The ‘Formation Program’ for the St. Albert the Great Central Province follows the Lay Dominican Rule and builds upon previous formationaccomplishments.  ‘Formation’ combines ‘in-formation’ leading to ‘trans-formation.’  Our Rule states:  The purpose of Dominican formation is to mold true adults in the Faith, capable of accepting, celebrating and proclaiming the Word of God.  Every Dominican must be prepared to preach the Word of God.

Formation actually begins with the ‘Inquiry Stage.’  Without Inquirers we will not grow.  An ‘Inquirer form‘ and a brochure are suggested.

The program follows the ‘progressive formation’ asked for in the Rule (11 a.) by building a foundation, adding needed information for the Candidate and, finally, stressing the affective nature of our formation.  (read more)

Also, in 2007 Lay Dominicans gathered at St. John Retreat Center, Plymouth, MI. to learn and discuss a new ‘Formation Program’ consisting of mostly a bibliography of books and articles available at the time for use in our training. Much work had been done by the committee compiling lists of materials appropriate for the different stages of development and was placed on a fishersnet website (no longer available).  This program has been consulted and used in developing our new program which has placed this material and much more currently available in discrete units easily usable for Formation Directors and their students. At the end of each stage below this 2007 material is noted as ‘Bibliography’.




The Initiate Program is approximately six months and is designed to introduce the Initiate to the Dominican way of life.  It is based on the four Pillars of the Order, the foundation of our spirituality.  (Initiate Bibliography)   

1.  Introduction

2. Orders

3.  Prayer

4.  Study

5.  Community

6.  Mission 




Adding to our foundation of the ‘Four Pillars’ the Candidacy I Program will form our Candidates with knowledge of the Church’s expectation for the Laity and with our Dominican history.  It will prepare the candidates with the knowledge necessary to make an informed promise to follow the Rule of the Dominican Order with their Temporary Promises in approximately one year.  Edward Schillebeeckx OP aptly wrote:  “The history of the Dominican Order keeps us together as Dominicans.”    (Candidacy I Bibliography)

1/2.  The Laity 

3.  St. Dominic

4.  The Dominicans

5.  Lay Dominicans

6.  Dominican Saints

7.  Dominican Spirituality

8.  Liturgy of the Hours

9.  The Rule

10.  Evaluation




Now we embark upon an approximately three year journey toward ‘Final Promises.’  The program takes a bend toward involving more the heart than the head.  This is ‘Affective Formation,’ leading toward ‘Transformation’ and a closer union of the Candidate and Christ.  For this reason each unit will take three months to cover because it involves a deepening of the individual’s spirituality.  A “Dominican Vocation’ must be appreciated and valued for JOY to abound.  (Candidacy II Bibliography)

1.  The Beatitudes

2.  The Church

3.  Contemplation

4.  Revelation

5.  St. Matthew’s Gospel

6.  The Church in the Modern World

7.  Dominicans

8.  Liturgy

9.  Liturgy of the Hours

10.  The Rule




Our Rule states that we must establish “ongoing formation for all members.”  (11. b.)  Read the Guidelines for many suggestions for topics.  Each Chapter should offer their members suitable books, documents, biographies, etc. for the members to consider in common. The 2007 ‘Program of Lay Dominican Formation’ offer an abundant bibliography.  Do not forget the internet as many resources are available there.  The treatment should be in dialogue form and not as a lecture.  We are all in this together and the opinions of all members (regardless of education and experience) are of value!  

(Ongoing Bibliography)

Every Chapter should devote a portion of their meeting to ‘Preaching’.  After all we are members of the Order of Preachers.  By preaching is meant a reflection on scripture.  This is explained in detail, the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, in an Ongoing Unit of Formation entitled ‘Preaching’.

* Preaching  

Also see an introductory video on Lay Dominican Preaching



Recommendations begin with 3 books (in the Dominican tradition of 3 books) every Lay Dominican should have in their library at a minimum for daily and consultative purposes:

  •  Bible – to be used for daily reading and study.  Check out some Bibles and choose a translation which appeals to you.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church – to be used primarily as a resource.
  • Vatican II Documents – also to be read and consulted for the Church’s views.

Many Chapters utilize a book for chapter study.  It is read and discussed at each meeting by all in attendance.  Following are some suggestions (some deep; some lighter;  all challenging) which can be further investigated at :

The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality by Paul Murray OP. This is an excellent book subtitled:  A Drink Called Happiness. It is recommended by Timothy Radcliffe OP and David Kammler OPand should be read by every Dominican.

The Dominican Tradition:  Spirituality in History by Thomas C. McGonigle OP and Phyllis Zagano Ph. D.  This is highly recommended for those who desire to be immersed in Dominican spirituality as seen in our greatest Dominicans. Read about them and then read their writings.

The Dominican Way Edited by Lucette Verboven.  Learn the inspiration and excitement of and from Dominicans (Lay-Friars-Sisters-Nuns) from around the world.  You will be proud to follow their commitment.

Mysticism and Prophecy: The Dominican Tradition  by Richard Woods OP.  Examine Dominican Spirituality as exemplified by Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Catherine of Siena.  By going deep you will deepen your own spirituality.

In the Grip of Light:  The Dark and Bright Journey of Christian Contemplation  by Paul Murray OP.  The author draws us into the experience of the Mystics and shows us that it in different degrees can be had by all. His last chapter of this short book delves into Dominicans and contemplation.  Very enlightening.

Aquinas and His Role in Theology by M-D Chenu.  Aquinas and Chenu – what more need be said?  Nevertheless learn how Thomas’ theology is rooted in contemplation and preaching.  The depth of this book is complemented by its rich illustrations.

The Hail Mary:  On the Threshold of Grace by Paul Murray OP.  How often we rush through the ‘Hail Mary’‘ !  This little book will bring us into the mystery of God Incarnate – Jesus.  It will instill a deeper insight into this prayer begun by the youthful and trusting Mary.

The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP.  If your spiritual life is stunted, this book will grow you.  It treats (in a much more succinct way than his magna opera) the progression from Purgative to Illuminative to Unitive traditional phases of the spiritual life.  He is a genius.

Praying with Dominic by Michael Monshau OP.  Fr. Donald Goergen OP writes that this book “is an excellent aid to prayer…especially for members of the Dominican family”.  This book treats Dominic’s life with a reflection and some practical exercises.  Highly recommended!

Early Dominicans edited by Simon Tugwell OP.  This book is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to relate to Dominic and early Dominicans.  This is an excellent resource book, especially for Formation Directors.  Learn about our beginnings, including Lay Dominicans.

The Divine Office for Dodos (Devout, Obedient Disciples of our Savior) by Madeline Pecora Nugent.  This is the premier book for learning how to say the Liturgy of the Hours.  All questions are answered!

Open Mind Open Heart, the Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel by Thomas Keating OCSO.  This book introduces the reader into a deeper relationship with God through Meditation/ Contemplation – Centering Prayer, very fitting for members of a contemplative Order (Dominicans).  It begins with a brief but thorough history of Contemplation in the Church and helpful steps and answers.  Very useful.