Welcome to the website of the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit
A Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right.
A DOMINICAN INSTITUTION…
A Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, officially aggregated to the Dominican Order since 1943.
An education that takes place within an atmosphere of friendship and collaboration with parents, following the pedagogical principles of the Church.
THE CONSECRATED LIFE…
Consecrated virgins love Christ without limits, and by their lives they honour the Church, the Bride of Christ.
IN FIVE SCHOOLS…
The schools were founded with the agreement of the local bishop, and benefit from his kind support.
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A dominican institute
The Institute of the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, of consecrated virgins, living in community, at the heart of the Dominican Order.
It was aggregated to the order in 1943, at the request of Abbé Victor-Alain Berto, a priest of the diocese of Vannes, who was himself a tertiary of the Dominican Order.
The mother-house is situated in Pontcalec in Brittany.
In imitation of Saint Catherine of Siena, and following an ancient model of Dominican life that disappeared in France during the Revolution, the sisters are simply ‘Dominican virgins.’
The addition of ‘du Saint-Esprit’ (of the Holy Spirit) was chosen to honour the Third Person of the Trinity, whom Jesus calls ‘the Spirit of Truth.’ All the work of the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit is entrusted to the protection of Our Lady of Joy.
Just like Saint Catherine of Siena, the second patroness of Rome, the heart of the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit is Roman. Docile fidelity towards the Church is the essence of their Institute. Their heartfelt wish is to communicate this fidelity in their schools. For the children who are entrusted to their care, the sisters represent the Church, which is our Mother.
At present, they run five schools in France, in the dioceses of Vannes, Nanterre, Nantes, Fréjus-Toulon and Saint-Dié, with the kind support of the local bishop.
The mystery of the Church, the Bride of Christ, shines brilliantly in the lives of consecrated virgins, who, in the union of their whole soul to Christ their spouse, render to Him a love without limits.
The spirituality of the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit, as practiced in the fullness of its supernatural truth, is that of a spouse, just as the Church is the Bride of Christ; the sisters make a special vow of virginity as well as a double promise of poverty and obedience.
They fulfill their vocation to virginity in the spirit of the Dominican Order; in other words, in a life of fraternity and community, the singing of the Divine Office, and a rigorous study of Divine Truth.
In accordance with the Dominican motto, the sisters aim to transmit that which they have contemplated, in all that relates to the communication of the truth, the education of young people, and the development of liturgical piety. In this way, they wish to manifest the spiritual fruitfulness of the virginal love of Christ, and offer these fruits to the Church and to the world.
“The main purpose for you having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart. ”
Rule of Saint Augustine, Prolog, I, 2
The communal life forms the essence of the Dominican life.
It rests upon a dual foundation: to live under the same roof, and strive for unanimity.
The sisters try to “practice the new commandment of Our Lord, to love one another as he loved us.” (Vita Consecrata no. 42).
Their communal life involves, in addition to their consecrated virginity, obedience to their superiors, and evangelic poverty. By their vows, which free the charitable impulse from all constraints, they strive to become, together, a prophetic sign of the intimate communion with God, who is loved supremely.
Their communal life thus becomes itself a form of prayerful witness.
Contemplata aliis tradere
Transmit to others that which you have contemplated.
“The liturgy is the summit towards which all the activity of the Church is directed and at the same time, it is the fountain from which all her powers flow.”
Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium
“The beauty of the liturgy is the highest expression of the glory of God and constitutes, in a sense, Heaven on Earth. ”
à la fin de l’office de complies.
“Singing belongs to one who loves.” (Saint Augustine) : The sisters are dedicated to the singing of Gregorian chant, in the Mass and the Divine Office.
“It is here, when we sing together, whether we are praising God or celebrating and praying, it is here where we find a little piece of Heaven on Earth. It is certainly not inappropriate to perceive, in a liturgy that is completely concentrated upon God, through its rites and its chants, an image of eternity. God has humbled himself to live amongst us, in order to impart to us his word. We can become his voice, if we are attentive to what he says. We can put his words on our lips, in order to impart them to the world. The gift of our prayer is accepted by him and serves him by being spread to all those whom we meet.”
A life of study
“Since the Institute belongs to the Order of Saint Dominic, in which holiness is pursued in contemplation and the transmission of divine truth, the sisters must apply themselves, according to their capacities, to diligent study, in order to immerse themselves in the truth alone, and to teach the truth alone.”
Constitutions of the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit
Study, and the joyful search for the truth, is for the Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit, a daily duty and the source of their apostolate.
The Dominican life involves giving homage to God, who is the primary source of truth, and, consequently, the submission of the intellect to God, through the search for and love of the truth, deposited in the Church.
All study is carried out in a spirit of prayer.
The formation of the sisters in the Institute is given through courses, and deepened by personal study. The courses focus on Holy Scripture, the Magisterium of the Church, theology – and in particular, the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the writings of the Fathers of the Church, the history of the Church and that of the Dominican Order.
The sisters are also formed by the apostolic life. A ratio studiorum or method of teaching, establishes the specific ways and means to provide an education to the children entrusted to the Institute