The Dominican Order is a clerical Order made up of Priests and Brothers.
The Vocation of the Dominican Cooperator (Lay) Brother
Do you feel a call to Dominican life, but not as an ordained priest? You may want to consider life as a Dominican Cooperator Brother. Being a Dominican Cooperator Brother is a particular way of living out your vocation. It is not a position or status in the Church. Neither is it a rank nor a title. Brotherhood is a religious experience which grows over time, much in the same way as one learns to become a better family member. Brotherhood is both a ministry and a contemplative stance in a clamorous world, offering witness to the values given to us by Jesus Christ and St. Dominic, the founder of the Order. Cooperator Brothers give testimony to the primacy of people as opposed to things and reflect service like that of Jesus, giving himself for the good of others. To become a Brother who witnesses to God’s love requires both a formation and education. In a formation program one comes to a greater appreciation of our personal call from God to be a disciple in feeding the hungry, being with the poor, offering hope, healing the sick, or educating the young.
The Life, Ministry and Formation of a Cooperator Brother
Like all friars, Cooperator Brothers share in the life of the community and are active in the mission of the Order. They center their lives on prayer, study, community, as well as an active ministerial apostolate. In the past, brothers in clerical institutes were identified and understood by their contribution to the domestic needs of their religious houses. Today however, the Order has recognized a much broader and more comprehensive understanding of the Cooperator Brother. The result has yielded a stronger apostolic identity of the brother as one who strengthens and enriches the preaching mission of the Order. By sharing their individual talents, the Cooperator Brother continues a long tradition of ministry and service to the Order and the Church.
Cooperator Brothers undergo the same basic initial formation as those preparing for ordination. Their academic training provides them with a solid theological background in preparation for active ministry. In consultation with the Student Master and the Prior Provincial they may also begin academic preparation for a particular ministry in the Church. They live and study with their Clerical Brothers at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The ministerial opportunities for Cooperator Brothers vary depending on the individual brother’s abilities and the needs of the Province. Some of the ministries which our Cooperator Brothers have undertaken include:
• Specialized preaching
• Teaching in universities and high schools
• Spiritual direction
• Religious education and catechetical formation
• Pastoral administration
• Counseling and Social Work
• Campus ministry
The Catholic Church in the South needs more Dominican priests and brothers. Is God calling you to be a Dominican Friar (priest or brother)?