The Dominican Order has had a profound effect on the development of the Catholic Church around the world and brings extensive experience to Blackfriars in the context of Christian living.
The Order of Preachers has a long and rich history. Established in 1216 in France by Dominic de Guzman (c.1170 to 1221), the Dominicans emerged in response to heresies which were prevalent in 13th-century Europe and aimed to cultivate values of truth, honesty, fidelity and integrity. The Dominicans took vows of obedience to God and the teachings of the Church.
Noted for their learning and scholarship, the Dominican Order became prominent in universities and educational institutions throughout the early Renaissance period. Among the many important figures in the Dominican tradition are St Albert the Great (c.1207 to 1280) and St Thomas Aquinas (1225 to 1274). St Albert was one of the most universal thinkers to appear during the Middle Ages, while the considerable intellect of his most famous student, St Thomas Aquinas, contributed to the primacy of natural law as the basis of Christian Theology in the ensuing 800 years.
Today, Dominicans can be found all over the world. Across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands – the province of the Assumption – Dominican friars are involved in many works, including parishes, university colleges and missions.
While Dominican friars have founded a number of schools around the world, including Ireland, the United States and Hong Kong, Blackfriars is the only such school in the Southern Hemisphere. This provides for an approach to education unique in Australia, with its foundation in the Four Pillars of Dominican Life.
Of course, it is not possible to apply directly the structure of a religious order to a school. Nevertheless, at Blackfriars, we strive to educate within this tradition, with this outlook on God, humanity and the intimate relationship God has chosen to have with us. For the Dominican friars who hold Blackfriars as part of their preaching mission in Australia, this will always be a challenge. For teachers, parents, pupils, it is an invitation.
Four Pillars of Dominican Life
At Blackfriars we are inspired by the Four Pillars of Dominican Life. They work together to promote an authentic and flourishing life for each person, for his or her community, and ultimately for the wider human community. They address the key relationships in life: relationship with God, with self, and with neighbour.
While the Four Pillars have well-defined domains, they are not mutually exclusive and more than one Pillar can apply to the same aspect of life.
Each one of us gives time to God, alone and with others, to thank him for who we are, for creation, and to be closer to him.
We thank God for the gift of understanding and use it to learn more about him and his creation, and to improve our lives.
We respect all members of the Blackfriars community, showing special care for those who are in need.
As a community, we work together to ensure all of God’s creation is treated with care and respect.
The Living Learning Leading Framework gives us a foundation for understanding what we do in Catholic Education – who we are, what we value and how we partner with our families to ensure our students thrive.
At the heart of our framework is our commitment to our students and our understanding of all people – we see them as “thriving people, capable learners, leaders for the world God desires”.
The Living Learning Leading Framework underpins everything we do, ensuring our students develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive in a rapidly changing and complex world.