Dominicans · Province of St. Albert the Great, U.S.A.

Dominican Life

October - December, 1998

Volume 3, No. 4


No matter which of our various ministries a Dominican may find himself doing, we all take the same path to that ministry. The first step on the road to becoming a Friar Preacher is entrance into the Novitiate. The Novitiate is a year during which the aspiring Preacher learns about the Order - its history, its heroes, its ideals, its rules; he also experiences community life and prayer, the practice of spiritual reading and meditation, and the discipline of study. He may also engage in some ministry work on a very limited basis. Also during this year the Friars have a chance to get to know the Novice so that at the end of the year, together with the Novice, they may better discern whether the Novice should continue to pursue living the life of the Friars Preachers.

If the discernment bears a positive outcome, the Novice is then admitted to "Simple" Profession. Vows are professed for a limited time (one, two or three years). This profession of vows marks the end of the first stage of formation and the beginning of the next. After profession in Denver, where our Novitiate is currently located, the newly professed "Student Brother" moves to St. Louis where he begins his course of study at our school of theology, Aquinas Institute of Theology. There he lives in the community of St. Dominic Priory with all the other Student Brothers and the Priests who reside there. Now, in addition to entering into philosophical and theological studies, he experiences living in a larger community than that of the Novitiate.

After two years of study, the Student Brother is sent on a Pastoral Year during which he experiences full-time non-ordained ministry and also gets to experience life in a community outside the communities of formation (Novitiate and student community).

Following that year he returns to his studies in St. Louis and a year later engages in a discernment about his future: whether he will make "Solemn Vows" - profession of vows for life - or whether he will return to living the lay life in the church.

If he makes Solemn Vows, then he proceeds on to the final stages of formation. A Brother who is called to the Priesthood prepares for ordination, first to the Diaconate, an office he exercises for a while before he is ordained to the Priesthood. A Brother who has not experienced a call to the Priesthood, but to the Brotherhood, finishes his formal studies and then prepares for the ministry into which he will be sent. The usual time for this journey to ministry is seven years.


I, Brother N. N., make profession and
promise obedience to God,
to Blessed Mary, to Blessed Dominic
and to you Brother Edward Ruane,
Prior Provincial of the Province of
St. Albert the Great, in place of
Brother Timothy Radcliffe,
Master of the Order of Friars Preachers
and his successors, according to the
Rule of Blessed Augustine and the
Constitutions of the Friars Preachers,
that I will be obedient to you and your
successors until death.


The building of the studium in Bolivia officially commenced on Saturday May 9th, with the blessing of the cornerstone or "Piedra Fundamental." The ceremony was presided over by the Archbishop of Cochabamba, the Most Rev. Rene Fernandez and our Vicar Provincial Hipólito Michel Plata, O.P. Others in attendance included representatives from the Dominican vicariate of Germany, Dominican Sister Linda Hunt, O.P. from Sinsinawa, Sisters and kids from the Amanecer Program for abandoned children with which various members of the community work, along with the workers and neighbors. The rock was placed under what will be the base of the chapel, amid firecrackers and incense, by the Vicar, Hipólito Michel Plata, O.P., the Economic Administrator, Jim Spahn, O.P. and one of the Councillors, Jhony Lujan Flores, O.P. Music was provided by one of the musical groups from Hogar San Martin (part of the Amanecer Program), comprised of 13-year-olds who entertained the guests with native music. Hipólito, the Vicar, gave thanks to the sacrifice and support of our Dominican province in this project and mentioned that hopefully, Bolivians will be able to repay our brothers from the United States by sending missionaries to help with the priest shortage there.

Thank you for the support of various individuals and communities in making this project a reality. We are still in need of funds. Perhaps you would like to earmark funds for something in particular such as: chapel furnishings; Blessed Sacrament chapel; carpeting for the chapel or recreation room or lecture hall; phone system; dining room furnishings; study hall furnishings and carpeting. (The carpeting is important for acoustical as well as aesthetical reasons.) Thanks again!
Sincerely yours,
Fr. Jim Spahn, O.P.
Cochabamba, Bolivia


In August two new Novices were welcomed into the Novitiate in Denver. Bro. Jordan Kelly from Allentown PA is a graduate of Moravian College, Bethlehem PA where he received a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and Organ Performance in 1980. Ten years later her received a Bachelor's Degree in Sacred Theology and a Master's Degree in Divinity from the Dominican House of Studies, Washington DC. In the meantime, he served as Parish Music Munster in Wilmington, DE (where he was Diocesan Director of the Office for Music and Liturgy for three years), and in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. As to why he has entered our novitiate, he says, "From the time I met the Dominicans, I have been impressed by the Brothers' love for God and one another. Their constant example of goodness and concern led me to consider a vocation to the Order of Preachers."

Bro. Andrew Wisdom was born in Elgin IL and grew up in Aurora IL. He graduated from MacMurray College, Jacksonville IL in 1983 with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work. He later studied at the Gregorianum and Angelicum in Rome, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Sacred Theology in 1986 and a Master's Degree in Theology in 1987. He was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Rockford in 1987, and subsequently has worked in Development for a number of non-profit organizations. He says, "The most significant impression I am left with after encountering Dominicans is their joy in their communal life together. I am also struck by their present-day passion for an 800-year-old charism. Encountering such enthusiastic commitment to preaching the Word of God confirmed my instincts that this is where I belong."


First Profession
L to R: Bro. Andrew Wisdom, Bro. Paul Rhode, Fr. Edward Ruane, Bro. Timothy Corbley, Bro. Robert Ard, and Bro. Jordan Kelly

In the evening of August 14th, in St. Dominic's Church in Denver, Bros. Robert F. Ard,O.P., Timothy L. Corbley, O.P., and Paul W. Rohde, O.P., having completed their year of Novitiate, made their first Profession of Vows before Very Rev. Edward Ruane, O.P., Provincial of the Province of St. Albert the Great. In the same ceremony, the Novices of St. Martin de Porres Province also made their first Profession.There were many people in attendance -- Dominicans, the families of the Brothers making vows, parishioners of St. Dominic's, as well as people who had been ministered to by the Novices in their part-time ministries.The next morning, all the newly-professed left Denver to drive to St. Louis and begin their studies.

Andrew Pavlak, Edward Ruane, Roman SHemayev In the evening of September 4th , in St. Louis University College Church, Bros. Andrew J. Pavlak, O.P. and Roman P. Shemayev, O.P. made final, Solemn Vows before Fr. Ruane. Here, too, attendance was large, including, along with the families of the Brothers making vows and Dominicans from various places, members of the University community and people to whom Andy and Roman had ministered: people from St. Louis and people from the areas where they had spent their Pastoral Years -- Bro. Andrew in Albuquerque NM and Bro. Roman in St. Claire Shores MI. They will now move toward the completion of their formation program and will be ordained first to the Diaconate and then to the Priesthood within the next two years. Please keep them all in your prayers!


Greetings of Christ's peace to you in this time of year when change is so keenly felt as Summer gives way to the beauty of Autumn. For those who have been on the mailing list when Fr. Jesse Cox, O.P. was the promoter of vocation, you might remember the newsletter, "OPtions". "Dominican Life" is replacing "OPtions" beginning this Fall. The newsletter will cover various aspects of Dominican life throughout our province and is distributed by several offices in the province. I think you will find the stories and information beneficial in getting to know more of who we are and what we do as Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great.

In this issue of "Dominican Life" is outlined for you the process by which one embarks on becoming a Friar Preacher. Usually we focus on our ministries in the newsletter, but we thought that you might be interested in knowing how the Dominican Fathers and Brothers got to where they are. The process is long (seven years, on average) and demanding (learning a new way of life, years of challenging studies, and introduction to ministry in the Catholic Church).

My ministry as vocation director is twofold. I promote vocations to the Order by talking to various groups of people of many ages about the Dominicans. The other part of my ministry is working directly with men who are interested in looking more seriously at the question of whether or not they might have a vocation to religious life as a Dominican Friar. I continue to communicate with them and help them in their discernment. If the discernment leads to the formal application process to enter the novitiate (the first year as a Dominican), I coordinate this process as well. In my first year as promoter of vocations, it has been a blessing to discern with those interested as well as share with groups the story of St. Dominic and our nearly 800-year history. Perhaps you, too, will be part of our story!
In the Spirit of St Dominic,

Fr. Louis Morrone, O.P.

Dominican Vocation Weekend
December 11-13, 1998

If you are interested in attending the vocation weekend, please send your name, address and telephone number to Fr. Louis Morrone, O.P.

Dominican Feast Days
October 7 - - - Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
October 9 - - - St. Louis Bertrand
November 3 - - - St. Martin de Porres
November 15 - - - ST.ALBERT THE GREAT

DOMINICAN LIFE is a publication of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great (Central Dominican Province, U.S.A.). Web site:

Edward Ruane, O.P. Provincial
David Wright, O.P. Socius and Vicar
Jerry Stookey, O.P. Vicar

Fr. Louis Morrone, O.P.
Promoter of Vocations
7200 W. Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 771-7254

The Dominican Friars of the Province of St Albert the Great communicate the Word of God through preaching, theological education and the promotion of justice and peace. This mission in the Body of Chrst demands vowed community life, liturgical prayer and life-long study.