“[St. Dominic’s] witness was to inspire the foundation of [the] Order and shape the life and apostolate of countless Dominicans in varied times and places. The unity of truth and charity found perhaps its finest expression in the Dominican school of Salamanca, and particularly in the work of Friar Francisco de Vitoria, who proposed a framework of international law grounded in universal human rights. This in turn provided the philosophical and theological foundation for the heroic efforts of Friars Antonio Montesinos and Bartolomé de Las Casas in the Americas, and Domingo de Salazar in Asia to defend the dignity and rights of the native peoples” Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to brother Gerard Francisco Timoner OP, Master General of the Order of Preachers for the VIII centenary of the death of Saint Dominic of Caleruega.
Dominican Sisters throughout the Order’s history have also inspired generations of Dominicans by devoting their lives to Christ and caring for the poor. The exemplary dedication of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Rose of Lima springs to mind.
Dominicans of the twentieth century have also impacted our world in deep and meaningful ways: Fr. Jean-Joseph Lataste worked for the dignity and rehabilitation of women prisoners; Sr. Marie Dominique Chenu revisited the theology of the incarnation (God in history) and the inseparable relationship between theology and context; Fr. Joseph-Louis Lebret sought to place the economy at the service of humanity and significantly influenced Gaudium et Spes and Populorum Progressio; Fr. Dominique Pire helped refugees in post-World War II Europe and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958; Sr. Ita Ford and sr. Maura Clark, Maryknoll Sisters of St Dominic, worked with the poor and refugees in El Salvador until they were assassinated in 1980 and Giorgio La Pira (1904-1977), a lay Dominican, politician, mayor of Florence and bridge-builder during the Cold War, forged a connection between contemplation, compassion, local justice and the promotion of global peace. To this day, many members of the Dominican Family remain committed to justice, peace and human rights.