen leads the participant through the life and spirit of St. Dominic focusing on his formative experiences and the early life of the Order.  A biblical reflection by Sr. Barbara Reid is included. 

Public accessibility in February.

The Call to Preach
The Call to Preach is the heart, the essence of Dominican life. Every member of the Dominican family is charged with the mission to preach the Word through our lives, our actions, and our communities. This module situates preaching in the context of our Dominican life and explores the meaning of this call for all members of the Dominican family. Sr. Sara Fairbanks, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Sr. Angela Mwaba and Sr. Megan McElroy lead us in this exploration, accompanied by diverse voices within the Dominican community. A biblical reflection by Sr. Barbara Reid is included.

Additional video clips provided by:
Sr. Barbara Schwarz, Sr. Florence Kapongolo, Sr. Mary Sean Hodges, Andrea Wirgau, Fr. Brian Pierce, Sr. Janice McLaughlin, Andy Abberton, Sr. Gina Fleming, Sr. Hilda Chanyau, Sr. Mary Therese Perez,
Video clips related to the preaching of community feature:  Barry University, Sr. Pat Twohill/Peace OP, Sr. Mary Catherine/Summit Nuns, Sr. Janice McLaughlin/Maryknoll.

Public accessibility in early spring, 2020

The Call to Action
The Dominican charism animates us to engage in justice-making rooted in contemplation and truth seeking. This module provides the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the critical justice issues of today in a global context. Using the See-Judge-Act model, Sr. Marcelline Koch and Sr. Sharon Zayac guide us in the process of combining life experience, theological reflection, and social action to address the needs of our world.
Additional video clips provided by:  Sr Helena Im/Chiapas; Sr. Maryann McMahon, Sr. Kathy Slesar/Racine-Racism.

Public accessibility in the spring, 2020

The Global Dominican Family
Over the course of our 800 year history, the Dominican Order has grown in size and expression. We are women and men; lay, vowed, and ordained; young and old. In this module, Sr. Toni Harris provides a picture of the numerous collaborative movements shaping the Dominican family’s preaching mission.  Her message is further enhanced by glimpses of the diverse and expansive expressions of Dominican life across the continents.
Additional video clips provided by:  Sr. Marie Therese Clement, Dominicans in Argentina, Dominicans in Mexico, Dominicans in Haiti, Dominicans in Zambia, Dominicans in Vietnam.

Public accessibility in late spring, 2020

None of this would be possible without

  • the financial commitment  of the GHR Foundation and some Dominican congregations
  • the support of the sponsoring agent, the US Dominican Sisters Conference
  • the work of the US and African Planning Teams:
    • Andrea Wirgau, Rita Cutarelli, Mark Butler, Sr. Jenn Schaaf,  Diana Marin, Project Manager, and Sr. Gloria Marie Jones, Project Director
    • Sr. Agnes Chipo Tererai, Sr. Vimbai Privy, and Sr. Angela Mwaba, African Director and the support of Sr. Kamfwa Mutale,  Congregational Prioress.
  • the development and editing assistance of all of those listed under the modules as well as MaDonna Thelen, Anna Sklut, Nate Friday, Juliette Marsh Williams, Angie Tessler
  • the work on resources by Sr. Patricia Walter and Sr. Ann Pratt
  • the technical and creative work of Catholic Faith Technologies which holds the modules.

For more information we invite you to contact: