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About the order of preachers

As nuns of the Order of Preachers (aka Dominicans), our story really begins just over 800 years ago in Southern France with a Augustinian canon named St. Dominic de Guzman. As he rode throughout Languedoc with his bishop Diego de Acebo, they encountered a sect called the Cathars, whose preachers lived lives of great simplicity and apparent holiness, but who preached that the material world was evil and denied the incarnation of Christ. Rather than returning home to Spain, St. Dominic and Bishop Diego set out barefoot through Languedoc, begging for their food and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the manner of His first apostles. 

In 1206, St. Dominic gathered a small group of women in a farmhouse at Prouille.  "Free for God alone", they spent their lives in praise of the God, "spending themselves totally for souls", that Jesus Christ might be known and loved. (Fundamental Constitutions of the Nuns 1.1 & 2)  By their hidden lives totally devoted to God through prayer, penance and the practice of charity in community, they both supported their brothers' preaching of the Gospel and preached a silent and radiant witness to Christ by the testimony of their own lives. These women became the first  nuns of the Order of Preachers. Other men joined St. Dominic in the "holy preaching", and in 1216 Pope Honorious III formally recognized the Order of Preachers in the bull Religiosam vitam. You can read more about the entire Dominican family here.