Someone could as ask us, “What good would a new studentate do?” and anyone could immediately respond by pointing out how this new building would be the solution to a litany of physical and practical obstacles to Dominican living we face on a day-to-day basis at our current location. To name a few: 1) our home is a disjointed living space that neither insures communal privacy nor is conducive to silence and prayer; 2) our small chapel is in the basement of the building (5-6 floors below our living space) situated next to maintenance rooms and the busy and noisy public building lobby; 3) we lack control over our diet and other amenities in the building; and 4) there is very limited space for storage, a library, and growth as a community. One could recognize how these would be less-than-ideal and often irritatingly inconvenient circumstances.
However, it must not be thought that what we seek with the new studentate is comfortable living or the abatement of inconveniences. The community would readily admit that we have lived successfully with these challenges for the past 30 years and could continue for an additional 30 if need be. Rather, we would hope to show how these perennial issues are unnecessary hindrances to what is our greatest project, that of Dominican formation. The opportunity to have a real home of our own that would serve as a space that would allow the flourishing of a kind of Dominican formation that simply cannot be had in any other place is one worth striving for. Imagine a space designed by Dominicans, for Dominicans; a space in which we can grow in vocationally, spiritually, academically, and physically. Our goal in St. Louis is to foster a culture of Dominican formation rooted in study, contemplation, community, prayer, silence, recreation, and preaching. Moreover, this formation is done for the sole purpose of serving God and our Church according to our unique charism, the Holy Preaching. As we say, “Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere,” to contemplate and to share the fruit of our contemplation. A new studentate, a real home of our own, is important in achieving this overarching goal of formation and our overall mission of bringing Christ to the world as friars preachers.