MEMBERSHIP IN THE COMPANY OF SAINT DOMINIC
Membership is open for single men and women who are Roman Catholic and have the desire to live celibate lives and embrace the charism and spirituality of our Holy Father St. Dominic de Guzman. If s/he has been married, she must furnish the death certificate for his/her spouse. Physical disability is not necessarily an impediment for membership. Members of the clergy incardinated in a Diocesan Bishop, without prejudice to those things which regard consecrated life in the Institute. Members are required to observe Christian perfection through observing the Evangelical Counsel vows of Perfect Chastity, Poverty, Obedience, and Total Consecration to Mary Immaculate. Failure to observe these vows may mean sacrilege or expulsion from the Institute
PERFECT CHASTITY: Connotes with renunciation of married life and demanded a purity of heart. The consecrated secular must fully understand and practice the love of God and love of the community that strengthen and permit spiritual delights to succeed and achieve chaste life over carnal delights.
POVERTY: Implies common ownership of good helps put the interest of Jesus Christ before the interest of the individual. Although they don’t have common life they live in the evangelical poverty and value detachment of material possessions.
OBEDIENCE: Implies caring service. Love characterizes both exercise of authority and obedient acceptance of it. A consecrated secular honors and respects the supreme moderator. The member can accept it freely and motivated by grace.
TOTAL CONSECRATION TO MARY IMMACULATE: Implies the Marian spirituality which the Order of Preachers lives out. Every CSD member is a faithful devotee and defender of the holy Mother of God, the Queen of the Company of Saint Dominic.
Associate Membership in the Company of St. Dominic gives an opportunity to Catholic men and women, who for some other reason, cannot enter into a full membership (eg. Married persons, divorced, single open for marriage) but wishes to be part of the Institute. By a life consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the adherence to the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, pertinent to their lay state, these persons are incorporated into the Institute as associate members.
PLEDGE TO LIVE THE SPIRIT OF CHASTITY simply means to obey the sixth and ninth commandments, married members are called to live Conjugal Chastity while single associates are called to live Chastity in Continence. It is to respect the worth of every person.
PLEDGE TO LIVE THE SPIRIT OF POVERTY means living in Poverty of Spirit, though we possess property and earn money to support ourselves and our families. It is a call to detach ourselves from luxuries, and regard our possessions as belonging to God, which is manifested by justice and charity.
PLEDGETO LIVE THE SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE means submission to the Rule of the Company of Saint Dominic for associate members and fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.
TOTAL CONSECRATION TO MARY IMMACULATE: Implies the Marian spirituality which the Order of Preachers live out. Though an associate are not canonically consecrated persons in the strict sense of the word, CSD Associates are in a wider sense, live a life consecrated to the Blessed Mother of God through this marian consecration.
Q: Is membership in the CSD Secular Institute demands a careful discernment before entering?
A: Not only in this Institute but in all cases, evry individual must discern if what they are choosing fits the calling God has called them to be.
Q: Does it change my status as a Lay or Cleric if i enter your Institute?
A: following the Canon Law 711, membership in a Secular Institute like the Company of Saint Dominic does not change one's canonnical status be it lay or clerics, however, unlike ordinary individual, they are consecrated because of the evangelical counsels.
Q: What are the vows needed to be undertaken by those who aspire membership in the Institute?
A: The vows are, Perfect Chastity, Poverty, Obedience and Total Consecration to Mary Immaculate. Perfect Chastity is to live Celibate Lives for the sake of God's kingdom, Poverty, means detachment from worldly goods, Obedience requires submission to the Authorities of the Institute and to the Magisterium of the Church, Total Consecration to Mary Immaculate, requires a member to be strictly Marian.
Q: What if i am married? or is single but cannot take the vow of perfect chastity (Celibacy). Am i welcome to the Institute?
A: Members of a Secular Institute are bounded by Evangelical Vows of Perfect Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, however the Canon Law also states,
"The Institute can associate with itself by some form of bond determined in the constitutions, other members of Christ's faithful who seek evangelical perfection according to the spirit of the institute and who share in its mission"( Canon 725)
thus, One who cannot take Evangelical Counsel vows for some other reason, may aspire in the Institute for Associate Membership. Provida Mater speaks of vowed members of the Secular Institute as "Members in a strict sense", while the document Cum Sanctissimus speaks of members of the Institute who cannot take all evangelical counsel vows as "Members in a wide sense".
"Whether those who are enrolled as members in the stricter sense of the word "over and above the general habitual piety and self-denial" without which a life of perfection would be empty and illusory, are making firm and real profession of the three general evangelical counsels in one of the various forms admitted in Provida Mater (Art. III, 2). But in a broader sense there may be members, attached and incorporated in various degrees, who aspire to the perfect life of the Gospel, and try to live it in their own situation but do not, or cannot, rise to a commitment to all three counsels at the higher level"
(Cum Sanctissimus Art X, Sacred Congregation for Religious)
Associate membership in the Company of Saint Dominic are to live the three evangelical counsels according to their state in life, they make a pledge of Purity of heart, Profound Simplicity, Obedience to the Institute and Total Consecration to Mary Immaculate. Associates enjoy the same privileges common to all members of the Institute.
Q: What's the difference between vowed members and associate members?
A: The only difference can be found in the formula they profess during initiation, but not on the mission that is to live out. both membership cannot escape from the task to live out the dominican spirituality in the midst of a secular world according to the constitutions of the Institute