I have just finished reading a new book 'The Dominican Way' edited by Lucette Verboven with an introduction by English Dominican Timothy Radcliffe OP. It is published by Continuum, runs to just over 200 pages and is reasonably priced in Ireland at €12.95.
The author is a Flemish writer and film producer and interviewed 17 contemporary Dominicans both male and female about their lives as members of the Order of Preachers. It is a fascinating read, because almost all who are interviewed give an account of their reasons for joining the Order. Some are well known - Timothy Radcliffe, Jean Jacques Perennes, Kim en Joong, Helen Alford - others less so. But it is the contribution of Irish Dominican nun Sr Breda Carroll of the Dominican community at Siena monastery in Drogheda that caught my attention more than most. When asked in the interview for this book what her greatest joy is, she responds 'The joy of being here (in Siena monastery, Drogheda). If I had to start over, I would choose it again. The words that come to my mind are those of Blessed Reginald, quoted by Blessed Jordan of Saxony in his book the Libellus that tells the story of the foundation of the Order. He says that he had no merit because he experienced such joy in the Order. I can identify with those words: I love liturgy, Eucharistic adoration, community life. Living in community which hasn't always been painless, has brought me a great joy because we are basically a united community. I often wonder why God chose me from an insignificant family and an insignificant background to enter a monastery. I can only marvel at God's goodness to me.'
Sr Breda's contribution above in many ways mirrors those other Dominican men and women interviewed for this excellent book. It is a timely reminder for those interested in joining our way of life that there are a thousand reasons for wanting to be a Dominican but there is only one reason why we ultimately stay.
This book will now become essential reading for all new enquirers to the Dominican way of life.