Founded by St Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), the Dominican Order of Preachers was confirmed by Pope Honorius III in 1216. St Dominic believed in the power of education to develop well informed, articulate people who could dialogue around matters of faith and life in all social and ecclesial circles. Over time, prayer, study, community and service have become the four pillars on which the Dominican charism has been built.
Dominic made Veritas the motto of the Order and did not limit the ways or means by which one might preach truth.
Dominic gathered together a group of nine women and founded a convent at Prouille, France. These women participated through prayer and good works in the preaching mission of the Order. For the last years of his life, Dominic attracted many holy and talented men and women to the Order. In 1217 he dispersed the brethren throughout the cities of Europe with a mandate to study and preach the Gospel. Dominic knew, and instilled in his followers, that the Word of God could only rightly be proclaimed when it had been prayerfully pondered before God.
In his own life Dominic was joyful, compassionate, prayerful, a lover of simplicity who anguished over the sufferings of others and wanted more than anything else to help people to find meaning in life. His own love of prayer and study, his concern for the salvation of souls, and his belief in apostolic poverty became the foundation stones of the Order.
Our College patron, St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), was a lay Dominican mystic who, by her charitable works, her gifts of discernment and prayer and her diplomatic skills played a leading role in the history of Italy and the Church in a time of great social and religious ferment. She was a woman who responded to the needs of her time with courage and conviction. The College takes its name from her home town of Siena, Italy.
Catherine ranks highly among the spiritual writers of the Church. In 1970 Pope Paul VI named Catherine and Teresa of Avila as Doctors of the Church.
Dominican Sisters in Australia
In 1867, eight young Dominican sisters sailed from Dun Laoghaire in Ireland to Maitland in New South Wales where they established a convent and schools for local Catholics. From here they established new foundations through New South Wales in Newcastle, Tamworth, Moss Vale, Strathfield and Mayfield before establishing the first Victorian foundation in Camberwell in 1926.
In 1988, the Governance structure was changed and the Congregation became known as the Sisters of Eastern Australia and the Solomon Islands. Today you will find Dominican Sisters involved in advocacy for victims of human trafficking, interfaith dialogue, prison/parish/hospital chaplaincy, promotion of environmental justice and at all levels of education.