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'Accordingly we must say that the work of the active life is twofold. One proceeds from the fullness of contemplation, such as teaching and preaching… For even as it is better to enlighten than merely to shine, so it is better to give to others the fruits of one’s contemplation than merely to contemplate' (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II q.188 a.6).

The Dominican Order through its almost 800 years of existence has built up an extremely rich tradition of theology and of Christian witness. Among the best known figures of the history of the Dominican Order are St Albert the Great, St Thomas Aquinas, Fra Angelico (Bl John of Fiesole), Meister Eckhart, Bartolomé de las Casas, St Martin de Porres and Yves Congar, not to mention four Popes (Innocent V, Benedict XI, Saint Pius V and Benedict XIII). Closer to home, the Province of England has had such remarkable figures as Robert Kilwardby, Bede Jarrett, Vincent McNabb, Victor White, Gerald Vann, Cornelius Ernst and Herbert McCabe. We should not forget that the friars work closely with, and their ministries are greatly enriched by, the whole of the Dominican family: nuns, sisters and lay Dominicans.

This is a rich and varied mix, and such variety is valued by Dominicans as mendicants for the truth, happy to beg a little illumination from everyone whom we meet on the road. But in this variety there is a unity. This unity is founded on fidelity to Christ, on respect for reason as a gift from God, and a recognition that love of the truth is to be lived out in daily life and that the fruits of the search for the truth are to be shared with our brothers and sisters: ‘If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!’ (1Cor 9.16).  

To find out more about the Dominican Order in general, the history of the Province of England and the history of the Dominican friars in Oxford, then please use the menu on the left hand side.      


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