Even though St. Dominic is the founder of the Order of Preachers (which uses the Rule of St. Augustine), Franciscans still refer to him as Our Holy Father St. Dominic. Tradition and legend tells us that Francesco Bernadone and Domingo de Guzman met sometime during their lifetimes. Together they founded two of the most widely known Religious Orders, both of them very much present in our 21st century church.
In my very first year in the seminary, I remember that we used to sing an antiphon and short psalm at the table on their feast days: Apostolicus Dominicus et Seraphicus Franciscus, ipse nos docuerunt legem tuam, Domine. (The apostolic Dominic and Seraphic Francis taught us themselves your law, O Lord.) Ever since that day in 1961, I have been a true devotee of St. Dominic. Today the Church celebrates his memory; for Franciscans that memorial becomes a feast day.
During the 13th century, the seat of learning and education was found in the various monasteries that dotted the European continent. Various monastic communities furthered the study of the arts and sciences; however, the only way to access this knowledge was to go to the monastery itself. Dominic founded an order which had as its purpose to make that learning available to people throughout the continent of Europe and beyond. The Order of Preachers is, like the Franciscan Order, a mendicant and an itinerant Order. Their monastery was the world itself.
Eventually universities sprang up where the friars, both Franciscan and Dominican, preached. The universities eventually became what the monasteries had been, the seat of learning in the local community. Oftentimes, these universities had both Dominican and Franciscan faculty members working together.
The element that ties the two together is the profession of radical Gospel poverty. In order to be itinerant, able to move about at a moment's notice, personal possessions were eschewed. The Gospel text which relates how Jesus sent his disciples off two by two became the standard for these two great mendicant Orders, Friars Preachers and Friars Minor.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator