This October 21st to 23rd, the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great hosted a "Come & See" weekend at St. Dominic Priory here in St. Louis. We had 23 total inquirers come to visit our priory and experience the life of a friar for a weekend. The Come & See was composed of a series of talks with certain friars who discussed the spirituality or character of our life as Dominicans, as well as individual friars who wanted to share their vocation stories with the group.
But the most important part of the weekend, for everyone involved, was that they got to experience what it would be like to live as a Dominican friar. Our guests came to all of our prayer times, both Mass and Liturgy of the Hours, took part in our community times for recreation or meals, and spent some one-on-one time just talking with the brothers. It brought together people from all sorts of different parts of the United States who were united in their interest in our Order and provides a place for them to test whether they have a vocation to our way of life.
The discernment of one's vocation is never easy and is an on-going process that should occupy us throughout our lives. We should never rest content that we have discovered everything God wants us to do, but should always be taking advantage of each and every opportunity God sends our way to respond more generously to His call. The weekend we host in St. Louis is an important step in discerning the vocation to the Order of Friars Preachers. But it is, more importantly, a way to respond to His call for apostles:
"How can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Rom 10:14).
We Dominicans continue to be blessed with many vocations and we chalk it up to the prayers of our patrons, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Dominic, but we also attribute it to the prayers of so many of those who pray for our Order. The work of preaching and the salvation of souls is a perennial task for every age – it was Jesus' own mission.
Are you willing to listen to His call and share in that mission?