The Dominican Laity is composed of baptized Catholics who are part of the Dominican Order, officially called the Order of Preachers. Laity were associated with St. Dominic when he began his work of preaching by word and example in 1205 when lay converts and others helped him. In Memphis, the group has been in existence since the late 19th century at St. Peter’s Church. Lay Dominicans, until recently referred to as members of the Third Order, or Tertiaries, can be found on six continents.
Many canonized saints were members of the Dominican Laity, including St. Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Universal Church; St. Martin de Porres, before he became a cooperator brother in the Order of Preachers, as well as others up to and including those who have lived and died within the last century.
As part of the Dominican Family, Dominican Laity strive to follow Jesus in the way that all Dominican friars, nuns, sisters do, but they live and work in the usual roles of wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, single people, young and old. As such, they adapt the four pillars of Dominican Life to their way of being in the world: Prayer (public and private), study, community, and preaching. The local group meets in the afternoon of the third Sunday of each month for the experience of community, to study, to pray, and to plan their preaching. Their ways of preaching have taken the form of serving meals in poverty areas of Memphis, volunteering in prisons, and other formats.
They govern their own group through elections, and coordination with other groups. Each group has its own Religious Assistant, often a Dominican Friar, but it is a form of life for the laity and draws its membership from all parishes. Locally, Bishop Terry Steib has approved and encouraged their way of life and ministry. For more information contact:
Mr. Ted Krausser, O.P. at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fr. Augustine DeArmond, O.P. (901)527-8282.