Year of Consecrated Life 2015?Holy preaching: women?s voices in the Dominican family

Ann Catherine Swailes OP

As the Dominicans celebrate 800 years of history,? this article reflects on the role of women in the Order, and on what the Order of Preachers might have to contribute to a new theology of women. Ann Catherine Swailes OP is a member of the English Dominican Congregation of St Catherine of Siena. She is assistant chaplain at Fisher House, the Catholic chaplaincy to the University of Cambridge, and teaches at Blackfriars, Oxford.

The Year of Consecrated Life is a double cause of celebration for Dominicans, coming as it does towards the close of a decade marking the eighth centenary of the beginnings of the Order of Preachers. The decision to have a ten year commemoration of Dominican origins might look simply like an excuse for a series of good parties, but, more seriously, reflects the difficulty of deciding precisely what constitutes the foundation of a religious order. The decade will conclude with a year of Jubilee leading up to the 800th anniversary of the papal bull issued in January 1217, conferring official approbation on the work of Dominic and his companions, but this is the climax of a much longer story.

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