Who are We
Formerly called "Dominican Third Order Secular" or "Dominican Tertiaries," Lay Dominicans are those Catholic lay faithful who have been incorporated into the Order of Preachers and who undergo continuous, life-long formation according to the example of our holy father, St. Dominic, and the Dominican Saints and Blesseds.
The Dominican Laity is almost as old as the Order itself. It was in 1285 that the Third Order received its first Rule from Fray Munio de Zamora OP, Master of the Order. Its approval by the Holy See marks the official incorporation of the tertiaries into the Dominican Order.
Prior to the 1970s, the Order was traditionally grouped into three main branches: the First Order was composed of Dominican friars and priests; the Second Order was composed of nuns; and the Third Order was composed of cooperator brothers, Lay Dominicans, apostolic sisters, and members of clerical/priestly fraternities. The Order's General Chapters of 1974 and those that followed confirmed the abandonment of these terms to avoid unwanted negative connotations. In other words, everyone is a full member of the Dominican Family, each branch or group having its own unique role in furthering the mission we inherited from our holy father.
Today, the Dominican Family is composed of friars, priests, nuns, sisters, lay Dominicans, members of the priestly fraternities of St. Dominic, secular institutes, and others affiliated or connected with the Order.
Special Role of Lay Dominicans
Lay Dominicans have a special role in carrying out the Mission of the Order in the twenty-first century. Living in the midst of the secular world, they are in a favorable position to proclaim the Gospel primarily through their living example. Thus, the lay Dominican identity is not seasonal, nor is it a vocation confined within the walls of our churches. The lay Dominican vocation is a serious and lifelong commitment where the Rule seeks, first and foremost, to transform the person according to the Gospel values and the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and his servants, the Saints.
Lay Dominican Saints
Some Lay Dominican saints include St. Catherine of Siena, St. Rose of Lima, St. Zedislava Berkiana, Bl. Albert of Bergamo, and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati.
We are no longer called 'Third Order' or 'Tertiaries'