This article includes
|6,058 (including 4,470 priests)|
The Order of Preachers (
Founded to preach the
A number of other names have been used to refer to both the order and its members.
The Dominican Order came into being in the Middle Ages at a time when men of God were no longer expected to stay behind the walls of a cloister. Instead, they travelled among the people, taking as their examples the apostles of the primitive Church. Out of this ideal emerged two orders of mendicant friars: one, the Friars Minor, was led by
Dominic sought to establish a new kind of order, one that would bring the dedication and systematic education of the older monastic orders like the
Dominic inspired his followers with loyalty to learning and virtue, a deep recognition of the spiritual power of worldly deprivation and the religious state, and a highly developed governmental structure. At the same time, Dominic inspired the members of his order to develop a "mixed" spirituality. They were both active in preaching, and contemplative in study, prayer and meditation. The brethren of the Dominican Order were urban and learned, as well as contemplative and mystical in their spirituality. While these traits affected the women of the order, the nuns especially absorbed the latter characteristics and made those characteristics their own. In England, the Dominican nuns blended these elements with the defining characteristics of English Dominican spirituality and created a spirituality and collective personality that set them apart.
As an adolescent, he had a particular love of theology and the Scriptures became the foundation of his spirituality. During his studies in
In 1203, Dominic joined Prior
The Albigensians were a
Prior Diego saw immediately one of the paramount reasons for the spread of the unorthodox movement: the representatives of the Holy Church acted and moved with an offensive amount of pomp and ceremony. On the other hand, the Cathars lived in a state of self-sacrifice that was widely appealing. For these reasons, Prior Diego suggested that the papal legates begin to live a reformed apostolic life. The legates agreed to change if they could find a strong leader. The prior took up the challenge, and he and Dominic dedicated themselves to the conversion of the Albigensians. Despite this particular mission, in winning the Albigensians over by persuasion Dominic met limited success, "for though in his ten years of preaching a large number of converts were made, it has to be said that the results were not such as had been hoped for".
Dominic became the spiritual father to several Albigensian women he had reconciled to the faith, and in 1206 he established them in a convent in