Charism comes from the Greek charismata. Charisms, or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to Christians by the Holy Spirit to enable them to be powerful channels of God’s love. With regard to a Religious Order, the term refers to the gift which God gives to an individual or group to inspire the founding of a new religious family within the Church.
Every true charism should help to sanctify a person. For example: by practicing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, by a specific lifestyle or a form of the apostolate and/or by a characteristic form of community life.
Mother Kolumba Bialecka, our Foundress, possessed this charism and shared this gift with her spiritual daughters by instilling us into the charism of St. Dominic. She established a contemplative-active Congregation by linking prayer with work. Her desire was to build “Temples for God” within the souls of the people by proclaiming the Truth.
Our charism is defined by the following characteristics:
Truth and simplicity:
Truth, drawn from faith, should become the visible norm of our chosen life as Dominicans who are obligated to know The Truth – Jesus – through study, prayer and to form our life according to Jesus as our model. Truth in thought, action and attitude characterize the Sisters’ lives. It is the duty and privilege for Dominican Sisters to grow in the knowledge of Christ, the Highest Truth.
We come to know Christ first through faith. For this reason, Sisters exert every effort to acquire this foundation of a spiritual life: a strong and steadfast faith. Our thoughts, desires and manner of judgment should be grounded in faith.
All of life’s experiences, as Dominicans, should contain the spirit of penance and atonement of our sins to God. Sisters remember that a life lived in truth and permeated by the spirit of faith and penance successfully draws others to fulfill eagerly the duties of a Christian vocation.
Contemplative characteristic of our life is to express our love to the Lord through the Liturgy, such as: devotion to daily Mass and daily Eucharistic adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Choral recitation of Divine Office, recitation of the Rosary, a regular prayer life and living community life. Mother Kolumba wanted Sisters to seek and strive to achieve complete union with God, while still observing the responsibilities of a Dominican Sister’s active convent life.
Our apostolic services are born from unity with God through prayer. Sisters should experience God personally in order to proclaim His Truth; the Word of God to others.
It expresses in the Dominican motto: “contemplare at contemplata allis tradere.” Translated, this means to contemplate and to give others the fruits of our contemplation. In our apostolate, we focus on three major areas: teaching, evangelization and health care. Sisters serve by helping others on the way of salvation in a variety of conditions in both the Catholic and missionary countries.