What St Dominic wanted “was to preach the Gospel where it was needed most, in whatever way would make it most effective”.

fr Simon Tugwell OP

Although we are usually known as Dominicans, the order founded by St Dominic is called the Order of Preachers.


Our spirituality is therefore based on principles and actions that enable us to preach most effectively, and this is apparent in three mottos frequently associated with the Dominicans:

Veritas: Truth

Contemplare et contemplate aliis tradere: To contemplate and to hand on the fruits of contemplation

Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare: To praise, to bless and to preach

The Four Pillars

The best way to understand what Dominican spirituality means in practice is to think about the ‘four pillars’ of Dominican life;


The order is frequently represented by the image of a dog with a torch in its mouth. This image is based on the legend that St. Dominic’s mother, Bl. Joan of Aza, dreamt of a dog, holding a torch, and running around the world, symbolising St. Dominic taking the Gospel message to the world.

Dominicans are therefore sometimes known as ‘Domini canes’, the dogs of the Lord.