Hopeful Future Dominican (O.P.) Advice Appreciated


(FJBSJ stands for Father Jean Baptiste Saint Jure, who wrote one of my favorite theological works on providence.)

I am currently a Freshman in college attending an RCIA program. I feel strongly drawn to the Dominican Friars due to the combination of the intense scholarship and the emphasis on preaching. I attending a secular talk on pornography (very effective due to research literature cited constantly and emotional appeals from individuals affected) which was recommended to me by the leader of my bible study, a FOCUS missionary. Honestly, the most valuable experience I got from that night was having a long conversation with one of the priests, who was a religious oratorian ministering to the local colleges and community. He encouraged me and offered me advice on how to continue. I looked at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington D.C. and the classes were so much more meaningful and relevant than the classes I am taking at the Secular University of Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, my foundation in theology and philosophy is weak but I don’t know a good place to start. Father recommended the Summa Theologica but I honestly don’t know if I am ready to read that with an insufficient foundation. Ultimately, I am looking on how to best study the entire bible, St. Thomas Aquinas, CCC, essential philosophy, and anything else I might be missing. One of the things I definitely have to change is my prayer routine, which is currently sparse to nonexistent outside of Mass.

Thank You

Hello to you as well,

I, too, hope to make an application to the Order of Preachers, however, I hope to do so this January. It has been a long wait for me, more than three years, because I am a convert to the Carholic Faith.

You, like I did, will have to wait three more years at least to finish up your Bachelors degree. I know how frustrating it is to take much of your undergraduate work seriously and to excel in the monotony of jumping through academic hoops.

When it comes to your studies, I would recommend two main areas of focus:

  1. Prepare yourself academicly for seminary. This means become the best reader and writer you can be. Take history classes and then go to the library and read as much about the Catholic history in your area. I bet your library has many old books about your area and many primary sources for early Catholic missionaries in your area that would be unavailable in other parts of the country. And then write about them. Do not lose the history and e traeditions that have been entrusted with you.

  2. Learn as much as you can and explore as much as you can academicly. In your formation program, there will be some academic freedom, but nothing compared to the freedom you have now. You can get your BA or BS in anything at all. For me, no other classes captivated me as much as my Theology classes. But I had an amazing time learning about people in drama classes and history classes. Check out the course of study for you MA and M Div for the eastern providence. And then take classes in what you think would be lacking in your knowledge and experience if all you took were your seminary classes.

Next, explore as much of the country and the world as you can. If you don’t take classes in the summer, get a summer job somewhere else. I loved living and working in the redwood forests of the California coast, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and he Cascades in Washington. Don’t just go places as tourists, but as someone wanting to learn how to live differently than you do right now.

Learn the secret of being content in all man or of life:

“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content therewith. I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound (every where and in all things I am instructed): both to be full and to be hungry: both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me.”

Do everything for the greater glory of God.

Good for you!! Congratulations on discerning your vocation to the priesthood. I have liked the Dominicans as well since it was the order of my favorite and namesake saint, St. Albert the Great!

The other reply was fantastic in what you can do now to prepare for your future. I would add things such as watching Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism tv series. Any book from Scott Hahn. Histories of the saints, bible studies, etc.

God Bless you as you continue in your studies. We need more faithful young men such as yourself!

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