Lay Dominicans at St. Catherine of Siena welcome novice

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To celebrate the year of consecrated life, the Catholic Herald will release a series of videos on some of the consecrated orders in the Arlington Diocese. The first in this series introduces the lay Dominican chapter at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls.

This lay Fraternity of Dominicans are christians who wish to deepen their lives and apostolic commitment in association with the spirit of St. Dominic, but without retreating from the world. Lay Dominicans do not make vows, such as the vow of poverty made by the order of Friars. Instead they make promises and each member follows the rule of the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic according to his or her place in life.

The group, which is composed of authors, retirees, stay-at-home-moms and public speakers to name a few, meet once a month for Mass, prayer and study to foster the pursuit of truth. As part of the Order of Preachers, they work to learn the teachings of the church and then witness to the truth in their daily interactions with others, whether they are at home, in the office or on the Metro.

During the April meeting, Heide Seward was welcomed into the Dominican family as a novice after making a one-year temporary promise. She was presented with the scapular of St. Dominic and will continue with her studies as a novice for a year before making a three-year temporary promise.

"One of the particular things that attracted me (to the order) was that the order was originally founded to correct error, to fight heresy," said Seward. "As a convert from the Protestant world, I have seen how important it is to correct error, and I've seen the dangers of heresy."

Many Dominicans that make up the Siena Chapter are converts whose love of learning brought them to the Catholic Church, and they did not want the journey to end after their baptism and confirmation.

Buyers can be reached at

For more information about how to become a lay Dominican contact President Paul Bernier at

For other chapters in the area please click here

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015