Four Branches of the Dominican Order
When Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221) founded the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, at the beginning of the 13th Century the world he knew was in turmoil. Europe's agrarian population was shifting to urban centers, creating waves of change that affected life, including economic and social relationships, politics and religious. Universities established in these new urban centers were attracting the interest of the new generation and the attention of Dominic as well.
In 1203, Dominic dedicated his life and to a new ministry, through which he would lead many other men and women: preaching. The new order was given the title Order of Preachers and their itinerant style of preaching keeps them on the move. Today, many Dominicans would say that they preach with the Sacred Scripture in one hand and the newspaper in the other. In this way their preaching is to bring the Word of God into dialogue with the complexities and challenges of our world.
The Dominican Family Has Several Branches
In the Dominican Order there are several branches, all focused on a passion for preaching and the same priorities, all living in the same spirit and charism of St. Dominic. And all have produced many recognized saints. They are Friars (brothers, priests), Sisters, Nuns, and Laity.