In imitation of the apostles and the early Christians, Dominican friars live what is called “the common life.” Each day, we pray the Divine Office and Holy Mass together, we eat our meals together, we recreate together, and we often preach together. Our chief goal in living the common life is to seek God together with one mind and one heart (cf. Acts 4:32).
Rooted in evangelical poverty and the communal ownership of property, Dominican common life manifests the bonds of obedience and fraternity forged among the friars by their profession. Accordingly, the priory in which the friars live becomes a school of charity. Within its walls–whether in the chapel, the refectory, the library, or the chapter room–the friars seeks to love God by showing that same graced love to their brothers. This love often demands great acts of compassion and mercy. Following the model of St. Dominic as a consoler of the sick and those in distress, Dominicans strive to care especially for those in the community who are suffering in any way—physically, psychologically, spiritually. We extend this same solicitude to the poor and distressed to whom we minister in our apostolates.
The Dominican charism is unique for its linking study and prayer. Indeed, Dominicans view study as a form of prayer. We do not see the intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral dimensions of our life as separate or opposed, but as flowing from a common font, the divine revelation of Jesus Christ. So joined are Dominicans one to another in the common life, even our study bears a communal character.
In order to form young Dominicans for this common, evangelical life, the Province of St. Joseph founded the Priory of the Immaculate Conception as its studium in 1905. In 1941, the priory established the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception so that its students might receive a first-rate Thomist education. The priory and the faculty recently passed milestone anniversaries: 100 years of Dominican life in 2005, and 75 years of pontifical teaching in 2016.
For over 110 years now, the House of Studies has been a seedbed of Dominican grace. Generations of friars have passed through the priory’s doors. By God’s grace, many brothers continue to come to the House of Studies–and in increasing numbers–to be formed as preachers of grace and sons of St. Dominic.